In 1974 the New York City music scene was shocked into consiousness by a band of misfits from Queens called the Ramones. Playing in seedy Bowery bar to a small group of fellow struggling musicians, the band struck a chord ... more »of disharmony that rocked the foundation of the '70s music scene. Tracing the history of the band, from its unlikely origins through its star-crossed career, bitter demise and the sad fates of Joey and Dee Dee, End of the Century is a vibrant, candid document of one of the most influential groups in the history of rock.« less
"Well, I just bought Hey, Ho, Let's Go: The Anthology, so I guess the documentary left its mark last night. Put simply, like Festival Express, this is a must see for 1) fans of the Ramones, 2) rock history buffs, 3) fans of rock music, period. There, that should cover most folks who have stumbled on to this review.
Unlike Festival Express, where the movie highlights were the performances, End has plenty of in-concert performances but is most interesting for the extensive and cross-cutting interviews with band members, managers, and people from other bands, most notably, the late Joe Strummer of Clash. Stepping out from those stock bowl haircuts and black uniforms, the Ramones get in End a portrait that celebrates their individuality, their determination and their warts (Joey's inability to forgive, Johnny's often martinet leadership, DeeDee's willingness to abuse his body in every way imaginable -- and I would guess some unimaginable). Along with the music, what comes through so strongly is their love for the group, if not for each other, and their work ethic -- in all their years they missed only one concert for band misbehavior and Johnny fired Marky over it.
You watch End of the Century wondering how someone as sensitive as Joey ever lived at all, expecting DeeDee to have his overdose on screen in the middle of an interview, respecting Johnny's vision, even if often disagreeing with his methods. And now they are all dead, making even more poignant that moment late in the movie when the off-screen interviewer asks, after Joey's death, Johnny if he felt something when Joey died. Pause. And Johnny says, yes, he felt something, he felt bad all the week of Joey's death, even after not calling him while he was dying, not speaking for nearly two decades. Why, probes the interviewer, why did you feel something? Another pause, and then Johnny says because he was a Ramone, because he loved the Ramones, the group, the music. Moving stuff, moving and entertaining movie.
P.S. Don't miss the swell moment when Debby Harry and Blondie are singing Heart of Glass in what looks like some bubble-machine disco set. Very weird."
Rock n roll will never die
William Merrill | San Antonio, TX United States | 03/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Ramones' music sounds eternal to me. It is raw power, "white heat," as Joe Strummer describes it during this excellent documentary. This release takes on added meaning after the passing of two Ramones, but it's more than just the story of one particular legendary band. It's about the early days of American punk, the CBGB's scene of the late '70s, and even the essence of rock n roll itself. Thru it all is the mighty music of a band that stands as an icon for the last century and will do so into the future. Besides all of that high falutin' stuff, though, End of the Century is just a fascinating documentary to watch. I got totally engrossed in the origins of the group, their rise to glory, the various in-fighting and love-hate relationships within the band, etc. The extras with the DVD are pretty good too, although a little more care could have gone into their presentation. For example, the short feature on "Who wrote what" with Tommy Ramone is fun, but an off-camera interviewer names the songs in a barely audible voice while Tommy says who wrote them. How hard would it have been to run the song titles on the screen as Tommy named the writers for each of them? Instead it's nearly impossible to hear some of the titles as the interviewer softly calls them out."
Great film. Not a concert dvd!
M. Arbusto | New York, NY USA | 03/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just want to point out something that I think some Ramones fans might be missing; and that is; this is a moving film about a dysfunctional rock and roll family who were stuck with each other for over 20 years in spite of the fact that they wanted to escape each other. They weren't like other bands who travelled first class and could escape to private quarters on luxury buses either. They travelled well into their 40s in small rental vans so they were really in each other's faces.
And that's the point. It's not "depressing" or "short on concert footage" per se. I don't think that is the point at all. It's a documentary film that strips away all the rock illusions of glamour and fame that fans might WISH was the truth but it just ain't. This is what it's really like to be a punk rocker...for life. It ain't pretty and if you can't take it then you probably don't really understand what the Ramones and everyone like them were really about in the first place.
So, as a film fan, I loved it. It was touching and funny and poignant. So I say to ramones fans looking for confirmation of something that never truly existed, open your mind and try to accept what this excellent film is trying to tell you; the real life of our rock heros is not the wonderful, glamorous dream we, as fans, get lost in. This is what it is."
End of the Century, End of an Era
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 10/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Ramones are, like so many artists that alter the course of creative history, recognized long after their due. "End Of The Century" chronicles the band without airbrushing the blemishes. Frequently funny, sometimes sad and even myth destroying, footage of the band through the years and up to the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame establishes the Ramones and their timeline. Watching it, you wonder how they ever toughed it out for over twenty years. At the same time, you're eternally grateful that they did, even though you get to watch Johnny dismiss "Mondo Bizarro" and Phil Spector.
There is plenty of other activity on the screen. Joe Strummer and Debbie Harry are prominent on the interviews, and vintage shots of live Iggy and the New York Dolls are interspersed with the Ramones' interviews and songs. The anecdotal quips from Legs McNeill and others provide invaluable insider looks into the history of Ramones. If you have a passing interest in Punk Rock, or any rock, try to see this."
We're A Happy Family
David Baldwin | Philadelphia,PA USA | 03/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first exposure to the Ramones was when I saw "Rock 'N' Roll High School" in the theatre around 1981. I was fortunate to have seen them live on three occasions in the eighties. The operative word for a Ramones concert was FUN. I saw "End of the Century" in the theatre last fall in full expectation of recapturing the joy of attending a Ramones show. What I got was the equivalent of getting hit with a wet towel. Who knew that the band who could give such highly professional entertainment harbored disillusionment and resentment? Since recovering from the initial jolt I can view this DVD for what it is. It is a thorough examination of the band's history, their influences, their artistry, and ultimately their place in the rock 'n' roll pantheon. It is also an interesting study of the personality types of the individual band members and how that fueled their creativity. Highly recommended for those who unfortunately never got to experience one of the greatest rock acts. This DVD contains some deleted scenes that should not be missed. They were not incorporated in the finished product probably for continuity reasons but are nonetheless fascinating."