April 23, 2005

Dead End Dreams Don't Make You Smile

Maybe it's the fact that I had a hell of a week - a week that has me wondering if I'm burning out, just had it, wanting to just fade out. I guess I just was in a mood to watch a movie about a pioneering rock group that started with great heights, but that ended bitterly, with members lashing out at each other years later.

In their time, The Runaways were the Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera of their time - teenage girls playing loud-and-fast songs about typical rock'n'roll matters. Edgeplay is a 25 years after the fact documentary, and easily one of the top ten rock'n'roll films of all time - I've made no secret of my own personal choices. But this movie - directed by a former bass player and without the cooperation of the Runaways' most well-known member - is one of the most intriguing documentaries about a band's rise-and-fall ever made.

It's not an easy movie to watch - not because the movie isn't well made (although there are one or two pretentious moments), but because years after the dissolution of the band, emotional wounds still linger. You get the sense (and he does little to counter this impression) that Kim Fowley, the manwho "organized" the Runaways - is nothing more than an American Malcolm McLaren. (I would like to submit The Mayor of Sunset Strip as further evidence). Seeing the aftereffects, the bitterness, so many years after the fact is unsettling...but honest.

Ironically, this film features little (if any) original Runaways music except for two covers - but, of course, many of the troubles surrounding this film have been documented. However, it not only has great original music, the lack of Runaways music gives the film much greater power. The focus isn't on play-the-hit-get-to-the-drama; it's about the emotional aftereffects of fame, fortune, and managerial manipulation on six teenage girls. It's also a movie that provides something of a cautionary tale - to say more would be spoiling it.

Well, it's back to a weekend full of rest, relaxation, and laundry - later this week, I'm flying to Chicago for my high school reunion, and my godson's second birthday. That should help me let go of a lot of the junk I've endured this week. Oh, well, there's one other thing I can be grateful for - thank God I'm not Richard Roeper.

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