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SYNOPSIS: CBGB looks at New York's dynamic punk rock scene through the lens of the ground-breaking Lower East Side club started by eccentric Hilly Kristal in 1973 originally as a home for "country, bluegrass and blues" (thus the club's name) and which showcased cutting-edge bands through its closing in 2006. The Talking Heads, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Blondie, The Dead Boys, Bad Brains, Green Day, Soul Asylum, The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Everclear, George Thorogood, The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, The Black Crowes, The Flaming Lips, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Red Hot… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 8%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The music rocks, but little else does, in Randall Miller's sitcom snapshot of New York's iconic punk incubator."
‑ Scott Foundas, Variety
"If you really want to remember those times? Get out "Horses." Or "Talking Heads: 77." Or "Blank Generation." Preferably on vinyl, with all the pops and scratches. And play them. Loud."
‑ Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger
"You figure a movie that features the Ramones and Blondie would be so extraordinary and energetic, but "CBGB" makes them seem so mundane and unimportant."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"It's '24 Hour Party People' without the wit and definitely without the love of the music it pretends to lionize."
‑ Matt Prigge, Metro
"The film has energy to spare, but the comic-book visual style is heavy-handed and the film merely skims the surface of the club's influence on the pop-culture landscape."
‑ Todd Jorgenson, Cinemalogue.com
"Alan Rickman's lead performance highlights a sincere but insubstantial rock pic."
‑ John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
"I would swear on a stack of Dead Boys T-shirts and a first pressing of Richard Hell and the Voidoids' "Blank Generation" that it could not possibly have been like that: so silly, so trivial, so boring."
‑ A.O. Scott, New York Times
"Plays like it was written and directed by people who have never listened to or heard of punk rock in their lives"
‑ Stephen Silver, EntertainmentTell
"Ultimately, CBGB tries to be too cute of a film about a great, gritty topic, but for those seeking an innocent trip through a pivotal time in rock, it's better than a kick in the head."
‑ T'Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette
"A rushed, chaotic and almost incoherent recap of the backstory behind the Lower East Side's iconic (and now defunct) punk music club."
‑ Ethan Alter, Television Without Pity
""CBGB" ain't no party, it ain't no disco, it ain't no foolin' around."
‑ Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com
"In place of punk's howling rage, you get gross-out jokes that include at least a half-dozen close-ups of the poop from Kristal's bowel-challenged dog."
‑ Farran Smith Nehme, New York Post
"Under Rickman's pained gaze you wonder what he saw in the music, although when you hear it... it does take you back. There's something there, but CBGB isn't it."
‑ Jay Stone, Canada.com
"By no stretch of the imagination is CBGB a well-made movie. [But] since the lightweight plot and great music make this less annoying than Rock of Ages, fans of the era may find something to enjoy."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
"The magnitude of what went on at 315 Bowery is largely missing, though it's hard not to be at least a little bit stirred by the covers."
‑ Robert Levin, amNewYork
More reviews for CBGB on Rotten Tomatoes