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Too Tough to Die

High-flying testimony and low-slung music alternate in this record of the 30th anniversary tribute concert to seminal punk band the Ramones. Big energy, familiar faces and a catalog's worth of Ramones song will make it a must see for fans of the band, and for those in need of a crash course in primal rock.

High-flying testimony and low-slung music alternate in this record of the 30th anniversary tribute concert to seminal punk band the Ramones — and to guitarist Johnny Ramone, who died of prostate cancer two days after it was staged. Big energy, familiar faces and a catalog’s worth of Ramones song will make it a must see for fans of the band, and for those in need of a crash course in primal rock.

Between performances by the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Dickies and Eddie Vedder, the Ramones are described as having been “intuitively infantile,” with a sound that had a “deliberate teenage-ness” to it, mixed with a “strange sense of professionalism.” But in this deliberately gritty-looking film, all the spoken words — from Debbie Harry, Henry Rollins, Lisa Marie Presley, Thurston Moore and Tommy Ramone himself — can’t match the power of the music, which is the real homage to a band that started a movement, and of which only a single member survives.

Too Tough to Die

Production: A Rhino Entertainment presentation of a Plain Jane production in association with Cactus Three. Produced by Jonathan Del Gatto, Rick Ross, Mandy Stein. Executive producers, Karen Ahmed, John Bueg, Robin Hurley. Directed by Mandy Stein.

Crew: Camera (color, DV) John Pirozzi; editors, Jonathan Del Gatto, Rebecca Beluk. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, May 9, 2006. (In Tribeca Film Festival -- Midnight.) Running time: 80 MIN.

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