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7/10
The latest of two versions
dave-sturm11 April 2010
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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8/10
Inappropriate and in your face. The way any movie about The Runaways should be.
lewiskendell20 July 2010
"You hear that? That's the sound of hormones raging."

The Runaways is at the opposite end of the spectrum from most recent music biopics. Where movies like Ray and Walk the Line aim for emotional resonance and creating a connection between an iconic figure and the audience, The Runaways is about style, dramatics, and looking good. Which is pretty in line with what the band was about. The sobriety of those movies I previously mentioned wouldn't have worked for such a hyper- kinetic story as this one. Sure, the movie slows down a bit when the crash and burn sets in, but the focus on style, sound and imagery is never really replaced by anything else. And I mean that as a compliment. 

Michael Shannon didn't really work for me as Kim Fowley, but the movie wasn't really about him, anyway. The five girls playing the group seemed to have an inappropriate amount of fun with their roles, and who wouldn't? You can't help but be impressed by their performances, they play and act like a real band. But no doubt about it, this is Kristin Stewart's (Joan Jett) and and Dakota Fanning's (Cherie Currie) show. They don't let you forget it. Not many actresses their age would have the talent and the balls to take something like this on. They do it, and do it right. I left the movie with a healthy amount of respect for both of them.     

The entire movie plays out like a music video about all the things you would be mortified of seeing your teenage daughter doing, but of course, would make her cool to do. Which makes sense, as the director (Floria Sigismondi) is best known for directing music videos. The cinematography gleefully sells the same excess, ego, and intoxication that the Runaways' image did. All the band's songs that are woven throughout the movie keep it moving at a super-charged pace. 

You have to tailor the tone of a film to its subject matter, in order for it to be successful. The Runaways is the true(ish), female version of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, and I couldn't help but really enjoy every bawdy and inappropriate minute of it. Get in a Runaways frame of mind, or don't even bother with this one.
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6/10
The Runaways (2010) **1/2
JoeKarlosi21 March 2010
I became a huge fan of Joan Jett with her first #1 single, I LOVE ROCK N ROLL, back in 1982. For years I remained a devoted follower of her albums, saw her in concert up close at small venues, and even got to meet her in person on a few occasions including getting to go backstage after a gig in 1985. It was only once she'd become popular that I discovered that she was originally in an all-girl rock band called The Runaways. Thus I found myself going back and collecting Runaways records too. So for me, this film was something to look forward to.

As Jett has confirmed in interviews, THE RUNAWAYS is mainly true, but there are some artistic liberties taken. The now-51, black-haired rock veteran stayed on the set so young Kristen Stewart (who portrays a teenaged Joan) could observe her movements and ticks, and also to make sure the story stayed somewhat in the right ballpark. The movie begins in 1975 and chronicles Joan's early years as a die-hard rock and roll chick with a rebellious nature who learns to play guitar and wants to form a hardcore, all-girl rock band ("No guys!" she insists). She stumbles upon the eccentric record producer Kim Fowley (a faithful rendering by Michael Shannon) who likes Jett's cool spunk and determination, but is more struck with the seedy possibilities of exploiting an orgasmic teenage girl band with guitars ("Jail-F'ing-Bait!" he exclaims with glee, pumping his fist). Together, Jett and Fowley seek out other band members. They comb the dark nightclubs where loud vintage '70s music by artists like David Bowie plays, for a blonde girl with just the right look to function as the lead singer for their group. It's there that they discover 15-year-old Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning), who's not far removed from her first period and who is desperate to become a singer. The Runaways are formed with Cherie up front possessing no strong rock chops, but getting pushed by Fowley and Jett to vocalize and gyrate like a slut having an orgasm. The girls practice enough to eventually get signed by Mercury Records and take off on a trip to Japan by 1977, which was the only place they struck it big, almost becoming as huge as The Beatles there. As many familiar rock and roll stories go, Currie becomes absorbed in the drug world and ultimately tensions mount within the group.

THE RUNAWAYS was partly based on Currie's autobiography, and in a way she is the focal point of the story. Dakota Fanning does a pretty decent job handling this type of slimy material, considering she was only 15 herself during filming. It's too bad though that her character is just not that interesting and, for me, young Dakota never quite captured the presence of the real Cherie onstage. I'm admittedly more biased toward Joan Jett, but it's Jett's driving persona which is the most compelling ingredient of the film. I was concerned Kristen Stewart might think that sporting a dyed black haircut would be enough to become Joan Jett, but she actually nailed the aggressive nuances of Jett perfectly. Joan is portrayed as the one member in the film who treats the band seriously, loves and breathes the experience, is committed and tireless. It's a small wonder she had such a successful and long-running solo career after the group disbanded. And Kristen's singing just blew me away -- both Stewart and Fanning sang for the movie -- and Stewart sounds exactly like Jett as she belts out part of one of Joan's original early songs, "I Love Playin With Fire". Unfortunately, the movie only gets to see one song rendered in its entirety: "Cherry Bomb" (sung by Dakota), which was considered the band's only "hit", and was co-written by Fowley and Jett, specifically for Cherie to learn and sing. The rest of the soundtrack is pretty good, with background songs by Bowie, Iggy Pop, the Sex Pistols, and even the real Runaways themselves. As someone familiar with the original Runaways recordings, it was fun for me to pick them out in snippets here and there.

