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The Runaways
kaj77

Went to Madison yesterday with Fred to see a special screening of The Runaways movie.  It was part of a special program through the Sundance Film Festival, which is still going on, in which eight films were flown out to theaters in other parts of the country.  Madison got the Runaways, Chicago got Jack Goes Boating, San Fran got Howl, etc.  I think we lucked out because I really wanted to see The Runaways and now I don't have to wait until March.

First of all, although there were some problems with this film, I really, really liked it.  I love this time in music and I loved all the live performances.  Kristen Stewart became Joan Jett, Michael Shannon was mesmerizing as Kim Fowley, and I truly didn't think Dakota Fanning could pull off the role, but I was very pleasantly surprised by her performance.  She had a few weak spots, but all in all did a really good job.  The vocals and attitudes by all was spot on and their performances were riveting.   The direction seemed to be a bit of a problem and I think a different director could have done better, but that's just a personal opinion.

 I think maybe the biggest problem could be solved by changing the name from The Runaways to Neon Angels or something, because it really is not a movie about The Runaways.  Going in with this misconception could be disappointing.  It's actually a movie about Cherie Currie and her family and her friendship with Joan Jett, which takes place around the formation of and first couple of years of The Runaways.  As a result we miss alot of what happens with the band.  The members other than Cherie & Joan are given short shrift, as are much of the band itself.  I personally was disappointed that they never told us how the band was named and that there was no scenes of the early recording sessions.  They showed the girls going on the road to Cleveland and playing a few other dates on the road, and then flashed some press clippings, and then showed them arriving in Japan as big stars.  If Cherie hadn't mentioned it after the movie we would never have known that the first US tour was supposed to last 3 weeks, but that they stayed out on the road for 3 1/2 months, and that after that they did a few months in Europe, which was followed by a few more months on the road in the US, and that all this took place prior to Japan.  Knowing that would have put other aspects of the movie - like Cherie's exhaustion - into perspective.

Interesting Q&A with Cherie Currie after the movie - she was there because the director "couldn't make it."  Um, yeah right.  All in all, it might have worked out for the best.  Cherie was very forthcoming about her feelings for the movie.  She indicated that she was angry at first, because there were some creative liberties taken with her story.  She made it clear that even though it was based on her book, she had no control over the script or anything really.   She was very impressed with the performances by Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart, and Michael Shannon, but admitted that her and Joan were "shitting bricks" throughout filming.  She was worried because Floria was a first-time script writer and a first-time feature director.  She also wouldn't say she liked the movie, but did admit it was growing on her a little more every time she saw it.  She also talked a bit what it was like back then, including that Kim Fowley was constantly pitting the girls against each other.  She also said she thought that she believed all the girls wanted her to quit the band, that Lita was scary and intimidating, and that the thing with Joan was just experimentation - they loved each other but were not in love with each other.  When asked about Jackie - she said she was being difficult with rights, as was Lita when asked to participate by Joan.  She was sad when asked about Sandy & said her & Joan fought to have her drumming kept in the movie.  She said Sandy was the one who really wanted the movie to be made.  

All in all, a very enjoyable movie.  I might have to see it again when it's released in March.

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