Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Runaways: better than you might expect

I attended a press screening Monday at Atlanta's Midtown Art Cinema of The Runaways, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

Why did I go into this with an "at least the music will be good" attitude? Well, I'm not a big fan of modern Hollywood productions aside from the occasional silly but smart comedy, and as both a record collector nerd and future historian I don't expect much accuracy from something packaged to entertain the masses.

Also, though I am a fan of The Runaways and most everything else Joan Jett related, I am not afraid to be the wet blanket who says they were by no stretch of the imagination the first all-girl rock band (Fanny and a few other groups were out the gate first). I feared this movie would try to further the band's legend by misleading potential fans, but the filmmakers did not go that route and did not shy away from the fact that the band, though their music was often fantastic, partly reached the heights they did in a pre-punk world because they looked like a pedophile's wet dream.

Was the film inaccurate? Definitely. Hell, the bass player in the movie version of The Runaways is not even based on a real person, and Lita Ford's two or three lines all made her seem like a turbobitch.

Inaccuracies and complaints aside, this film is the story of a couple of women who were thrown into fame swiftly at such a young age that you could argue they, like some less-celebrated male rock and rollers I know, did not know when to question what they were being told by industry sleazebags and money men. I'm too good of a friend to name names, but a few people I know will probably say after seeing this movie that they went through similar experiences, though for them the drugs were cheaper and they never had to face a stampede of Japanese schoolgirls.

Politics and drug drama aside, what was the coolest part? That prize goes to the scene were Kristen Stewart as early Blackhearts era Joan Jett rocked a violet blazer like the one Joan wears on that iconic album sleeve.

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