The problems I had which kept me from giving the film three stars were that this isn't really anything we haven't seen before, and it's something of a typical cookie cutter rock screenplay with no soul other than the determined presence of Jett. Really unfortunate was that the other three female band members were largely ignored. Not so much drummer Sandy West (who died of lung cancer in 2006); she gets a few lines and respectful moments. But lead guitarist Lita Ford (who had some fleeting success of her own in the '80s) was strategically left out of the action because in real life she and Joan Jett's camp have undergone some personal problems (Ford says Jett's longtime manager Kenny Laguna "disgustingly" offered to buy Ford's life story for a thousand bucks). Reportedly, Lita has threatened to sue if not portrayed accurately in the film. While she is largely disregarded, there are moments in the movie in which Ford (played by Scout Taylor-Compton of Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN) completely comes off as a whining bitch. Most outlandish is that real-life bass player Jackie Fox was completely written out and is now replaced by a totally fictitious character called "Robin" (Fox is a lawyer today, so one may assume the filmmakers weren't taking any chances). In 2004, one-time Runaway Vicki Blue made a documentary called EDGEPLAY which is worth seeking out for the real dirt about The Runaways. Joan Jett refused to participate in that project, but it's got recollections from Lita Ford, Jackie Fox, and Sandy West. It makes a good companion piece to this film, and doesn't pull punches. I had some fun with THE RUNAWAYS, but it's something of a watered down version of what actually happened and could have been a bit tougher and more dramatic. **1/2 out of ****
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8/10
Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll
kwoods-512 April 2010
I've been a Runaways fan since 1976, so I had been anticipating this film for a long time. Having read Cherie Currie's book, Neon Angel, on which the film is very loosely based, I was pretty familiar with the broad outlines of the story. As with any film adaptation of a book, I knew they would leave some things out and streamline other things, and I also suspected the film wouldn't be as dark as the book, which turned out to be true.

What the film really nailed was the relationship between the Runaways and their sleazy manager/producer Kim Fowley. Michael Shannon does a fabulous job playing this over-the-top character. His expletive-filled rants are simultaneously hilarious and cringe-worthy.

The stars, Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, are both excellent as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, respectively. Stewart displays Jett's consuming passion for rock and roll and her desire to work hard to be a star. Fanning does a very good job balancing Currie's conflicting desires (to be a rock star and be with her family). It's no secret that the film doesn't spend much time with the other three members of the band. I have no problem with that, since Jett and Currie are, for me, the most interesting and most talented members.

The film does a great job showing the band performing. Stewart and Fanning clearly worked hard to be believable as rockers, and it paid off. You see the progression of both characters from neophytes to seasoned performers, and it works. Another aspect is the struggle by the Runaways to be taken seriously. There were very few hard-rocking ladies in 1976, so they faced a lot of skepticism. The film shows this very well.

The music is very good. The new versions of Runaways songs are good, although Fanning sounds nothing like Currie. The period songs are a nice selection, from David Bowie to Gary Glitter to the Stooges. The filmmakers nailed the look of the period as well. The clothes, hair, furniture, etc., are just right.

Overall, this is an excellent film. I highly recommend it.
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8/10
Artistic but in a good way
airguitarprincess21 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! I saw this movie in January at a Sundance event in Madison Wisconsin with Cherie Currie actually in attendance. There's a lot of two things in The Runaways, drugs and sexual references but really what can you expect from a movie about a 70s rock band. For those of you who have read the script in advance only small details change for instance Joan doesn't actually steal the leather jacket in the beginning nothing bigger then that really. The music is amazing of course even if you're not a Runaways fan it's a pretty catchy and weaves itself easily into the story line. You don't see even a glimpse of Bella in Kristen's portrayal of Joan Jett, having seen Joan Jett live, Kristen really captured her essence. Dakota Fanning was noticeably a better actress then Kristen Stewart, Dakota was Cherie and stole the show hands down. When the real Cherie Currie did a Q and A after the movie was over I got to see just how perfectly Dakota mastered even her personality. The movie it did drag at parts but the highlights definitely made up for it. The scene where Joan walks out of her first guitar lesson and Cherie at the talent show are two of my favourite movie moments. I don't know the actual filming lingo for the artistic angels and blurriness for the lack of a better word but it was all used very effectively creating an artistic feel not just another high budget Hollywood film. This movie may bring up a lot of questions about Cherie and Joan's possible romantic relationship during their time in the Runaways but when asked at the Q and A Cherie said it was nothing more than friends experimenting. To address the debate over the whole Kristen Stewart-Twilight audience this movie will attract all I can say as a Twilight fan who was a Runaways fan before Twilight was invented, I think some of the content in the movie will disturb the stereotypical Twilight fan. There's a lot of drug and sexual references made that I think a younger audience like that might not understand for instance Cherie masturbating in the shower to images of Farrha Fawcett (behind a shower curtain of course) or I believe it was Joan pissing on a guitar. Overall it's a good movie not my favourite but still solid, some parts dragged but with all the star power, great music, a pretty crazy story and a lot of heart I think this movie has the potential to top the box office in March.
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10/10
Engrossing tale of innocence lost ... with great music!
jickweez-116 March 2010
Just caught a special screening of The Runaways last night at the Laemmle on Sunset, and it more than exceeded expectations. The leads (Kristen Stewart, Michael Shannon and Dakota Fanning) do an admirable job playing the sullen budding rock star, whacked-out manager and reluctant front girl. At first, it looked as though Stewart was going to fall back on her woe-is-me (woe-is-us who have to suffer through it) Bella character in Twilight, but her performance as Joan Jett soon showed a shyness and vulnerability that made the role three dimensional and overall enjoyable. Shannon gives a wonderful turn as Kim Fowley, The Runaways' too-brilliant-for-his-own-good manager and has some of the best lines in the movie (my friend and I were giddy every time he opened his mouth). But the real star here is Fanning as the innocent Cherie Curie, who didn't ask to be a star but was thrust into the spotlight nevertheless. Watching her downward spiral from innocent young woman (the film opens with her getting her first period) to trying to buy a jug of vodka for breakfast is where this movie soars above others of its ilk. With her big baby blues (wow, those eyes), Fanning portrays innocence lost more effectively than any other actress I can remember. She should be considered for many awards for her performance. Did I mention those eyes?

