After hearing the recent news of a Fox Searchlight deal to produce a feature film about the Ramones — based on the memoir I Slept with Joey Ramone, written by Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh and former SPIN staffer Legs McNeil, set to be published in December by Simon & Schuster’s Fireside imprint — the only appropriate reaction by any semi-sane fan of the punk icons had to be OH MY GAWWWWD NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Hollywood’s virtually spotless record of churning out cheeseball music biopic atrocities has done as much or more irreparable damage to the reputation of the pop recording industry as collegiate file-sharing and illegal downloading combined. Entire generations of kids are now too horribly embarrassed to listen to the Doors after witnessing Val Kilmer’s desert peyote scene in Oliver Stone’s 1991 wankorama about the Lizard King, et al. (the most they can risk is Jay-Z’s “Takeover”). And that was just one of far too many execrably misguided music biopic moments. Sure, there have been a handful of worthy efforts (I’m Not There, Bound for Glory, Coal Miner’s Daughter, parts of Control), but they’re by far the glaring exception.
Still, if for whatever reason, you’re still tempted to support the furthering of this godforsaken project, we’d like to offer five compelling reasons why Hollywood should forever and ever Leave the Ramones Alone.
1. The gang from Queens were already the most astonishing cinematic experience of our lifetimes like A Hard Day’s Night crossed with Taxi Driver, but with better acting!
2. The only thing the Ramones didn’t accomplish with their music was becoming rich and famous (by comparison with, say, the Bonos and Stings of the world). Now, due to concertedmerchandising efforts, that’s a moot point.
3. Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee won’t be around to enjoy (or excoriate) the movie, so what’s the justification? Possible sales bump for the Speedkings No If’s, And’s or But’s?
4. Millions of shaggy-haired kids in Brazil might have a simultaneous OMFG coronary if they heard about the actual existence of a feature film about Os Ramones.
5. Rock and Roll High School was one of the greatest fictional music movies ever made, and End of the Century was one of the greatest non-fiction music movies ever made, so what will a former executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond bring to the table except a painfully obvious and clichéd oversimplification-with wigs!?
On the other hand, I think we all might be enlightened (or at least profoundly dumbfounded) if some enterprising producer staged a theatrical presentation of this legendary exchange between Joey and Marky Ramone on The Howard Stern Show back in 1997. Between the hilariously bitter banter about alcoholism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and hair loss, there’s sharper dialogue than a thousand Oscar-winning screenwriter monkeys could produce on a thousand laptops.
LISTEN: Joey and Marky Ramone fight on Howard Stern pt 1
Joey and Marky Ramone fight on Howard Stern pt 2