Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bad reputation

This is possibly a completely pointless post to put on this blog, considering its readers are no more likely to be enthusiasts for Stephanie Meyer's Twilight vampires/werewolves schtick than I am, but what the hell.

The Runaways ca 1976, with Joan Jett on far right.

Last month I watched The Runaways on a flight back from Aus. Good movie - the themes are so familiar as to be cliches, but the acting is good and if you're a child of the 70s and like hot girlies making big guitar noise, it takes you back 35 years without you even noticing. I never heard of the Runaways as a 14-year-old at the time, but I was a big Suzie Quatro fan back then (modern yoofs used to female "musicians" unable to play an instrument, dressing like cheap hookers and dancing like the stage crew just forgot to install the pole may struggle with this, but back then a woman in a tight leather jumpsuit playing a guitar could keep a schoolboy awake at night), so this was a great nostalgia movie for me.

The reference to the Twilight vampire movie franchise above is because Kristen Stewart has a lead role in both movies. I took my daughter to see Eclipse, the latest in the franchise last week (my wife took her to see the earlier movies but flatly refused to sit through another one, so it was down to me), and was surprised to realise that the vapid and boring heroine of the series, Bella, was the same actress who'd held me transfixed as an utterly convincing Joan Jett.

I'd seen occasional bits of the earlier New Moon movies due to my daughter watching them (repeatedly) on DVD, and considered it a laughable conceit that the vampire and the werewolf (the vampire centuries old, a rich, worldly sophisticate, and like the werewolf equipped with what are effectively super powers) are deeply, hopelessly, unshakably in love with this shallow, vacant, completely unremarkable schoolgirl. I'd put the blandness of the heroine down to the actress being a shallow, vacant, unremarkable schoolgirl herself, but in light of The Runaways I've revised that view - I now believe the Twilight series features a seriously good actress who is consciously portraying a blank canvas onto which the girls in the audience can project themselves. Her having a personality would only interfere with the purpose of the movie, so none is revealed. Once I realised this, her performance made a lot of sense - didn't make the movie any less risible, but I felt a lot more more respect for Kristen Stewart. Anyway, don't bother with Eclipse, but The Runaways is well worth a look.

Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, with Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie.

Kristen Stewart as a characterless, simpering placeholder for the girls in the audience to put themselves next to the cute vampire.


Phil Sage (sagenz) said...

That rings absolutely true with me. We just get more and more cynical every day.

Psycho Milt said...

I find it a struggle becoming cynical enough to figure out the motivations of Hollywood movie producers - they're always a few steps ahead...