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With: Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Tommy Erdelyi, Marky Ramone, C.J. Ramone, Joe Strummer, Deborah Harry, Rob Zombie
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 108
Date: 19/03/2013
IMDB

End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones (2004)

3 Stars (out of 4)

I Wanna Be Well

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones on DVD.

This documentary on the rise and fall of the Ramones earned a write-up in the New York Times as a work of troubled genius that would never get distribution due to the many conflicting rights issues. But here it is and, despite the fact that I'm one of the biggest living Ramones fans, the film turns out to be a slight disappointment. Filled with the usual interviews, old footage and photographs, the film uncertainly straddles the line between outrageous and conservative. Besides telling the behind-the-scenes stories, it does a good job of juxtaposing the members' various conflicting stories, notably the 18-year feud between singer Joey Ramone and guitarist Johnny Ramone over a girl. It also runs through the band's lineup over the years, including the original drummer (and sometime producer) Tommy Erdelyi, and the volatile, drug addicted bassist Dee Dee Ramone, whose bizarre viewpoints earn him lots of interview time (Dee Dee died just after filming completed, as did Clash guitarist Joe Strummer, who is also interviewed here). Even though singer Joey Ramone died in 2001, the film cobbles together a good amount of older interview footage of him, and we learn about his obsessive-compulsive nature, his shyness and uncertainty. Finally, the film features plenty of great songs and concert footage, even though it skims over certain landmarks like the Rock 'n' Roll High School movie (1979) and the success of the 1989 single "Pet Semetery." To my eyes, the Ramones deserve one of those six-hour TV documentaries like the Beatles' Anthology. But until then, this one will do.

DVD Details: Rhino's new DVD comes with a whole slate of extras: a trailer, a deleted scene featuring "Elvis Ramone," a Joey Ramone radio interview, Marky Ramone's drum technique, interview excerpts from Johnny Ramone, Richie Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Joe Strummer, Tommy Ramone, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and neighborhood friend Ritchie Adler, plus "Who wrote what on the first three albums by Tommy Ramone." The audio, presented in both 2.0 and 5.1 is superb, much better than the CDs in my library.

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