Friday, July 22, 2011

Edgeplay – A Film About the Runaways – Directed by Victory Tischler-Blue

As the title states, this 2004 movie is a documentary about the Runaways (as opposed to the recent bio-pic about the band) directed by their 2nd bassist, Vicki Blue. She interviews everyone involved, other than Joan Jett and final bassist, Laurie McAllister (which is understandable as she was only in the band for a couple of months before moving on to another Kim Fowley project, the Orchids).

The flick spends some time on lyricist Kari Krome, which is interesting, as I have never seen her interviewed before and her contribution to the band is often forgotten. The rest of the women tell their tales pretty frankly, opening up about a number of emotional issues that I have never heard discussed before, although they demur about some topics. These are often brutally honest, from singer Cherie Currie talking about abuse from Fowley and affairs with Joan & Sandy, bassist Jackie Fox relating the story of her attempted suicide and eventual departure from the band, drummer Sandy West telling about years of drug abuse and time spent as a pusher’s enforcer and Lita coming off as a heartless bitch – literally laughing at the other’s horrific problems.

This appears to be a first attempt at direction from Tischler-Blue and it shows, from the extremely clichéd shots (Sandy attempting to “run from her problems” in slow motion being one of the most blatant examples), weird superimpositions, odd background music choices (she could not get the rights to use the Runaways’ songs, so, other than a couple of live covers – “Rock’n’Roll” & “Wild Thing” – most of the music is by Suzi Quatro – understandble, but not always fitting to the scene) and painfully shakey camera work, to the point of being reminiscent of Blair Witch Project.

Definitely not a fun rock’n’roll film, but a somewhat depressing tale of young girls who were taken advantage of, and in some cases, abused, but were able to live a dream that most people can only imagine and who left behind a legacy that to this day influences young women everywhere.

PS - Sadly, Sandy West succumbed to cancer in 2006 without ever getting her wish of being able to get the band to reform.