Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out, the directorial debut of five-time Grammy Award-winning composer and drummer Stewart Copeland, is a first-person account of The Police?s ascent from obscurity to worldwide fame as we... more »ll as an astute and sometimes hilarious commentary on the pop culture of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Culled from over 50 hours of Super 8 movies he shot during the acclaimed trio?s heyday, the film offers an insider?s perspective on touring, the other band members and the adoring fans that puts the audience in the drummer?s seat. Copeland?s kinetic and artful camerawork forms a visual ode to the rhythm of the road: a surreal swirl of hotel rooms, bus rides, press conferences and record signings punctuated by nightly flashes of electrifying on-stage exhilaration.Formed in 1977 and marked by Sting?s keening vocal style and driving bass, Copeland?s intricately syncopated Caribbean-influenced drumming and Andy Summers? lush guitar harmonies and The Police delivered a bracing, sophisticated alternative to the head-banging punk rock of the day. Shortly after the release of their first album, Outlandos d?Amour, the band?s fresh sound caught fire with audiences in the U.S. and Europe. In a few short years, these 20-something rock virtuosos went from touring grungy clubs in a beat-up car to flying between arena gigs in a private plane. But despite the sudden, intoxicating and sometimes terrifying rush of fame, The Police remained a remarkably close-knit unit throughout the early 1980s, sustained by a rare musical compatibility, a shared sense of humor and the knowledge they had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams largely on their own terms. Copeland?s breezy narration and onscreen annotations provide a wry, sometimes self-mocking perspective on the group?s high jinks, from a lip-syncing session on skis for an early music video to their later travels throughout the Third World. Edited with a percussionist?s precision timing and a composer?s ear for the inherent pulse of each scene, Copeland scores the film using a pastiche of de-constructed studio and live versions of The Police?s extensive and memorable repertoire."As soon as I raised the camera to my eye and started filming, amazing things began to happen," Copeland recalls. "A thrill ride began that took our group to the tippy-top of the music ziggurat. It was such an unreal experience that it seemed to make the most sense when I watched it through the lens of my camera. It was literally like watching a movie as the band sparked a fire that lit up the world for us. Everyone Stares is that movie." Copeland is an award-winning film and television composer who has written scores for Francis Ford Coppola?s 1983 film Rumblefish, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, Oliver Stone?s Wall Street and Talk Radio, John Hughes? She?s Having a Baby, John Waters? Pecker and Bruno Barretto?s Academy Award-nominated Four Days in September. His television credits include scores for Desperate Housewives, Dead Like Me, for which he received an Emmy nomination, and The Amanda Show.He was recently nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Birds of Prey" from his 2005 CD Orchestralli. Copeland won five Grammys for his work with The Police. Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out is directed, produced, written and edited by Stewart Copeland. He is also the film?s cinematographer, music editor and narrator.« less
Nicole N. Pellegrini | Philadelphia, PA | 09/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I blame the man holding his camera for all of my problems."
It's the final scene of "Everyone Stares" that kept running through my mind after seeing the film for the first time. This is not so much because of Sting's parting words as quoted above, but more the image itself, and how much more it seems to be telling us than what directly meets the eye. We see Andy and Sting, though Stewart's "eyes" via the camera lens, as they are all handcuffed to the railing of a precarious-looking staircase perched high above a city. The reasons for this unusual predicament are never quite explained, but it seems to make a telling statement about the band itself at that particular moment of time: cramped and trapped together at the top, and dangerously close to falling over the edge.
To those critics who have claimed that this film has no depth to it? I say that clearly, you simply weren't paying enough attention.
This film is not a strictly linear, fact-laden and/or impartial documentary. Neither is it the expose of "sex, drugs and rock and roll" (emphasis on sex and drugs) that some curiosity-seekers seemed determined it should have been and were disappointed that it wasn't. Instead, it is a fractured, personal collection of video "snapshots", capturing the small moments of life on the road as well as the absurdities and monotonies of becoming a rock star. For the well-versed Police fans, it is also a chance to experience the thrill of seeing events, concerts, and even photo-sessions from a perspective we've never seen before. It begins with a clever montage sequence of animated photographs as Stewart sets the scene with his narration, covering the early days of the band until he purchases his Super 8 camera, and suddenly the action really takes off, in more ways than one.
