Movies »Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

ladies and gentlemen the fabulous stainsAfter reading my review of Foxes, a coworker recommended a lost gem called Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains, a long out of print cult movie about a group of teenage girl punk rockers. It was notoriously hard to find a copy and that made me even more determined to see it. Fortunately my wait was not long as a couple weeks ago, I found out it was being released on DVD.

The elements are all there and the movie is worth a look as an artifact of all sorts of?cool. Paul Simonon from The Clash, ex-Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook make appearances. But the star is Diane Lane who is tiny and gorgeous as an orphan who happens to be in the right place at the right time with the right new reporter there to document her and becomes a sensation with an unrealistically meteoric rise and fall and rise with her band The Stains (Laura Dern is her guitarist).

With a punky skunk hairdo, see through clothing, and wild makeup, she's a regular riot grrl who connects with the youth of her day by spouting teenage angst. She's an existentialist, an activist, and a feminist in bright socks and high heels. Her brief lover is played by an unrecognisably young Ray Winstone, lead singer of the Looters, clearly based on the Clash.

Unfortunate, then that it's so poorly paced and directed by ladies man Lou Adler. Audiences, whose negative reaction caused the film to be shelved before wide release and writer Nancy Dowd who used a pseudonym because she was unhappy with the final cut would agree. Still, there's a reason it's gained a cult following as a relic of the riot grrrl punk movement with some totally awesome style. I can't imagine any girl who saw this growing up on Z Channel or Showtime, where it would randomly pop up, wasn't inspired to dye her hair and start a band.

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Posted on September 29, 2008

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