A chronicle of John Lennon's first years, focused mainly in his adolescence and his relationship with his stern aunt Mimi, who raised him, and his absentee mother Julia, who re-entered his life at a crucial moment in his young life.
Kristin Scott Thomas,
The story of the famous and influential 1960s rock band and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison, from his days as a UCLA film student in Los Angeles, to his untimely death in Paris, France at age 27 in 1971.
The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.
Morbid biographical story of Sid Vicious, bassist with British punk group the Sex Pistols, and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. When the Sex Pistols break up after their fateful US tour, ... See full summary »
In 1975, San Fernando Valley teen Joan Larkin reinvents herself as Joan Jett, a guitarist who wants to form an all-girl punk band. She pitches the idea to a sleazy manager, Kim Fowley, who pairs her with a drummer and then searches for a face: he finds Cherie Currie, at 15 the perfect jailbait image for his purpose; by luck, she can sing. Two others round out the band, "The Runaways." Fowley books a tour, signs them to Mercury Records, and packs them off to crowds in Japan. Seeds of conflict sprout early: Fowley puts Cherie front and center in the publicity, she's soon strung out on pills and vodka, and jealousies arise. Without adult supervision, where can Joan and Cherie end up? Written by
Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart said in the DVD commentary that the recording studio fight between them and Scout Taylor-Compton was one of the most exhausting and tense scenes to film. Fanning noted that the normal exhaustion of the actors fed into the intensity of the scene resulting in everyone just yelling at each other. See more »
When we see Cherie Currie drop the phonograph needle on a vinyl record of David Bowie's 1973 album Aladdin Sane, the RCA label is black with the company name printed in block letters. Nipper, the dog listening to "His Master's Voice," is pictured on the side. This version of the record label was not introduced until 1977, a year after The Runaways released their first album, and, therefore, would not have been on the album Currie was listening to prior to joining the band. The RCA label would have been either orange or gold with the company name printed in the block letters they introduced in 1968 and without Nipper who disappeared from the label at that time, not to return until 1977. See more »
What in the fuck have you girls been doing over there?
We've been practicing! Like you said.
Well, get back to it. You bitches are gonna be bigger than the fucking Beatles!
See more »
grungy and formulaic, nothing special and yet worthwhile for its niche
On occasion, the atmosphere of watching a movie at a theater in a certain circumstance adds to the ambiance. Case in point, The Runaways: I saw it at my local cineplex, where, unbeknownst to me since I last ventured into a particular screen, the one where The Runaways played on (good old theater 8), the sound had gotten a little worse. It was crackly, though one could still hear voices and sound fx and music reasonably well, and on the side of the frames of the 2:35:1 aspect ratio, there was some black fizzle or something. For a more prestige picture or big blockbuster, it might have been a hindrance. For the case of The Runaways, it was just about perfect. This mid-1970's trip through a kick-you-in-the-ball girl rock group complimented the flaws in the stereo-sound and the picture, and it was like listening/watching a worn vinyl LP. This coupled with the attitude of the performances, and some of the songs featured, made it like a near Grindhouse event.
That the movie itself is less than great was to be expected. This is one of those rise-fall rock and roll band stories, one you know well if you've seen at least two or three by now (pick your delicious poison, be it The Doors or even Dreamgirls - 'The Fabulous Stains' from the early 80's wouldn't be far off either). And it also has a distinction of being a rise-fall story for a band that was around for only a few years, a less-than-revolutionary girl version of The Sex Pistols, who all wanted to rock but came from different backgrounds and were beat down before they could fully develop rock star egos by a grubby manager/producer.
For the Runaways, we mostly get the stories of Cheri Currie (Dakota Fanning) and Joan Jett (Kirsten Steward). Many will know the latter, since she's made several big hit rock singles, but some in the audience (unless you're already a big Runaway fan or fan of the movie Foxes) won't know who Cheri Currie was. Perhaps that was the appeal for the director, first-timer Flori Sigismondi, that we get a view into the lead singer and how she's actually got a family and a place she's coming from, as opposed to Joan Jett who (by the appearance from the film) just came off the streets and immediately had to play guitar or die or go to prison. Certainly that, too, has a bit of the cliché to it (un-attentive mother, alcoholic father, same old same old), but the filmmaker is able to straddle the line between Currie, Jett and producer Kim Fowley (unmistakably hammy Michael Shannon, maybe too hammy in some scenes).
Here's the thing that works for the film though: as a real gritty rock movie, as a saga of characters rolling around LA (sometimes right under the Hollywood sign), getting wasted, trashing hotel rooms, getting into madness, being rockers who can stand up to those "men" that Fowley says don't want to see girls on stage. Subsequently in the story in the film, he exploits them for all he can, usually when they aren't noticing until it really affects their appearance as rock and rollers as opposed to beauty queens (or, of course, Currie as one). Again, some of these story elements are familiar, but this is not what makes the film so appealing - I didn't go to the Runaways to get a super-insightful script, save for a few little nuggets (i.e. they trained in a trailer!).
I went to the Runaways to see rock and roll and rock as it blasted away without care back in the 1970's, albeit shown here as a brew of glam (Bowie) and punk (Pistols) and eventually with Jett and the Blackhearts as a straight up rock and roll band, and that's what I got. I was heavily impressed by the performances of Fanning- who can be legitimately sexy and make it both right for her character and uncomfortable for an audience member to see it in the flesh (and boy it is fleshy!)- and Stewart, who flexes her chops while on leave from the Twilight camp. As mentioned, Shannon is a little too over the top, as he was in Revolutionary Road, but that in and of itself is kind of a marvel, as he isn't taking it seriously, but still has a good time. And the music... ah, for the right fan at the right time, it's blissful to hear and the be blown away by even a movie version of The Runaways, who make one want to rush out and buy any song they recorded. Who knew a revealing, raw-cum-conventional bio-pic would be their best advertisement in years?
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