Film | Nathaniel Rogers | News

Movies: Girl Groups, Gabby, Gaga and Gargamel

She don't give a damn 'bout her bad reputation.

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience.


If you've seen any music biopic you know the plot of THE RUNAWAYS. Talented musicians struggle, rise to the top, then come undone from messy emotional lives involving everyone's favorite cocktail: sex, drugs and rock n roll. Usually there's a redemptive epilogue (in this case the band's MVP Joan Jett went on to great success in the 80s). But plot isn't everything. The hook of The Runaways then (the band) and now (the film) is that they were girls when girls weren't rock stars. And at least one of them (Cherie Currie played by Dakota Fanning) was underage. Both the band and Cherie herself used that in their favor crafting their biggest hit "Cherry Bomb".

Shannon_runaways Though the film gets repetitive (as all music bios do), it's largely successful, buoyed by committed eyebrow-raising performances from Dakota Fanning, exploiting herself as enthusiastically as Cherie did, Kristen Stewart, who thankfully drops some of her familiar performance tics to take on Joan Jett, and Michael Shannon as their cynical scene stealing Velvet Goldmine-like manager.  But the MVP in The Runaways is the woman behind the filthy 70s curtain. The visually gifted director Floria Sigismondi (who rose up in the music video world with work like "Beautiful People" for Marilyn Manson and "Fighter" for Christina Aguilera) makes sure that The Runaways is always intriguing to look at. There's great use of lighting, color and 70s detail and a refreshing candor about the band's sexuality that rescue this one from the doldrums of the familiar narrative.

Let's hope it's a huge success so that someone will finally get a GO-GOs biopic off the ground. It'd be like a sequel in its own way, only sunnier. 

Also Opening: Delicious Jude Law attempts to toughen up his screen persona in the action flick REPO MEN and Gerard Butler continues to carry the banner of regressive heteronormativity -- watch him make women swoon by treating them very badly (again!) in THE BOUNTY HUNTER

What do Lady Gaga and Elle Driver have in common?

Find out AFTER THE JUMP...


 road Wildly Speculative Probably Unfounded Rumor Alert! Does Quentin Tarantino wants Lady Gaga for Kill Bill Vol. 3 ? Well, she does love to poison people in her videos. We love Gaga but when it comes to poisonous blonde amazons, Elle Driver will be difficult to top even if Tarantino does return to those DiVAs (Deadly Viper Assassination Squad) for a third volume. This new burst of chatter must have sprung from that Kill Bill "Pussy Wagon" homage in "Telephone".

Smurfs_gargamel  road The cast of The Smurfs movie, which will be a live action/animation hybrid (like Who Framed Roger Rabbit) keeps on expanding. And it sure is gay-friendly. Jayma Mays from Glee, Neil Patrick Harris, Alan Cumming, Katy Perry as Smurfette and Hank Azaria as Gargamel.

 road The debate about Precious Gabby Sidibe's future career prospects due to her weight rages on. I think she'll do just fine (especially if she goes the comedy route where plus sized bodies are more familiar). But I do think we need to clear up one thing:  Oprah did not discover her as some articles suggest. Winfrey signed on after the movie was already showing at festivals. That's the type of false assumption that will become truthy if it's publicized enough. When you rule the universe, you tend to get credit for everything.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Is Lady Gaga (aka Lady Phony) still claiming to be gay-friendly? LOL. I think she's good at manipulating dumb gay men into thinking that she's gay-friendly.

    Note how she refuses to put any male-male sensuality in her music videos - all the way from Just Dance to Telephone, she's refused to put any in, apparently. Oh, but girl-girl is OK, of course, because the sleazy straight guys who fund her say it is.

    Lady Gaga, you've lost me.

    Posted by: jason | Mar 18, 2010 6:35:44 PM

  2. Jason, you've clearly never seen Gaga in concert.

    And you accuse her of pandering to sleazy straight guys? Did you even see the video for Telephone? The woman Gaga made out with was butch. Straight men generally aren't dying to watch women make out with butch women.

    And you also ignore the fact that Gaga has had relationships with women.

    Posted by: Eric | Mar 18, 2010 6:47:36 PM

  3. Yeah, are gay or bi dudes somehow not gay friendly if they don't include lesbian action in their art? What crap, that I'm growing tired of reading around here.

