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Movie Review: The Runaways

This was one of the last movies I picked up at the library. I decided to watch it for two reasons: I had never seen it; I wanted to see Dakota Fanning in a movie. I feel that I must have seen her in a movie at some point, but if I did, I completely forget.

You probably already know that this is about The Runaways, who were somewhat popular back in the seventies before they fizzled out. I think I may have heard "Cherry Bomb" once upon a time. But maybe not. Other than that, I'm not familiar with the band, and I'm not really a Joan Jett fan, although, like most people, I'm familiar with her.

Unfortunately, this movie just wasn't that good. It's too bad it wasn't better directed, better written, and more factual. They left some major things out. But I'm neither a Runaways fan or a Joan Jett fan, so I can't say I was disappointed. Just a tad bored. And I laughed sometimes, even though that may not have been the film maker's intended reaction. Or maybe it was. Every time Joan burst out singing (which sounded sooo affected), I laughed. It was hard to tell if this film took itself too seriously or not. I think in certain moments it did, while other times it meant to be humorous or weird (which is easy to assume with a guy like Kim Fowley).

To me, it wasn't that well made. It didn't flow as a whole and the scene to scene transitions weren't always effective. But since the director is more experienced with shooting music videos than movies (this was her first, I believe), that's not really surprising. It's not the best storytelling.

Overall, the acting wasn't too bad. Dakota Fanning could have been better. I wasn't impressed, which disappointed me. When you hear an actress get called talented and all that, you expect more. Plus, I'd heard good things about her in this performance, and I wasn't seeing it. I know a lot of people thought she was great, so I won't try to convince anyone otherwise, but I still have to complain. I wasn't impressed with her line delivery, she lacks sex appeal, and she has some of that good ole' dead eye going on. Big, round, dead eyes. She wasn't awful, but she was my least favorite in this. So I should see her in something else. Maybe I'll like her then.

Kristen Stewart wasn't bad. Like Dakota, she was highly praised for this performance. I think some of that had to do with the physical aspect. If you cut you hair, wear the makeup and the clothes, you can convince people you ARE this character moreso than if you relied solely on your acting. I don't think her performance was as great as some reviewers have said (I still felt like I was watching Kristen Stewart playing Joan Jett sometimes), but it mostly worked. Michael Shannon was probably the best, which is easy since he had the most interesting persona to deal with. I really like the girl who played Sandy West, too. I wish they'd involved her more.

So, this is one I didn't enjoy. I've been watching a lot of mediocre movies lately. I need to stop that.

P.S. I wasn't bothered by the fact that Dakota was but a mere fifteen while shooting this. That did bother some people, right? Anyway, just thought I'd say that.

My grade: C

The real Runaways performing in Japan.


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