Teenage Mutant Ninja Jailbait: The Musical

on December 21, 2009 by Steve Simels
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511AYK3YF9L._SL500_AA240_.jpgSo last Friday, before the weekend's 2012 magnitude blizzard that permanently destroyed the East Coast (I kid, I kid), I happen to find myself in the darkened vastness of my local Hell Octaplex when on came the trailer for The Runaways. Which, as it turns out, is NOT a searing documentary style look at the problem of abused kids on the road. Well, actually it is, but more specifically it's a bio-pic, telling the more or less true story of the pioneering (and huge in Japan, although not here) all-girl punk/glam/metal rock band whose members were teenagers when they were sprung on an unsuspecting world in 1975 and sold, by their producer/manager/Svengali (wink wink!) Kim Fowley, as kiddie-porn with guitars.

But first -- Steve's Movie Reviews!!!©

 

Invictus -- Part I of director Clint Eastwood's projected "Things You Had to Memorize in High School" trilogy. Coming in 2010: Part II ("The Gettysburg Address") and Part III ("J'entre Dans La Salle de Class - First Day of Tenth Grade French").

 

 

Crazy Heart -- Jeff Bridges, as a drunken Waylon Jennings type, loses an adorable kid at a shopping mall and I'm supposed to care? Nice fake country songs by T-Bone Burnett, however, and Bridges and Colin Farrell (who do their own surprisingly credible singing) are the most interesting fake duo since Brooks and Dunn, if not Zager and Evans.

 

 

Avatar -- The worst movie ever made.

 

Okay, I was kidding about Avatar -- I haven't seen it yet (although I'm sure I'm right). And in any case, I digress.

But we were talking about The Runaways, which I'm chagrined to admit is a movie whose existence I was unaware of, let alone that it's in the pipeline (it's currently scheduled to be released in February). Turns out it's the first feature film for music vid auteur Floria Sigismondi, of Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" fame, which means it should be visually inventive at least. More importantly, it's co-produced by Joan Jett, who is, of course, the most famous -- and certainly the most interesting -- alumnus of the band.

Here's the aforementioned trailer to give you an idea of the film's basic vibe.

As you can see from the above, the irrepressible Jett...

 

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...is being played by Twilight heartthrob Kristen Stewart.

 

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Based on her work as the bad girl in Adventureland -- and I've had a huge and deeply inappropriate thing for Stewart since seeing that film -- this strikes me as fortuitous casting, and not at all out of left field.

Whereas Runaways' blonde bombshell lead singer Cherie Currie (hence the band's signature tune -- "Cherry Bomb")...

 

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...is being embodied by (obviously) no longer a child star Dakota Fanning.

 

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Who is, of course, an astoundingly good actress. But having only just barely gotten over the fact that Stewart is a mere 18 years old. I really don't know if I'm ready for Fanning as somebody who is, for want of a better phrase, er, sexually viable.

On the other hand, the conceptual figure behind the band, the aforementioned semi-legendary music biz jack of all trades Kim Fowley...

 

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...is being played by Revolutionary Road star Michael Shannon...

 

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...whose sepulchural creepiness will all but guarantee an interesting movie. And by interesting, I mean one that keeps the vaguely disturbing exploitation undercurrent of the story up front where it doubtless belongs.

An interesting footnote: The movie does NOT have a character based on original Runaways bassist Jackie Fox. Fox -- she's the one in the middle of the CD cover up top -- is now a high powered entertainment lawyer (she went to Harvard, for heaven's sake) and apparently she's got stories of her own that don't necessarily coincide with the ones Jett and company want to tell.

 

Tags: The Runaways, 2012, Kim Fowley, Invictus, Clint Eastwood, Crazy Heart, Avatar, Twilight, Kristen Stewart, Cherie Currie, Dakota Fanning, Revolutionary Road, Michael Shannon, Jackie Fox
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