Rock ‘N Roll Queen: Our Review of ‘Bad Reputation’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical, VOD/iTunes/DigitalDownload by - September 28, 2018
Rock ‘N Roll Queen: Our Review of ‘Bad Reputation’

Remember when jukeboxes still took dimes?  Actually, remember when there were still jukeboxes?

It’s quite possible that there’s no one who is quite as rock and roll in the history of the business as Joan Jett.  With Bad Reputation launching a limited theatrical run and hitting most VOD platforms today, this doc is a fun but admittedly perfunctory look at the career of this punk and rock and roll icon.

In a sleepy suburban town when a young 13 year old girl asked for a Sears Electric guitar for Christmas, who knew that the course of music history would be changed forever.  Joan Jett wanted to make some noise.  She wanted to plug in, and nothing was going to stop her. This film tracks the life and times of a pioneer, from her early teenage years as founder of the 1970s all-girl band the Runaways, their subsequent breakup, the long road that lead her to Kenny Laguna which resulted with the founding of Blackheart Records which set her on her way to be a genuine music icon and an inspiration to millions.

Nothing in this film reinvents the wheel, it’s pretty much rock doc bio 101 but Bad Reputation is fun slice of rock and roll history that will delight the hardcore fans and provide some genuine insight on Joan’s place in rock and roll history.

Director Kevin Kerslake cut his teeth mostly on music videos but with a couple of documentaries under his belt (including 2016’s recent look at the life of DJ AM) he doesn’t make flashy movies but he can craft an effective film.  He’s smart enough to lean on his subject and Jett makes for a strong one.  In concert with great archival footage and plenty of talking heads to fill in the rise of this icon it makes for a solid ride.

From their embracement of the punk movement to the evolution of Jett as a model and inspiration for women in this business as her relationship with Laguna and their success allowed for her to be a champion not only for LGBTQ rights but also in finding success her own way without selling out in a business where genuine individual creativity can get sacrificed in the name of the all might dollar.

At the end of the day, Bad Reputation is a quality little rock doc that both fans and novices can enjoy in the moment but Jett’s story; which is ultimately a happy one does get the treatment that her iconic career deserves.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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