From the juiced-box and the soundtrack: Suzi Quatro – The Wild One
Ramblings: Cheery Bomb
Final Proof: 3 Shots
You know how you get drunk in a bar that’s just installed a classic jukebox? It looks cool and flashy as hell, vintage just like you hoped and you sit close to it with your drink and you’re so happy you have problems sipping without dripping because your grin is so big. You lean back, put your feet up and prepare yourself for a rocking night—until the music starts and it’s the same old song and dance and not even all that classic, just the same boring music you hear on the radio all the time. You end up having a good time anyway because even if the songs are tired covers, the juke looks good as hell. Still, when the evening’s over, you’re not so bummed that you want to stay past closing time. That’s what The Runaways was like.
“Jail-fucking-bait. Jack-fucking-pot.” Kim Fowley’s comment as he puts together the first all female rock band in history pretty much sums up the film. Or at least pretty well sums up what i like about this movie. i mean, you know there’s nothing age inappropriate going on here in the Bar None but The Runaways has 16-year-old Dakota Fanning running around in her underwear and teddys and shit so i’ll make you a deal: i won’t be any more age inappropriate here than the movie was.
Or real life. Because making money is the reason the film made so much of these very young women’s sexuality and their sexuality is what made them big enough to have a movie made about them in the first place. i’m not gonna babble on for paragraphs about how i got to see Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning kiss (but see it i did), i’m just saying there’s a good reason they hired a female director for The Runaways. Let’s just say Floria Sigismondi can make a movie about bi-sexual teens more easily than Roman Polanski could.
So apart from hot teenage girls prancing around, what else was there to this? So glad you asked, pull up that stool and let me pour you a beer. It’s like a lesbian romance (or any romance for that matter, but gimme a break, i’m trying to stay in the groove): the story of how the girls met is the interesting thing. The beginning of any romance is always unique, the end is pretty much the same all over. That’s what it was like with The Runaways.
Seeing how The Runaways formed was fascinating and you could tell from how specific some of the scenes were that they totally happened, like when Kim Fowley (deliciously played by Michael Shannon) gets neighbor kids to throw garbage at the girls while they rehearse in a trailer to teach them how to deal with unruly fans, you just know it really went down like that. Or when Joan (Jett–played by Kristen Stewart) pees on a rival band’s guitars. That kind of shit. Those were the good times.
The problem i had with this was that after they got that out of the way, the movie slips into the same clichés that the real Runaways did with booze and drugs. i’m not saying they shouldn’t have showed it because i know it really happened, i’m just saying the director’s job is to find an interesting way to show it. As it stands, the movie turns into one of those Behind the Music things on VH1, which are cool, but not really what i want to see here (which is basically, let’s be honest, Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart kissing).
Now comes the part where i’m gonna look like an idiot and y’all are gonna think i don’t know what i’m talking about because i’m gonna rag on Dakota’s and Kristen’s acting and you’re gonna tell me i’m full of shit and you’re gonna find tons of articles online that talk about how the actresses are transformed and are so amazing and authentic and i lost interest in this sentence long before you did.
Look, all i can tell you is what i saw. Kristen Stewart does a better job here than in Twilight which is kinda like saying sipping whiskey is better than opening a shaken can of Pabst directly up your nose. Still, is saying that she’s done a lot worse really the same as doing a good job? She can look tough but she can’t act tough, is where i’m going with this. i’m sure Joan Jett was a nervous, skittish little teen underneath her tough leather exterior but i think Kristen felt more at ease playing Joan’s soft sensitive side than riding the hard edge. And even Miss Demeanor said that Dakota Fanning was a little flat (and she wasn’t talking about the tube top scene).
Speaking of… Before we kick this up a notch, i got to card two youngins. First off there was the charming Hannah Marks who plays Tammy, Joan’s friend (who also kisses her) at the beginning of the movie. As she’s only 17, i can’t let her be seen in the same section as the sex. Here then, is the talented and young Hannah Marks:
Plus, as i’ve already mentioned, Dakota Fanning is only 16 and thus must hang out here with Hannah.
