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The Story of the Ramones: End of the Century
DVD disk
03.25.2005 By: JaneBlo
The Story of the Ramones: End of the Century order
Director:
Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia

Actors:
Joey Ramone
Dee Dee Ramone
Johnny Ramone

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The Ramones, famed for playing their high-energy, unpolished songs at breakneck speed, rose to fame in New York City in 1974, paving the way for such British punk rock icons as the Sex Pistols and the Clash. The band made its mark with such tunes as "Blitzkrieg Bop," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" and "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," which among others, earned them an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. The Ramones officially retired in 1996. This is their story, in all its glory and heartbreak.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Guitarist Johnny Ramone co-founded the Ramones in 1974 in New York along with singer Joey Ramone, bassist Dee Dee Ramone and drummer Tommy Ramone, who is the only surviving member of the original band. All four band members had different last names, but took the common name Ramone. Other Ramones followed through the years, such as Marky, C.J. and Richie Ramone as well. I met Marky backstage a couple of years ago in Montreal, a great moment for me. Clad in blue jeans, leather jackets and long black mops of hair, the group started out in legendary New York City clubs like CBGB’s and Max's Kansas City, where they blasted their rapid-fire punk rock songs. Since their debut album in 1976, the band struggled for commercial success, and though they never had a Top 40 song, they left a formidable imprint on the punk rock genre influencing scores of followers, including bands such as Green Day and Nirvana.

This biography of the band, of sorts, was very illuminating for me, for although I’ve always been a hopelessly devoted Ramones fan, I didn’t know some of the stuff that was revealed in this in-depth look at the band, with all the good and the bad. I found out that OCD was an issue for one band member, and that one member stole another’s girlfriend which in turn caused a permanent rift between the two. Dirty laundry, yes, but something any big fan needs to know nevertheless. The band had encounters with some big names in their career, including producer Phil Spector, who collaborated with them in 1980 for the album "End of the Century." During the session, the late bassist Dee Dee Ramone said Spector pulled a gun on the band. Interesting stuff. For me, this band kickstarted punk rock, and are one of the best out there and no wonder we see such greats as Joe Strummer of the Clash, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid and more pay them such respect and talk of their influence on their life and their music. Intercut with footage from live shows, and with their music constantly playing in the background, this DVD captures what it is that we fans love so much about this great band.
THE EXTRAS
Interview excerpts with Johnny Ramone, Tommy Ramone, Joe Strummer of the Clash, Richie Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Debbie Harry & Chris Stein of Blondie, a neighbourhood friend from Queens, New York: All the interviews are engaging and touching, as they are people’s honest opinions on what went wrong, what went right and what just went. Lots of love and respect is felt. Around five minutes each.

Who Wrote What on the First Three Albums by Tommy Ramone: Original drummer Tommy discusses who wrote which tunes and who collaborated on them. Interesting if you know the songs, and the band members’ personalities.

End of the Century Trailer: A great trailer for an even greater film.

Joey Ramone Radio Interview: Joey has always been my favorite, and his death really got to me. Therefore this interview is precious and cool as Hell. Too short with only five minutes though.

Marky Ramone Drum Techniques: A short course on the Marky Ramone style of drumming, harder than we might think. Very cool feature.

Deleted Scene: Clem Burke (of Blondie fame) as Elvis Ramone: The short stint that Clem had as a Ramone is discussed. Probably the least cool feature of the bunch.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
A wonderful tribute to a band most of whose original members are all gone now, (except Tommy) as Joey died in 2001 of cancer, Dee Dee followed him to rock ‘n’ roll heaven in 2002 by overdose and lastly, Johnny Ramone joined them in 2004 when he also lost his battle with cancer.

They were all so young, talented and loved, and they were a powerful force in music history, no doubt. I respected the fact that they always stayed real and true to themselves, and never changed their look, or their sound and kept on touring. That said, this story of the Ramones is the best one I’ve yet seen, and even if you aren’t a fan of the band, their story is so gripping and inspiring that I would still recommend you rent or buy this DVD today, who knows you might even become a fan. For the ultimate Ramones fan, this is something to own and cherish forever, as I can now admit that this is without question the best DVD I have ever reviewed for this site. Gabba Gabba Hey!
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