There is an interesting, dreamlike quality to the entire movie, which seems to come from the Super 8 footage itself: it is somewhat grainy, rendering every scene in a softer focus than we are used to on a big screen. As cars, boats, people, clouds and cities zoom by in time-lapse footage, and as stage lights blur past the camera when Stewart rushes on stage or struggles to get through crowds of fans, this sense of "unreality" slowly builds and at times it becomes almost dizzying. (It is also hard to believe that the Derangements were not written specifically for the soundtrack of this film, as they provide the perfect mixed-up/familiar-yet-different mood for everything we see, and the lyrics sometimes provide interesting and clever accents to the particular moments being shown.)
As for individual scenes themselves, I actually don't want to talk too much about my favorites, because a great deal of the enjoyment of them comes from being surprised by what you get to see, as well as the amusing little "subtitles" or comments Stewart adds to them. I think the first-time viewer is better off getting to experience that surprise for him or herself. Suffice to say the audience--particularly the avid Police fan--is likely to be incredibly amused and delighted at many moments, and wrapped up in the story overall as we get to experience it as if we were a member of the band ourselves.
While all seems to be fun and games at first, the cracks within the band slowly begin to start surfacing as the film progresses. It's presented with subtlety, not with in-your-face fights and screaming contests. It comes through more in small comments in Stewart's narration, as that "unreality" builds and we start to get the underlying sense that all is not as well as it might seem. The piles of money may be growing, but weariness and unease is settling in. The hotel rooms may be growing bigger, but they seem to have become more like prison cells than the familiar, cozy havens on the road they were years before. Indeed, it seems as though the band members have all become literally and figuratively handcuffed to that ivory tower, and as Stewart says near the end, it's time to break free from it all and really "learn what this life is all about."
In its own unique, quirky way, I'd say that "Everyone Stares" is just as revealing an autobiography as Sting's "Broken Music" was a few years ago. It's a piece of the Police story we've been missing, and as a fan, I have to say it makes me feel now that the story is complete in a way I didn't feet it was at all, three years ago after the Hall of Fame ceremony.
The DVD itself comes with some truly great extra features as well, most especially the audio commentary track by Copeland and Summers. Their comments and stories fill in the details of what we see on screen in the movie and make it all the more enjoyable on further viewing. Extra scenes include some humorous moments as well as a collection of "Live Shards", small sequences of live performances that didn't make the film but make for interesting viewing nevertheless.
A great film and a great DVD. All this fan could ask for!"
Glad to have this!
Richard J. Goldschmidt | Oak Lawn, IL USA | 10/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some reviews are a little harsh here. If you are a POLICE fan, you knew Stewart had his SUPER 8 camera in hand throughout and it is GREAT to see some of what he shot, even if the film is not a perfect overview of the history of the band. For the footage from the DE DO DO DO video to STING recording CANARY IN A COALMINE, this is GREAT suplementary footage to have for any POLICE collection. One reviewer complains of spending $10? This is the kind of stuff you would pay $100 for a bootleg of at collector's shows. I am glad STEWART took the time to assemble this and offered it up to the fans! Bravo!"
Uncle Stewart's Home Movie Night ...
Stephen Ressel | North Dakota, USA | 03/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would assume anyone reading these reviews or looking at purchasing this DVD know who the Police were, and knows their music. Knowing who they were is where this DVD takes off from, and it brings a 'behind the curtain' view of the performers across the years. Stewart Copeland, the band's founder/drummer, glommed onto an 8mm sound camera and hung on as it commanded his soul. The obsession with this camera grafted to his hand was evident in some of the early photo shoots and videos. Now you can see all that footage edited down and put to a story of this famous rock band's rise to fame.
