by Casey Dewey
In case you missed it, the trailer for CBGB debuted this week, and I'm not surprised that it appears rather lackluster. It looks like the famed punk/underground rock 'n' roll club got the bland Hollywood treatment, and there's enough bad wigs in this piece to make Oliver Stone blush.
Die Hard and Harry Potter star Alan Rickman plays HIlly Kristal, the late owner of CBGB's who opened the bar in the seedy Lower East Side of NYC in 1973. The original name for the bar was CBGB and OMFUG, which stood for "Country, BlueGrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers." To my knowledge the bar didn't get a lot of country musicians stopping by, but it did give The Ramones, Television, The Patti Smith Group, The Talking Heads and Blondie their start.
Going by the trailer, I'm disappointed by a few things other than the awful wigs. Alan Rickman is no slouch, but the casting of Roseanne's Johnny Galecki and The West Wing's Bradley Whitford screams "TV movie." The Foo Fighter's Taylor Hawkins as Iggy Pop? Pure blasphemy. Don't even get me started on Rickman's fellow Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint as Cheetah Chrome, the ginger-topped guitar player for The Dead Boys and The Hangover's Justin Bartha as that band's legendary depraved, deceased frontman, Stiv Bators.
Even though the film appears to smell as bad as the CBGB's infamous bathrooms, I'm sure I'll be there when it opens in Tucson. Maybe I'll sneak into it. I'm a sucker for punk rock movies, even though I should have learned my lesson after the woeful Germs biopic came out a few years back. Let's face it: Hollywood has never gotten punk right. Either punks are portrayed as dog-collared spazzoid villains or they never seem to figure out that liberty spikes and pierced tongues weren't the norm in the late 70's.
Oh well. What should you expect from a CBGB's movie after this?