Buzz Kills (Watch Out for Spoilers)
Before we jump in, you’re gonna want to hear this scoop. David Bowie’s “Lady Grinning Soul” was in the movie but didn’t make the cut for the soundtrack (the people who decide these things decided “Rebel Rebel” was a surer bet). Not only does Dakota Fanning do a great job of miming it in the movie, it provides a wonderful backdrop to scroll through the next section by.
[Press 'Play' to be serenaded 70s style]
Sex: 4 Shots
Yeah, put your dander down right there, buddy. There were a lot of girls in The Runaways that were over 18. And it’s like i keep telling you, the original band The Runaways used sex to sell and this movie used that same argument so what am i supposed to do, pretend there was no sexuality in the movie? ‘Cause there was and if you expect me to take the moral high ground in this debate you are drinking in the wrong fucking bar, brother and barmaid.
Cherie Currie (lead singer) / Dakota Fanning
Joan Jett (rhythm guitar) / Kristen Stewart (20), looking better than she acted, if you want the low down, down low. ‘Course that’s not surprising when you think about how good she looks. Here’s the collage to prove it and there’s some single shots of her hanging out in my drawers.
Lita Ford (lead guitar) / Scout Taylor-Compton (21) was sadly understated in the movie. The actress is very talented and charming and i have a hard time believing that The Runaways went their whole career only using Lita’s name twice. OK, so Lita refused to give her life story rights to the producers, but is that a reason to neglect mentioning in the “where are they now” end credits that Lita Ford scored a respectable solo career and even did a cool 80′s metal ballad duet with Ozzy. Whatever, i still say Scout shoulda got lots more screen time. Shit, i’ll give her some right here.
Plus, even if Lita wouldn’t give her life rights to the movie people, she did agree to meet with Scout and, after an emotional meeting, Lita said that even if the movie sucked, that Scout would do Ford justice.
Single shots in my drawers. Just scroll all the way down if you don’t believe me.
Robin (bassist) / Alia Shawkat (21) didn’t exist. The Runaways went through bassists like Spinal Tap went through drummers and if you don’t get that reference you shouldn’t be reading this blog. Nah, just joshin. Anyway, Robin is a composite of all the different bassists, especially Jackie Fox who also refused to give up her life rights in this thing because she’s a big fancy lawyer now. Yes, it is exactly that sad. In other news, Shawkat is a kickass name. Here’s a composite of Alia, who is everything but sad.
The Runaways was based on the book Neon Angel, written by Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning’s character in the film). Because of this, we get a lot of Cherie’s personal life but none of the other girls. The good news is that Lisa Marie Presley’s daughter, Riley Keough (21), is in this movie as Cherie’s sister, Marie.
There’ll be drawer shots of her as well.
Finally, coming in as Mrs Currie we got us some Tatum O’Neal (46). Little known fact, “Tatum” is a Latin word and is singular. One Tatum, Two Tata. Here then, are both Tatum’s tata.
Here’s the rest of the blow-by-blow job i did:
- KS’s [Kristen Stewart] friend kisses her [at the beginning of the movie]
- DF [Dakota Fanning] doing Bowie’s “Lady Grinning Soul” is sex
- KS [sitting on toilet] gives masturbation lesson to a bandmate in the shower who has a hard time getting there until KS tells her to think of Farrah Fawcett
- DF quickie [fully clothed] standing up in bathroom with roadie
- KS and DF share cigarette smoke and then kiss
- Very insinuated sex scene to “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
- DF in hot pants and vest shoot for Jap[anese] mag
- DF singing in teddy lingerie says “cock”
- A little inside blouse of KS during landing in Japan
Drink: 3½ Shots
Here’s a good idea: a squirt gun filled with vodka poolside at some cheap motel like Joan/Kristen had.
