How does an adult, bald male write about the Runaways and not come off sounding like a perv? He doesn't. So, I apologize in advance.
So, for those who didn't read the last post, well, why are you reading this one? But still, some quick background. Most of my movie-watching is done on my iPod Touch, to and from the office. So, I watch movies on a very small screen in about 15-30 minute segments. Because of this, it sometimes takes several days or even weeks to finish a movie, depending on the distractions in my life. 3.5" Movies hopes to provide reviews of movies seen in this odd format. So, let's get to the review.
The Runaways is a movie about the teen girl rock group headed by teenager Cherie Currie, played by Dakota Fanning. The most famous of the band is Joan Jett, played by Twilight star Kirstin Stewart.
The movie follows the typical rock star movie pattern. The band members are down and out. They start the band, in this case thanks to the machinations of their adult male manager, Kim Fowley, played by Michael Shannon. They make it big, feel discord with thier old lives (mostly via Fanning's Currie), get involved with drugs and sex, become jealous of each other, and then break up. That's it. I just explained the whole movie in those few sentences.
The reality is that with certain genre movies, you can almost predict the story before it starts. This movie played entirely into the stardom-followed-by-a-fall genre. So, in order to enjoy the movie, you have to kinda accept that nothing in the plot is going to be fresh; and trust me, nothing is. However, what is fresh is the interesting and impressive transformation of kid star Dakota Fanning into a very adult-themed Cherie Currie.
I've been following Dakota Fanning's career since she was a goddamn infant. The SciFi channel, before they went all ghey and renamed themselves SyFy (is it just me, or is this as weak as the wannabe girls who change their names to Lauryn to be different), aired a mini-series called Taken in 2002. It was a multi-generational mini-series about aliens visiting Earth. It's been a long time since I've seen it, but I remember that I was very impressed by the little actress who was, I think, like half-alien or whatever. She was something important that the aliens wanted. Regardless, she must've been 6 or 7 years old back then (when filmed, 8 y.o. in 2002), but I was amazed at her ability to actually act.
Thankfully, Fanning's career took off. Still, being a kid star, she focused on kid films. That recently changed when she took a role in a movie no one saw where her character was raped. I suppose it was intended to help her break from the Disney stuff, but all it did was create controversy in the papers. Unfortunately, the controversy did little for the film, which did not do well in the box office.
She then had a role in the Twilight films, but there, she plays a young vampire and, in my estimation, comes off as a child.
Cherie Currie, though, was a role that was seemingly made for Fanning. After the first few scenes, you don't see kid-star Fanning anymore, but instead, Cherie Currie, all sexual energy with absolutely no focus or control. In an early scene, she glides around her HS auditorium's stage in skin-tight pants during a talent show lip-synching with David Bowie. In later scenes, none of which actually depict sex but imply it, she is shown to be a strung out rockstar sex symbol in none of its glory.
This is all to say that Fanning transcends the cookie cutter (and watered down) storyline and actually gives an impressive, adult performance. Gone is the Fanning that starred in such fare as the Cat in the Hat and Charlotte's Web. Welcome the Dakota Fanning that grinds against the floor in skin tight pants, mimics a drug overdose, and then can actually successfully play the other side of the coin, the pensive girl who realizes that he rockstar days are over and she's just another one in the crowd.
So, I'm giving the movie a 6 out of 10. It really needed to stop pulling punches and the rockstar portion of the movie was too compact to really appreciate the rise-and-fall nature of the storyline. But I give Dakota an 8 out of 10 for successfully transitioning to adult material in a way that will surely help her find better adult roles in the future.
Until next time, keep 'em 3.5"!