Sunday, June 19, 2011
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS (1982)
"Every girl should be given an electric guitar on her 16th birthday."
I recall this movie playing a lot on USA networks Night Flight show back in the 80's. I also remember this film being sited by many of the riot-grrl bands of the 90's as one of their major inspirations and I can see why. It's the story of young girls from a shitty town who play punk rock and become stars for being voices of truth in the stagnant cesspool of male dominated rock n roll in the early 1980's.
The best bits of this film are in the first half. You see the awful environment our heroine(Diane Lane who was about 17 when this movie was shot) is raised in, her and her sister's(Laura Dern who musta been about 15) depressing home life. Living with their stupid alcoholic aunt after their mom dies in a burned out suburbia isn't all it's cracked up to be. From there you get a pretty unbelievable yet captivating tale of their collective escape from a typical boring American existence.
The parts where I thought the movie fell apart come towards the back end of the film where things happen really quickly and any believability that you might have had in the film is thrown out the window. It seems like their was a rush to the end and it shows in some badly edited parts that all the cult film fans seem to overlook in every review I've ever seen of this film. I also felt that the tacked-on MTV video ending(filmed a year after the rest of the movie) seemed totally out of place and was just added to give everything an uplifting finale which I guess your average 80's film-goer would have demanded. All this being said I really don't want to be too negative in my look at this movie since I feel it's totally worth checking out.
You get some catchy tunes, a chance to see a band made up of half of the Sex Pistols(Steve Jones and Paul Cook) along with The Clash's Paul Simonon and great character actor Ray Winstone as a sorta Johnny Rotten-impersonating lead singer. Also members of The Tubes appear as an old washed-up glam band and you get a quick scene with Black Randy And The Metrosquad, which were a really underrated LA band that, as far as I know, there's very little footage of. Under everything there's overt messages of female empowerment, individuality and remaining true to yourself in the face of greedy shitheels. If this movie is the reason that a bunch of females got off their asses and had fun making some silly punk music I'm glad it exists.