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Plot: CBGB follows the story of Hilly Kristal's New York club from its conceit as a venue for Country, Bluegrass and Blues (CBGB) to what it ultimately became: the birthplace of underground rock 'n roll and punk. When Kristal had difficulty booking country bands in his club on the Bowery he opened his doors to other kinds of rock music. Kristal had one demand of the acts he booked; they could only play original music. No top 40's, no covers. It was the credo he lived by, support the artist at whatever the cost. Hilly Kristal ironically became known as the godfather of punk giving a chance to such bands as Blondie, Television, Ramones, Talking Heads, Dead Boys and The Police. Runtime: mins Release Date: 10 Sep 2013
Look, full disclosure: I didn't have any of the baggage of ever hearing of or being at CBGB. I lied to get into the preview: I'm sixty one and the cutoff was 60 . I didn't fancy myself a fan of punk. Didn't really even know what it was. I LOVED this movie start to finish. The story, the texture, the music all lifted me into a different world. The cuts between this punk magazine and this story amazed me as they worked. The music is a dream collection and the quirky story of the accidental birth of this genre of music made me smile end to end. That there is a Jewish back story <more>
to punk music, the Godfather of punk, the lunacy of swastika sporting musicians given their chance in life by a Yid, just made it the sweeter. If this movie makes it to your area ever which it probably won't in Portland, Oregon , race to it and enjoy!
A Historic Account of One Man's Dream That Helped Change The World & Told With A Comedic Edge (by BobS-8)
It is difficult to find a good comedy these days but CBGB is the exception. There are lots of laughs from start to finish but what makes it even more enjoyable is that it is based on true life experiences. It tells the story of Hilly Kristal, an already two time failed night club owner who still wanted to fulfill his dreams. He found a run down bar on the Bowery in NYC which at that time was filled with drunks sleeping on the street and heavy heroin trafficking. He thought he would open a Country Blues Bar which makes the story that much funnier in this part of town. Eventually bands, who had <more>
no where else to go, came to him to fulfill their own fantasies of playing original music to a live crowd. In those days, only copy bands could find places to perform live. The movie depicts the early days which broke ground for the new pioneers of Rock & Roll like the Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith and Talking Heads.The movie concentrates on each and every mishap and obstacle that Hilly had to confront to live his dream. It also tells an additional story about an extremely talented band, the Dead Boys, which became the second obsession of Hilly Kristal as he thought they could become the next Rolling Stones! He hired record producer Genya Ravan to produce them and spent what little money he had to make that dream happen also. Now many decades later, one of the most talented bands to have ever played CBGBs finally gets their just due deserves because this movie exposes them to the masses whereas legal and personal disputes kept their records out of the stores for years. CBGB is one laugh after another that everyone can relate to because we all have some crazy dream at one time or another and few rarely actually try to fulfill them, and even more so, ever do with any degree of success. There is a little Hilly Kristal in all of us. In many ways, Hilly Kristal did succeed because he helped change the world. He helped change a stale and boring corporate controlled music industry and it has never been the same since. You do not need to be a fan of punk rock or any music genre to enjoy this movie. It is fun for people from all walks of life and you will want to watch it over and over again for years to come.The only criticism I would have to this movie, for music lovers, is that the Ramones were not completely depicted accurately and I am told because Johnny Ramone's widow would not sign off on their material since she did not agree to the casting of her late husband. I can not confirm this, but if it is true, I would think she had every right to decide how her husband, a legend of Rock & Roll, is depicted in a movie. That being said, I do not think his casting was terrible and their presence in the movie made the point intended to be made. On the brighter side for music lovers, we get a peek into the mind of young John Holmstrom in the movie and his view of kids turning "punk" in those early days. John Holmstrom was the founding editor of "Punk Magazine" and illustrator to much of the infamous comic book style artwork of the Ramones . His role to the origin's of the NYC punk scene is duly noted in the movie along with his perspectives at the time. It is a theme which the movie is based around and ties it all together to make it work just perfectly and to give it that comedic edge. Right from the early days, punk rock had a comic book mindset attached to it and this can be attributed to John's work as founding editor of Punk magazine and later with the Ramones.While not all the castings are perfect, Alan Rickman, who portrays Hilly Kristal, is spot on in his performance. He is much deserving of a nomination for his role. Go see CBGB and then go see it again and do not believe any baloney the critics or disgruntled musicians may say.