All in all, The Runaways is a fantastic movie. The direction, though "arty" at times, fits in well with the rock 'n' roll themes. The script is nearly pitch perfect without being preachy or excessive. The performances great. The soundtrack genius (from Bowie to The Stooges to The Sex Pistols - and even a few Runaways songs). But what really adds to the authenticity of the 70's period piece are the costumes and set design, which transport the audience back into a time when women rockers were practically unheard of. Some of the fashion (where did they find all those platform heels?) even takes on a life of its own. Looking forward to watching this little gem again.
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7/10
Rock-N-Roll Biopic Has Nothing New to Offer
brando64720 September 2010
THE RUNAWAYS chronicles the run of one of the most successful all-girl rock bands of all time. The film is based on "Neon Angel", the autobiography of the band's original lead singer Cherie Currie, and it gives us a glimpse into the world of rock and roll as seen from the perspective of a group of teenage girls on their way to super-stardom. I had heard some good things about the film when it was first making the festival circuit, but I wasn't as impressed when I finally got a chance to see it myself. The cast did an amazing job in their roles but the film wasn't as great as it probably could have been.

The problem with music biopics, particularly for rock stars, is that most rock stars seem to encounter the same problems: sex, drugs, booze, addiction, conflicting personalities, etc. So we get a lot of repetition with each rock star film and RUNAWAYS is no different. Cherie's decline into addiction, the in-band conflicts, the initial excitement of success and the eventual succumbing to the stress and strain of maintaining the lifestyle. It's nothing we haven't seen before in other films, it's just happening to younger characters. It's fine though because the performances are strong enough that it's easy to forget that the material's nothing new. My main problem with the film was that it came across as unstructured. It felt as if the filmmakers had just strung along random interesting events in the Runaways history and it made it feel like the movie was just wandering along. As a result, the movie loses it's momentum after their first major gig and drags through the last half. It begins around the time Cherie begins to lose control which is a shame; I should be concerned for her character, not bored by the meandering storyline.

The film's saving grace is the cast. Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, and Michael Shannon did an amazing job. Kristen Stewart has earned some major credibility with me thanks to this film. I was concerned that a girl famous for her role in the TWILIGHT saga would ruin such an iconic role (Joan Jett) but she did a fantastic job and seemed to embody her perfectly. Dakota Fanning is Cherie and I've always thought of Fanning as one of the most talented young stars in Hollywood. She provides an innocence in Cherie's character at the start that makes the film interesting to watch when her stardom warps and destroys it. Shannon is the group's manager Kim Fowley. Fowley is apparently infamous for his aggressive style, and his training sessions with the Runaways are the best parts of the film.

You can't have a music film without the music that inspired it and the soundtrack to the film is awesome. It's loaded with music from the Runaways and Joan's later solo run. The filmmaker's transport you back to the late 70s with their dedication to the style, from the clothes to the music and the fads. The movie has all the ingredients to make a great bio movie, but the execution prevents it from rising to what it could've been.
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6/10
Starry, Starry Night
David Ferguson20 March 2010
Greetings again from the darkness. Getting dragged back to the mid-70's can be quite fun, especially when the topic is rock 'n roll. Based on lead singer Cherie Currie's autobiography, this film provides an overview of the formation, sudden fame, and equally sudden dismantling of the first all-girl's rock band, The Runaways.

Joan Jett was the heart of the band, but it took oddball music producer Kim Fowley to put the band together and get the recording deal. Fowley may be the most interesting character in this story. Here he is played with force by the very talented Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road).

Instead, the story focuses on Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, mostly Currie, since it is her book! Dakota Fanning plays Cherie Currie as a confused 15 year old with a messed up family life. The family includes a mom, played by Tatum O'Neal, who announces she is getting married and moving to Indonesia. Currie's dad is a very sick alcoholic, so she is an easy recruit for Fowley and Jett. Jett is played balls-out by Kristen Stewart. Yes, Kristen Stewart from Twilight. Here she shows much more of the talent we saw prior to the Twilight series. She captures the fire and spirit of Joan Jett and leaves little doubt she will pursue her dreams despite all obstacles.

Overall, the script comes up short and provides us little more than headlines and a quick glimpse. Would have expected much more on talented guitarist Lita Ford, who continues to work today. For a quick intro to the story of The Runaways, this one is fine. Just don't expect much depth.
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3/10
Doesn't live up to the real-life Runaways
shattenjager77718 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Musician biopics are, with very few exceptions, all the same movie: Musician works hard and becomes star. Musician's life falls apart because of drugs, sex, ego, or some combination thereof. Musician finds sudden professional and personal fulfillment and everything is rosy.

The Runaways in real life have the potential to tell a number of different stories: There's the story of the band's relationship with Svengali-like producer Kim Fowley as his marketing tactics drive the band to stardom but also help to stand in the way of the band's credibility. There's the story of Joan Jett as her band falls apart while on the verge of a breakthrough and she responds by forming her own band that made her a bigger star than she could have imagined just a few years later. There's the story of Joan Jett and Kim Fowley's vision that an all-female rock band could work and Jett's incredible perseverance to make it happen. And any of these stories could be told without too many changes to the facts.

Yet, "The Runaways" tells none of these stories. Instead, it tells the normal musician biopic story about Cherie Currie with the added "attraction" of a drawn-out build up to a bizarre sort of lesbian sex scene (if it can even be called that) between its two stars and plays fast and loose with the facts to allow that story to be the center of everything. It adds in pieces of the Kim Fowley relationship with the band and references Joan Jett's later success, but the heart of the film is Cherie Currie's story. The film also makes the odd choice of pushing Lita Ford way into the background when the truth is that her undeniable abilities as a guitarist were the band's only real element that added credibility.

The characters are so dull that little can be said of the acting, but Dakota Fanning handles the toughest role of Cherie Currie quite well, even if she is nowhere near sexy enough for Currie as written (which I think is an exaggeration of reality). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Kristen Stewart, whose performance as Joan Jett leaves much to be desired. She spends the entire movie with the same half-drugged-out look on her face and walks too stiffly and hunched, like someone self-conscious and unsure of herself while her dialogue and the story instead give the impression of someone who has guts and confidence (as is true of Joan Jett in real life). Michael Shannon's performance as Kim Fowley is bordering on over the top, but that also seems appropriate given the character. No one else really has a role to speak of.

