This year- Day two hundred and eighty one. (The Runaways)
Kathleen and I saw the Runaways movie tonight and it... was not good. I even said that I didn't like it but later she said "I don't think I even liked it as much as you did" which must mean that she hated it. Afterwards a couple walked up to us and asked us if that's what we saw because they were making up their mind about what to see. We flat out told them it wasn't good. I think they saw Hot Tub Time Machine instead.
The movie is firstly, about the most annoying band member mainly (Cherie Currie/Dakota Fanning) and pretends that the band only existed for the year that she was in it. That is some revisionist history if I've ever seen any. They conveniently leave out the last THREE years that the band existed, when they wrote way more songs and Lita Ford started singing.
In fact, Lita Ford in general was completely glossed over and that is weird. Kathleen thinks that she must have asked to be left out but I think that since the movie is based on Cherie Currie's book and she didn't like Lita Ford, there was just very little about her. Weirdly, the only story (if you can even use that term) in the movie is about them being a big deal to women since they were the first all lady rock band. Lita Ford is an amazing guitarist and they don't mention that once. Not once! They mention how amazing it is that Joan Jett plays electric rhythm guitar but not that Lita Ford plays leads and writes solos. It was so annoying!
The movie rightly showed Kim Fowley as a pervy dude who wanted to market the girls as sleazy jailbait and sex them up but the guy playing him was so bad and over the top that it was annoying. He also, for no real reason, was shown banging a lady on a table while talking to a teenaged Joan Jett on the phone.
The movie was a series of 20 vignettes (Kathleen wants them called montages) with a little bit of story squeezed in between them. They're all overly long, have little to do with anything and are generally overwrought and poorly directed. This director is a music video director but I don't even think this is a well done music video, honestly.
Examples: a three minute scene where we see Joan Jett make a Sex Pistols t-shirt with a homemade stencil. A three minute scene where we see a young Cherie Currie lip syncs poorly to a David Bowie song at a talent show. A three minute scene where a girl learns to masturbate. A five minute scene where Joan Jett gets to bone Cherie Currie, all set to dreamy music with no dialogue. A two minute scene of Joan Jett laying on a bathroom floor with her guitar. A three minute scene where two of them are doing sound check (out of five) and some dudes walk in and unplug the guitar and are all "sound check over!" for no real reason so Joan Jett physically attacks him while yelling "Fuck you!!" A two minute scene of Joan Jett bathing in a bath tub saying a bunch of crappy lyrics while she soaks. A minute long scene of Joan Jett waking up and angrily yelling and kicking everyone out of her house... for some reason.
The story parts almost always have Kim Fowley yelling at them and everyone being all "Fuck you!" "NO!! Fuck you!" (I am paraphrasing... slightly). The scenes where he's yelling at them to get them to "think with their cocks" and that "sex sells!" are so long and monotonous considering that this is like a 90 minute film. "Anarchy! Fuck yeah! Fight the man!!" I can't imagine writing this garbage with a straight face.
In the end, it's still totally weird that Currie left the band when she did considering that she had no real talent and had nothing to fall back on (since she had quit school in the 10th grade). I have to also imagine that if she had signed a record deal and then left in the middle of recording, she had to give back her money. The 70s had lawyers, right? It wasn't a totally different world, was it?
In the 70s you could buy leather pants and a leather jacket for roughly 10-15 bucks total. I guess it was a different world. It is implied that Currie left due to her drug use and budding alcoholism but it was left vague. We are also told that she is a huge diva who no one can manage but that isn't shown until she quits the band.
In the end, it was a poorly told story with gaping holes and tons of crappy scenes of nothing, for no reason. Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning were good in it and poor Maeby from Arrested Development (who played a made up member of the band) were all fine and it appeared that they got a really good girl drummer to play the drummer. That's really all it had going for it.
If you've always wanted to see Dakota Fanning smash a pill under her platform heel, snort the dust off of the ground and then sing on a stage in scant lingerie, this is the film for you. For me and Kathleen it was so weird to see her all sexed up and on coke. I kept thinking "she's like 14!" however the real people in that band were so young so that is not a terrible thing to make the audience think. It is all weird to think about. Also, there is a scene where Dakota Fanning poses for some really bad soft-core home porno shots. Embarrassing.
Also, this may be an unpopular opinion, but I think any time a movie tries to film the creative process it is cringeworthy and embarrassing. This movie has so many scenes of that and it's terrible. Up until the end when Joan Jett (about 5 years ahead of schedule) is dancing around in her underwear "writing" I love Rock n Roll. Shudder. The scene where Kim Fowley and Joan Jett just come up with "Cherry Bomb" in 2 seconds is so lame. I don't even care if that's exactly how it happened (whether that is true or not) because seeing it filmed is lame. Just like the scene in "Something's Gotta Give" where Diane Keaton happily laughs and dances in her seat as she writes her musical- it's cringeworthy. I never, ever, want to see that.
All in all, we give this film, two thumbs down.