End of the Century
Run Time: 150 minutes
Director: Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia
Starring: The Ramones
DVD Release: March 15, 2005
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I was listening to NPR waiting for a colleague to finish with a chiropractic appointment when I heard that Joey Ramone had passed away. I'm not sure why I remember that, but it came back to me as I was watching End of the Century. The Ramones are likely as much responsible for the music I listened to throughout my adolescence and into my adult life as legends like The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Miles Davis, inspiring pop acts, metal bands and several decades of punk rockers, without ever achieving the commercial success that typically signifies musical achievement.
In the true spirit of punk rock, The Ramones demonstrate the potential for a long lasting career in music without the need to break through top 40 radio and become the darlings of MTV and Clear Channel, representing a model for the post-Napster era of free downloads and unlimited access to worldwide marketing via the Internet. End of the Century celebrates their career in rather tragic form, playing out the rise and fall of The Ramones through a chronological tale that looks back through the eyes of surviving members, close friends and family. In modern documentary style, End of the Century finds the tension points between the band members and uses human conflict to move the story to it's logical conclusion. Addiction, jealousy, egos and creative differences all fueled the band and made their songs vital while emotionally ripping four close friends apart. If you're a fan of rock music, this is a documentary that should be part of your collection because you either already know The Ramones or you've been indirectly touched by their influence.