Friday, November 5, 2010

Angry It Up

I made the stupid mistake of watching the new film about The Runaways, instant regret. Where was the intensity, the passion for music, the fire that burned in the hearts of these teenage cherry bombs and threatened to explode? And most importantly, where was the angry? That Joan Jett and Cherie Currie had so much input into the film (Jett co-produced and the script was adapted from Currie's biography) makes it so much worse. I can believe that these young girls were not confident enough to stand up to the sexist bullying of their odious producer Kim Fowley, but I cannot believe they meandered through their Runaway days like the little lost personality-lacking lambs Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart so blankly portray them as. The film tries to take on the issue of exploitation in the music industry but never really comes out and talks about it. There is enough screen time to show scene after scene of pretty girls in makeup and lingerie wasted on uppers and downers, but not enough time to let the characters complain or even just comment on being manipulated. More cherry soda than cherry bomb.
Ari Up (pictured) died almost three weeks ago. Ari formed The Slits in 1976, a year after The Runaways started playing together. She is remembered as a vanguard of punk and feminism, even at 14 she was defiant and rebellious, the real wild girl who developed into a real wild woman. If they do make a film about The Slits I just hope they can convey the conviction they played their music with and the fun they had doing it, because this is what's missing from The Runaways film. That and angry teenagers, and surely they aren't that hard to find?