The film doesn't really have a continuous visual style other than its love of short shots, often cutting between two or three shots in a scene that would probably be better served by being done in one shot. The real problem with this editing is that it seems as though it is done for the sole purpose of increasing Stewart's and Fanning's screen time, as anytime someone else starts to appear on screen we get a cut to a new angle so that it's again focused on only one of them, often with no logic as to why. The settings lead to a number of scenes with unusual lighting, filled with high contrasts and bright colors, but it never seems to have any dramatic purpose (save the oddly well-lit bathroom in the middle of the dark club where Jett first sees Currie).

All told, it's a pretty poor film that squanders a rich subject matter. It almost feels like the work of a fan who thinks every element is so interesting that it has to be mentioned but picks the wrong thing to say is the central element. There are a number of ways this could have been an interesting film, but none of them really got followed, which is a shame.
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8/10
history narrowed
wvisser-leusden9 July 2011
Oh yes, 'The Runaways' is a good movie. Also for those who aren't aware that it's about the first all-female group in history of rock.

The plot narrows itself down to Kim Fowley (manager), Cherie Currie (lead singer) and Joan Jett (rythm-guitarist). Which is not wrong, but makes that you miss out on a lot of other interesting historical facts about this great Californian rock-band.

About lead-guitarist Lita Ford, for instance. She and Jett were the only band-members able to continue their career in rock-music after the Runaways split up.

About bass-player Jackie Fox, who left the band out of frustration for getting badly paid. Fox became a lawyer in the American music business instead.

The great thing about the Runaways is the magnificent cooperation between their two renowned guitarists Joan Jett and Lita Ford. Between Jett's earsplitting rhythms and Ford's virtuoso lead. This cooperation really earned 'The Runaways' a place in rock history.

Further 'The Runaways' were the first all-female rock-group at a time when people didn't even think about such a thing. And they also played their rock in a period when pop-music's trend was very soft, greatly influenced by 'The Eagles'.

By the way, this film hardly contains any 'Runaways'-music. For this you'd better turn to internet or to a CD. To 'The Runaways live in Japan', for instance, a CD recording their live-concert from 1977 in Japan. At that time 'The Runaways' peaked in a country where they were hugely popular.
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7/10
grungy and formulaic, nothing special and yet worthwhile for its niche
MisterWhiplash21 March 2010
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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10/10
Great Movie
Ren12 November 2010
Great movie. It's told from Cherie's point of view. As most of you know, Kristen Stewart plays Joan Jett. A lot of people hang sh*t on her acting because of the Twilight Movies... Twilight was made for young teens. Plus, the movies are made so close together, she hasn't got the time to really get a feel of the character in each movie... Don't overlook this movie because of Kristen Stewart and say "Oh no she's the chick from Twilight" Hire the movie. Don't get put off. That said, I think Kristen Stewart done a fantastic job playing Joan Jett. Excellent in fact... She's caught my eye, and I will be looking out for her in the future... Dakota Fanning plays Cherie Currie. She also done a fantastic job. If your a fan of The Runaways or Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, you will enjoy this movie. For those who aren't fans, get the movie, because most of you will end up being one. Since the movie, I can't get Cherry Bomb out of my head.
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6/10
Jailbait Jackpot
M W20 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Like most good rock biopics The Runaways thrust the audience into the artists shoes by giving you a first person account of their rise & fall. Sometimes its two members of the band who burned the brightest like Lennon & Mccartney.Often it is one like Morrison or Wilson. Well this generation Twilight version hones in on Jett & Cherie played by Dakota Fanning & Kristen Stewart. Stewart steals the show as Jett & Fanning moves ever so closer to becoming a legitimate actor. I cant say that im a huge fan of the band only that I went to see this purely to be entertained & that I was. Until the last 1/2 when it felt like they had to wrap it all up neat & quick.Something feels missing like they just jumped ahead too suddenly too fast. Michael Shannon as Kim Foley is right on par with Stewart. Then again I've yet to see him in something where I didn't like his performance. Floria Sigismondi is better known for her surreal & abstract videos & photography.Being that this is her first movie i'd say she did an exceptional job. I will be looking forward to see what she does next.

Now the reason im really writing this is because of what happens in the pre credits follow up. We are told about Jett & Cheries post Runaways life then fade to black. It was literally a WTF moment for me.

Ummmm what about Sandy West drummer & founder who died of cancer in 06? Or Lita Ford who went on to record a number of solo records in the 80's? The only exception here is bassist Jackie Fox who refused to give them the rights to her likeness.

Shame on you Joan Jett. Preaching about unity in the face of abandonment by your family only to steal credit away from the women you claimed to be your only family. I can understand a little mystique & hyperbole to enhance the experience but not hypocrisy.Not when the message is so clearly laid out & draped over all the nonsense. Am I being too picky maybe but this is called The Runaways. If Jett & Cherie wanted all the credit why not call it what is, Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway?!?!?!?!?

There's a doc out there about The Runaways called Edgeplay look for it. I haven't seen it but im on the hunt for it.
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1/10
This movie is a stupid travesty! Where's Lita?
jingster6664 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I was a HUGE fan of the Runaways and followed them during the entirety of their tenure as a rock band. I saw them live and up-close on many, many occasions, possibly as many as thirty to forty shows. I saw them throughout the two personnel changes on bass (Vicki Blue and Laurie McAllister). Then after the demise of the band, I followed the solo careers of Joan Jett, Lita Ford, and Cherie Currie. So, being a first-hand, real-time, expert on the Runaways, it is inconceivable to me that a movie entitled, "The Runaways" could possibly be made with so little mention of lead guitarist, Lita Ford. It doesn't really matter to me that Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning look SO MUCH like Joan and Cherie, and that they do their own singing while sounding SO MUCH like the real thing. Also, who cares how much the story captures the "essence" of the band and the times in which they operated. For this movie to marginalize and almost completely leave out Lita Ford is not only a TRAVESTY but should be considered CRIMINAL! Everybody concerned should be arrested and sent to prison at hard labor. And I'm NOT exaggerating in the least here! It's a rock and roll crime!