    As for Kill Bill 3, that would be a hoot - but I'm sure it's just the rad Pussy Wagon homage that's triggered the rumor mill. That was the only kick I got out of the Relephone video. Not her best, imo - but not because the dyke stuff makes her a fag hater. Sheesh.

    Posted by: Zlick | Mar 18, 2010 7:00:08 PM

  4. Eric,

    I think you're underestimating the role that Lady Gaga's record company - Interscope - may be playing in this.

    It's been alleged that her male bosses at Interscope won't allow her to put any male-male sensuality in her videos. However, they're OK with girl-girl.

    Lady Gaga's mass marketing is infused with this double standard. Gay-friendly? I don't think so.

    Posted by: jason | Mar 18, 2010 7:03:27 PM

  5. Don't fall for the publicity blurb which says that Lady Gaga is a "strong woman". It's a charade. Her record company is controlled by men, her videos are produced by men, and the people who fund her are men. These are all likely to be heterosexual men, mind you.

    When hetero men control the money, they often put conditions on the content of what they're funding, such as music videos. This might explain why she has failed to put any male-male sensuality in her music videos. Hetero men are often OK with girl-girl but not guy-guy.

    All in all, some might say that Lady Gaga is more strange than strong.

    Posted by: jason | Mar 18, 2010 8:01:19 PM


    Jason/Crispy 2012!

    Posted by: crispy | Mar 18, 2010 8:07:31 PM

  7. Sorry Jason, but using words like "apparently" and "allegedly" are presumptuous and do not make a compelling argument. Where is the proof?

    Also, lesbians ARE gay! So how can Gaga be accused of not being "gay-friendly" if there are gay people in the video? Did I miss something here?

    Posted by: Q | Mar 18, 2010 8:23:37 PM

  8. Was REPO men based in any way on that REPO! THe genetic opera? That movie stunk...and so will this one. Jude Law is plain looking, and as far as talent, he just blends into the background in whatever movie he's in. He's like plain yogurt.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 18, 2010 8:42:31 PM

  9. Q,

    The best way to measure gay-friendliness is to use the male homosexual interaction as the criterion, not the female homosexual one. The female one is present in every chauvinistic male's adult magazine and porn collection, and does not signify acceptance.

    Lady Gaga simply proves that gay men are easily manipulated. She's a phony who exploits gay men for their money but then assiduously avoids showing any male-male sensuality in her videos.

    Posted by: jason | Mar 18, 2010 8:44:17 PM

  10. And Kill Bill Vol. 2 was pretty crappy compared to the first one. Kill Bill was a good flick.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 18, 2010 8:46:01 PM

  11. Jason,

    Why don't you just go ahead and say it? Gaga is a sell-out. She has to be, because she made a terrible deal with her record company, just like every other pop artist does. She is desperately trying to pay off those crappy loans they hand out to new artists by touring almost non-stop and tapping into every market that will buy all her crap (gays included). Interscope (or Universal Music Group, its parent company) owns her soul. So of course she's a demagogue and is capitulating to her funding source, just like our politicians.

    But that doesn't mean she is personally anti-gay or doesn't really want to put gay-friendly material into her videos. It makes Interscope anti-gay. When you call her things like "Lady Phony" it looks like you just don't understand the difference between her corporate personality and herself as an individual when separated from that persona. Now I don't know to what extent she is actually gay-friendly, and whether her attendance or involvement with HIV-awareness or gay-rights events is political or personal. But do you? Please provide some proof about her being such a terrible person before you subject to us to more anti-Gaga diatribes.

    Posted by: Tim | Mar 18, 2010 9:20:18 PM

  12. If I have to read the phrase 'male-male sensuality' in another comment again, I am going to blow my fucking brains out.

    Jason's argument style is freakishly similar to the religious right's: Say a whole bunch of things that don't make sense, and when someone makes a valid point, either switch your point to something completely different or just say what you were saying again - like repeating it makes the argument stronger.

    Posted by: J.D. | Mar 18, 2010 9:32:39 PM

  13. Did no one see the video for Gaga's "Teeth?" It couldn't have been more male/male gay.

    Posted by: Brian | Mar 18, 2010 9:55:03 PM

  14. The "Teeth" video was weird and out of left field.

    Posted by: Jason | Mar 18, 2010 11:00:31 PM

  15. Jason, especially after that last "Teeth" post, doesn't seem to understand the difference between "homophobia" and "not to my personal taste."

