28 October 2004

Review: End of the Century (4/5)

End of the Century

I remember arguments with people about whether the Ramones were punk or not ("punk?!? they're just rock..."), and seeing Rock and Roll High School [IMDB] in high school and thinking they were some goofy pop band, and finding an old tape of my brother's (was it their first release?) in college and listening to it over-and-over in the Radio Shack tape player that came with my beige 2-door Colt hatchback, and hearing my friends tell the story of playing a cover of "Beat on the Brat" at the local bar and acting out the story, on stage, with a wiffle-ball bat and a doll.

To incite such events and memories, this band had to be great.

That being said, while I'm not a huge fan this was an engrossing movie. There were revelations and drama that you wouldn't expect from--I'm sorry--from such slow-witted goof-balls. But they're mostly lovable goof-balls, so you forgive them. The group of "rockers" I was in the theater with (leather pants and chain-belts) genuninely appreciated, as did I, the band members' stories and their struggle with telling some of the stories even as they struggled to be distant from them. What might otherwise fall by as trivia (Joey had OCD, Johnny was a Republican) became integral background pieces that built up a greater picture than any of their trivia or any of their humorous and shallow comments (Dee Dee's explanation of why they play loudly is classic) could begin to.

These guys struggled, inspired everyone, yet never really made it big themselves. And that was a struggle too. The story goes from early misfit-dom to next-big-thing to an extended period of waiting to be a big thing as fellow CBGBers Blondie go disco and those they inspired such as The Clash and The Sex Pistols dominate. There was an understanding of this on their part, but also a refreshing lack of bitterness. They knew what they did, wish it could've been more, but ... whatever.

It was a little too much Ramones for one night, but only just a little.

[ posted by sstrader on 28 October 2004 at 11:43:15 PM in Cinema ]