The Runaways: where rockin' tunes are played, Dakota Fanning grows up, and Kristen Stewart is still bored!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, The Runaways 2010Floria SigismondiFloria SigismondiDakota Fanning, Kristen StewartCherie Currie (book) Bitter,Bitterometer,meter The Runaways(2010)

Before Courtney Love or even the Go-Gos, there was the late ’70s nymph quintet from L.A called The Runaways, a sexpot jailbait rock concept from music guru Kim Fowley that would lauch the careers of Joan Jett and Lita Ford. The mixture of Jett’s rock and roll arrangements and punk bravado mixed with the libido-propelled presence of the band’s 15-year-old singer Cherie Curie broke the convention that only men could relish the Dionysus perks of music stardom. While The Runaways had a brief, four-year-run, their music and gender-defining stance still puts them in high esteem with XX and XY rockers alike. With such praise and influence, this year’s “The Runaways” seemed like a passionate tribute to the band’s legacy.

Unfortunately, “The Runaways” proposed fireworks (as seen in the image of a drip of blood landing on the street during Curie’s first period), never entirely hold up. “The Runaways” follows Curie (Dakota Fanning) as a teenage girl prematurely entering womanhood. She is recruited by Fowley (Michael Shannon), a gender-bender music socialite with the pinch of a used car salesman; and Jett (Kristen Stewart), whose passion for guitar-shredding would make her legendary. Fowley rounds off the band with drummer Sandy West (Stella Maeve), bassist Robin (Alia Shawkat) and guitarist Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton). What ensues is a wave of fandom seldom seen for female musicians, and the all-too-typical cocktail of uppers and downers – and not to mention, free sex! Here’s where “The Runaways” could have benefited from a dose of Jett’s knuckle-fisted attitude.

As in our review of Ian Curtis’s biopic “Control,” the rock and movie is best when it elevates the legend to the ranks of myth. Bullshit sentiment? Absolutely, but there's a level of fantasy we attach to icons that should be embellished in the rock-biopic. There’s a softness to Floria Sigismondi’s direction that hits the right notes the way a bar band covers rock staples on a week night. The movie approaches the chaos of instant celebrity and lipstick lesbianism more like an ad sheet for American Apparel than the more warranted back page of Hustler(No, we don't encourage porn). A clout of blandness turns "The Runaways" into an average film.

Dakota Fanning is good as Curie; not only showing us the decline of the young singer, but also Fanning’s own transition into an adult actor. Michael Shannon shines as the gaudy Fowley, who convinces us that a very rough-looking man can pull off wearing make-up. As for Kristen Stewart, she brings the tomboyish presence of Joan Jett, but she can’t let go her apathetic and bored Bella(smile already!). However, a major grippe is Lita Ford's incarnation. Ford is one cool bad-ass, but here Taylor-Compton is left with nothing to do but bitch as Curie and Jett have all the fun. And we thought girls played fair...


Official website:
The Runaways

The Runaways2010Floria SigismondiFloria SigismondiDakota Fanning, Kristen StewartCherie Currie (book)  The Runaways2010Floria SigismondiFloria SigismondiDakota Fanning, Kristen StewartCherie Currie (book)  The Runaways2010Floria SigismondiFloria SigismondiDakota Fanning, Kristen StewartCherie Currie (book) 

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