When I finished this movie my first reaction was - WoW - what an experience CBGB would have been. Of course I realize the movie is not a historical chronicle of life and time of Hilly and his CBGB. The movies first intent is to entertain the viewer - and it does entertain very well.I think the director and writers wanted to show the beginnings of the Punk Rock phenomenon paralleled by the beginnings of CBGB which would grow in fame just as the punk movement grew internationally. So the focus of this film is the beginning of three things - CBGB, punk rockers, and Hilly's personal beginning <more>
finding his way through his vision.Alan Rickman gives a top notch performance as Hilly and the supporting cast do just as well, which makes this a diamond of a movie. The music may be too 'studio perfect' but how many people that will see this movie actually heard these bands live in their early days. Most all of us know these bands by their records.Give this a look - it's quite a story with a really lovable dog too!!
Great film about an important moment in music history (by natrc2003)
As someone who was "there" but as an outsider 14-year-old kid from NJ who idolized Punk magazine and especially the Ramones , I loved this film. Yes, I recognize a number of liberties were taken with the truth, but this film allowed me to relive the thrill I used to experience going to CBGB's as we called it back in the day I started going around 1976 or so . Even more than that, it's great to get a glimpse of how CBGB's came to be.More than that, the film works great as a film in and of itself -- the directing, pacing, acting and cinematography are all first rate, <more>
with nary a dull or dead spot throughout until the end, but I'll get to that . I'm not generally one for tricks like the use of Holmstrom's art to frame the story, but since it's Punk magazine we're talking about, it makes perfect sense for this film.The film just sails along -- I suppose partly because it's so much fun to see the various bands, and how much fun the actors had portraying the band members' quirks the Joey Ramone character is spot on... . In fact, I would have liked it if the film had been extended to include more of the early groups they left out Suicide, who were everywhere back then and more of the live performances. I'm a little torn by the decision to have them lip sync to album material -- on the one hand, it's the music we remember, on the other hand, most of the bands have live material available, even recorded at CBGB's, why not use some of that? However, by the end... the film runs out of steam a bit. I think that comes partly from the decision to focus a bit too much on the Dead Boys storyline, knowing how doomed that band was, and how entirely outclassed they were by most of the other bands featured Television, Talking Heads, Ramones, Blondie . Fortunately, the film only sags in the last 15 minutes or so, and it's still not enough to spoil a fine film dealing with a very important part of American -- and world -- music history.For me, personally, this period shaped my entire life, certainly from an aesthetic point of view. And great news! There's now a Best of Punk Magazine book available! I still have my original copies around somewhere, but I can't wait to show this book to my kids!
A Little Club That Could.. at least for a little while! (by marklamendola)
Saw the CBGB Movie last night... Great job! no car crashes.. just Hilly's truck, no alien invasion, no love story unless you count the part with.. Well, I wont mention any names.. Just a story about a little club that could.. at least for a little while. Alan Rickman did capture the essence of Mr. K.. this is not a documentary so I did not mind the time line of certain things not being accurate, it was entertaining and if you were not fortunate enough to have been there back in the day you can still learn a thing or two about the beginnings of Punk Rock. Yes there were many bands that <more>
played that stage and some are upset for not being included.. perhaps writing scathing reviews.. I was happy to be there "cant all be rock stars" Great tribute to Hilly at the end when Talking Heads were added to R&R Hall of Fame. I loved it and do want to see it again!
