Film Archive

CBGB (2013)

The Club:

CBGB was considered to be the temple of Punk back then. Its full name CBGB & OMFUG stands for “Country, Bluegrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers”. This New York based club made an unforgettable mark in the music world, springing diverted characters by giving them a place to express their music and art. Blondie, Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground, Patty Smith and The Talking Heads were only some of the great names to ever perform there. CBGB was not glorified by its cleanliness or sterility, but rather for its unstable stage, burnt lights and flooded toilets… shit and vomit everywhere, to be exact! It was pretty much a shit-hole. But a very cool shit-hole, indeed, with many youngsters popping in and out to listen to some blasting guitars and full throttled punk rockers. Oh, I wish I could be there!!!


I went to CBGB tribute concert in New York and had a blast!! Bands like Jane’s Addiction and Devo were performing and I felt so proud to be there. I even bought a CBGB T-shirt that I cherish dearly. see?


The movie:


I caught CBGB on satellite the other day and had to record it. The club always intrigued me and I really wanted to see the story behind its questionable owners, Hilly Kristal, played by Alan Rickman. I love Alan Rickman. Hilly Kristal was pretty much the weirdo of his decade, with three bankrupts, empty pockets and a flea bag of a dog. CBGB was his third attempt in buying a club and making it a sensation. He bought a shitty old looking bar on the Bowery in Downtown Manhattan. In order to make the club a success Kristel aimed at keeping its originality and so he had 2 rules; A band must move its own equipment and play mostly original songs, no covers. and from there on the club became the prime spot for any punk and rock lover from all over.


After this very long intro I feel kind of bummed saying that CBGB, the movie, didn’t match my expectations and had the potential of being a really good one. It isn’t too bad, but is fairly boring and dragged more than stimulated. I sadly say I didn’t even watch it all the way through… I don’t know but something just did not click for me. I felt director’s Randall Miller’s effort in trying to make it a cool movie, integrating comics-book bits to it that just didn’t work for me. I believe this man had challenged himself dearly by trying to document this legend of a club. Not an easy task to pull off.

The cast contained many good actors. Some overdid their characters and others kicked ass. Iggy Pop was played by Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins, which gave an awesome performance. Malin Akerman was a mediocre Debby Harry and pretty much annoyed me, Joel David Moore was very much Joey Ramone… goodness, the similarity!!! Mickey Sumner (Sting’s daughter) was a bad imitation of Patty Smith, and Jared Carter was an excellent David Byrne.


I’m not sure if recommending’s what I should do with this one. For those who actually experienced the real CBGB I think it’s best to stay with your great memories of the club rather than poorly reliving it through this movie. Again, CBGB isn’t that bad but it deserved more than what it got.

The highlight of this movie is, no doubt, the soundtrack. Fantastic. Punk gems like I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges, Roxanne by The Police, I Can’t Stand It by The Velvet Underground, and Sunday Girl by Blondie made this movie come to life. My kind of OST.

 My score:

 2 and a half lollipops

44 thoughts on “CBGB (2013)

  1. Brilliant review Reut, shame you didn’t enjoy the movie so much. I’m not surprised in a way, must be hard to capture the true essence of a place like that!

    It looks so cool!!!!!!!!!! ❤

    I know I would LOVE the soundtrack, I love Blondie and Sunday Girl is one of my favourite songs by them. And – I Wanna Be Your Dog? I LOVE IT!!!! I actually saw Iggy Pop at a festival quite some time ago. I’m pretty sure he took his trousers off!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow!!!! You saw Iggy??? Damn, that’s awesome!!!! Yeah, listen to the OST. It’s the only gem in this pretentious film… I Wanna Be Your Dog is one of my all time favorites too!!!! 😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I was pretty young so don’t remember it that well but I have my dad to thank as he took me!!! I remember something about his trousers coming off (though didn’t he often do that?!)

      I love that song!!!!! It’s so dark and loud and yeaaaaaaaaah! 😊😊😊😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Er wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’d rather have seen MJ over Iggy any day, I love your dad!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      That is amazing!!!!!!

