[Ladies, meet Meredith, the newest addition to the CollegeCandy team. She’s a BU student, a movie buff, and an all around fantastic chicadee. She’ll be our resident movie gal, givings us the ins and outs of the new releases and now-on-DVDs and telling us whether or not its worth it to add ’em to our NetFlix queue.]
The Runaways (available today, July 20th, on DVD) follows the path of the band, The Runaways, also known as the first all-girl rock band. The one that wanted to rock like the boys. We watch it all happen. At the beginning, Cherie Currie is some random semi-rebellious tenth grade student in the ’70s, lip-syncing to David Bowie and chopping her hair off. At the same time, Joan Jett is being patronized at guitar lessons; she wants to learn rock songs, but apparently girls don’t play electric guitar. All of a sudden, Joan walks up to one of the most important men in the music industry, Kim Fowley, and tells him that she plays guitar. He hooks her up with a girl drummer and sends them on their way. While watching them practice, though, Fowley decides that the group needs some sex appeal. This is where Currie comes in. She’s sitting in a club when he comes up to her and says, “I like you’re look.” He walks away mouthing, “Jail. F**king. Bait.” Just the sex appeal that his band needed.
Crazy right? Tenth graders are 16.
But, uh, Miley Cyrus is 17.
Have you ever seen a movie about a songwriter or a filmmaker where the things around them inspire their art, like Walk the Line about Johnny Cash? The Runaways is not that movie. Fowley inspires the band’s songs. Fowley tells the band to think like guys, to only care about orgasms, to give themselves to the crowd then take themselves away at the last second. He tells them to sell themselves, and they do. Currie goes from wearing blue jeans and boots to wearing underwear on stage. Jett goes from leather pants and t-shirts to red skin-tight leather suits.
And these girls are YOUNG.
The casting is perfect because the audience gets to watch two actresses that they have seen grow up. Kristen Stewart played Jodie Foster’s daughter when she was eleven in Panic Room. Dakota Fanning has grown up on camera; she was ten when starred in War of the Worlds as Tom Cruise’s daughter. When audiences watch Fanning and Stewart on screen, they are reminded of those huge movies where these girls played daughters. That’s why the transformation that Joan and Cherie have throughout the movie is so effective. They’re doing drugs, they’re making out, they’re taking off their clothes. I got uncomfortable watching the little girl from Uptown Girls and The Cat in the Hat stripping down to her underwear for the cameras and on stage. And I think that’s important.
Flash forward thirty years from now. Are we going to be watching a biopic about Miley Cyrus? Of course, we’ll be rocking out to the new renditions of “Party in the USA” and “Can’t Be Tamed,” but how will we react to their re-creation of her lap dance video, her naughty leaked pictures, and her stripping down to her underwear on stage? The Runaways taught me that jailbait sells. Is someone whispering that sentiment into Miley’s ear? The music is important, but is there a Kim Fowley telling her to be a cherry bomb?
I would recommend the movie. The questions that it asks about fame, especially at such a young age, are very important. In a world that has Perez Hilton calling Miley “Slutty Cyrus,” we need a movie like this.