It is basically impossible to commercialize punk successfully, in any way. Even if you sometimes shop at Urban Outfitters, wouldn't you feel like kind of a sell-out and sucker for buying a $58 faux-retro Sex Pistols t-shirt there? So the upcoming movie documenting CBGB's, and consequently the Bowery before it was gentrified, is going to be criticized by just about everyone except your 12-year-old cousin who is thinking about becoming a non-Belieber in her rebellious teen years. This will be her introduction to a safe world of punk, of edge, of a New York City she'll never know because it never really existed in this way.
But for others, just the fact that a Hollywood retelling of the club, its regulars, and a decades old era of the East Village is going to exist on the big screen is going to be a tougher pill to swallow than Ramones Converse. Right? That girl from Twilight is in it!
And not only is the vague atmosphere and "scene" going to be dramatized and veneered, specifics like Blondie, the Talking Heads, that roach you saw in the bathroom that time, former owner Hilly Kristal (and his money problems) will also be portrayed in a way that's condensed to fit into a feature film plot line.
But there are UPSIDES, too, downers. Kristal is being played by the great Alan Rickman, and also, current owner Tim Hayes (who has seen the movie multiple times) told us this morning:
"I think of the movie as a love letter to Hilly. CBGB is known around the world but once you leave NYC, not many people know about Hilly. This movie will change that. A new generation of kids will learn how he helped to create and nurture the punk movement from his club on the Bowery. We had many of the original band members like Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys involved in the film making process to ensure that the story was right. The soundtrack, like the movie, features the original recordings from the bands. It makes for a pretty kick-ass playlist."
Okay fine, we're totally going to see it.
The movie will premiere at this October's CBGB Fest.