My life has been a living nightmare lately, and it’s all Joan Jett’s fault. Seriously, this isn’t like the time I blamed my indecent exposure arrest on the Trix Rabbit, which I now know was wrong, and that ultimately the person responsible for my actions is, and always has been, Pauly Shore. No, this episode is based in reality. That’s right! Reality! Actual events that transpired right here on planet Earth! And to think that just two short months ago, medical professionals labeled me delusional and a danger to myself and others. Well, who’s laughing now, highly trained professionals from Johns Hopkins medical school? I’ll tell you who’s laughing: Me. The guy who has Pauly Shore buried in his basement.
All right, here’s where Joan Jett fits in. Up until a few months ago, all I knew about Joan Jett could be summarized in a few short bullet points:
- She loves rock and roll
- She don’t give a damn about her bad reputation
- She once punch-fucked a wallaby at the San Diego zoo for kicks
Or maybe that was Gary Busey. Anyway, the point is that up until recently, the sum total of my knowledge of Joan Jett was limited to what my brain had absorbed while watching MTV in the 80’s, which is to say not a whole lot because a) MTV is and always has been a bleak wasteland, devoid of all meaningful knowledge; and b) If my friends and I were watching MTV, chances are we were getting really high at the time.
So if Joan Jett had interrupted Yo! MTV Raps! to announce that she had solved Fermat’s Last Theorem, I missed it because I was busy participating in conversations such as the following (which, unsurprisingly, is a real conversation I had with good friend and long time commenter B’Homey):
B’Homey: (looking out the window): Dude, snow, man!
Me: What? Where? (looks out the window) I don’t see a snowman.
B’Homey: No, dude: Dude, comma, snow, comma, man.
B’Homey: Dude (makes stretching motion) paaaauuuuse snow (makes air-comma) comma man!
Me: Are you having a fucking stroke or something?
B’Homey: I’m trying to tell you that it’s snowing!
Me: But what about the snowman?
B’Homey: Hey, have you ever watched yourself in the mirror while you’re blowing a bong? It’s hilarious!
And I was perfectly content to lead my life without knowing any more about Joan Jett than that. There was one other thing I knew about her, actually, and that was that back in the 70’s, she and Lita Ford were members of the all-girl rock group the Runaways. It was something I knew, but didn’t really care about because it seemed like a gimmick and I don’t like gimmick rock bands. Except Mini-Kiss. That is a fucking SOLID idea for a rock band.
But a few months ago, all of that changed, and I’m still not sure why. It’s as if the universe suddenly decided that I needed to know way, way, WAY more about the Runaways, and accomplished this end by dropping endless references to them in places where I was bound to see them (such as lunatic asylums and methadone clinics).
It started, innocently enough, with a comment about the guy who played Damone in Fast Times in Ridgemont High. “You know, that guy played the guitar teacher in the Runaways.” And so I went to Youtube, and yep, there’s old-Damone teaching Joan Jett how to play On Top of Old Smokey. How about that?
Not more than five minutes later, Pandora, completely out of the blue plays Cherry Bomb, and it pretty much hasn’t stopped since. I’ll read a snarky reference to Kristen Stewart, and someone will immediately say, “She was great in the Runaways, though.” Nirvana gets elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Joan Jett plays with them, and everyone starts talking about the Runaways. Blog comments reference the band, TV shows reference the movie, and now even my kids have started referencing the music.
I have an app on my iPhone called SongPop, which is kind of like Name that Tune in that it will play a song, and you race to be the first to recognize it. My nine year old son was playing with it, and walked into my office. “Dad, what’s this song called?”
Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch Cherry Bomb!
What the fucking fuck? A song that I had managed to go 46+ years without hearing once is all of a sudden the lead single on the soundtrack of my life.
So I watched the movie. Here is what I learned:
First of all, if I had to choose between attending a Justin Beiber concert or seeing the Runaways, I would opt to see the Runaways even if part of the deal was that I had to be on fire for the entire concert.
While watching the movie I discovered, much to my surprise, that I didn’t feel an overpowering urge to jam Kristen Stewart’s face into a Cuisinart. She was pretty good.
When a major movie studio wants to add a little zing to a movie, even at the expense of accuracy, they will add an underage lesbian sex scene. Think about how fucked up that is. What if, during the movie Gandhi (which is over three hours long) they decided to spice things up a bit by having Gandhi bang a bunch of dudes? People would lose their shit. Hell, people would lose their shit if Chewbacca and Yoda had a gay fling, and they’re not even real. (It would be pretty funny, though. “Oooh, good that feels!”) So I’m not sure why it was ok to put a fictional underage lesbian sex scene in the Runaways. Maybe Kristen Stewart really pissed off the director and he was getting even with her.
Kristen Stewart: Look, I don’t understand why I can’t have vegan bologna in my trailer!
Director: I keep telling you, vegan bologna doesn’t exist!
Kristen Stewart: I am the star here, and if I say it’s your job to invent vegan bologna, then IT IS YOUR GODDAMN JOB TO INVENT VEGAN BOLOGNA!
Director: Fine. I will get you some vegan bologna. Now let’s get ready for our next scene where you have your face buried in Cherie Currie’s ass-crack for four hours.
Kristen Stewart: What?
Cherie Currie: Hey, uh, I just ate burritos.
Director: All right, places everyone! We’re going to need about 100 takes of this scene, so let’s get cracking!
I also learned that it is acceptable to throw dog shit at women, but only if you’re in a trailer. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone.
(Digression: Speaking of trailers… Did you know that Youtube hosts a lot of live video? I discovered that very late at night last week while I was trying to find something non-Runaways-related to watch. They had live sporting events, concerts, a bunch of video game broadcasts… A surprising amount of stuff. They also had a live feed for a show called “Trailer Living” that was hosted by a shirtless guy on a couch. I wish I could tell you that it was done tongue in cheek. It was not.)
And finally, I learned that Japanese cameramen simply do not give a fuck. Not a single, solitary fuck. Watch this footage of the Runaways from a 1970’s concert in Japan. The Runaways were apparently huge in Japan because, Japan. Anyway, pay special attention to the footage starting at the minute and a half mark, where the cameraman just fucking goes for it and gives us a crotch closeup of a 15 year old girl.
Jesus, that’s the kind of thing that makes tentacle porn look classy by comparison.
All in all, I guess I shouldn’t complain. I mean, if the universe is going to conspire to inundate me with dated pop culture references, the Runaways is pretty harmless. It could be much, much worse.