“Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” is the underdog/fish-out-of-water tale of Arnel Pineda, a Filipino cover-band singer who was catapulted into stardom in 2008 when he joined Journey. The film chronicles his first tour with the band, as Journey marked four decades together and teetered between we-used-to-be-big obscurity and genuine renewal.
Pineda was filling shoes once worn by the redoubtable Steve Perry, he of the soaring tenor that made such tunes as “Faithfully,” “Lights” and “Open Arms” such enduring power ballads — not to mention the film’s iconic title track.
Filmmaker Ramona Diaz had the foresight to tag along on Pineda’s first tour, after he had won over Journey’s most skeptical band members (he was discovered on YouTube by lead guitarist Neal Schon).
As infectious as Pineda’s enthusiasm is, “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” too often relies on his inherent appeal as a film subject, rarely probing more deeply than the narrative he and his bandmates provide.
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Still, the story is a fascinating one, not just about a poor artist from Manila swept into Cinderella-like fame and fortune, but about fandom, perseverance and the discipline it takes to triumph. In fact, it takes a lot more than just believin’ — although there’s no doubt that a bit of faith helps, too.