There was quite a bit of drinking in The Runaways, which isn’t really all that surprising when you consider the movie was made about a rock group in the 70s. Still, it was nice to see and alcohol even played kind of a strong role in this because Cherie’s dad was a face to the floor drinker. For example, there’s this one scene where the dad drives home drunk and passes out in the car in the driveway and when Cherie opens the door to check on him he spills out of the seat on onto the driveway right in front of her friends.
Also, at the very beginning, the girls were at somebody’s house drinking a “Dirty Sink”. Now, before i go any further into this i just want to take a step back and appreciate the kind of society we live in where they can make a movie about teenage girls drinking when their parents are out (as long as it’s not my daughter). A Dirty Sink, then, is a mix of every bottle of booze from your parents’ liquor cabinet—in quantities so small they won’t notice—all poured in the same glass.
Another thing i’ll chew on your ear about was the trip to Japan. Seems The Runaways were big in Japan (even before Tom Waits made it cool) and so they went there for a live TV show. At some fancy dinner they drank a sake toast to the first TV broadcast that would be seen by over a million people and Cherie/Dakota (i think) says she wants a beer.
Here’s the booze dregs:
- The girls drink directly from the bottle behind the Hollywood sign at night
- Booze at house party
- Kristen and Dakota smoke throughout the movie
Rock & Roll: 4 Shots
First off, this was a fuckin’ movie about rock and roll and even better, The Runaways was a decent band. If you check out the soundtrack i’mma post you’ll see that not just are there some cool Runaway tunes, but also a nice selection of other artists from that era (mid 70s, for those of you who are drunk in the clouds).
To get you in the mood, here’s Dakota Fanning singing “Cherry Bomb” from the juiced-box and the soundtrack.
[Press 'Play' for the a song that's...wait for it...the Bomb and then compare it to the original here.]
Before i go to the soundtrack, though, i’d just like to point out that Don Mclean’s “Vincent (Starry Night)” plays a prominent role in the film, even if it didn’t make the soundtrack. Another side note is that, though i can’t find it credited anywheres, whoever did the incidental guitar music for The Runaways did an excellent job. Very tasty solos.
Here’s the soundtrack:
- “Roxy Roller” by Nick Gilder
- “The Wild One” by Suzi Quatro
- “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by MC5
- “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie
- “Cherry Bomb” by Dakota Fanning
- “Hollywood” by The Runaways
- “California Paradise” by Dakota Fanning
- “You Drive Me Wild” by The Runaways
- “Queens of Noise” by Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart
- “Dead End Justice” by Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning
- “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by The Stooges
- “I Wanna Be Where the Boys Are (Live)” by The Runaways
- “Pretty Vacant” by Sex Pistols
- “Don’t Abuse Me” by Joan Jett
i’ll also raise a drink to Dakota and Kristen, who did a decent job of performing in the film and the OST.
Speaking of the rock, i just gotta show you this quote from the script.
KIM FOWLEY (explodes) Dog shit! Urine-stained dogshit! Rock n’ roll is a blood sport, a sport of men. It’s for the people in the dark, the death cats, the masturbators, the outcasts who have no voice, no way of saying “I hate this world, my father’s a faggot, fuck you, fuck authority — I want an orgasm!”
Boring Technical Crap
Cherie Currie (book)
Floria Sigismondi (screenplay)
Directed by: Floria Sigismondi
Kristen Stewart – Joan Jett
Dakota Fanning – Cherie Currie
Stella Maeve – Sandy West
Scout Taylor-Compton – Lita Ford
Alia Shawkat – Robin
Riley Keough – Marie Currie
Tatum O’Neal – Cherie’s Mom
Hannah Marks – Tammy
Michael Shannon – Kim Fowley
It’s probably better to get this on DVD so you can pause it where ever you want and plus i bet there’s a lot junk they put on it that would be pretty damn interesting.
Al K Hall’s Drawers
Kristen Stewart (20)
Scout Taylor-Compton (21)
Alia Shawkat (21)
Riley Keough (21)
Tatum O’Neal (46)