Saturday, March 20, 2010

Floria Sigismondi • The Runaways (movie)

A great subject for a rock biopic, The Runaways were the all-girl rock band that spawned Joan Jett (and Lita Ford, if you remember her) and a whole generation of punks and riot grrrls. The Runaways, directed by Floria Sigismondi, is a pretty good distillation of their story, but it could have been way more exciting.

Since you can look up the real story on Wikipedia or All Music Guide, the short version is: Joan Jett meets rock svengali/freak Kim Fowley, eventually she finds Cherie Currie at a rock club, they recruit her for a band, she goes from goody-good to hot fuckin' tease, band gets signed, goes on the road, things fall apart, Cherie comes back to her messed up family life, Joan decides to keep rockin'.

Kristin Stewart, the seemingly stuck-up actress from the Twilight movies, plays Joan, while Dakota Fanning plays Cherie. Both woman do a pretty good job, but the real treat in this movie is Michael Shannon as Kim Fowley. Don't know how the real Fowley feels about it (I'm sure he didn't have any input), but Shannon's portrayal is about the only real edginess this movie has. The story itself is told with such point-A leads to point-B leads to point-C linearity, it's really sad that director Sigismondi wasn't a little more creative. I mean, what material! It could be done so much better: if you saw the Joe Meek biopic, Telstar (directed by Nick Moran in 2009 and barely released here in the USA), you know what I'm talking about. Both stories feature plenty of lurid rock 'n' roll anecdotes, and yet The Runaways feels like nothing more than a VH1 after school special. They should've gotten Quentin Tarantino or John Waters to do it. Now, someone get on with telling us the freakin' Kim Fowley story!
3/5 (Apparition Films)

1 comment:

  1. Being a kid from the '70s, I remember The Runaways. My brother had at least one of their albums and I recall thinking the girls were pretty damn cool - and hot.

    Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-Cherry Bomb !!