Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1981)

A few weeks back, as I read my DailyCandy e-mail, I learned that an important movie from the annals of my youth and my discovery of punk of was playing (one night only) at the fabulous Grand Illusion Cinema. I was pumped for Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. I mentioned it to Carrie and Andy, who said, "Sign me up."

Diane Lane as Third Degree Burns The thing is, I couldn't remember the movie. I remember my best friend Liz, for Halloween one year, dressing as Corinne "Third Degree" Burns (Diane Lane), an orphaned 14-year-old who goes on the road with her band--her cousin (Laura Dern) and sister (Marin Kanter). Corinne's mother has just died and her dead-end teenage life is heading nowhere fast. This is the way movies used to be--a girl barely in her teens hits the road with her punk band, The Stains, to play in bars and clubs. No CPS, no meddling family member trying to help capture her and bring her back home.

This is a movie ahead of its time. Written by a woman (Nancy Dowd), it's about women "not putting out," aka getting trampled. Corrine makes no excuses. The band is edgy, rebellious and unapologetic, but she also has a heart. She goes for what she wants, steals a song from another band after letting the lead singer seduce her. Female-empowered and unrepentant, especially for 1981. A cult classic, but it was only just recently released to DVD.

The music powers through the movie. Ex-Sex Pistols Paul Cook and Steve Jones join Ex-Clash Paul Simonon for the Looters. Ray Winstone plays the lead singer of the band.

See it!

Director: Lou Adler

Country: US (classic 70s Americana)

Genre: Drama

Minutes:  87 minutes

Scale: 4.5

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