There was a huge problem during production of Edgeplay, Victory Tischler-Blue's film about the Runaways, the all female rock band that blazed their way from 1975 - 1999. She could not get the permission to get the music in the film. How could she make a documentary about a band without any of its music? Tischler-Blue (also known as Vicki Blue, bassist for the Runaways) took the focus away from the music (there is still music, but it is either performed by other artists or the band performing other artists' songs) and aimed it directly towards the members.
It's interesting to note what Tischler-Blue did not do. She eschewed much of the standard rock-band documentary staples. There is no reunion. There is some background, but not much, and there is minimal information on what these women are doing today (it's obvious what happened to Joan Jett and Lita Ford). Because of aforementioned reasons, there is little original music. There are no interviews with the stars of today talking about the impact the Runways had on them. Just think of how cool it would be to have the Donnas, Sleater-Kinney, or Kittie talking about the Runaways? Oddly enough, the omission of all of this did not hurt Edgeplay. Tischler-Blue mixes in old footage with in-depth interviews of the former band members, and has them talk at length about their experiences in the late seventies.
The Runaways was the brainchild of Kim Fowley. He brought together the volatile personalities and put them through a 'boot camp' of sorts. Fowley comes across as a complete slime, especially after watching both this and The Mayor of Sunset Strip. Still, he knows his music, and he honed the teenage girls into a good band. The original members were Ford (guitar), Jett (guitar), Jackie Fox (bass), Cherie Currie (vocals), and Sandy West (drums). The band was the only common thing all the women had. According to some, Fowley did his best to play them off each other, mainly so they wouldn't gang up against him. The Runaways embraced the rock and roll lifestyle, full of drugs, alcohol, and experimentation.
Edgeplay is a film about how disparate personalities affect the dynamic of a band. As the band continued to make music and tour, tensions continued to flare. Remember, these girls were not necessarily friends. Blue arrived on the scene after Fox quit during their Japanese tour. All of the women, Fowley, and a few other interviewees, are extremely candid about their experiences. The eventual break-up was acrimonious, and now, after nearly three decades, they could look back upon their experiences with a little more perspective. Even with the distance, talking about their experiences proved extremely emotional for a few of the women. To get an idea of how badly they parted, Jett did not participate (and was responsible for not allowing their music in the film). The loss of her voice does hurt the film a bit, but the interviews that Tischler-Blue (who sometimes is in the very odd position of interviewing herself) did include are so engrossing that one almost forgets about Jett.
|Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Good.|
|1 hour, 49 minutes, Not Rated but contains language and mature thematic material, probably an R, possibly a PG-13.|
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