Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Review: The Runaways

Country: USA

Year: 2010

When we say rock ’n’ roll, most of us think of male bands, like Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Guns ‘n’ Roses and those that everyone knew. Through history of rock and metal music most that we can see are sweaty, pretty, longhaired men, full of testosterone and adrenaline. They are shredding their guitars like it’s their last time and leave their hearts on the stage. For a very long time, for girls, the biggest honour would be to stand in the front row in the audience and hold their cool boyfriends’ jackets. They were considered as sexual objects later… Like groupies and those little girls who would give their life just to spend one hour with some rock ‘n’ roll boy. But… Girls woke up, took their instruments and showed that their energy and courage is much bigger than some boys. This and dream of being a rock star is the main subject in a movie called The Runaways by Floria Sigismondi.

Don’t we all in one part of our life wish to be like Lita Ford, Doro, Blondie? Of course, I am asking the girls’ team. Guys don’t even have a right to speak up here. Yes, they are big metal / rock goddesses.  The Runaways was a band formed by Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Cherie Currie, Sandy West, Jackie Fox in late ’70s. They are known for their biggest hit called “Cherry Bomb”. They published four albums but broke down after that. They were wild girls, as the song says, but they broke in a few good pieces. Joan became one of the best female musicians ever. Lita Ford as a sex symbol and perfect guitar player marked the era of the ’80s. In the movie that wasn’t the main theme but a desire to be big, unconscious that they were something beyond others is awesomely represented.

Kristen Stewart, in my eyes, will always be Bella from The Twilight Saga. She tried to be Joan really hard but she was represented as an average American, a little bit androgenic kid who loved boys and girls. The only thing I liked about her role are her moves voice and style. She walked like Joan and even chewed a bubble gum in the same way. Joan here is a symbol that we always should follow our dreams and never give up. On that side, Miss Stewart did a great job. Of course, to me, Joan Jett was pretty, but not that much because she tried to break that “girls must be pretty and gentle” stereotype. Her connection with Cherie forms the start. It was special and they both gave effort to show that.

Dakota Fanning did an excellent job here. It’s hard to be Cherie but her desire to get out of the claws of an unhappy family, to be seen and to express herself was really good. Dakota is a big actress and she really managed to get into the shoes of a fifteen year old girl who just admired David Bowie.

Story about everything that is shining and thus burns faster is a story of The Runaways as a band. Simply, they were kids and those kids wanted to be big. They exaggerated, fell off the horse and that’s it. Those girls were really popular. Everyone wanted to be like them. During and after their story girls got some more important role in the world of music but their access to everything bad was their problem. Like when we give a kid an expensive toy. Their crash as a band is symbolically shown in the scene in studio when Joan and Cherie last time saw each other in the same room.

Important role also belongs to Michael Shannon as Kim Fowley. There is always some crazy manager who is breaking the wall in front of the band. But he is twisted, okay, he gathered them, found a perfectly beautiful singer and put something new on stage but couldn’t get much more back. He tried to reach grown-ups from kids but he failed. In the movie, his role was really important, he worked with Kiss, Alice Cooper and other big names but this was his best project. He didn’t even notice what he did for rock ‘n’ roll history. In some way, girls grew up with this crazy guy but learned a lesson, to trust their talent and show teeth to every man that says girls can’t do much. But we, cherry bombs, the wild girls of the world will show them we can.

I liked the movie, it’s simpatico, funny and a little bit sad. But next time if someone, anyone from America who wants to say something about ’70s or later, please make it look like that, not like “High school musical” or some modern pop story. Those were not One Direction or Jonas Brothers. Those are The Runaways. One of the first all-female bands in history.