It starts with still photos from the earliest years and quickly transitions into the film as Stewart (and Andy Summers) procure their cameras. Instead of getting a pre-polished, over packaged, over thought, mush glorification of the band you get the band, as themselves, filmed by one of them, narrated by the band (one, or two of them depending on the audio track). Due to the film being a home effort, it wasn't taken with any specific purpose in mind other then Stewart having fun or documenting things of immediate interest in the day. He experiments with stop motion, titles(Kim dumps a take?), time lapse, makes a fiction with Andy and supporting act, but more importantly he is holding the camera as the band starts touring as a stripped down, low rent act and builds to a gigantic world consuming success. Looking back you can laugh sympathetically as Sting has to lug his suitcase and bass into the hotel room, or as he finds the limo at the airport isn't for him. Then you see a rock star's pov as a surprise crowd mobs his band at the airport for the first time. Clips of the band and crew all over the world, as well as silly, impromptu humor give the video a lively, warm feel. It's a home movie! But, it explains what the band did that you never saw.
There are two audio tracks. The first is Stewart's narrative, and I found it adequate but a little boring. Half way through the film I was wondering what I was doing watching, but it picked back up and got me through. The second track is commentary by Stewart and Summers, and their comments make the film fly by as they explain the context of shots and also joke about the images.
Additional footage edited, but deemed important or entertaining, is lumped in the extras section.
If you loved the band, and want to see them in their more private spaces, then $10 is a pittance. I thoroughly enjoyed this little trip to Uncle Stewart's basement movie night."
A feast for Police fans
Flexible_Strategies | Redlands, CA | 08/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was lucky enough to attend a screening of this film here in Los Angeles. Afterwards, Stewart had a Q&A session with the audience. Andy Summers, who basically stole the show in this film, was in attendance as well. It was quite fascinating to watch the inner workings of this band as they grew, not only in popularity, but in their own lives - emotionally and with each other. You can witness for yourself the excitement of a screaming crowd or being mobbed by fans after the show. The tedium of recording albums, doing interviews or photo shoots, or the dreadful aspect of constant travel. I have seen some of this super-8 footage before, but the majority I had not. The quality varies as the years go by, and the musical performances are too brief for my tastes, but I still enjoyed this film tremendously. I had taken a friend to the screening who hadn't had much exposure to the band previously, and they walked away amazed. Sting was not in attendance, but both Andy and Stewart freely chatted with fans and signed autographs, easily the most approachable musicians I have ever chatted with. Stewart was witty as always during the Q&A, and he promised to make the DVD release worthwhile. I hope he kept his promise."
It's Stewart made movie
E. Woontner | Fairfax, CA United States | 04/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a long time Police fan, and am delighted that they decided to reunite at least for a tour (a couple of new songs are rumored...you never know). This is certainly a most interesting take from the inside of their unique experience. Stewart is The Kinetic Kid by definition, and often the images reflect this very non-stop, hyper-ADD aspect of his personality. Thank goodness for his being hyper, because he has given the world some of the finest drumming ever heard by human ears. The movie is really like entering Stewart's mind. I was surprised by his very professional, patient tone of voice, while I remember him as a very fast *duh!* talker. In particular, I appreciated the parts that show the genesis of the famous riffs etched in every fan's mind, and the claustrophobic feeling brought in by the non-stop assault of the fans, a little reminding of Hard day's night. You understand why worldwide success can also last so much, as can a musician's patience, focus, and inspiration. After all, it becomes a blur, and Stewart is masterful at conveying the feelings of the Man in a Suitcase's line: "bird off a flying cage, you'll never get to know me well, the world's an oyster, a hotel room a prison cell". I was expecting more bitching at Sting - there is some, but not so bad as I had anticipated - therefore, our Kinetic Kid was also rather well-behaved. Maybe the passing of his beloved brother Ian and of the "fourth member" Kim Turner have somewhat changed the feelings that led to the acrimonious split of a great band at the very top of their game."