Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Runaways

A good friend of mine has been pestering me to watch "The Runaways". With good reason, since I have a thing for period pieces and 70s rock, not to mention chick rock. However, this film was also recommended to me due to my complaints about Kristen Stewart's acting. I don't often complain about actors/actresses. I generally don't complain about movies as I am pretty easily entertained. While I'm at it, I may as well contradict myself and say I will never get back the 2 hours I wasted on "Prince of Persia" recently. I digress, as is usual.

The verdict is in: while her acting wasn't as bad as it was in wasn't that great, either. It's official: I'm just not a Kristen Stewart fan. The Twilight movies were pretty pitiful and only redeemed in my eyes by a British man with lovely locks. (Did he have lines? I didn't notice.)

Right, this is to review "The Runaways".

Even though I had to endure Kristen Stewart (who did an OK job playing Joan Jett) this film was amazing thanks in large part to Dakota Fanning, whom I've never really liked or disliked. Since children should be seen and not heard in my world, she was always in the background of movies I watched. (Side note, second contradiction of the day: don't watch "Hounddog" with Dakota Fanning. That was too gritty a film even for me.) While both actresses were the spitting images of their characters, and while Joan Jett is the more recognized of the two, this film focused largely on Cherie Currie, the lead singer of The Runaways and was based on Currie's biography, Neon Angel. And thank god for that, since it gave Fanning the lead in this movie.

If there's anyone that can play "runaway teen gone wrong", it's someone wise enough to break out of the child actor stereotype without audiences realizing it. She seems to be someone who has sidestepped the Lohan-Cyrus-Spears pitfalls of Hollywood and just does her job without catering to the "any publicity is good publicity" stunts. I think this foresight allowed her to play the role as well as she did, and will make her transition into adult roles more believable.

One of the best scenes in the movie highlights the band's popularity in Japan. Japanese society, and Japanese women in general, are often thought of as conformist, even prudish or buttoned up in a way, so that the band's popularity was more widespread in Japan than in the US is one of the most striking pieces of the their story, one that was likened to America's "Beatlemania". This is also the scene in which we see the completion of Dakota Fanning's metamorphosis into Cherie Currie. Just YouTube the movie scene and compare it to the footage from 1977's live show. 

All in all, that I love movies about music, the 1970s, and rock and roll isn't news. There's plenty more on that subject where this came from. However, the level of acting, at least by one actress in this film, was an added bonus to a film I already knew I would like. In the spirit of the film, I give it two middle fingers up.


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