Thursday, October 30, 2008

TALES FROM NETFLIX: The Fabulous Stains

I think it was Rolling Stone (side note, my wife has us subscribed to nearly every magazine, literally, for next to no money I guess, I dunno, but I do enjoy RS and Entertainment Weekly) who had a blurb about this 1982 gem a few issues back...

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: THE FABULOUS STAINS is an early 80's punk rock mockumentary of sorts, and stars a very young Diane Lane as bandleader to would be punk trio The Stains (who also sport a very young Laura Dern on bass). It seems Diane's character was featured on a 60 Minutes style TV expose after telling her boss off on camera (in a cameo from a moustache sporting Data from Star Trek TNG no less), which launches her into an orphaned teen angst fueled journey of empowerment and media manipulation, yeah. It seems her refusal to fit into the accepted path for America's youth, specifically women, with her white striped hair, risque fish netted outfit, and "don't put out" mantra are exactly what other young women are looking for in their lives.

Stains is not only quite a unique story, but it's told in gritty style, perfectly capturing the darker side of the times, showcasing punk music, and road weary rockers, as they take a cross country run down tour bus (complete with rasta driver/manager) that never makes it out of the mid-American tri-state PA setting. Like a time capsule, of punk music, clothes, and attitudes from the dawn of the 80's, and with a line up of radically younger actors still around today, also including Ray Winstone (most recently as Beowulf, and Indiana Jone's "buddy" in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), and punk/rockers (members of Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Tubes are featured) the Stains is the perfect rock movie and feels as snarky fresh as if it were shot now, with an eye for campy details from then.

Great music, great cast, and a solid story make LAGTFS a really fun trip to another era, that's as relevant (both musically, and socially, it's mixed messages are as grey as reality) now as it was all those decades ago, even with the uneven ending.



FIVE ACROSS THE EYES - This no budget horror is shot in shakey cam as 5 girls take a backroad home from a football game that gets them lost, and colliding with a seriously pshycho Toyota Fourunner... chaos ensues. It's at times gripping, capturing the manic vibe of the situations, but ultimately a scene or two too long, and contrived. MILDLY RECOMMENDED

MOTHER OF TEARS - Dario Argento's final in his witch trilogy is a solid occult outing, complete with freaky demonic monkey, but daughter Asia, and the overall arc, come over poorly in the end. MILDLY RECOMMENDED

REST STOP: DON'T LOOK BACK - The first one sucked, this one is better, but don't bother.

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