Monday, December 19, 2011

12 REVIEWS OF XMAS: Merry Christmas, I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight

I spent most of today sitting in a computer classroom learning the ins and outs of Excel. Yes, I know, the life of a self-employed small business owner is glamorous and sexy! But at least I didn't let you down and miss the latest installment of our 12 REVIEWS OF XMAS blog series. Tonight it's new media kingpin and longtime ER/Hungover Gourmet contributor Louis Fowler to the rescue with a look at the Dee Dee Ramone documentary HEY IS DEE DEE HOME. So pause that episode of Damaged Viewing, throw on "Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)" – UK single version, please – and read on...
At first glance, it's easy to say that the Dee Dee Ramone documentary HEY IS DEE DEE HOME is largely disappointing. It's basically Dee Dee sitting in a chair for an hour talking mainly about his relationship with Johnny Thunders. This guy has been through the ringer more than enough times, so you'd think that a doc about him would cover so much more territory. You'd think that, in light of the other recent Ramones docs like END OF THE CENTURY and RAMONES RAW, that this one would also try to go out of it's way to be on par with those.
But it really doesn't need to. Sure, it's not as churched up as those takes on the Ramones mythos, but this film does it's subject well, with an idea that's as stark and as tore down as Dee Dee himself. Cobbled from footage director Lech Kowalski was using for a Johnny Thunders documentary, Dee Dee sits on a stool and tells anecdote after anecdote, mostly all relating to heroin, Johnny Thunders, or heroin and Johnny Thunders. Johnny Thunders was widely known as the pretty boy of the late '70s New York punk scene and had his biggest "hit" with "Chinese Rock", which was written by Dee Dee about his own smack habit. He considers the song an "albatross" of sorts, but even that is laid to rest as he rattles off tales of letting people overdose in his bathtub because they pissed him off to comparing his love of tattoos to shooting dope. Yep, no horse rock is left uncooked here.
The ultimately heartbreaking thing here though is when Dee Dee looks at the camera and says "Sobriety is the best revenge!" He died of an overdose in 2002, another Ramones casualty.
Ramones fans (and Johnny Thunders completeists) will be intrigued enough to give this a look, and it's a satisfying enough fix, but, when it's over, you're still gonna want more. Isn't that how it always is with addicts?
HEY IS DEE DEE HOME is available at Amazon.
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