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'The Runaway,' with Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, teases with sleaze

I feel dirty. Filthy. More than a little guilty. And I highly recommend that you visit the cineplex this Friday and feel the same way. Are you ready for the ultimate chick flick and the ultimate male fantasy? How about Boogie Nights starring the cast of Twilight? Hold on to your hot pants . . .

Last week, St. Petersburg Times film critic Steve Persall invited me to a press screening of The Runaways, the buzz-rich biopic of a druggy, sexy, entirely original all-girl rock band circa the '70s. It's how Joan Jett got her start; Lita Ford, too. The flick stars 16-year-old Dakota Fanning as peroxide problem child Cherie Currie, the band's 15-year-old singer; the opening shot is of her getting her period on a Hollywood sidewalk. Jett is played by Twilight's half-lidded method stoner Kristen Stewart; one of her first scenes shows her huffing fumes and smooching a female pal. Trust me, that's like Pollyanna compared to what follows.

Mr. Persall will give his full take in Thursday's Weekend section. And I don't want to tramp on his turf here. But upon leaving the theater — which they thankfully kept dark as we slunk out — Steve whispered, "You can't show that within 500 feet of an elementary school. I feel like I should go register." That Persall: He's funny as heck, but he's right.

Destined for cult status, The Runaways, based on Currie's autobiography, gets all of its sordid '70s details dead-on, from the Bowie-inspired platform shoes to the neon eyeliner to the wobbly mores of a sleazy and impossibly fun Sunset Strip. The movie is subversive — and appropriately rock 'n' roll — in showing the sex, drugs and rebellion of teen girls who acted like horny boys. If it fudges historical facts, and condenses time and space in the second half, so be it. The movie chugs on 'tude and great gobs of swaggering music: Ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb!

By the way, kudos to actor Michael Shannon, who plays the band's creepy, porcine but effective manager. He's a notable quotable — that is, if you happen to be a raving psychotic. (You're going to love him.) My advice is to see The Runaways on a Friday, at midnight. Bring your pals, make a ruckus, go crazy. And, if all goes well, get ready to feel a little guilty in the morning.

The Easter Playlist

As I've made repeatedly clear in this column, I'm absolutely enchanted by my daughters. Kid Lulu, 6, and Mai-Mai, 2, are compassionate and hilarious and all that fatherly gush. But my adoration for them hits new protective highs when they participate in the annual Easter Egg Hunt in our 'hood. The Dalys are a benign clan; we bring a rubber chicken to a knife fight. So although our celebratory skills are champion-level, our competitive ones are not. This means, of course, that Lu and Mai get creamed and heartbroken when it comes to egg hunting. They want to giggle and toddle and enjoy the all-elbows spazmosity of their fellow youth. Then, when they realize the eggs are gone and they have none — devastation. The church that runs that hunt tries to keep things fair by limiting eggs per basket. But there's always a few over-eggchievers who gather the orbs as if they're stuffed with rubies. Then it's Hernia City as I carry both sobbing girls home and have to listen to the vitriol of their mother, who, unlike Dalys, brings a glare to a knife fight and wins. Because they have the awesome gift of clean erase, my children are giddy about egg-hunting this year. Maybe I'll bring some "private" eggs to help 'em out. Or maybe, at the very least, I'll bring a wheelbarrow with which to cart my bawling kids home. Happy Easter, everybody!

1 Basket Case,

Green Day

2 Cosmic Egg,


3 The Candy Man,

Sammy Davis Jr.

4 Easter Parade,

Bing Crosby

5 Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits, Magnetic Fields

6 Candy Everybody Wants,

10,000 Maniacs

7 Chocolate,

Kylie Minogue

8 Green Eggs and Ham,

"Weird Al" Yankovic

9 Jelly Bean,

Eddie Cochran

10 Jesus Walks,

Kanye West


Peter Wolf

Album: Midnight Souvenirs (Verve)

In stores: Tuesday

Heart of Darkness: Peter Wolf may not be the tireless R&B hipster he portrayed in his '70s and '80s days with the freeze-framin' J. Geils Band. But the Bronx-born character still sounds like a fast-talking con man selling fake Rolexes out of his trench coat. And his too-cool white-boy blues are legitimately well-earned now, as the 64-year-old spends more time looking back, with amusement and regret, then he does gazing at what lies ahead. Midnight Souvenirs, his seventh solo album, is a quiet revelation, 14 sly, singable ruminations on growing older and, more or less, wiser. There are gut-check duets with Shelby Lynne (Tragedy), Neko Case (The Green Fields of Summer) and a brutally beautiful album closer with Merle Haggard (It's Too Late for Me). Influences range from soul to honky-tonk, with Wolf threading it all with his passion for Stax, Motown and Blue Note. The wordplay is typically alley-cat clever, especially the winking Philly stroll of Overnight Lows, which opens with one of Wolf's patented double-talking spoken-word riffs. When you're done listening, don't be surprised if there's a phony watch on your wrist and a fat grin on your mug.

Download these: Tragedy, The Green Fields of Summer, Overnight Lows

Grade: A


'The Runaway,' with Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, teases with sleaze 04/03/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 2, 2010 4:34pm]
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