Too Tough to Die: A Tribute to Johnny Ramone (2006) Reviewed

This documentary-slash-concert film has a few nice moments and and a handful of good performances but is a little too sacharine and melancholy for me. Sentimentalizing the Ramones (arguably the best rock n’ roll band in the history of same) in this way does a disservice to their legacy. The performances that make up the meat of TTtD are from a 2006 concert commemerating the 30th anniversary of the band as well as a tribute o Johnny Ramone who was dying of cancer at the time and too sick to attend. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers do a few adequate-to-weak covers of fave Ramones hits, punk heros The Dickies play a few of what they consider to be THEIR “Ramones” songs (which I suppose is fine if you’re a fan of The Dickies) and the usually wonderful Pete Yorn ill-advisedly warbles through a few more classics. Eddie Vedder is most surprising in his interpretations that are actually quite good. There are lots of interview clips with friends of Johnny, including Lisa Marie Presley, Deborah Harry, Henry Rollins and the typically self-absorbed Rob Zombie. Some of it is insightful but too much of it is melancholy tear bait. Clips of a memorial service shortly after Johnny’s death is worst of all in that we’re forced to endure choked up eulogies from Nicholas Cage(!), Vedder and more. This could have been fun and would have been far more enjoyable had it been a straight-up concert film. Mostly it made me want to pop in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School for the zillionth time. TTtD, directed by Mandy Stein, is currently not available on DVD. HEY-HO…hum.

~ by Number5ive on August 28, 2008.

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