Jordan Smith’s review published on Letterboxd:
Kind of a terrible documentary, honestly. Despite the presence of angel Steven Hyden, the media class tone here is insufferable and the blame-shifting seems as confused as the event itself. Like they eventually arrive at the idea that maybe these bands aren’t culpable for what happened but not before suggesting it for half the runtime. Isn’t that moral panic scapegoat bullshit as old as the hills? If that wasn’t the point then why spend so long on it? And it’s beyond tired, not to mention a little ahistorical, to frame nu metal as this insurgent form of white rage into mainstream culture. I understand that’s largely what’s at play at the festival but it’s disingenuous given the ethnic backgrounds of so many bands in the genre and just how transcendently popular it was at the time. Big fail on Bill Simmons’ part not to tap the foremost scholar of the artform, Bryan Quinby, for his expertise.
I’m forced to give this the heart though because I enjoyed this on a level I rarely enjoy anything. Permanently, hopelessly fixated on this point in time and seeing any morsel of footage from it floods my brain with endorphins. I wish more than anything that this was a Ken Burns-scale study on major label rock in the late 90s with this as the tragic finale rather than what it is: an entertaining and well-researched (cf. Hyden again) but ultimately misguided look at an unqualified disaster. That’s okay, I’ll still keep drinking that garbage.