25 X 5: The Continuing Adventures of the Rolling Stones

”Definitive!” ”Exclusive!” ”Thoughtful!” ”Candid!” ”Rare!” That’s what the hype says. But take a look at how the 25 X 5 ”video biography” ends: Mick Jagger and his longtime companion, Jerry Hall, take a walk with their kids. Keith Richards marries. Bill Wyman marries! Wait a minute — isn’t someone going to tell us that his bride was all of 18? Or that he’s been, um, loving her for six years?!

Not a chance. Which lets us know two things: One, the theme here might be ”the Rolling Stones grow up,” or maybe even ”the Rolling Stones become a family band.” And, two, inconvenient information just may be suppressed.

That doesn’t mean this production is altogether bad. How could it be when it shows ineffable footage from the band’s early days, or when it highlights ”thoughtful,” ”candid” comments from the group?

That early footage includes everything you’d expect (performances and interviews), and even things you wouldn’t (Dean Martin showing no respect when the very young Stones appeared on his TV show). There are some great moments, among them shots of our heroes performing with two of their heroes, bluesmen Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

As for the ”thoughtful” and ”candid” comments, well, they are lots of fun. Drummer Charlie Watts seems bewildered. And Keith! If you’ve heard him speak, you know that words alone can’t express his thoughts. So he’ll pause — between words mere mortals wouldn’t think of separating — and let his hands or his leathery face accommodate the wobbly flow.

But the video gets stuck right when the Stones’ career did: in the ’70s, when their string of great albums ended after Exile on Main Street. Another director might have asked the Stones such obvious questions as ”What happened? How do you feel about those days now?”

This director ducks all that. Instead we get a dead chronicle of tours, which might have been big news when they happened, but tell us nothing now. Says one co-worker about this video: ”I can imagine a lot of Rolling Stones fans watching it once, then pulling out the first half once in a while for parties.” That’s more charitable than I’d care to be.

25 X 5: The Continuing Adventures of the Rolling Stones
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