In the words of my wife, “it came off like a strange mistake of a movie”. And in a nutshell, that sums it up. This ill-conceived, misinformed and poorly executed film is abysmal on all levels. The end credits read “We know Iggy Pop never played CBGB’s. Deal with it.” What is that? Or the fact that scenes look more like a small town, rather than the lower East Side of New York – since parts were filmed in Georgia – my question to these filmmakers is “what were you thinking?”
I grew up in New York City; I spent a great deal of time in and around CBGB’s and this is nothing akin to the New York I knew. It’s more of an idea that could not be articulated. The birth of the punk scene in New York via CBGB’s would be best left to documentary makers, not a script with lumpen acting and one poorly shot scene after the other. There is no coherency in this movie or the story – truthfully, it’s pointless and uninteresting. Some of the “casting” was downright laughable as it was embarrassing – such as the choices for the portrayals of Lou Reed or having Rupert Grint as Cheetah Chrome. Which leads to another irritation – why are there only three “Dead Boys” in this film when it was a band of five? It’s that kind of ham-handedness that irks the viewer for the duration of the film. And picking Alan Rickman to play Hilly Kristal? Great. It’s bad enough you have one Hogwarts reject thinking he’s a Dead Boy instead of a Gryffindor, but now you’ve got Snape’s thick British accent bleeding through while he sleepwalks his way through the role. Or Malin Akerman, who’s usually entertaining and worth watching, plays Debbie Harry in a manner insulting to Ms. Harry (making her this banal sex-kitten with no charisma) or the dinner-theater version of “Patti Smith”. And so on.
I sat through it – I survived it. And now I tell you – avoid like the plague. I’m sorry; I just cannot be even slightly nice about this. It’s a horror show.