      I think (well I’ve read this online anyway) it’s because he’s proud of his……rude parts. I think it’s pretty…big. Lol! That’s why he takes his trousers off and waves it around ha ha ha.

      If Vinnie sees this comment…..!


      Liked by 1 person

    4. LOL! Really? I guess it’s healthy to be proud of your privates… it’s important, hehe…
      Thank you, my darling, I love my dad too 😉 I think yours is VERY COOL for taking you to see Iggy!!! Oh, man!!! Too bad we can only appreciate it now rather than when we were kids, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

    5. So true!!! I probably wanted Iggy Pop to finish so Robbie Williams could come out and sing Angels lol lol!

      It’s good to have confidence in your body I suppose! Ha ha ha.

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    6. I can’t believe he’s even still performing, he’s a mess! He forgot the words to Angels on UK television a year ago. Everyone in the English speaking world knows the words to that song!!! Lol.

      I’ve always liked Robbie because he’s clearly insane and mad and a complete nutcase BUT he still delivers! Did you see those silly videos he did when his wife was giving birth?!!

      Liked by 1 person

    7. He is a bad boy and kind of mental haha, which is why I love him!

      Oh no nothing kinky, just him being a ‘comedian’ haha, whilst his wife was in labour he was singing and dancing around the ward, just being silly. It was bizarre!! Gotta love him lol. xxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was just wondering where you’ve been, my sweet…….! When did you sneak this one in on me?? Doesn’t sound like I’d like this one too much….


    Liked by 1 person

    1. ERIC!!!! That’s so sweet!!! I was lacking inspiration lately… I’m sorry I haven’t been around much… 😯 Big big smooches to you, wonderful man!!! I don’t think you’ll like this one too… #smoooooooooooch

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Blondie, Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground, these are some my favourite singers/groups. I haven’t heard of this club. Pity the movie doesn’t seem that good.
    The rating, is it 2 1/2 out of 5 or out of 10. But I generally don’t rate a movie, unless I’ve watched whole thing from start to finish, no matter how bad. Who knows, towards the end, it might take a better, or worse, turn.
    Anyway nice to have stumbled upon your Blog.


    1. Tell you what, I don’t uausually rate a movie I haven’t finished watching… I also tend to watch movies all the way through, even if I don’t like them. This one really did not deserve a better score, and to make sure I wasn’t delusional about my rating, I actually checked other reviews. I rated it 2.5 out of 5 lollipops 😊 thank you for stopping by!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Exactly, but I hope I didn’t completely ruin the CBGB experience for you. There’s a famous documentary about this club called Burning Down the House which you should check out.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw bits of this playing at a party I was at and the whole time. I just kept thinking, why dont we turn this off and just listen to the bands themselves. I would watch a movie about each band listed but putting them all together in one thing seems like a little overkill for me. No one else at the party was really paying attention to it. Nice review. BTW I nominated you for a Dragon’s Loyalty Award.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Vern!!! I’m honored! Really! I’ll make sure to answer the questions as honestly as I can and pass this award on wisely ;-))))
      What kind of party was it that they played this movie? Sounds like a cool party… Yeah, I know what you mean and completely agree with you. There’s something about the bands and singers’ imitations that didn’t click and it even annoyed me. I could have sit this one out. Too bad, though… it did have potential.


    1. He was pretty funny as Hilly Kristal, and I quote, “Alan Rickman with his usual (and welcome) slow-as-molasses sarcasm”… I just couldn’t say it any better! The film is really just OK. You should check it out, though, just for the curiosity. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When I got around to seeing this one, I had been reading a lot and watching a lot of videos on the New York Scene so I was excited about watching the film.
    Like you, in the end I just thought it was a pleasant time waster, and although the chronology shouldn’t bother me, Patti Smith before The Ramones, really?
    I did like the little “Metal Machine Music” joke, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I could experience this Punk New York scene, and I tried to do so with this film, but I highly doubt it was that lame…
      I guess they didn’t do their homework properly… I don’t think I got to the joke part. I didn’t watch it all the way through.


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