“Twilight‘s” Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning star as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in the upcoming film about the pioneering all-girl rock group The Runaways. Before it opens on April 9, it might be fun to take a look at the the real Runaways.
Joan Jett co-stars with Michael J. Fox as siblings who play in a rock band in the under-appreciated “Light of Day.” She gives a confident but sensitive performance that makes me wish she had done more acting. And of course the musical numbers are terrific. She also has a live concert film with the group she formed after the Runaways. And her anthemic “Bad Reputation” is on the sound-track of the upcoming “Kick-Ass” as well as many other movies, from “Shrek” to “10 Things I Hate About You.”
Edgeplay – A Film About The Runaways is band member Victory Tischler-Blue’s documentary about the group.
The movie also gives us a glimpse of DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, known as Mayor of the Sunset Strip. His support of the San Francisco music scene is covered in a documentary by that name that features appearances by just about every music superstar of the era, from David Bowie and the Ramones to Coldplay and No Doubt.
And take a look at Slate’s piece on movies about girl groups by Marisa Meltzer. How many of the cliches do you think will be in this week’s release? Well, how many music groups of either gender manage to evade them in real life?
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, families can watch Autism – The Musical, about five families dealing with autism as they prepare for a musical performance. The film is illuminating in its depiction of the very different kids with very different abilities, a stark contrast to the one-dimensional portrayal of autism in movies like “Rain Man” or “House of Cards.” It is frank in its portrayal of the strains within the families of the children and between the families as there are clashes between and within the group. And it is deeply moving as we see the children’s courage and their evident joy.
Now that most people’s NCAA brackets are blown up and they’re getting ready to enjoy the final game, it might be a good time to take another look at some fictional college basketball teams in the movies.
1. The Absent Minded Professor Fred MacMurray plays a college professor whose accidental invention of “flubber” (“flying rubber”) gives the school’s basketball team some extra bounce.
2. Tall Story Jane Fonda’s first movie has her co-starring with Anthony Perkins (before “Psycho”) in the story of a basketball star thrown off his game by the attentions of a determined young woman.
3. Glory Road This is the true story of coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas), who played the first all-black team in the NCAA in 1965 at Texas Western college (now University of Texas at El Paso). Lucas and Derek Luke as one of his players give beautiful performances in this stirring film.
4. Blue Chips stars Nick Nolte in a story of corruption in college recruiting, written by Ron Shelton of “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Bull Durham.”
5. “The Air Up There” A gentler college recruiting story has Kevin Bacon traveling to Africa to persuade the son of a tribal leader who has “the hang time of a helium balloon” to join his team.
I am besotted with the annual Washington Post Peeps contest, where artists and craftspeople and peep-lovers of all kinds are invited to create dioramas featuring the pink and yellow and blue marshmallow bunnies and chicks that are sold every spring for Easter baskets.
This year, there were more than 1100 entries. Be sure to take a look at the winner, “EEP,” inspired by the Pixar movie, “Up,” a floating house held aloft by peeps. And you will also enjoy the runners-up, especially the ones based on children’s books like “Madeline,” “Goodnight Moon” (with a quiet old peep whispering the peepish equivalent of “Hush”) and “Where the Wild Things Are” as well as peep-or-amas inspired by “Mad Men,” the balloon boy, Shaun White, “Avatar,” the viral video with the wedding party dance down the aisle, and Washington’s historic Snowapalooza. And of course there were entries featuring Washington’s most famous family is represented with peeparific displays of the White House vegetable garden, the President and his dog, Bo, and of course the infamous White House party crashers.
The Washington Post even has an iPhone app to show off the top peep contestants.