31 March 2001 | thomandybish
Seldom-seen satire of media's role in rock
This film apparently is one of the best-kept secrets of 80s cinema, a movie that was born to be a cult hit. The film focuses on an orphaned teen(Diane Lane)who hits the road with her three girl rock group the Stains as opening acts for an over-the-hill glam rock group and an up-and-coming British new wave/punk outfit. When the glam rock group bows out due to the death of their drummer(who is mourned by his several common-law wives and illegitimate children), the Stains and the other group slog on alone, with Lane and her group quickly grabbing the spotlight through a series of gimmicky stunts and gaining media notoriety(for one, the girls all dye white skunk-like stripes down the middle of their heads, causing a new teenybopper trend). The film looks down the long, thin line that separates fame from notoriety, a line that has grown increasingly blurred in the past 20 years. We see the way the media latches on to these girls and their antics, making them celebrities over night, and unmaking them just as quickly. But not to fear, for the girls latch on to a new medium, the rock video, and find themselves the fame they deserve.
It's no accident that this movie came out the same year that M-TV premiered, because a lot of the fears and concerns that M-TV generated(some of them still valid)are explored. Is rock that relies on the visual image really rock? Is rock's spirit diluted or prostituted by videos? In an era where we watch television shows based on a corporate entity's quest to "create" a pop group, the questions are valid ones. I saw this movie on VH-1 a couple of years ago, and now regret not taping it. Supposedly it was labelled unreleasable and never made it to the theatres, and has yet to appear on video. Pity, because there's much to like--and discuss--that is still relevant today.