Quick Movie Review: The Runaways (2010)

It’s nowhere near official, but according to my gut and this weird needle test the missus did at the Halloween party we attended, we’re having a girl. I’ll be honest, that’s a little terrifying, but that’s my problem, not that kid’s. Anyway, if nothing else, watching The Runaways made me want to make sure that my daughter can chase her dream and not have some asshole tell her that girls don’t play electric guitar.

So, The Runaways is kind of the story of the 70s all-girl rock band of the same name, but it’s really more about Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) and Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and their relationships with each other, booze and how that lead to the rise and fall of a rad band. The rest of the band doesn’t really have much of an impact on the movie, with the next most important person as far as the film’s concerned being manager/producer Kim Fowley who kind of brought the girls together and told them to think like dudes when playing (at least as far as the flick’s concerned, I’m sure it was a lot more complex in real life, but I’m not reviewing real life). You see Joan and Cherie living their respective crappy lives, eventually meeting up, taking the world by storm and then eventually breaking up thanks to drugs and, though it’s never said on screen, I would imagine the inability of such a young girl (Cherie was 15 when she started with the band) to process all the craziness that was going on in her life. Overall, it’s your basic biopic with rises and falls and all that. It’s a little boring in the middle, doesn’t always show important moments or even mention them (the girls head to Japan for a tour, but I don’t believe we’ve heard anything about them recording an album yet) and it is definitely weird watching Fanning strut around in her underwear. Aside from that, though, I think all the actors involved did a great job, though it’s a crime to hire Alia Shawkat if you’re basically going to have her play the same role Ethan Embry did in That Thing You Do. No more silent bass players!

I didn’t know a lot about The Runways or Joan Jett going into the movie, but I’d been excited about it for a while. I first heard the band on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack and read up on them from there. I was shocked to discover Joan Jett and Lita Ford had been in the same band together. Eventually, I picked up a used Runaways compilation CD at my beloved Boogie Records that is pretty great, but that’s really the extent of my knowledge of them. I’m gonna have to learn more about these and other lady rockers to make sure my potential daughter has some good role models to look up to (good in the sense of being badass chicks, not all the drugs and whatnot).

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