This movie in particular can't entirely be accused of following the rock biopic conventions because it follows two different people. Spoiler Alert for real life, but Joan Jett and Cherie Currie both reach heights of excess, then Cherie suffered the consequences without the redemption while Joan got the redemption without the consequences.
The result is that you don't really get that boring, pedantic “drugs are bad” lesson you get from most rock biopics. I mean, drugs are bad, but they are also cool. And I like seeing that dichotomy finally represented with enough ambiguity.
can lead to THIS:
or it can lead to THIS:
Almost nothing makes me nostalgic (my lack of enthusiasm for Scott Pilgrim makes that clear enough), and movies that take place in the 70s especially don't make me nostalgic since I was not alive. By the way: for a low budget-flick this movie does a very good job of capturing what the 70s seem like they must have felt like.
The Runaways nonetheless makes me nostalgic for playing in terrible bands in dirty basements throughout my teen years, which is funny because I don't actually think I enjoyed it at the time. Playing music was, for me, mostly an expensive and creatively frustrating chore, and when I realized I was never going to actually be a musician I remember viewing all of those band practices as wasted time. A few years later, I finally see that I wasn't wasting my time – being in a shitty band and constantly breaking instruments and not being able to get my act together was a lot of fun! This movie also makes me nostalgic for land-line phones.
The other thing that can't be said enough: this movie is fucking LOUD. It was LOUD in the theater, and when we watched it at home I cranked up the volume. Fuck my neighbors. We've had a slew of loud movies recently: it's one of the best things Scott Pilgrim has going for it, and I've read multiple people observing that the score of Inception is almost another character in the film. When I saw that film a second time, I realized that part of what makes the famous hallway scene so amazing is that music: that low, loud, steady, apocalyptic blare; it's the sound of your mind getting blown. The soundtrack to New Moon, despite the indie-rock pedigree, is played in the film at such low, tinny levels it sounds like it's coming from Tyler's car stereo at the impound lot ten miles out of town. Grow some balls, Summit Entertainment. Turn up the fucking VOLUME.
The three lead performances should again be recognized. Creepy as it is to watch Dakota Fanning play a slutty, drugged-out, exploited mess, she does a good job with it. Still creepy though.
Kristen Stewart is often mocked for playing mumbly, twitchy characters, but I know a lot of mumbly, twitchy people, don't you?
And by the end of the film Stewart plays Jett in the process of adopting a more 80s-friendly persona – and she really feels grown up, more conscious of her rock persona. Speaking of rock personas, this guy is obviously still THE BEST:
Michael Shannon continues to gnaw his films apart from the inside. He is so good at playing charmingly psychotic assholes that he makes me want to be a charmingly psychotic asshole. More of one than I already am.
And that sort of sentiment makes me realize that maybe what I find appealing about this movie is only specifically true for me. Maybe the rest of you have gotten your younger anarchic self under control, or you never had it at all. I hope not, though. See the movie if you haven't already, and see if you want to go out and do drugs and destroy some shit after.
I know it is irresponsible for me to say I want you to have those feelings, but fuck it. And fuck the critical establishment for complaining about stock tropes. Complaining about stock tropes is becoming a fucking stock trope. And fuck Kristen Stewart haters. And fuck the squares who think movies are getting too loud. And fuck me for complaining about the sexualization of Dakota Fanning, she can do what she wants. And fuck you for reading this. Fuck everything. Rock and Roll, man.
Related: The Biterion Collection: The Runaways