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

Genres - Music  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Music History, Vocal Music  |   Release Date - Aug 20, 2004 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Donald Guarisco

This solid documentary is much like the music the Ramones made: simple, no-frills, and to the point. This approach not only fits the band's aesthetic but also allows viewers to focus on the individual band members instead of the cartoon image that usually dominated any press reports about the Ramones. As a result, End of the Century: The Story of The Ramones manages to put a human face on each of the men behind the music. Each band member is revealed to be a flawed but talented person, each having personalized obsessions that allowed them all to contribute the music in their distinctive way. End of The Century also reveals how the friction generated between these very different personalities led to the creation of some unforgettable and influential music: for instance, the group's famous song "The KKK Took My Baby Away" is revealed to have been inspired by a romantic rivalry of two members over the same girl. A little dirt is dished here and there (especially about the group's notorious, often chaotic sessions with infamous producerPhil Spector) but the filmmakers treat their subjects with dignity and use the personal material to shed new light on the band's persona and sound. The end result makes up for what it lacks in cinematic pizzazz through its insight into what made the group special, and this makes End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones a necessity for the group's fans.