10 pressing questions after seeing Kristen Stewart's 'The Runaways'
Can a movie be entertaining with so many holes?
There is something strange about Floria Sigismondi's "The Runaways." The movie has a lot of holes, confusing time jumps and characters that seem to either have little point or are dropped for no significant reason. In fact, this commentator can't remember the last time he saw a film that wasn't set on a distance world that left him so perplexed and yet was still entertained. That's partially due to the great performances by Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, Michael Shannon as manager Kim Fowley and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie (although of the three she has the most weak moments). What the director succeeds at is creating a mood (including a fantastic performance of "Cherry Bomb") and capturing the rock-filled spirits of the girls (not that there is little joy in the band's success). But even half a day later, it's hard not to question a lot of the historical accuracy and just missing moviemaking moments from the rock biopic. With that in mind, let's review the most pressing questions, shall we?
How did the band get the name "The Runaways"?
Beats me. The film features an extended sequence where the band and Fowley improv and create their massive hit "Cherry Bomb," but the important distinction of how a group comes up with the moniker is completely passed over.
Why is Alia Shawkat even in this film?
Turns out the "Arrested Development" and "Whip It" star is playing a composite of four different bassists who shuttered through the band, but does that mean the girl can't get one line? It's almost as bad as all the work Kal Penn put into "Superman Returns" only to be left mute.
Did Joan Jett and Cherie Currie have a relationship or just fool around?
Currie told HitFix's Melinda Neman they were just "kids fooling around," but the movie insinuates way more.
Why is Currie's dad such an important plot point, but his most significant scene is a phone call at the beginning of the film?
The health of Currie's father weighs on her throughout the film, but we'll have to assume any more substantive scenes between them were left on the cutting room floor.
Will anyone understand how big the band was in the United States?
The picture depicts an eye-opening tour to Japan, but besides some news clippings that fly across the screen you'd never know they charted or had big hits stateside.
Why is Lita Ford barely in the film?
Turns out the producers had concerns about telling too much of Ford's story without a lawsuit hitting them as the rocker didn't want to participate. However, couldn't the drama between Ford and Currie/Jett been communicated more clearly? She has one and a half blow up scenes and thats it. It also make s the film seem incredibly disingenuous on its subject matter as a good deal of the "truth" is missing.
Can anyone tell how long the band is actually together?
Not if you see the movie. Currie was actually a member for four years, but you'd think it lasted only a year or so based on what's on screen. You also have no idea Jett tried to keep the band going without her besides a title card at the end of the film.
Why does the film distance itself from the historical nature of the band so much?
This was a key moment in rock n'roll, but the importance of the band and how it inspired female rockers and pop stars for the next three decades is barely touched upon. Why?
Is Joan Jett officially out?
The "Godmother of Rock n' Roll" has never officially come out as a lesbian, but anyone who sees this movie is going to pretty much assume she is. Is this her coming out party?
Did Currie go to jail or just rehab?
In the film, Currie's sister visits her somewhere, but whether its a mental home, rehab facility or even jail is completely unclear.
Look forward to seeing what questions audiences have after "The Runaways" opens nationwide on March 19. They'll rock, but will they be able to tell anyone anything about the band? We'll see.
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