If not for Lita Ford's lead guitar work affording the band almost immediate rock and roll credibility, the Runaways would never have even gotten off the ground, much less be able to fill venues and issue multiple albums of kick-ass rock music. There's no doubt that Joan Jett was a powerful presence on stage and contributed much with her rhythm guitar work and vocals. Also, Sandy's drumming was exceptional. But it was Lita who allowed the Runaways to soar and be taken seriously. For those of you who aren't familiar with Lita's brilliant guitar work, vocals, and her total command of the stage, all you'd have to do is view the DVD entitled, "Lita Ford - The Complete Video Collection" (still available from Amazon). There's seven live songs on this collection taken from a concert at Wembley Stadium in London in 1989 that will blow your mind and demonstrate Lita's true greatness. Neither Joan Jett nor Cherie Currie has ever - nor will they ever - even come close to attaining Lita's level of rock and roll prowess.

I consider the movie, "The Runaways," to be a total joke and a rather tawdry ripoff. It's based on the updated version of Cherie Currie's autobiography, "Neon Angel." The introduction to the book is by none other than Joan Jett herself! Yep, these two pretenders to Lita Ford's throne are just out there making some heavy and undeserved trash-cash and obviously couldn't care less about the truth or the facts. And just to demonstrate how contrived the book is, Currie states in the book that her identical twin sister, Marie, bailed out on their joint-venture album, "Messin' With The Boys," and left Cherie high and dry to go it alone, and that Marie refused to go on the road with a rock band to support the album. This a total fabrication because I saw the two of them, on the road, with a rock band, in concert, in 1980.

This whole Runaways movie just makes me sick to my stomach, and if I was a billionaire, I'd buy up all the prints to this stupid movie and destroy them immediately, never allowing them to see the light of day again!

Cherie Currie and Joan Jett: You should be ashamed of yourselves! And I feel certain that Sandy (RIP) would never approve of this mess!
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4/10
Entertaining, but overall disappointing.
JimBeam4922 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start by saying that I was in my early 20's when the Runaways first came on the music scene back in the mid 70's. I've enjoyed their music all these years and as a fan have always wanted to know their story. There are two movies about the Runaways, this movie "The Runaways" and a documentary called "Edgeplay - A Film About The Runaways" from 2004. Unfortunately, neither film was made with the support and cooperation of all of the band members. This film was produced by Joan Jett and is focused on her and Cheri Curry. Lita Ford and Jackie Fox didn't get on board, so in my opinion a huge part of the story isn't being told. The bio Edgeplay has the same type problem, Joan Jett didn't get on board with that project, so again, a huge part of the story is missing. The bottom line for me then is this, was the moving entertaining and worth watching. I'd say yes with some reservations. First of all this isn't a documentary by any means. A movie based on true events maybe? Well, based on Joan Jetts and Cheri Curries rendition of events that they chose to portray. I believe Joan's ego got squarely in the way of how things really were back then. Perhaps why all the members didn't participate? Also, I wasn't really impressed with Dakota Fanning's performance. I couldn't quite buy into her character portrayal. I just kept seeing Dakota, not Cherie and this was quite distracting. Maybe someday, someone will make the truly definitive biography of the band with all the legal squabbles left behind, but I doubt it. So watch both films, and you'll be getting the best representation possible of what the Runaways were and went through all those years ago. One thing is for sure, the music was great back then and still is today.
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3/10
Disappointing
Scott Piehler1 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I really wanted to like this movie. Grew up with the Runaways, love Joan Jett & Lita Ford, was hoping for so much more. Kudos for costumes & music, not to mention Stewart nailing Joan Jett's look. But the director confuses shock value with "deep meaning," and the editing leaves you with a very distorted picture of the Runaways' career. No mention of touring with the Ramones? Or the fact that they played with Van Halen, Cheap Trick, etc? I guess that's the price you pay for being based on Cherie Curie's book.

The "where are they now" section at the end just hammers home how spotty this film is. I know Jett & Ford have their differences, but come on, how do not mention that Lita was essentially Metal's reigning goddess of the '80s? Or that Vickie Blue was in "This is Spinal Tap" and became a director. Or the cancer-related death of Sandy West?

Bottom line: watch the far superior Edgeplay: A Film About The Runaways (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0216731/) if you really want a coherent picture of this seminal American rock band.
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10/10
Still running
zadkine14 March 2010
I've read sentences longer than the scenes in this movie. It starts off at a sprint and keeps going and going and going. It's all about hair, shoes, uppers and downers, teenage angst, loneliness and heartache, and it all feels true. Rather than father hatred there's father longing, the sex is raw but not exploitative, and the performances are sensational. Riley Keough (Cherie's sister) and Michael Shannon are terrific, and Tatum O'Neal nails the very small role of Cherie's mother. "It seems that two qualities are necessary if a great artist is to remain creative to the end of a long life; he must on the one hand retain an abnormally keen awareness of life, must always demand the impossible and when he cannot have it, must despair. The burden of the mystery must be with him day and night. He must be shaken by the naked truths that will not be comforted. This divine discontent, this disequilibrium, this state of inner tension is the source of artistic energy." That was written about Goethe a long time ago, and could be written about Joan Jett today. Cool movie.
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5/10
You hear that? That's the sound of hormones raging.
Spikeopath19 September 2010
The Runaways is a biographical film about the 1970s all-girl rock band of the same name. The film was written and directed by Floria Sigismondi, who based the screenplay on the book Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway by the band's original lead vocalist Cherie Currie. It stars Dakota Fanning as Currie, Kristen Stewart as guitarist and vocalist Joan Jett, and Michael Shannon plays record producer and band manager Kim Fowley. The film charts the formation of the band in 1975, their rise in a male dominated music world, and their subsequent implosion.

For a few short years The Runaways kicked butt, breaking down the barriers in front of them, put up in a male dominated rock world, they paved the way for girl power to actually mean just that; some decades before the term became popular. However, as good as it is to see some recognition of the band on celluloid, Floria Sigismondi's movie is hardly an effective or enlightening piece. Choosing to focus mainly on the relationship between Jett & Currie, Sigismondi's intentions are perhaps understandable given the film is based on Currie's own book. But not only are the rest of the band passed over (so not really a Runaways film then), but Jett has next to no back story for us to work off. Which given that the time afforded Currie's burn out has been diluted (the powerful stuff in the book is absent), means the story isn't all that interesting. It may snapshot the era well, but this is no history of the band at all.

The film also suffers greatly for its by the numbers formula. Band gets together, find their musical mojo, become big, take drugs, have sex, fall out and split up. OK this is a gender reversal piece, that lends it a certain historical value, but aside from some fun anarchic moments along the way, this is about as rebel yell as throwing litter on the floor. The constant sense of there being so much more hangs heavy and further brings to light how shallow and bereft of characterisations the script is. On the plus side, Sigismondi gets great performances out of Stewart and Shannon, the latter is suitably manic and weasel like. But even this is offset a touch by Fanning, who works hard to make the script work, but she never once convinces in the way that Stewart does. The soundtrack is top notch, with music from Iggy & The Stooges, David Bowie, Suzi Quatro, Sex Pistols and of course The Runaways themselves (including work from Fanning & Stewart). While the costuming and Benoît Debie's cinematography bring visual treats as the mid to late 70s comes alive.

But for a film that opens with a splat of menstrual blood on the floor, and one that is about an important and in your face all girl rock band, The Runaways is sadly a disappointment and unable to shake any trees. It's like going to see your favourite band to then find out it's actually the tribute band on instead. 5/10
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10/10
Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning's best performance
defiesgravity111518 March 2010
The Runaways was honestly one of the first rock and roll movie's I have seen where I didn't know much about the band it was talking about. I only really heard of Joan Jett because of her song 'I Love Rock 'N Roll'. I didn't even know she was in a band, thats how rock and roll challenged I was. But from the love of Kristen Stewart I really wanted to find out about the band. I've loved Joan Jett for a very long time but I didn't know much about her, just her music. Now I got an inside look at who she was and how badass she was. All the other Kristen Stewart fans out there, especially on Twitter, showed me what an amazing movie this was going to do.

The Runaways were and still are such an inspiration. They defied what the "norm" was back when they started their band and they broke molds. This movie did the same thing. No one is producing movies like this. Especially important to say is this is Women's History Month and this movie really brought to light how amazing women can be with they fight for their rights and what the love. The Runaways believed in rock and roll, they wanted to be something new and bold and a figure in music no one has ever seen before. They did that. Unfortunatelytheir stardom was short lived, but they left a lasting impression on the world.

Luckily my generate born in the 80s will get to hear about how amazing and influential they really were from this movie. Even though it is not a bio-pic, it still gives you a closer look to exactly what it took to get that band started back then. Woman were NOT equal to men in those days and we as women should be honored to share this earth with women who fought for our civil liberties.

So yes this movie changed my life, it has made me a rocker and I LOVE IT...all the actresses and actors did amazing. I will never forget seeing this movie at the Advanced Screening in NYC on 19th street. It was the highlight of my spring break and this WAS Kristen Stewarts best performance. I support her and most importantly I support Joan Jett and The Runaways.

AMAZING MOVIE. WILL SEE IT AGAIN AND AGAIN!!!
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1/10
Why Did I Force Myself Through This?
IcyRoses17 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Well, I can answer my own question: Lita Ford. Being a huge Lita fan, you can imagine my shock when the movie barely even mentions her. I mean, seriously. She is merely reduced to the background, and when she does get to speak up it's complaining and whiny. And I just urge people not to think Lita was anything like this. I do have to say the young actress, Scout Taylor Compton did impress me as Lita, as she does resemble her.

So, the movie. Well, it's incredibly fast paced for the Twilight generation who can't take a scene lasting more then a minute. Michael Shannon is incredibly over the top. Kristen Stewart needs to take up another profession, as her performance here really shows the girl has zippo talent. Dakota Fanning is very good, but most her acting relays on how much she can look blind sighted. But, mostly the movie wants us to look at two teenage actresses naked or looking provocative for 2 hours. I mean, was the scene where Jett is naked in the tub reading a book really necessary? So, I may be a bit biased since the woman I consider to be one of the best singers/guitarists of all time was completely shunned out of a story that was somewhat about her, but Lita didn't want to be apart of such a project anyways. And can you blame her? After watching this trash, I can't.
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1/10
Very Disappointing
hkronin12 September 2011
The movie is titled "The Runaways" yet only tells the story of two members of the band... and the two least talented members as well. The best musicians in the band were Lita Ford, Jackie Fox, and Sandy West, and they are barely mentioned or shown. The movie ends up being a very self serving Joan Jett and Cherie curry promo and it is clear their egos and self interest got the best of them.

For those of you who are unaware, "I Love Rock and Roll", "Crimson and Clover" and "Love Hurts" were all covers. Joan didn't write any of those songs. There is nothing wrong with that... I'm just stating that to enforce the fact that while Joan is very famous, she is famous for her covers, not really for her own music. She is a great performer and understands the attitude and "look" to entertain a crowd. Those skills are very important. I just take offense at how she ignored the other members of the band... especially when the other members were the REAL MUSICIANS who made the backbone of the band.

If you are going to make an entire movie about the troubled family of Cherie Curry and her friendship with Joan, then don't title the movie "The Runaways."
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9/10
Here Comes the Cherry Bomb
estebangonzalez1021 July 2010
The Runaways is a biopic about the first all-girl rock band from the 70's with Cherie Currie as the lead singer and Joan Jett as the second voice and guitarist. The movie is directed by Floria Sigismondi, who is mostly known for directing music videos. Floria also adapted the screenplay for this film from Cherie Currie's autobiographical book Neon Angel: The Cherrie Currie Story. What makes this an interesting movie is that Joan Jett actually produced this film so we have both views from the main stars of The Runaways that paved the way for other female rock bands in the future. I really enjoyed this biopic and found it one of the most entertaining films of the year so far thanks to a good screenplay and some great performances from the entire cast. The music in the film is also great and Dakota Fanning surprised me with her good vocals. I was not familiar with The Runaways before watching this movie, but I did recognize some of their songs. Cherie Currie might have received all the praise during those early years, but who later rose to fame was Joan Jett, and anyone familiar with the rock industry has heard of her. This is the story of the band she first played for before reaching true fame with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Whether you enjoy rock music or you don't the movie still is worth your time because it has some great performances and is really well produced, and I guarantee you that by the end of the film you will want to read more about their story.

From a very young age Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) had a dream of one day making history by forming the first all-girl rock band. Rock and roll was her life and it was a way to get away from all her troubles back home (which aren't developed in this movie). One day she runs into the legendary music producer, Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon) who is seduced by her idea and introduces her to drummer Sandy West (Stella Maeve) so that they can start playing together. All the band really needs now according to Kim is a hot lead singer and they find in Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) the perfect one because of her David Bowie and Bridget Bardot look. Or as Fowley puts it: ¨I like your style. A little Bowie, a little Bardot, and a look on your face that says I could kick the sh&t out of a truck driver.¨ Since the film is based on Currie's autobiography we do get some background about her family. She basically lives alone with her teenage sister, Marie (Riley Keough) because their mom has left with another man to Indonesia and their dad is an alcoholic. Cherie finds the perfect opportunity to pursue her dreams and joins the band. The movie begins exploring the early years of The Runaways and their rise to fame, along with some of the issues the band faced from arguments to drug addiction. Of course there are a lot of things that are left out in a two hour movie and the film doesn't delve too much into the character's past, but it works nonetheless as a biopic about the band.

Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart prove that they can act in more serious and independent roles and don't have to rely on their star power or act only in blockbuster movies. They give really good performances in this film and are a major reason why this movie was so successful. It would not be fair to ignore Michael Shannon in this film, because his role as Kim Fowley was excellent. It was a supporting role, but he shines in every scene and is also a major reason why this movie worked so well. Yes, the movie does have its flaws because there isn't enough time to delve in the characters past nor perhaps the real struggles that the band faced, but it is a great movie that will leave you wanting to learn more about their story. The Runaways has a pretty realistic and raw feeling to it and I think Floria Sigismondi did a great job as a first time full length director in this film and with the screenplay as well. I think this is a movie worth seeing whether you are a fan of rock or not. It reminded me a lot of Sam Raimi's Control (a biopic about the 80's band Joy Division) which a lot of people haven't seen either.
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2/10
the runaways...very disappointing
huntfamily-117 July 2010
The long awaited movie the runaways has finally been released in Aussie this week..being a runaways fan from the tender age of 12! (yes 12)to following the careers of Joan Jett and Lita Ford right through to present day I was looking forward to this! hell yeah

Having read both versions of neon angels by Cherie Currie (the first one is quite watered down) the more recent version contains a better portrayal of what these girls experienced under the guidance of Kim Fowley.

Was the film accurate? No, a lot was eliminated.I would think because of the Jett/Laguana camp which is one point I cannot understand,Why Joan would allow herself to be portrayed as a rampant lesbian.For yrs the deal of her sexuality has been ignored/denied.As for the others, they offered Lita Ford a thousand dollar for her life story and she told them where to get off!

There was no mention of Sandy West (rip) at the end of the movie only Joan,Cherie and Kim.. Jackie Fox original bassist was going to sue if they mentioned her as she thought it was crap too!

Kari Krome wrote cherry bomb with Jett for Cherie's audition. there was no mention of her?? Kim was abusive and controlling . I feel the movie portrayed him as an eccentric guy with a caring heart. would I have allowed my daughter to go with him,NO! it shows a shot of him going to see Sandy West, her mum answers the door to him in horror.True,but he was wearing a bright orange jump suit and heavy makeup,it didn't show that, only his reflection in the mirror.

the audition for dodging trash was accurate.

On the road?/ he made Joan in charge?mm don't think so. Scott the tour manager was seducing Cherie Currie who fell pregnant and had an abortion which was not covered.It wasn't made clear how Kim drove a wedge within the band, he pimped Cherie off with well known singer of the day whilst it was that time of the month in the book he uses her up and spits her out out. The corset? she didn't buy in japan,she saw it in a shop window before one of their earlier gigs and changed out of her jumpsuit in a cramped toilet/come dressing room before jumping on stage to the horror of the other girls.

As for the tour of Japan Jackie fox left when her bass was broken and she hurt herself with a broken bottle.

I felt when Cherie character said no, to recording and walked out they made this the end of the band but they went on a further two?more years with albums released but this was not mentioned. or the fact that the girls went in different directions, Sandy and Lita toward metal and Joan a more punk edge. It basically said Joan was "lost" til I love Rock and Roll became a hit.?

According to Cherie's book she worked in a linen store not cake supply shop for less than minimum wage. The scene were you see her trying to buy booze was when she lived with a drug dealer who supplied her in cocaine . Also the scene were she rings her sister to come get her is very close to the phone box scene from the Rose I thought.She was a drug addict but had the support of a loving family til her sister became pregnant and refused to help her anymore.

