End of the Century: The Story of The Ramones

Film, Documentaries
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Time Out says

Brothers stick together, even when they can’t stand each other and aren’t actually brothers. For twenty-odd years, New York punk quartet the Ramones traded under a single surname, dressed in a uniform of leather jackets and jeans, shared tour buses and dressing rooms, and hated each other’s guts. Fields and Gramaglia’s absorbing lament to a band that never matched respect with sales suggests that – along with the recent ‘Metallica: Some Kind of Monster’, and the soon-to-be-released ‘Dig!’ – rock and documentary might finally be able to find some common ground after the little difficulty that was ‘This is Spinal Tap’.

This is a largely sympathetic look at a group that could never cash in on the kind of witty, radio-friendly pop-punk sounds since imitated by everybody from the Pixies to Busted. Sympathetic, but even-handed: Johnny, the bowl-haired guitarist and de facto leader, is presented as an intractable, unfeeling right-wing disciplinarian, but one whose determination kept the band together and provided much of their dynamic. Johnny (who died last year) and singer Joey (who died in 2001) fell out in the early-’80s over a girl (later Johnny’s wife) – an experience that Joey exorcised in ‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’ – but they remained colleagues for another decade. It’s that kind of story: through regular turmoil – heroin, Phil Spector and constant caricature – indomitable Johnny and romantic Joey continue to believe that success is just round the corner, until both are forced to accept the inevitable. It’s possible that the band’s shared identity might ultimately have been more of a hindrance than a help; it is to the directors’ credit that the brothers’ individuality is allowed to stick out.

Details

Release details

Rated:
PG
Release date:
Friday January 7 2005
Duration:
112 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia