Long live rock, I need it every night

Thursday, April 08, 2010

(Cherry) Bomb

The rockudramedy, The Runaways, opens nationwide tomorrow (April 9th). On Monday night, Rock Club caught an advanced screening of this "coming-of-age biopic."

The first thing I learned from seeing this motion picture was that Joan Jett was a minor league lesbian. I guess this isn't necessarily surprising. She has that hardware-store type of walk, and she hates herself for loving you. After watching this movie, one wonders which got more fingering, her guitar, or singer Cherie Currie. Okay, if you expect to see fingering in this movie you're going to be disappointed. I think Jett is more of a power cord kind of player.

But I say minor league because despite the constant references and outright same-sex scenes in the film, Jett has not been out and open about her sexuality in real life. I don't think you can be a major league lesbian if you're not going to be out about it. She seems to be more of a double-A athlete than a major leaguer.

Thanks to movies like Dazed and Confused, I knew the Runways' big hit, Cherry Bomb, without necessarily knowing it was the Runaways who performed it. I was 2 when this band formed and wasn't living in California. Instead, I remember being pretty psyched each time "I Love Rock and Roll" was played over the school bus radio when I was 8 years old. Joan Jett seemed pretty awesome. Little did I know that tune was a cover of The Arrows' 1975 song. Anyway, "I Hate Myself For Loving You" was pretty solid. But now I've gotten ahead of myself.

The second thing I learned from seeing this movie was that I missed hearing some of these tracks I hadn't heard in a while. It inspires you to head to iTunes for a few downloads. No doubt, a calculation when making a movie like this.

Kristen Stewart plays a great Joan Jett, and Dakota Fanning plays Cherie Currie, and I have no idea how true to life her performance of Currie is. But I do know that anytime we type Dakota Fanning on our blog, we get more traffic (welcome back to the blog creepy Fanning fans).

Here are some problems I had with this movie.
1. No sense of time. You aren't given any clue as to what year it is at any given point in the movie. By the end of the movie, it seemed like maybe 9 months had transpired, when it had been 4 years. The same can be said for setting. It wasn't until the characters were sitting in front of the Hollywood sign that I knew for sure they were in California. That was 10 minutes in.
2. Not enough Lita Ford. The movie was based on Currie's book "Neon Angel," so perhaps it's no surprise that the film seemed to be all about Currie. But I wanted to see more Lita Ford. I don't know why, I just did.
3. No nudity. It's a movie about a chick band and there's drugs and rock and roll, but not enough sex if you ask me.
4. The relationship between Jett and Currie covered the "coming-of-age" element of the movie. But their relationship wasn't portrayed as being all that complicated (or interesting) beyond the girl-on-girl element. Once you figure that out, the only thing you have left is the nostalgia from the era, and...

the best thing about this movie.
1. The character of Kim Fowley, manager and "creator" of the Runaways. Played by Michael Shannon, Kim adds the comedy to this tragedy of a movie. In one scene, Joan Jett is calling Fowley from the road, filling him in on how well things are going, and all you hear is Shannon's voice over the telephone, trying to respond, but clearly distracted as he is obviously mid-coitus. He might be worth the time investment in the movie, but not necessarily the price of admission.

When it was all said and done, I learned more about the Runaways in 45 seconds reading wikipedia than I did in watching this whole movie. I wouldn't stop you from seeing the Runaways. The first 30 minutes were actually pretty good. But maybe like the band itself, it ran out of gas pretty quickly.
I'll bet the film does great in Tokyo.

No comments: