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?
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.