Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Runaways

Image:: The Runaways, from rebelgrrrl

In the early 80s, I recall reading an old article from the late 70s on The Runaways telling their tale of these girls from the suburbs who were the darlings of "punk" {broadly defined} and an emerging pattern of female artists who didn't want to do rock stars but be them. The sexy/tough image was a combination of allure and danger, inspiring 80s bands like The Pandoras and paving the way for artists like Liz Phair, Veruca Salt, and Hole. My early adolescence involved forays into this genre via Blondie and Joan Jett.

The LA Times has a review of the new film, The Runaways, which is out in limited release in the US and will premiere in Toronto on Sunday. I'm somewhat drawn to depictions of the relatively near-past, particularly when a director and cinematographer can capture a sense of time and place. While there are several examples of this, my favourites are Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights, Barry Levinson's Diner, and {brace yourself} Roman Coppola's CQ

I'm sort of curious about Floria Sigismondi's take on The Runaways, which stars Kristen Stewart {Joan Jett} and Dakota Fanning {Cherie Currie}, and the late-70s LA music scene. Was it all marketing and sizzle of the ilk of Malcolm McClaren {the impresario behind The Sex Pistols} and what was going in in the LA scene that saw the dominance of the bland-metal-hair-band era of the 80s. Here's the trailer for the film. It holds promise, but I worry that the film might take itself too seriously::

Twitterversion::  Trailer/thoughts on "The Runaways" starring Kristen French  Stewart as Joan Jett & Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie. #Rhizomicon  @Prof_K

Song:: Joan Jett-"Crimson and Clover"


linnyqat said...

Yikes - did that tweet go out with "Kristen French"? Oopsie!

I am interested in seeing this flick too. I am sort of drawn to Kristen Stewart, although I know it's totally uncool to say so. I liked her a lot in Adventureland. And I'm interested in seeing Dakota Fanning continue to transition into more adult roles. I thought she did a great job with awkward adolescence in The Secret Life of Bees, a movie I never would have seen if it weren't for the fact my mom was visiting.

I totally get your thing for movies depicting the near-past. Maybe it's because we can compare them to our own experience of the era. If the filmmakers do a good enough job capturing a sense of place, we can use it as a jumping point to indulging our nostalgia.

One film not mentioned in your curious list is Ang Lee's The Ice Storm.

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

Just keeping the Twilight {yawn} fans on their toes, which was the primary draw for many to the premiere here in the 'Ront. She bailed on it, so she didn't get the memo that Canada matters post-2010 Olympics. Now, if I said Dakota Mahaffee, that would be laying it on a bit thick.

Uh, uncool to say you're drawn to Stewart, well, if you have to ask. I must say the casting makes me a bit leery of this project. I don't find Stewart to be that compelling and the fact of the matter is that the roles in a project like this are rather challenging. Capturing the bravado, swagger, & angst of rock n' roll has to be done carefully, because a realistic portrayal is likely to be insufferable. So, the script, direction, & acting need to be in alignment.

I think you're right about the near-past, but a good director will merge the mythologized past, yet refer to the past's "reality". This is what Mad Men tries to do, but there's something lost in some of that translation. Another film that did this well was Invincible, while one that fell short was Running with Scissors. Sometimes the same director will be hit and miss. Whit Stillman got it right in Metropolitan and Barcelona, but something got lost when he did The Last Days of Disco.

Hmmm. Never saw The Ice Storm and had no real interest in it, as it sounded to me as if it was a tad preachey in its storytelling. In my mind, one of the dangers when going into the past {along with overreliance on clichés like steel Tab cans with pull tabs = the 70s} is juxtaposing era and stereotypes about it to tell a story through extremes.

On my TV project proposal, I'm writing in some "flashbacks" and I find it both challenging and interesting. Looking at videos on YouTube and the CBC archives help to get a better sense of context of era.