I saw three films this weekend, each in its own way a study in the obvious. The Runaways is probably the best (a surprise to me), but in the end it wasn't as juicy as some of the better Behind the Music episodes on VH1 (e.g., Styx and Pantera). Cherie Currie starts off innocent (ignoring her rape by her twin sister's boyfriend), meets guitarist Joan Jett and their oleaginous tongued producer Kim Fowley, gets seduced by drugs and the rock and roll lifestyle, then burns out. The narrative borders on incompetence (amazingly, given the well-worn string of clichés) and leaves out most of the best stuff from the documentary Edgeplay, but as a series of videos involving teenaged sex set to good music with some saucy theorizing from Fowley, it ain't bad.
I'm a fan of Paul Greengrass' Bloody Sunday and United 93, where, in both films, he used our real world knowledge of the moribund finale to build tragic suspense. In Green Zone, however, he and screenwriter Brian Helgeland assume that the audience has no knowledge of the past 7 years, and that all the discoveries made by Chief Miller (Matt Damon) add up to a suspense thriller. Had the film been made in 2003, it would've been brave, but instead it just plays out like a special ops version of Forest Gump in Iraq, where one guy discovers all the truth behind the war. Miller goes chasing the MacGuffin (here called Magellan, a manufactured source providing a Judith Miller-type reporter with a bunch of phony info), only to discover that the war was started on false pretenses. Spoiler alert! Evidently, there were no WMDs as promised, and thankfully this soldier reveals the whole sordid story to various media outlets via an email. As the Chief says, lie about this, and people will begin to question us when we decide to kill people again in the future. Well, he doesn't quite say that, but that's pretty much the moral of the film. Alternatively, I'd suggest the real world moral is lying works.
One of the many highlights of the recent Amoebapalooza North 2009 at the Mezzanine club in San Francisco (August 2nd) was the power-duo-- the $helbyville $helbyvilllains' all too short set in which talented San Francisco Amoebites Josh Pollock (guitar/vocals) and Kaitlin Layher (drums, above) effortlessly channeled the White Stripes. Even more impressive was the fact I later learned: that Kaitlin had only been playing the drums for a relatively short time and that this was the first time that she had ever played drums out in public. I recently caught up with Kaitlin to ask her about her personal experiences as a drummer, as well as about female drummers in general as part of the long running In Celebration of the Drum Amoeblog series.
Amoeblog: Who are among your favorite female drummers and why?
Kaitlin: My favorite female drummer currently drumming is Adrienne Davies of Earth. I love watching her controlled, deliberate movements. She's hypnotizing. Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground was amazing as well as Karen Carpenter. And, of course, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Meg White of The White Stripes. But you can't forget the all-girl groups, too! The Bangles and The Runaways were simply solid bands with solid drummers.