I feel Dakota did not portray the real Cherie,she is too young and pure.thats not a bad thing!! Kirsten Stewart got Joan's mannerisms down pat but,all we could see was Bella. I think she will be type cast for ever. If you want a true portrayal of life in the Runaways Edge-play by Victory Tisler Blue is the one to watch. She was the replacement bass player to Jackie fox, who has gone on to be a film maker. There are heartfelt and truthful interviews with Cherie, Lita,Jackie, and Sandy Joan was asked to contribute and her and manager wanted to see product and put an injunction on it banning runaways music being used, amongst other things so she wasn't included in the final product. Would I see this movie again?? I don't think so, would recommend you see it?

Not really pay your money take your choice. the runaways music is brilliant, it has always stood out for me, the girls were only 16/17 years old at the time of the runaways first album but they sounded like pros.

There were so many other things in the movie that was wrong, but hey, I didn't live it.! So if you want to listen to great music by a teenage girl band, forget the Donna's, forget Avril Lavigne, the Runaways kicked down the door that led the way for woman rockers!!! well for all girl band that is.. because of them we have Girlschool, L7, Rock Goddess and all the other fine metal woman of today.so kudos to you Joan for having the dream. Lita ford for being the rock goddess you are, Cherie for having the balls to release your story, Jackie fox for being a great bass player, Vicki Blue for replacing her, and RIP Sandy West a girl who only wanted to play rock and roll!!!
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7/10
Scenes from a time capsule
mgurbada90926 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
What, only 15 reviews so far? O.K., I'll play! *SPOILERS FOLLOW* "The Runaways" plays out like a series of "scenes", rather than a coherent movie. This not totally a bad thing- many of the scenes are quite compelling. Stuff I liked:

  • The sense of time and place. There is a total lack of anachronisms. The period detail is so convincing, you'd swear this film was SHOT in 1975. Hair, clothes, speech idioms, cars, cityscape, all perfect. The Valley looks flat, hot, smoggy, and seedy. Pup 'n Fries? Hell no! Pup 'n Taco!


Hollywood looks hilly, hot, smoggy and seedy- right down to the missing "O" in the battered old, pre-restoration Hollywood sign, where the kids gather to drink, huff, smoke, and share war stories about their messed-up families.

  • The performances. These are teens playing teens. All are excellent. Stewart's Joan is a study in cool, raw, intelligent ambition and contained rage. Her family life is a cypher, but we can fill in the blanks. Fanning conveys Cherie's pain,confusion,and inner moxie, a false front of courage behind her saucer eyes. She is an abandoned child, but she's ready to try to break out. All the girls do drugs, but the drugs do Cherie. She is "lost in hell without a map". Joan is in hell too, but she's got the tourist's map, folded up in the hip pocket of her leather pants. You just know that, come what may, she's going to make it.


-The girl-centric focus. The only real male of any consequence in the film is Shannon's Fowley, and he is sexually indeterminate. Joan has guys hanging around her, but she kicks them to the curb (literally) when she doesn't need them. Cherie bags a couple of the roadies, but, again, the boys serve a purpose, and it isn't as mentors or soul mates. The closest thing to a romance is what passes between Joan and Cherie. But, in the end, given a choice, Joan chooses rock 'n roll over her messed-up young band mate. Good choice- "Look me up when you get your act together, honey. Meanwhile, I got work to do"

  • Random nude scenes. None involve the principles, but what a welcome and unexpected delight in our Age of Hypocritical Hang-Ups! It's a flashback to the time when movies earned their R's the honorable way- with SEX, not blood and gore. Yeah, we ARE back in the '70s!


  • Rockin' soundtrack. And, yes, the girls do fine. The climactic performance of "Cherrybomb" in Japan was great, but my favorite was the early days house party scene, with the band blasting out "California Paradise" in someone's living room, taking crap and dishing it out with the unruly crowd, till the cops come and break everything up. Ah, nostalgia!


Won't see it again in the theater- no need really, it's an intimate movie, not an epic. But, definitely a DVD to buy.

7/10
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3/10
Floria Sigismondi and Joan Jett
jerrycoliver24 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a perfect example of why celebrities should not produce movies about themselves. Kritsin Stewart does a very good job, and I was pretty pleased with Dakota Fanning. And Michael Shannon again does a fantastic job. But after those compliments, there really isn't much good to say about the movie.

The book by Cherie Currie is a decent read, but clearly the starved for attention Joan Jett wanted the movie to be more about her. I love the music of the Runaways and I love Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, but in the last 10 years every time I've seen or read anything about about Joan Jett I just think "Man, she is not aging well emotionally". Worse yet, she attacks people who try to help her and when they stand up to her she plays the victim. She's the executive producer of the movie yet she spends most of the commentary pointing out what was wrong and complaining "I never wore leather pants".

But I'm not going to defend Floria Sigismondi. She isn't ready to direct feature length movies yet...or maybe she is, if she learned from all the mistakes on this one (and lets remember, the best directors usually flopped their first movie). In her defense, it was probably difficult to deal with Joan. The screenplay is bad. But I can't say its completely her fault, because again, Joan was obviously trying to change things, but the end product is flaccid and superficial. Its not super sleek, but it's not gritty like the "scene" was made out to be. Things are just too clean. Most specifically the opening shot. Where it could have been a powerful introduction into the story we're about to see, I spent several seconds thinking "Okay, somebody's painting something red" It's clearly paint, and then the rest of the movie is devoid of anything even close this gritty. Further more, there are moments that have great potential for emotional development, unfortunately the director choose "style" over "story" which is never a good idea.

You'll laugh when you're not suppose to, and you'll yawn during most of it. If you're a fan of the Runaways or Joan Jett (or Cherie Currie) you've probably seen the movie. If you're a movie person and don't care about the music, it's not for you. It's basically "Rockstar" with a smaller budget and characters with the same names as real people. By the way, if you're a Lita Ford fan, do not watch this movie.
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