Marc Campbell of The Nails writes scathing ‘CBGB’ movie review; Dead Boys/Television members respond
"Debbie Harry" and "Iggy Pop" from 'CBGB'
Ever since the trailer for the CBGB movie surfaced, there's been mixed opinions about the film's authenticity, and though it's gained the support of some of the people who were there, like Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome (who makes a cameo in it), others feel differently. SPIN reports that Marc Campbell, frontman of The Nails ("88 Lines About 44 Women"), penned a review for Dangerous Minds titled If you thought CBGB's bathrooms were full of shit check out the movie, which is about as nice to the movie as it sounds like it'd be:
CBGB is a dreadful film. Dramatically inert and ridiculously inauthentic, the whole thing has about as much punk credibility as an off-the-rack $30 Ramones t-shirt from Hot Topic. From its stupendously inept chronological fuck-ups (walls are covered with band stickers before any bands have played there) to its unintentionally hilarious depictions of rockers like Stiv Bators, Richard Hell and Iggy Pop, CBGB belongs in a very special place, a hideously horrible hellish place, reserved for films like Oliver Stone's hateful The Doors and the Tom Cruise does Axl Rose crapfest Rock of Ages. CBGB really really sucks shit.
From a hectoring, shrewish Patti Smith (uncharacteristically calling her fans "motherfuckers" and singing "Because The Night" two years before Springsteen wrote it) to a pathetically sexless Iggy Pop or Lou Reed, looking like a cross between Eminem and the Pillsbury Doughboy, or the tight-ass actress playing Debbie Harry with absolutely no feel for the delightfully clunky, self-aware, sex-kitten charm of the Bowery's platinum blondie, this movie manages to suck all of the rock 'n' roll magic out of every single performer it supposedly celebrates. But it really hits bottom in the way The Ramones are treated. The boys from Queens were four extraordinarily interesting human beings. They were smart, they knew what they were doing and their sense of rock history was deep and profound. The movie treats them like losers, takes them at face value and totally misses out on the passion and brilliance of their concept. Time has proven their immortality. The movie diminishes them in a way that I find obscene.
He then goes on to call out some of the people who were there and contributed to the film (like Cheetah Chrome):
As to the guys who were there and participated in the creation of this flick, Cheetah Chrome and John Holmstrom (Punk Magazine), I can't imagine you're too proud of the outcome. I hope you were paid well because the movie makes you look like fools.
Cheetah himself actually commented on Campbell's review, writing "Another Binky Phillips type with an axe to grind, Marc Campbell misses the point entirely. But yes, I am proud and I wasn't paid anything but union scale for my cameo.."
Television guitarist Richard Lloyd also commented on the review, writing:
I look forward to the premier later this month and although I think that the reviewer in many cases was dead accurate, the historical liberties that the movie-makers used didn't bother me - every band there, and every separate musician in each of the bands embodied something so unique and exquisite that it would be impossible to cast the characters any better than the casting agent for this film seem to achieve. Now that's enough from me - and I hope the movie does good business because it is filled with a wonderful sense of Hilly's integrity and bands of musicians whose dreams actually came true.
But then Richard also responded to Cheetah's comment, saying:
Cheetah, there are always going to be know it all critics waiting in the wings to make themselves feel powerful by damning and negative comments. Those of us who were there know differently. Love Ya, Brother, --Richard.
You can read the full review and check out all the battling comments over at Dangerous Minds. Other damning and negative reviews have been coming in too, like the Village Voice's 10 Things the 'CBGB' Movie Got Wrong. The film currently is rocking a 0% Fresh (100% Rotten?) score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Both Cheetah Chrome and Richard Lloyd are taking part in the Carry On Band Series which happens at Bowery Electric on Thursday (8/10) as part of the CBGB Festival, and Cheetah also has another CBGB Fest show before then. Check out more CBGB Fest shows here.
Film trailer below...
CBGB Movie Trailer