Thursday, April 15, 2010

BitchBuzz: Women Filming Women

My latest column for BitchBuzz incorporates some of my review of The Runaways. The Queen and I had an interesting discussion on Facebook about it -- I was a bit more critical of it, mostly because I found it choppy and too often given to clich├ęs, but on the whole I liked it and would recommend it. Among the reasons:

The recently released Runaways movie, directed by Floria Sigismondi, gives an inside view of the ways women are exploited and manufactured for display in the glitzy world of rock-n-roll.

We've long ago grown accustomed to the star story so compelling laid out in countless reiterations of A Star is Born and could recite the arc by heart: talented kid with gumption struggles with obscurity for a few minutes before being discovered and almost immediately resenting the terrible toll that stardom takes, finally crashing and burning in glorious Technicolor [tm]. Lives that don't quite fit the mold get remolded; after all, the audience knows what it wants.

The Runaways both ascribes to this genre and complicates it...


As always, read the rest at BBHQ. Already had a nice comment from Cecilia Tan, who noted the disparity between the way the Sex Pistols have been mythologized but the Runaways merely dismissed as a novelty act. A gender issue? You bet. Will this film get the attention other rock-n-roll movies get in the music press or will it be dismissed as a chick flick? We shall see.

11 comments:

The Queen said...

Excellent review -in all fairness, the story was Cheri & Joan's (and some made up); Ford and Fox (West has passed on) would not give their approval for their life stories. (I suppose they'd rather be remembered via the horrific 'Edgeplay' which doesn't portray anybody in a positive light - except Currie. Jett refused to participate in that flick.) Fox actually tried to sue the producers of 'Runaways.'

Jett was also much more involved in the burgeoning punk scene than anyone in the Runaways, and definitely after the band broke up.

I thought the choppiness really helped by eliminating problematic gaps between the events; I love that the sexuality was treated as is, and not pornified.

Stewart, Fanning and Shannon were really amazingly good.

K. A. Laity said...

Absolutely agree on the cast! Wow -- were they good and I was *heavily* prejudiced against Fanning and Stewart.

I dunno about the choppiness -- but I always approach things from a scripting POV and you are so magnificently visual, I think we are hard to please in different directions. I think we both agree GO SEE IT!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I've been going back and forth on whether to see it and this makes me want go forward with it. Thanks!

K. A. Laity said...

Do! Go see it and tell us what you think. I think you'll like it.

Jack C. Young said...

I guess this means that mysogyny will be the last bastion of ignorance to fall. WHEN is the question. Sadly no one knows the answer. Just keep on enlightening the rest of us yahoos as you are doing. Victory always goes to the persistent. LOL.

K. A. Laity said...

Well, you seem to have no problem, Jack, so you just need to inspire more men to follow your example.

Jack C. Young said...

Believe me, I do. Every chance I get! I also believe we will get there. And I hope to be around when it happens.
Thank you for sharing yourself and your opinions with us.

Todd Mason said...

Most rock flix these days are dismissed...the subject matter and Stewart's presence might well get some young women to take a gamele on it, now that it's finally in wide release (in Philly, it's been all over the Jersey suburbs since limited-release opening...I guess Jersey Rocks).

Oddly, I've always thought the Pistols were as badly messed over by McLaren as the Runaways were by Fowley...but if you want to see this kind of nonsense writ even larger, one need only look at the Bangles' career. I still wonder if they made some sort of Faustian bargain after the first CHARLES IN CHARGE (a terrible CBS kids' sitcom) theme musically plagiarized the melody of their "Dover Beach," and CBS, forced to give them actual support, said, OK, but you will need to become dolls...but I suspect CBS probably took the attitude that everything they did was for the Bangles' benefit...I mean, c'mon, women can't play instruments, they wear clothes.

K. A. Laity said...

I think the music biz might be the most exploitative next to -- what, drugs? People are packaged as products even faster than TV and film, and marketing appearance is a big part of that (regardless of gender), but yeah -- women are seldom thought to be anything more than the way they look. Sigh.

Hagelrat said...

I'd be interested to see the film. :)

K. A. Laity said...

I think you would definitely enjoy it and it will inspire all kinds of songs for that new acoustic bass!