A Look At The Movie “The Runaways”

 

After watching the movie The Runaways, you might find yourself wanting to “runaway” and start your own band. The movie is based on the book Neon Angel by Cherie Currie who was the lead singer for the group until she left the group. It follows the girls on their up and down journey as they try to make it as a band despite their differences, their dislike of each other at times and their verbal abusive manager, who seems to not care about them at all. All this while also being teenage girls.

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The movie Runaways. Photo Source: NPR (David Edelstein)

The stars of the movie are Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning who are both excellent as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. Stewart’s portrayal of Joan Jett’s is done in such a convincing way that sometimes you forget it’s her and not actual Joan. Fanning also gives an excellent performance that many thought she might not be able to pull off. The movies main focus is more on the two of them then the rest of the band who we never really get that introduced to.

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Kim Fowley and Cherie Currie/Michael Shannon and Dakota Fanning. Photo Source: Fanpop

The movie also does a great job of showing the kind of relationship the band and their manager Kim Fowley had. Kim, who was often referred to as sleazy and over the top is played by Michael Shannon who does a wonderful job nailing the curse-filled ranter who many felt took advantage of the girls and their finances.

Stewart and Fanning clearly worked hard at their roles to be believable rockstars and it shows throughout the movie. You see the progression of both characters from novice performers to ones that seem like they have been rocking out their whole lives.

Another important thing shown in the movie is the struggle they went through to be taken seriously. I mean, they were teenagers but most of all they were girls and at that time there wasn’t a lot of girls playing rock music. So pretty much being the first all-girl group to be playing rock music caused them to have to face a lot of disbelievers, jerk guys who would spit and throw bottles at them and dirty old guys with only crude things to yell at them. I was glad to see that the movie did touch on the abuse the girls dealt with, not just from men or their own manager and his verbal abuse but even from some of the bands they opened up. Regardless, these girls were tough and they got their much-deserved revenge when they could. There is one scene in the movie where one of the guys from the headliner band and a couple of his roadies treat the girls like dirt during sound check, so later Joan who needs to pee desperately and Sandy sneak into the bands dressing room and Joan pees all over one of their Les Paul guitars. The guy had it coming if you ask me and you can’t help but love Joan even more for doing it.

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The actors vs the real girls. Photo Source: Fanpop

Another plus in the movie is the music. It has a great soundtrack from Suzie Quatro’s (who was a big influence for both Joan and Cherie) Wild One to Nick Gilder’s Roxy Roller. There is also hits from David Bowie, Gary Glitter, The Stooges and many more great songs. Plus we get to see how Cherrybomb”the song the girls are most known for came to be.

The music is good, the styles are wild and the hair is layered. The whole movie from start to finish is good! I am sure it helped that Joan Jett also had a hand in producing but Filmmaker Floria Sigismondi nailed it in my opinion. Plus, I’m serious, just one more great thing about this movie is, it does leave you with the urge to become a rockstar! Which I encourage!

Thanks for reading and if you haven’t had a chance to check out the movie The Runaways then you really should try.

 

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Author: Kerry Johnson

Loves Care Bears, Writing, Supernatural and reading true crime.

2 thoughts

  1. I love The Runaways. I got into them because of the film too, even though I was already into a lot of 70s music I hadn’t actually listened to anything of theirs until then. Once I found the band’s recordings I was so happy, although slightly jealous that I missed them and many other amazing artists (the fact I’ve never seen Bowie will haunt me for life I think).

    I think Stewart and Fanning are great in the film (Cherie was very happy to have them on board). And Shannon is amazing as Fowley. I think it’s a shame that the other girls didn’t get as much representation (although having read Neon Angel I can understand why Lita might not have wanted much involvement with it all).

    The film does a show some of treatment of the girls, however, having read Neon Angel (you can read my view here if you’re interested https://ageofescapades.wordpress.com/2018/07/21/neon-angel/ ) I can’t help but feel sad that it doesn’t show the true horrors of it all. From going from touring to recording to touring again, and Fowley’s ‘sex ed’ – he decided to teach the girls ‘how to fuck’ by having sex in front of them – and Cherie’s abortion resulting in her feeling marginalised on the album. Perhaps if they had been better looked after, and not plied with drugs and alcohol (and even little things like getting them a tutor, something that was promised but never delivered) the original band would have survived longer.

    1. Thanks for reading! I have read Neon Angel, so I will go and read your review for sure.
      I do have to say that you make a good point and had the girls been managed by someone other than Kim, they might have survived longer for sure. As you said the movie doesn’t show the true abuse and craziness that the girls endured by Kim. They were so young too! could you imagine that happening today? That’s why those girls deserve so much credit for they did, with the right guidance, could you imagine what they could have accomplished?

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