Kicking the Tweets
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Hype! (1996)

Doug Pray’s Hype! is as close to a real-time look at the Seattle grunge scene as you’re likely to find. Bookended by vignettes from a culture still reeling from a media whirlwind in 1996 (when the film was released), Pray tracks a genre that was invented, monetized, and destroyed in the relative blink of an eye. This isn’t just a documentary about Pearl Jam and Nirvana; it’s a look at the bands, critics, and promoters key to creating a musical movement that made rock stars out of emerging artists who did nothing but decry fame—while others, who’d honed their craft for decades, struggled to gain attention outside their once low-key community. Pray opens and closes his film with footage of Washington timber being chopped down and hauled away to make mass-consumer goods, leaving sad stumps and gray skies in their place. They came for the trees first, then the art.

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