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 »
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.
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
Joan Jett's one regret about this film is that the title card at the end of the film that reveals the fate of herself, Kim Fowley and Cherie Currie does not also feature that of Sandy West. On the DVD commentary, Jett unofficially dedicates the film to West, who died just before the film went into production. 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 »
Girls nowadays, they don't have any role models. This band is self-empowerment, man - Aphrodite, Cleopatra, Eurydice! No more second-class status, sitting at concerts with asshole boyfriends who worship bands from a Popular Mechanics evalutation of amplifiers. The Runaways have the most chance of any group I've seen... To do with the Beatles did. To tear this world apart.
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This is an entertaining film version of The Runaways story. I say version because there is another film on this band called "Edgeplay," which complements this movie perfectly. Essentially, "The Runaways" is Joan Jett's and Cherie Currie's version of things. In "Edgeplay," which is a documentary, the rest of the band has its say.
But let's discuss "The Runaways."
Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Jett is phenomenal. She's got the slouchy guitar playing, the gum chewing, the swagger and the foggy voice nailed. Jett is all girl and quite pretty, but she's always had the manner of a boy. Stewart gets it right. She is not just twitchy Bella, for sure.
If you've ever seen the real Kim Fowley (you can on YouTube), you will see that Michael's Shannon's portrayal of him is not at all over the top. In fact, many who knew him would probably say this depiction is too forgiving to the bizarre monster Fowley really was.
Dakota Fanning acquits herself well as Currie, the band's sexpot singer. The movie gives Currie the only family backstory, probably because the movie is based on her memoir "Neon Angel." It would have been interesting to see Jett's back story depicted. The movie might leave you thinking she's a native Californian, but she didn't move there with her family until she was a teenager. She was born in Philadelphia and spent her childhood in Maryland.
Some may question things that happen in this movie. Did they really write "Cherry Bomb" on the spot for Currie's audition? Did Fowley really teach the girls to dodge garbage thrown at them on stage? Did the Japanese really go THAT apesh*t over the band?
Yes to all. Watch "Edgeplay," where these and other facts about the band are discussed by the girls (now women in their forties) themselves in 2004. (The doc is available for instant viewing on Netflix.) This movie was made by Vicki Blue, one of the band's bass players (the actual band went through five bassists, which is why the bass player in "The Runaways" is a fictional creation called "Robin").
I have my gripes with "Edgeplay," mostly about the jittery camera-work, which I guess is supposed to be edgy, but is just pretentious and annoying. But it is the truth behind the "truth." "The Runaways" makes no mention of Currie's abortion while in the band or bass player Jackie Fox's suicide attempt. In "Edgeplay," Fox, now a lawyer, even displays the scar on her wrist. "The Runaways" makes clear that these teenage girls fought. "Edgeplay" gets into why. In the doc, it is also stated openly that some of them were having sex with each other (and it wasn't just Jett and Currie). Hey, it was the Seventies.
Joan Jett declined to participate in "Edgeplay," despite the fact she is portrayed in a mostly positive light as perhaps the most ambitious, talented and level-headed member of the band. I was a bit shocked that at the end of "The Runaways" when you get the obligatory "what happened to them" text on the screen, only Jett, Currie and Fowley are mentioned.
The most shameful omission here is the tragic Sandy West, the band's doggedly devoted drummer and perhaps the best female drummer in the history of rock (well, maybe until the Go Go's Gina Schock arrived). She and Jett essentially started the band, as shown in "The Runaways." Her history after the band broke up is sad. She was reduced to construction work. Her post-band life was one of drug using, drug dealing, guns and jail. She died of cancer in 2006, but in "Edgeplay" you can see her two years before her death discussing the breakup of the band, which clearly broke her heart. She never recovered.
It is also wrong to ignore Lita Ford's post-Runaways modest success as a solo rock artist. She's also the most entertaining interviewee in "Edgeplay."
All in all, I have praise for both movies. Both are candid portrayals of the first all-girl band in rock history, paving the way for the Go Go's, L7, Bikini Kill and, perhaps the most talented of all, Sleater-Kinney, a band that has also broken up, but in a much more friendly way.
You go, girl rockers!
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