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | Mar 18, 2010 11:15:23 PM

  16. This is the first mainstream music video to grope not one, but two butch women, and showcase numerous other genderfucking, bodybuilding females. Can we just appreciate that for a moment please? As a butch "woman" I can tell you that this scene was a first for me. Where else in mainstream television or music have you ever seen butch women represented as an object of desire or reverence for their butchness? Answer: not once. Thank-you Gaga, for validating MY identity! It's about time.

    Posted by: sly | Mar 18, 2010 11:44:11 PM

  17. Wasn't the homo Teeth video a fan job? I know there was a fan vid with S/m vampires ... but was there an official Teeth video that also featured gay dudes?

    In any case, when the world's best-selling recording artist has trouble getting her own CD released uncensored, I find it believable she does not have complete control over her artistic output.

    Posted by: Zlick | Mar 19, 2010 12:47:04 AM

  18. Is ridiculous over the top product placement the standard for music videos now?

    I'm sure whoever is responsible for the video is fine with affirming your personal identity so long as you buy a Virgin Mobile phone, Polaroid camera, wonderbread, miracle whip, etc. etc.

    Posted by: solidork | Mar 19, 2010 12:55:03 AM

  19. Its not about putting hot man-on-man sex in your videos that makes you gay-friendly, its about taking a stand. And Gaga did that when she spoke eloquently about LGBT rights at the March on Washington and many other times.

    Maybe we're not getting anywhere with our fight because too many of us are fixated on just staring at hot guys. Geez, Im scared to think what wouldve happened if McCain had washboard abs.

    Posted by: dizzy spins | Mar 19, 2010 1:11:59 AM

  20. Someone posted earlier that lesbians are gay. In political terms, yes they are but from the heterosexual male point of view, lesbianism is an aspect of heterosexuality. Straight men want women so in their minds, everyone should want women, even other women. When something doesn't cater to them, such as the interests of heterosexual women, it's gay to them.

    Posted by: terry | Mar 19, 2010 2:39:36 AM


    Posted by: Cameron Johnson | Mar 19, 2010 4:27:54 AM

  22. Terry,

    Well said. You hit the nail on the head.

    Lady Gaga is pandering to the sleazy straight guy fantasy yet claims she is on the gay man's side. She's speaking with a forked tongue. I just loathe her hypocrisy. She'll lose from this. Gays are waking up to the phoniness of her position.

    Posted by: jason | Mar 19, 2010 5:13:37 AM

  23. I just read a report which says that Lady Gaga's former boyfriend is suing her. He claims that he contributed to her image as Lady Gaga, even coming up with her name. I think it's hilarious. And to think a lot of her fans thought her image came from her heart and that she's a "real, empowered woman".

    Now, let's see. Her record company boss is a man, her video producer is a man, and now allegedly her image-maker is a man. She's so empowered as a woman...yeah, right.

    This might explain why she has failed to put any male-male sensuality in her official music videos. Heterosexual men usually advise women to avoid it.

    Posted by: brian | Mar 19, 2010 5:28:21 AM

  24. Jesus Christ people, is there anything you don't get your panties in a bunch over?

    I swear some people just live to bitch.

    How about we focus on our actual enemies instead of people who publicly show us support over and over again?

    How many other pop stars show up at gay rights rallies? How many other celebrities have accepted an award by thanking 'the gays' (after brilliantly asking Eminem to 'hold this')? How many other people in the music industry repeatedly speak out about the prevalent homophobia, and that it needs to stop? That people should actually care when homosexuals are routinely disparaged as 'art' or 'cultural expression' or some shit?

    Posted by: Wes | Mar 19, 2010 10:23:53 AM

  25. BTW, does no one notice the tons of gay male dancers present in both the Bad Romance and Telephone videos? Even ones who are quite effeminate looking?

    Is it not good enough for you unless they're making out or something?

    Posted by: Wes | Mar 19, 2010 10:26:41 AM

Post a comment


« «Watch: Activists Target Pelosi with Sit-Ins in S.F. and D.C. Over ENDA« «