End of the Century-The Story of the Ramones (2003)

“It was just a really great punk rock moment.”

If you are at all interested in the Ramones, then the excellent documentary End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones is an invaluable resource. The DVD follows the history of the Ramones from their early days in the working class neighbourhood of Forest Hills in Queens, their CBGB days, up through the band’s disintegration. Along the way, there are interviews with all the band members, and interviews with various names in the music business–including Joe Strummer, Glen Matlock, and Legs McNeil. The film also includes generous clips of performance footage that demonstrate the raw power of the Ramones’ stage presence.

The documentary conveys a tremendous sense of the personalities and the characters of the band members. If Joey was the band’s heart and soul, then Johnny was the drive behind the Ramones–and at first, these elements fused the band together. Strategic questions are asked of the band members, and the replies–some very candid, and so a bit more cagey–reveal the oppositional views that eventually led to the break up of the band and a silence between Joey and Johnny that lasted for years and remained in place until Joey’s death.

One of the most intriguing elements of this absolutely fascinating film is the idea that to be a Ramone meant something to those involved in the band–and this implied a loyalty and a sort of behaviour that subsumed individuality–at least to a certain extent. End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones is one of the best music documentaries I’ve seen. It left me with some mixed feelings at its conclusion–impressed by the Ramones hard-working attitude but also sad that three of them are gone.

DVD extras include: a deleted scene, a radio interview with Joey Ramone, excerpts from the Johnny Ramone interview, excerpts from the interview with Richie Ramone, Marky Ramone drum techniques, excerpts from Joe Strummer’s interview, excerpts from Tommy Ramone’s interview, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein interview excerpts, and “Who Wrote What On the First 3 Albums” by Tommy Ramone.

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