10 Things the CBGB Movie Got Wrong
YO ITS DA RAMONES TAKIN' A STROLL!
6. The Ramones song The Ramones audition with in the movie isn't actually by The Ramones
The Ramones justifiably get their fair share of screen time in CBGB. They fight. They talk funny. They get a record deal. After signing their deal their poster gets plastered all over the Bowery. They also audition for HIlly. One problem, though, the song they play--"I Got Knocked Down (But I'll Get Up)"--is a Joey Ramone solo joint he wouldn't record until years later.
7. Its comical depiction of "Punk"
There are a few quick-cut scenes that feature new publishing magnate John Holmstrom pacing the street quickly with one of his new Punk magazine writers talking about just what it is "punk" means, what exactly its aesthetic is, and what purpose it serves. What does it mean, they wonder, when Stiv Bators of The Dead Boys cuts himself onstage, or moons a child in the car next to their tour van on the freeway, or gets fellatio on stage? Chaos is inevitable, right? We may as well embrace it! We may as well give it a soundtrack. The world is burning and we're happy to assist. PASS THE GAS CANS!
You get it. Like the infamous punk episodes of Quincy and CHiPs, anytime someone explains punk, acts punk or even says punk, chances are it'll be one of the least punk things you've ever heard. It'll make you cringe, and it happens nearly the entire movie. One scene in particular--an on camera interview with a bored and sneering Lou Reed--will make you shudder violently.
8. The Bowery is in New York City, not war-torn Beirut
Dead bodies, burned out cars, 15 junkies every cubic foot: there's no doubt downtown New York of the early '70s is much different than the gentrified, commodified, yuppie cupcake bake shop utopia it's become. But the film overdoes the point of Bowery squalor to the point of exhaustion. I mean, the place had Fresca on tap, for Christ sake, how bad could it have been?
Mickey Sumner as Patti Smith in CBGB.
9. Ghost instruments on Patti Smith's rendition of "Because the Night"
Look, we said some of these would be a bit nitpicky. So here's that: Patti Smith wrote "Because the Night" with Bruce Springsteen in '78. Hilly Kristal founded CBGB in '73. There's certainly no indication in the movie that five years have passed (the whole thing actually seems boiled down to a matter of months), but we'll let the fact that she sings the song slide. One thing, though: If you listen not-so-closely, you'll hear piano while she performs. Alas, there is no piano onstage with her.
10. Hilly's dog's bowels were legendary
Hilly's dog poops quite often in the movie, a fact the film feels it must remind you of about every 20 minutes or so. As the movie ends and some of the "Where Are They Now" text fills in some of the blanks, HIlly's dog even gets the last shout out, in an attempt (we guess?) at lighthearted whimsy. "His bowels were legendary." OK? But was his poop really deserving of so much screen time? The fact that he crapped all over the bar and Hilly's apartment may have been right, historically, but in terms of telling CBGB's story, it comes across so very wrong.