Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Whoa. Dakota Fanning needs to BACK UP, CALM DOWN, and BE A VERY YOUNG GIRL AGAIN. Because now I'm freaked out and confused. I know I said almost exactly that in response to her appearance in New Moon, but she was wearing a cape in that movie, and here, she's wearing underpants, snorting crushed up pills off the floor, and having sex with Kristen Stewart. So I am, as I said, confused. What I am not confused about is that this was a pretty freaking good movie, and that Kristen Stewart makes me feel a little funny.
You do not necessarily have to know The Runaways' songs or history before watching this movie, but it wouldn't hurt to read up on them a little. You know who Joan Jett is, right? Good start. You know the song Cherry Bomb, yeah? It's on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack, and you've seen that movie. Right? And you might know who Lita Ford is. I didn't, until a friend a generation ahead of me laughed at my lack of knowledge and told me to listen to Kiss Me Deadly, at which point I was enlightened.
This is pre-I Love Rock and Roll Joan Jett. This is a whole band earlier, when these girls were in high school, or at least were high school age. Guitar player Joan was busy sniffing glue and dreaming of starting a band. Lead singer Cherie Currie (Fanning) was 15, working at Pups n Fries with her lookalike sister, and right on the cusp of massive fame and, very shortly after, a complete breakdown and end of singing career, which we get to witness. Stewart plays Jett, and looks the part, even cutting her own hair into the gross '75 mullet instead of using a wig, which most actresses would have done. Fanning trips around in Bowie-style platforms and Farrah hair and proves herself far beyond a child star. She's a real person now.
These two girls, along with lead guitarist Ford, bassist Robin (who seems to be a mishmash of several bassists the band went through), and drummer Sandy West, become The Runaways, managed and abused (verbally) by Kim Fowley, gloriously played by Michael Shannon, who was the best part of Revolutionary Road.
The girls do their own singing, and, I imagine, play their own instruments, and they do a damn good job. It's easy to forget here and there that they were really just kids. But sometimes, as in the very first shot of the movie, it's only too clear. I won't spoil the moment for you. A few events are left out of the film, as they must be, for running time's sake and plotlines. But what is there is hard, raw, hot, and rock n roll.