The Go-Go's (2020)

The Go-Go's is a movie starring Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, and Stewart Copeland. The Go-Go's are the most successful female rock band of all time. This documentary chronicles the meteoric rise of a band born of the LA punk...
  • 7.6 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2019-12-12 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Alison Ellwood, Director:
  • Trevor Birney, Eimhear O'Neill, Corey Russell, Producer:

Trailer:

10 / 10

Perfect

I had fun watching thisAnd I will watch it again.To me It was perfect.It was literally perfectIon.Seemed truthful and unabridged.10/10

10 / 10

Excellent!

I've been eagerly waiting to see this since news of it was announced several months ago. I'm a longtime fan of The GoGos, actually I'm one of the Saturday Night Live viewers who bought their debut album right after they did the show in 1981; I could listen to We Got the Beat over and over again and never get tired of it. This is an excellent documentary, and it was terrific to see them in their very early punk days when they were just starting out. I can't help but wonder if they're still friendly with original members Margot Olavarria and Elissa Bello, or Paula Jean Brown, who was a short-term member after Jane Wiedlin's temporary departure, since all three make appearances here. Kudos to director Alison Elwood for a fantastic film!

7 / 10

Good Overview But Pretty Standard Rock Doc

I was really looking forward to this one. I had read some good things about it and was stoked to find it already available on Showtime app ahead of its August premiere. It's a good film but really nothing more than the standard rock doc. Without insulting the film it gives you exactly what you would get back in the day on an episode of Behind The Music. It feels like some history is glossed over or skipped entirely (no mention of God Bless The Go-Go's.... Why?) I'd love to see a director's cut of this. I'm not suggesting the Go-Go's need some crazy 4-hour long career examination like the films about Petty, Eagles and Rush but they certainly warrant another 30 minutes or so. It was nice seeing original band members interviewed and it's hard not to feel bad for original manager Ginger who Jane probably rightfully suggests they should've stuck with. Worth a view for sure but here's hoping maybe a longer version will see the light of day in the future.

7 / 10

Terrible pacing by the director. So disappointed.

The first 45 minutes focus on their formation, punk roots, and breaking through. It's excellent..but it also ruined the film. Let me explain.. 45 minutes in, the focus is on Beauty and the Beat. That's great. Loving it. But then you realize you're halfway through the film. The casual fan/viewer won't see a problem. As a hard-core fan, however, you'll be wondering how the director can possibly do justice to the rest of their history. She can't. The 2nd and 3rd albums, the turmoil, Jane leaving, and the breakup are all crammed into about 30 minutes. Worse, so much isn't even mentioned. Belinda's solo success? About 2 sentences and a picture of the Heaven album. The 1990 reunion? No mention. God Bless the Go Go's? Nope. I could go on and on. Instead, we immediately jump from 1985 to 2000. Next? About 3 minutes later, we jump from 2000 to 2020. No mention of literally anything during that 20 year gap. You then get some final thoughts, hear their new song, and the credits roll.Bottom line:To casual or new eyes, you'll probably love it. Maybe that is what the intention was.To dedicated fans, you will 100% be disappointed.The solution, because of the slow and detailed formula used for the first 45 minutes, would demand the film to be well over 2 hours.But, would the casual viewer want another hour? Unlikely.The length and how the director chose to allocate the time was a formula for disaster. HOWEVER..let me be clear..the first 45 minutes are incredible. The problem is that the film needed about 90 more minutes because of those slow-burn, thorough 45 minutes.This would have been an INCREDIBLE 2 or 3 part documentary. As it stands, you have an amazing 45 minutes followed by an incomplete, rushed, and frustrating 2nd half of the film.10/10 for the band, though. Maybe a director's cut will be released..I don't see it fixing the problem, however.

6 / 10

Rollicking documentary doubles as HOF application statement

"The Go-Go's" (2020 release; 98 min.) is a documentary about "the most successful female rock band of all time". As the movie opens, we are reminded (for the first, but not the last, time) that the Go-Go's are the only all-female rock band to write and perform their own songs who scored a Billboard No. 1 album. We then go to "Los Angeles, 1979" as the local punk scene is small but ferocious and a number of the eventual Go-Go girls are very much a part of it (check the footage and photos of Jane Wiedlin attending a show at the Masque). We then turn to Belinda Carlisle as she too came up through the SoCal punk scene. "The punk scene was safe and welcoming" she comments. "You don't know what you are doing? Just do it!" At this point we are 10 min. into the documentary.

Couple of comments: this is the latest from long-time documentarian Allison Ellwood. Here she brings the story of the Go-Go's, very much like those erstwhile VH-1 "Behind the Music" episodes. The documentary's first 45 min. are absolutely flawless, benefiting from the amazing amount of archive footage and pcitures from the early days. The band's first (1980) tour of the UK (opening for the Specials and Madness) gets ample attention, and rightfully so. Equally transfixing is the band's evolution from punk to new wave to pop. Confesses Charlotte Caffey (on writing "We Got the Beat"): "I was sacred. I thought the girls would throw me out of the band for writing a pop song." Absolute genius! The band's meteoric rise is as dazzling as it is dizzying (reaching No. 1 on the Billboard album chart with their 1981 debut album). They would never achieve such heights again. The second half of this documentary isn't nearly as compelling as, predictably, it focuses on the band's in-fighting, drug addictions and ultimate demise (and return). The biggest flaw, or annoyance, of this film, though, is the repeated pleas to get the Go-Go's in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. Do they belong? For sure. But hitting you over the head with this in a documentary isn't really the way to go.

"The Go-Go's" premiered a few days ago on Showtime, and is now available on SHO On Demand, Amazon Instant Video and other streaming platforms. If you are a fan of the Go-Go's from back in the day, or simply are a music fan, I'd readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.