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Somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, USA: Corinne (Diane Lane) is an
unemployed and recently orphaned teenaged girl who hasn't even finished
high school but hasn't got any perspective in her life, other than a pipe
dream that she will make it big with her all-girl band The Stains she's in
with her sister (Marin Kanter) and her cousin (Laura Dern). Out of the
blue, opportunity comes knocking when has-been hard rock band Metal Corpse
is looking for a new support band in order to ditch their present support,
British punk rockers The Looters.
This could be the big break for The
Stains, but it seems it's too good an opportunity to not fuck it up, and
The Stains don't even last one song before Corinne's sister and cousin
flee the stage, leaving her up there alone to insult the audience - after
all, she always was the outspoken one of the gang - in a way too skimpy
outfit and sporting a wild hairstyle.
After this performance, the career
of The Stains seems to be over before it has begun - but then the
bassplayer (Vince Welnick) of Metal Corpse dies, and for some reason,
Corinne is believed to be his girlfriend - and she makes the most of it,
not only confirming the essentially false assumption but also promoting
herself and her band, and of course her extravagant looks and skimpy
outfit, coupled with her pseudo-punk attitude and predilection for
oneliners sure help making her recongizable character.
Coprse quit the tour, The Looters are promoted to headliners and The
Stains become their regular support band, but from show number two
onwards, The Stains draw the bigger crowds, crowds of girls that share
Corinne's pseudo-punk, fuck-the-world attitude, copy her style, and call
themselves Skunks. She also becomes a TV celebrity in the stretch of land
she and her girls are touring.
Eventually, Corinne gets friendly with
The Looters' frontman Billy (Ray Winstone) and the two have an affair -
which is quickly over when she learns he was asking his manager Robell
(David Clennon) for another support act. It was all just a
misunderstanding, but makes her irreconsolably angry at him - and from now
on she starts to steal his songs, his performance, his everything. She
even convinces his manager that The Stains are to become the headliners of
the tour with The Looters supporting them.
However, there is one thing
Corinne hasn't realized, that The Stains, at least in the way they are
promoted, are nothing but a gimmick band that run on a few oneliners and
the highly artificial "skunk"-movement, and when opening for
them at their biggest venue yet, Billy steals a page from Corinne's book
and insults the audience, but also opens their eyes to the artificiality
of The Stains, as a product rather than an actual band ... and when The
Stains finally come on stage, they are booed off by their own fans.
the very end, Corinne and Billy reconcile, and he even invites her to join
him for the rest of the tour, but she refuses to travel with him as just
Even The Stains seem to have a sort-of afterlife, on
record and as a perfectly ironed out pop-band that has nothing left of the
band's former pseudo-punk attitude.
About this film I am of two
minds: On one hand, it does a great job portraying the seediness of life
on the road of a musician, and does a great job in caricaturing different
strains of characters among rock musicians without ridiculing them. And
Diane Lane in an early role (she was merely 17 when she made this) gives a
quite compelling performance as well.
On the other hand though, the
film's plot as a whole comes across a bit too simplified and too
heavy-handed, as most of its twists and turns are rather on the blunt side
and fail to be wholly convincing.
All that said, as a piece of rock
music nostalgia, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains is at
least worth a look and better than a good bunch of other movies of its