Free Comic Book Day returns to the Charlotte Heroes on May 1st. In addition to the stellar lineup of artists, including Mark Brooks and Adam Hughes, there will be an art show at Gallery Twenty-Two that evening.
Mark your calendars, this is one of the best Free Comic Book events around.
As a fan of the Runaways since 1977, I really wanted to love this film, and it is a good film, but it's not really a Runaways film. It's the Joan Jett and Cherie Currie story.
The use of the Runaways is just a plot device to move Joan's and Cherie's stories forward. It's no surprise, and it's been reported elsewhere, that Lita, Sandy and Jackie are really shortchanged in the film. This is sad because the actresses that are chosen to play Sandy and Lita are perfect for their roles. Who knows if the fictional bassist that stands in for Jackie is any good, she never says anything and hides in the background the entire film.
Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett in The Runaways
I was pleasantly surprised at how good Kristen Stewart was in her portrayal of Joan. The Twilight films haven't exactly stretched her acting chops, but in this film she has to work at it, and I think she hits a home run.
Dakota Fanning for the most part was a great Cherie, though something about her portrayal as Cherie in decline in the latter part of the film didn't feel quite right to me. Maybe when I see the film again I'll figure that one out.
As I mentioned earlier the actresses who played Lita and Sandy were well cast and would have been great, had they been given something to do. Stella Maeve as Sandy was outstanding, and in the early part of the film she had a pretty significant role, but by the last three-quarters of the film she was almost non-existent. Scout Taylor-Compton got less lines as Lita, but her look was dead-on. I would have loved to see her get an opportunity to show more of Lita than the couple of arguments she has with Cherie. The brief glimpses of Lita performing showed us that she really did her homework. We get an opportunity to see what Cherie was like on stage, but from the viewpoint of a sixteen year old boy, Lita's stage presence was just as powerful. Too bad we didn't get to see that in the film.
Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie in The Runaways
That's another complaint of mine. The Runaways stage show was a huge part of the bands existence, but they hardly touched on that in the film. Sure, they showed the band playing Cherry Bomb in Tokyo, but even that was so quick it was hard to understand how intense a Runaways concert was for the teenage boys, and the Japanese audience was almost entirely female! Maybe that's how it really was, but it entirely misses the point of the Runaways on stage. Couldn't they have shown what it was like for the American teenage guys that were the primary fans of the band? I was there, I know how it was, but this film totally misses that.
The scene that hinted at the story Joan has told about Rush for many years was so obscured, unless you knew the story, you wouldn't make the connection back to the Canadian rock trio. Not sure why it was filmed the way it was, it's not like everybody doesn't now the story by now. That would have been a great scene had they done it right.
Lastly, the end scroll where it tells what everyone is doing today was a major slap in the face to Lita, Jackie and Sandy, who didn't even get mentioned. It's almost as if they weren't even in the band. They couldn't take a second to talk about Lita's very successful career, mention that Jackie is an entertainment lawyer, or pay tribute to Sandy who died much too young? How hard would it have been to do that? They need to fix this for the DVD, but they won't.
Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning in The Runaways
Overall The Runaways is a well done indie film that tells a good story of two teenagers pursuing their dreams of rock stardom, but it could have been much better, it could have been about the first true all female rock band.
At least it has all the Runaways records back in print, and people are buying them.
Go see the film, but if you are a long time fan, expect some disappointment. If you are new to The Runaways, you won't notice the difference.
To get the rest of the story, get Edgeplay from Netflix, the documentary that includes Sandy, Jackie and Lita. You won't regret it.
When I was sixteen I discovered a band called The Runaways. To say that discovery has had a lifelong impact is probably both an overstatement and an understatement.
It was because of The Runaways that I became a fan of Joan Jett, and well, you might say that I am a pretty big fan of that lady.
A photo from the last Runaways photo shoot, and Cherie's last appearance with the band
When I was a teenager I of course was sucked into the whole jail bait image. Let's face it, to a sixteen year old boy they were pretty hot. Add that to my love of hard rock and that pretty much sold the band to me.
Seeing them in concert was an experience I will never forget. The Runaways stage show was aimed right at my demographic, and the combination of the throbbing music and the hints of sex buried in their act were pretty intense.
Years later, some of it seems a bit over the top, but I still have a connection to the music and I still follow the individual members of the band.
This is why I was looking forward to the film. But indie films and cult bands have a hard time finding an audience and it appears The Runaways might not actually make it to wide release this coming weekend. There's a nice article explaining the problems with releasing indie films and it uses The Runaways as an example.
I don't know if it'll make it to Charlotte at all. I hope it does, because I'd like to take a look back at my sixteenth year, even if it is just for ninety minutes.
There's nothing new under the sun, especially in the world of rock & roll, and thank heaven for that. The Dollyrots are certainly nothing new -- no genre-transgressing experiments, no incongruous fusions, no mind-expanding instrumental solos or side-long suites. Just 13 tight, compact, sweet, and crunchy bursts of punky power pop. Imagine the Ramones with a girl singer and more than three chords (but not much more), or maybe Belly if Tanya Donelly didn't have that weird death thing going on. Eat My Heart Out starts off with a bang, with a brilliantly ambivalent kiss-off song titled "Kick Me to the Curb," then proceeds from strength to strength: "Jackie Chan" is just what you'd expect, a charmingly trashy celebration of kung fu movies in the guise of a breakup song; "Goodnight Tonight" couches sweetly adolescent love lyrics in grungy guitar noise over a 6/8 beat; the lyrics to "Dance With Me" read like they're probably supposed to be suggestive, but they just come across as innocently longing. Then they end the whole thing with a fantastic aggro arrangement of the Ronnie Spector classic "Be My Baby." Singer Kelly Ogden is what really makes this band work -- her voice is clear and sharp, and her delivery is by turns sweet and snotty. Very highly recommended.
'til the new Dollyrots CD is released this June on Blackheart Records