CBGB follows the story of Hilly Kristal's New York club from its conceit as a venue for Country, Bluegrass and Blues (CBGB) to what it ultimately became: the birthplace of underground rock 'n roll and punk. When Kristal had difficulty booking country bands in his club on the Bowery he opened his doors to other kinds of rock music. Kristal had one demand of the acts he booked; they could only play original music. No top 40's, no covers. It was the credo he lived by, support the artist at whatever the cost. Hilly Kristal ironically became known as the godfather of punk giving a chance to such bands as Blondie, Television, Ramones, Talking Heads, Dead Boys and The Police. Written by
Songs played in the movie by The Ramones, are Spirit in My House and I Got Knocked Down (But I'll Get Up) recorded by Joey Ramone in 2000 and 2001, 32 years after the movie takes place and 4 years after The Ramones broke up. See more »
Look, you guys, you're not Nazis, okay? You're punks, and anything bad, anything wrong, you wanna do it. I get it. Now let's go have a bagel.
What's a bagel?
What's... What's a bagel? What part of Cleveland are you from? Cleveland, Germany?
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"This film is dedicated to... Hilly Kristal and all those who worked at and lived at CBGB. MAY THEY ROCK ON FOREVER! No animals were harmed during the making of this film... The cockroach guts were Fig Newtons. And we know that Iggy Pop never played at CBGB... Just deal with it." See more »
Actually quite good, but depends what you're after.
Okay first of all if your a big fan of one particular artist or more in the story and are expecting their role (or even their personality) to be fleshed out, chances are you will be disappointed. They are all (aside from the Dead Boys) limited to cameos and as such some people find they are a little generic. I'm not sure how much depth people expect in what often amounts to less than a minutes screen time, but there you go. It is not a long movie and it would have been impossible to do justice to everyone involved in that music scene in such a short time. In the restraints they had, I believe they did well enough.
Secondly there are some liberties taken with the actual music. It didn't matter to me as it was all great music, but if your picky on such things that may irritate you. An example of this is that the Ramones don't actually play any Ramones tracks, instead they player a Joey Ramone solo track that was released later. I don't really understand why they made those choices, but that is the way it is. Some people may feel the "live" sound isn't gritty enough. Again, I had no problem here, I wanted to hear good music and I did.
Perhaps those that get the most out of this films are those that like the music but aren't huge fans of anyone in specific. This is where I fell and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed and I cried and when it finished I was happy. Alan Rickman is the centrepiece of this film and that I think will make this enjoyable to the majority of viewers (as the IMDb average suggests) as he is as solid as ever. The rest of the cast is reasonable but no one stands out. The sets look very accurate (from what I can tell at least) and the whole thing is quite believable.
Taken out of the historical context this is basically a light hearted comedy about a growing music scene and a guy with passion, kindness and absolutely no business acumen. It feels like a "British Comedy" which for many will be fine, but given the topic is a New York club some may feel it inappropriate. If you read this review and still want to see the film then you will no doubt enjoy it as much as I have (or more).
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