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“Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets" Reviewed



Jarvis Cocker was the Bruce Springsteen of Britpop, a titanic man of the people, one of us nth out, and though Jarvis only sustained through a couple of albums, Different Class and This Is Hardcore, and though I said man of the people and you read man of the common people, on the strength of those two albums, Jarvis and his band Pulp were maybe the second most important band of the 1990s: right after Nirvana.

I saw em every time they came to town, I paid a $300 fine once and changed the date of a vacation to see em, and I saw Jarvis Cocker solo once. They were a great live band, Jarvis was terrific solo as well (“Leftovers” was as good as anything Pulp released) and I was thrilled as you might imagine for the 2012 Radio City Music Hall, but on the way to the resurrection something went wrong and the show was a disappointment. I was going to like it but not a lot.

Director Florian Habicht’s “Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets” was mostly filmed before and during, and a little after, Pulp’s final night of the 2012 final tour in their hometown of Sheffield in England, a place just about impossible to romanticize.

The movie opens with “Common People”, as smart a song about money as you will ever hear (it isn’t about “commoners” –the girl is from Greece, what has that to do with the English aristocracy?) as a broke college kid tries to show a rich girl who has gone too far and it really doesn’t matter anymore, what poverty is really like. It closes with 20 minutes from the ashtrays of the final show. In between, Jarvis and the rest of the band discuss their career while fans sing their songs, remember the band before they got famous, Jarvis goes back to visit his first job at a butcher, and the entire enterprise as a certain sweetness to it all.

Unfortunately, it isn’t quite my experience of the band, they peaked but then they unpeaked and as the years went buy we reached the 21 st century with the disastrous We Love Life.

Still, you can’t blame Habicht for waxing nostalgic for one of the least sentimental or silly pop bands, Sheffield and the world’s pride.

Grade: B+

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