Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hello Daddy, Hello Mom...Listen, Could You Raise My Allowance?

Ok, I wasn't coming into this with too  many hopes and dreams (never do when it involves Kristen Stewart) but I have to admit, seeing Dakota Fanning play jail-bate rock goddess Cherie Currie and Michael Shannon in David Bowie make-up was super intriguing. If you are at all surprised that I was disappointed then we can't be friends. Now, I'm not completely in movie-abortion mode, but when material is this juicy, I expect the dramatic interpretation to be so as well, as redundant as that seems. Let's consider who ruined it for me the most, and if you thought anything aside from Kristen Stewart, I would stop reading right now. And here's why. 
'Oh Totally, cat's cradle is the best game ever.' 

Let’s be honest, none of us can stand Kristen Stewart no matter how much silly awkwardness she has to offer society. That whole moody sallow pseudo-goth thing went out with Fiona Apple over a decade ago, and her hipster unabashed ‘oh I hate being so good looking’ demeanor is getting really old. To be fair, no one thought that the most androgynous thing on screen since that little girl in Fatal Attraction would grow up to be a bona fied pouty hottie defying convention with her A-cups and skinny jeans. Even the biggest skeptic like me had to admit she’s made strides in the sex-appeal category since Panic Room (2002), but since then, her general appeal has dwindled down to complete boner-killer status. Her most recent futile attempt in convincing the world that she’s a serious actress was in colossal disappointment ‘The Runaways’ where a an unforgivable decision by the casting agent assigned her to the role of legendary rock goddess, libertine, and general bad ass Joan Jett. I wasn’t buying. They gave her a badly quaffed mullet, a pair of oddly fitting leather pants, and a healthy dose of eye-liner thinking it was enough and Stewart would unleash that mysterious beast within we all hoped she hid well behind her brooding nervousness. Alas, all we got as an audience was a remix of screaming and whining like a Bella Swan on a bad amphetamine come down. I think it’s time for her to understand that she doesn’t have to try so hard to be unappealing, she’s a natural at it.
Jailbate is a fine line, and is something that is referenced ad-nauseaum in the film (I suppose it has to be considering it's the maine theme of the whole story) and is something that if treated delicately (no pun intended) can actually work (Lolita (1964) is a perfect example of this) and yes, you can do the whole actually teenagers playing sexually awakened teenagers, the only time I can think of this being done well is Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet which caused quite a ruckus back in 1969 when Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey were 16 and 14 respectively when they played the infamous star-cross'd lovers. It didn't feed into an kind of perversion or pedophilia and wasn't necessarily 'sick', just as The Runaways wasn't because it had superficially sidestepped and approached the very real concept of young girls coming into their sexual own and using that power and prowess as well as aggression to sell records rather than finish high school like most 15 year olds. This is why they are significant, not only in terms of feminism but in rock 'n roll. The band stood with the likes of The Ramones, Queen, and Deep Purple, all when they were not even old enough to drive. Their glam rock inspirations yielded memorable performances fueled by the coyishly sensual but raw lead of Cherie Currie combined with the edgy and violent sexual energy of Joan Jett. 
Alas, Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart play their sexuality like little more than they are, budding tweens at the brink of their sexual discovery, and seem more appropriate in a coming of age melodrama on the Hallmark Network about a girl's first bra. They are little more than kids, and anything but sexual. Dakota tries her best, but Kristen is still doing some kind of punk-rock Bella Swan and reminds me of those girls that work in Hot Topic at the mall who wear pleather Doc Martin lace up boots and body glitter. FAIL. 

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