Apparently, I'm practically the only reviewer that wasn't there or personally knew Hilly himself. I grew up in a smaller-ish mid-western town and was introduced to punk by a girl from high school in the late 70's, and became aware of CBGB in the mid 80's. CBGB was always a mecca I wanted to visit but never got the chance to, so I leaped at watching this movie.First off... It' important to remember this is the fictionalize account of the legendary New York city punk club CBGB and Hilly Kristal, and not a documentary. I went into watching this with the expectations there <more>
would be many factual errors. I noticed some items like band stickers on the walls from the wrong decade, but it's a Hollywood movie... not a documentary. I think the end credits says it best where it says "And we know that Iggy Pop never played at CBGB... Just deal with it.". This location was so instrumental to music that I doubt a 3 hour movie could have done it justice. They had to pack a lot of story into a short amount of time so no one watching this movie should do so expecting a historically accurate movie. I enjoyed how they interweaved Punk magazine into the story. I felt it helped keep an upbeat, lighthearted message about Hilly and CGBG and kept the plot moving. Now it's a double edged sword here with my criticism. The plot got pretty thin in the middle of the movie as the director tried to give the viewer a idea of the energy that was going on with the bands playing there, and some of the insanity I'm sure went on there on a regular basis. While the plot got non-existence, it was still enjoyable to imagine being there and seeing bands like the Ramones, Blonde, Patti Smithe playing. Even though I thought there were points where the plot got lost, and the acting was somewhat awkward and forced at points, I still thought it was well done. My one big complaint is the ending was sort of sudden and anticlimactic. Overall I really enjoyed the movie personally... but I didn't have high expectations on what it was going to be either. I guess if you're a punk purist or were actually there, then someone might be disappointed in the movie.
Will go down in film history as a cult classic among film and music fans! (by Hellmant)
'CBGB': Four Stars Out of Five A biographical comedy film about the New York club CBGB and it's founder Hilly Kristal. It was directed by Randall Miller and written by Miller and Jody Savin who worked on multiple screenplays with Miller . The film stars Alan Rickman as Hilly Kristal and co-stars the likes of Ashley Greene of 'TWILIGHT' fame , Donal Logue, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Zuckerman, Ahna O'Reilly and Richard de Klerk. It also features a number of other actors as famous rock stars; like Malin Akerman as Debbie Harry, Joel David Moore as Joey Ramone, Taylor <more>
Hawkins as Iggy Pop, Mickey Sumner as Patti Smith, Kyle Gallner as Lou Reed, Justin Bartha as Stiv Bators and Rupert Grint of 'HARRY POTTER' fame as Cheetah Chrome. I found the movie to be highly entertaining and informative.Rickman plays New York club owner Hilly Kristal, who opened CBGB in Manhattan in 1973. He originally planned to have country, bluesgrass and blues bands play there which is what the name stands for but instead turned it into an underground Rock 'n' Roll venue. It played only new and original music, from mostly punk and New Wave bands like the Ramones, Misfits, The Dead Boys, Blondie, Talking Heads, Patti Smith Group, The Police and Joan Jett & The Bleackhearts to name a few . It's largely seen as the birthplace of American punk rock music. The film focuses on Kristal's struggles to keep the club open as he deals with many financial issues. He later became known as the 'godfather of punk'. The first genre of music I really got into as a young adult was punk and alternative music mostly pop punk and ska punk bands at first but later more traditional punk rock music as well . One of my all-time favorite bands is the Ramones and I've always been fascinated by CBGB and the early 70s punk rock scene; so this movie was really interesting to me I also found it to be highly entertaining . I was expecting a more serious biography film and was quite surprised to see a cartoonish style comedy flick that takes a lot of creative liberties . Some punk rock fans might be upset by this but I liked it. I thought Rickman was great and Bartha, Grint and Moore are all scene-stealers as well all of the performances are good in fact . I think it will go down in film history as a cult classic among film and music fans! If you're into the same style of music you're almost sure to be entertained.Watch our movie review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v jJalgBjCCrg