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Movie Details

Title:   Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains
Director:   Lou Adler
Year:   1982
Genre:   Non-Musical Music Film
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   06.09.24

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
06.09.24Internet This is an early 80s film about an all-girl punk band's rise to success out of rural Charleston, PA. They're hired on as an opening act to an aging 70s rock band called The Metal Corpses after the singer of their original openers The Looters, a british punk band, mouth off. There are several musicians in the cast actually, with The Metal Corpses basically being The Tubes, The Looters comprised of Steve Jones and Paul Cook (of The Sex Pistols), and Paul Simonon (of The Clash) backing up a young Ray Winstone. Also, surprisingly, the Rastafarian bus driver slash manager also wrote and performed the various reggae tracks used over travel montages. The stains themselves include Laura Dern on bass and Diane Lane as the vocalist and star of the movie.

I don't know how to say this without sounding like a pervert, but Diane Lane was 15 when she shot most of this and is distractingly beautiful. She has a really skimpy outfit through most of the movie and even a brief nude shot of her getting into a shower which is not necessary (strikingly similar to Melanie Griffith in Night Moves actually). But even with loud punk make-up and a skunk-stripe wig she is absolutely gorgeous. Again, not in a perv way! Like from the neck up I'm talking about. I'm sure I said similar stuff in my Streets of Fire note but at least then she was 18. Ugh. Anyway, I only mention it because the whole movie basically rests on her shoulders and she completely kills it. Kills it dead. The movie itself has a couple weak links but Lane is such a powerhouse that it doesn't matter.

The one part I didn't love is the ending. Reading the imdb trivia they went back and shot the last scene two years after principal photography to try and salvage the movie after low preview screenings so it sticks out like a sore thumb that everyone is two years older with different hair and a growth spurt and everything. It's ok but everything else about the movie felt like it was heading toward a more late 70s bummer ending. It was written by Nancy Dowd (Slap Shot, Coming Home, Straight Time, Ordinary People) so I could totally see Corinne back in Pennsylvania still full of the same rebellious attitude but beaten by the music industry like so many others. Instead, you get a vague sense that the band succeeds with a MTV video for the song they stole. I suppose that supports what we might take away from the film now: a feminist musical voice predating riot grrl bands and stuff like that, but I think That Thing You Do served up a better ending to this type of story.

Aside from that, I really enjoyed this. It was cool to see Ray Winstone so young and his voice pitched so high before he smoked all those cigs and swallowed broken glass to sound like he does these days. The music's good, the story - a kind of back and forth escalation between musicians - played like what that show The Idol tried and failed to do. You get a cameo from LA Punk band Black Randy and The Metrosquad (which was probably broken up by the time this movie came out). Well worth watching for fans of fictional movie bands or Diane Lane.