I’m a movie guy. For me, cinema is the ultimate archive of humanity’s last gasp…an archive and a mirror, reflecting back to us our best and worst qualities, impulses, desires and proclivities. On a personal level, the films I’ve seen throughout my life are like mileposts, each movie has a connected memory attached to it; the small story of how I came to watch it, what ways it affected me and where I was at that point in time (physically and mentally). For the next 365 days, I am committing myself to see – at least – one film a day, which I will not only review but also diarize my associated thoughts. Why do I choose the movies that I do? How did I feel when I made the selection? Was some sort of anxiety gnawing at my chest? Did I just ingest a poisonous tuna melt from the unreliable diner down my block?
Here are the rules – there are no rules, journalistic or otherwise. The genre/era of film is of no consequence…only the reason why I picked it. It can be something I see in the theatre, but more likely it’ll be a streaming deal. I don’t have cable…so probably a flick off YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes.
It’s a grand experiment, to be sure. At the end, I hope to gain some insight into how our daily lives influence the reasons we watch the movies we do, and in turn, how the movies we watch influence our daily lives. I think I’ll call it…shit what do I call it? Daily Movie? Nah…too mundane. My Movie Year? Nope…too…something. Living With Movies? Sounds like I’ve got a disease. Hmmm…how about, 365: A Cinematic Sojourn? Now, that has a bit of class – and alliteration. I think I’ll go with that…for the time being anyway.
30 June 2017
I used to be a musician in another life. I rocked my first gigs at CBGBs back in the ‘80s when the lower east side was still a terrifying hell hole. It was glorious. I was 14…an obese nerd playing hard core music. Jeebus…was I out of place. Well, I lost the weight and kept playing and even went on to get signed to a major in the ‘90s. It all fell apart though, in typical ‘Behind the Music’ fashion. When I was a kid, I used to have a major crush on Chery Curry from The Runaways. I wasn’t really a fan of their music, though “Cherry Bomb” is a classic slab of LA sleaze rock. Anyway, I don’t really think about that part of my life anymore…I did today though. As out of place as I may have been in those wild and weird days…I feel even more so now, out of place. No thinking person should be subject to a desk job. That leads me to tonight’s choice…The Runaways. I never saw it when it came out, so I’ll give it a whirl. Ok…here we go – I’ll see you on the other side.
Review: The Runaways (2010)
That was an ordeal. Enduring director Floria Sigismondi’s masturbatory morass, was about as much fun as five consecutive root canals and a prostate exam performed by an irate gorilla. Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, who portray Joan Jett and Cherie Curry respectively, floundered and mumbled through the entire proceedings like two trout flopping about on a fishing trawler gasping their dying breaths, while Michael Shannon, who plays the Runaways manager Kim Fowley appears sporadically throughout to merely gesticulate and ape for the camera like a mongoloid on metherdrine. The film was just so unhinged, meandering, disjointed, and elementally goddawful that it’s kind of a Herculean task to sift through the wreckage and list all its flaws.
First let’s start with the direction, which was handled by the aforementioned Sigismondi. As I was watching this train wreck unfold before me at glacial speed, I kept thinking to myself how much it reminded me of some lame ‘90s music video in the hamfisted and pretentious way it was cut together. I now realize this makes perfect sense as Floria Sigismondi began her career directing hamfisted and pretentious videos in the’90s and apparently she hasn’t progressed a scintilla in her abilities. The images just knocked around, bumping into each other, flowing through each other, never managing to lay down any semblance of a story arc or coherent train of events. It was as if the editor cut the celluloid into little pieces and randomly pasted them together like some half assed film school wank-fest. At no point was the audience made aware of exactly what the band’s significance was, whether or not they were popular or successful or just what exactly was the nature of their interpersonal relationships…nada. In fact, the entire movie seemed to be about everything else besides the actual story of the Runaways. One scene they’re all practicing in a trailer, the next they’re in Japan, cut to Kristen Stewart dancing around, playing guitar in her underwear…then Dakota Fanning is making out with some roadie whose name we never find out.
I’m realizing as I’m writing this, that what I’m attempting to convey to you is sounding just as jumbled and convoluted as the film itself. Still, how does one review a total mess?
Dakota Fanning slept-walked through the entire picture, unable to emote anything besides dazed. That would be my description of her entire performance – dazed. The moments she had with her sister (by the way Cherie Curry’s sister was her twin, a fact that was never mentioned in the picture) were so wooden and stilted they might as well have been acting in a ‘70s porno. Still, I don’t think Meryl Streep in her prime could have done anything with this script, which was piss-poor to say the least.
Kristen Stewart displayed her usual assortment of tourettes-like tics and convulsions, bent over like the hunchback of Notre Dame, baring absolutely no resemblance to Joan Jett in personality or appearance. Moreover, you never understand what her motivations are or how she went on to become an icon of the MTV generation. It’s just simply not explained.
Ironically, both Stewart and Fanning paled in comparison to the acting chops of the actual characters they were playing, as Joan Jett’s turn in the movie Light of Day and Cherry Curie’s performance in Foxes far outshone them both.
Inexplicably, the film’s sole focus was on Jett, Curie and Fowler leaving out the rest of the band members which included Lita Ford who went on to have a successful career in the ‘80s. This blatant omission totally saps the movie of any credibility it could have had as far as it being a worthy bio-pic. So, ultimately it fails on all fronts, it was neither art nor any sort of legitimate recounting of historic events. By the end of it, anyone who had no prior knowledge of the Runaways would still be left without an inkling of who in the hell they were!
Final Verdict: Abysmal. If you want to get any kind of an idea of what the band was about, check out Edgeplay: A Film About the Runaways, a little documentary made by Victory Tischler-Blue and it’s a million times better than this pile of oats.
How I feel: Uninspired. Creating a detailed power point presentation on the standard operating procedure of ordering office supplies would have been more fun.