Thursday, April 8, 2010
"The Runaways" (opening April 9 at Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas and AMC La Jolla) is a film about an all girl rock 'n' roll band in the 70’s that Joan Jett started.
Joan Jett (played by “Twilight’s” Kristen Stewart) defied the conventions of the times and had the balls to go to the twisted music producer Kim Fowly (Michael Shannon) to try and make her girl band a reality. Thanks to Kim, he finds the “innocent” 15-year-old Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning). Kim recruits Joan Jett (rhythm guitarist) Cherie Currie (lead singer) Lita Ford (lead guitarist) Sandy West (drums) to create his new project, which is the band “The Runaways.” Joan Jett and Sandy West made music no one’s ever heard before and Kim couldn’t believe it was coming from women. Kim trains them to endure the rock n roll scene, which was then only dominated by men.
“Men don’t want to see women play electric guitar,” says Kim Fowley. So he has the women practice playing while guys throw beer bottles and dog shit at them so they can get used to the abuse they will have to endure. But these semi-feminist punks overcome the obstacles and make their first hit song “Cherry Bomb.”
Cherie Currie starts to explode with fame and a love for drugs. All of this becomes too hard for her to handle, No one truly realizes that big superstar Cherie is only 16 and already has a drug problem, which she deals with for the rest of her life. Cherie leaves the band and that’s when Joan Jett breaks down. But somehow -- even with all this bullshit going on -- she makes one of her greatest hits “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which made her band “Joan Jett and the Blackhearts” famous.
I am fan of Joan Jett’s music and the inspiration she gave to women to push the odds and do whatever the f-ck you want. At the age of twelve I got my first Gibson electric guitar and all I wanted to do is be the next Brody Dalle, Kathleen Hanna, and of course Joan Jett. She really inspired me to be the activist that I am today and I hope that one day I too can break stereotypes like she did. So you can see that I had high expectations for the film and wasn't truly disappointed when I saw it.
Anyway, Kristen Stewart isn’t my favorite actress but she got my respect by taking the role of a women like Joan Jett because Joan is wild punk with a serious attitude and I was really surprised Kristen did a good job playing Joan. As for Dakota Fanning, she did an amazing job playing Cherie Currie and has finally grown up. I didn’t expect the film to be directed toward Cherie Currie so much but I’m glad it was because not too many people focus on Cherie as much as Joan Jett nowadays. If people go see this film just because of Kristen and Dakota then they should consider seeing another film because this film is about the friendship of Joan Jett and Cherie Currie not about Bella from “Twilight” crap or people wanting to seeing a dirty side of Dakota. Compared to other music films, “The Runaways” is more entertaining and didn’t seem like a documentary, which to me is a good thing. I also like the way the movie was shot because it really does look like it was filmed in the 70s.
All in all “The Runaways” (rated R for language, drug use and sexual content - all involving teens) had a raw sense of what the friendship between Joan and Cherie was like and showed the determination they had to make rock n roll history.
--Felicia Lomeli is a senior at Mount Miguel High School.