The Runaways (2010)

The Runaways (2010) — This movie is dogshit.  I’m not complaining about its factual innaccuracy, which is pretty much par for the course in any band/musician biopic, but as film-making this film just drops the ball.  Which really sucks.  I wanted this movie to be good.  First of all, I sort of dig the Runaways (although I’m not overly familiar with their work beyond “Cherry Bomb” [which the movie didn’t really help very much]).  Second given that this movie starts Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, both of the Twilight series, I figured a lot of girls would go see this and instead pining for sparkly douchebags they would decide to become badass punk chicks.  BECAUSE THE WORLD NEEDS BADASS PUNK CHICKS!  Now more than ever…  But the girls have not been flying to see this movie because they must have gotten word about how shitty it was.  I think more than anything else it was the pacing.  This movie is less than two hours and feels like more than three.  The story is not told well at all.  Which sucks because regardless of how much of it is or isn’t true it’s a pretty good rock story.  Joan Jett (Stewart) sets out to start first major all-girl rock band, deal with exploitative sleazebag of a manager (Michael Shannon as Kim Fowley).  Lead singer Cherie Currie (Fanning) is plucked from obscurity to front the band at the age of fifteen and quickly falls into the clichéd sex-and-drugs-excess of rock star biopics (and presumably rock music itself).  Maybe not crazy original but that could have made a good movie!  [Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton) did not consent to have her life story told and therefore is very minimized, as is the late Sandy West (Stella Maeve) and bassist Jackie Fox, who is a replaced by a fictional character played by Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat (who has no lines at all that I can remember)]  The acting by the three characters who actually have developed roles (Jett, Currie, & Fowley) are all very good (especially Shannon as Fowley, who drips sleaze in every shot) but none of it can overcome the awful writing and directing by Floria Sigismondi.  At its best moments this movie feels like a really shitty imitation of better movies like Sid and Nancy, but those moments are few and far between.  BAD MOVIE CRITIC JOKE: “Run away” from this movie.

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