The Runaways (R)
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Okay, so this is a biopic about a short-lived 1970s all-girl hard rock band called The Runaways. I'd never heard of them, I'm afraid, but one of the members was Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), with whom I was of course familiar, from her later career in Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The movie starts in 1975 (which was the year I was born), and it focuses on two teenage girls, Jett being one of them, and the other being Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning). There are a few other girls in the Runaways, though the only one I'd ever heard of besides Joan is Lita Ford, and I've never been particularly familiar with her music. But anyway... like I said, the movie focuses on Joan and Cherie, and we don't really get to know any of the other girls at all, even though the band was actually started by Jett and Sandy West. They meet a record producer named Kim Fowley (of whom I had also never heard, and btw, in spite of the name "Kim," it's a guy). Kim basically trains the girls on how to behave like rock stars. (Though perhaps "behave" is the wrong word.)
Um... so, anyway, basically the important thing about the Runaways is that, before them, there was no such thing as an all-girl hard rock band. They were, like, pioneers. Which is kind of hard for me to wrap my head around, y'know? I'm so... part of a world in which it wouldn't occur to anyone that women can't be rock stars. I mean, hard rock. Obviously there were girl groups that sang softer stuff. So, it was interesting to learn about the band basically paving the way for other musicians. But aside from that, there's drama in the form of Cherie slowly descending into drug abuse and whatnot. I mean, she wasn't the only one, but it seemed to take more of a toll on her. And there were tensions in the band, as Cherie got more media attention than anyone else. And there are moments where it seems like Joan is, like, into her, though I don't feel like that was explored in any depth. And there's stuff about Cherie's sister, and the rest of the family. And the scenes where Kim is training everyone are cool, because he's basically an ass, but for a good reason. Kind of like a drill instructor in the military... only, you know, more amusing. And slightly glam.
Anyway, eventually the band breaks up. And Joan moves on to bigger and better things. And Cherie does more normal stuff, I guess. Not sure what else to say, except I actually thought Kristen Stewart did a good job of making me believe she was Joan Jett. And Dakota Fanning did a good job of making me believe she... wasn't Dakota Fanning. Oh yeah, and obviously, the movie had some awesome music.