Starting with the band’s origins in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City; End Of The Century: The Story Of The Ramones gives a fascinating background portrait of the eccentric group of individuals who came together to be one of the most influential punk bands in history.
This documentary about the New York City renegades who made their mark in the mid-1970s with counterculture lyrics and underground performances at rundown joints like CBGB on the Bowery, shows how the band eventually earned recognition, even being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. But it is the insider look at the blue collar upbringing of the band members, and their desire to be part of Manhattan’s burgeoning hard-rock scene, that is most endearing about this particular film.
In candid interviews with Dee Dee Ramone, he tells stories about the group’s total lack of complexity in its earliest days. Going to see contemporary acts like the New York Dolls and Iggy and the Stooges, the Ramones quickly created their own sound and practiced frenetically. When they finally made their debut with an extremely-loud sound, furiously-fast and short songs, and lots of drama such as blatant on-stage arguments, they practically scared away their fans.
The film follows the Ramones’ subsequent rise to punk stardom, providing wild stories about sex, drugs, chaos, and tragedy; however, it is the truly interesting story of the band’s start that will linger in viewers’ minds.
End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones;
Directed by Jim Fields & Michael Gramaglia; 2005