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The Runaways [Celluloid Hero]


The Runaways (2010)


With Wingstock 2012 coming up, I wanted to check out the backstory of Joan Jett, going back to her original days in The Runaways. If this movie was indicative of her career, I’m surprised Joan Jett still has one. Bad acting, bad script, and bad pacing killed it.

Never before have I watched a movie about a band or music in general that did not make me want to start my own band. Every other music-related movie (from “Spinal Tap” to “Once” to “The Doors” to “Sid & Nancy” and so on) got me psyched up. The Runaways just started bad, continued bad, and ended bad.

I never felt like any of it was believable or realistic. Jett starts the movie awkwardly strumming a guitar, unable to even play “Smoke on the Water”; in the next scene she’s butchering “Wild Thing” with a drummer; in the next scene the whole band is tearing through a set at a house party. The pacing just jumps so much that nothing makes sense. There were also a lot of scenes that felt unnecessary. The inclusion of those combined with the exclusion of other developments just kept taking me out of the moment and asking aloud what the hell was happening.

The starring duo of Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning never felt right. Despite the blessings of Joan Jett & Cherie Currie, most of the movie felt like a fictional retelling. The teen angst that Jett and Currie were going through was so generic, it felt like a made-for-tv movie. Stewart relied heavily on her “hunch my shoulders and look through the corner of my eyes” technique. Fanning looked even more out of place; I hate to hold her younger roles against her, but when you have an adorable little blonde pixie, it is just really difficult to accept her as a rebellious drug-addled punk rocker.

I really went into this movie hoping to be won over, but it failed on pretty much every level.


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On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, “The Runaways” gets a 1 out of  10.

[Each week, Varacchi explores cinema from his own perspective. From indie to foreign to mainstream, he’ll watch it all. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome, leave a comment below. CLICK HERE for the Celluloid Hero archives]

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