dispatch: sxsw

The Runaways Is A Bomb, And Not A Cherrybomb

Our SXSW correspondent Daniel Villarreal caught the red carpet premiere of The Runaways. And mostly regrets it.

Bad news, everyone. Remember The Runaways, the new film, opening wide this weekend, about Joan Jett and Cherie Currie that features a steamy lesbian kiss? It shoulda been a rockin’, subversive film that showed the groundbreaking band’s contribution to female rock… but it’s not. It’s pretty awful, actually, which makes us ultra-sad because after seeing Currie on the red carpet in her black biker boots, we were excited about seeing queer rockers kick the crap out of the male rock turds. But instead the film’s way off-key and oh so guilty of bad writing, flat characters, and succumbing to the very sexism it’s supposedly against.

Before we hit on the film’s unforgivably bad points, let us give props to its accomplishments. The film starts with a drop of Cherie Currie’s menstrual blood hitting the asphalt… a stunning and provocative start! Director Floria Sigismondi has shot many beautiful scenes, and Kristen Stewart’s wonderful as Joan Jett, the perfect combination of brooding and angry. But 16-year-old Dakota Fanning is sadly out of her element. She’s been on a kick transitioning from child star roles to her adult career, but she may be getting too serious too quickly. At age 14, she was savagely raped in Hounddog, and now she’s snorting pills, sexing, and rocking in a way we don’t completely buy. She looks great, but doesn’t fully own it.

Here are the film’s biggest problems. (Warning: Possible spoilers ahead.)