Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains (1981)

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains (1981)

“I’m perfect! But nobody in this shithole gets me, because I don’t put out!”

Synopsis:
Three teens (Diane Lane, Laura Dern, and Marin Kanter) form a punk band called the Stains, and experience a rapid rise and fall in fame.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Canadian Films
  • Diane Lane Films
  • Mockumentaries
  • Musicians
  • Naive Public
  • Punk Rock
  • Rise-and-Fall
  • Teenagers

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this Canadian “musical satire about the meteoric rise and fall of a punk-rock singer” (Lane) who “temporarily becomes the idol of girls her age because of her defiant attitude, nihilistic music… and see-through blouses” features “dreary direction by former rock and roll mogul Lou Adler”, who attempts to lampoon sycophantic fans and the fragility of fame — but there’s surprisingly little to laugh at. On the other hand, the film is noteworthy for anticipating countless mockumentaries to come — plus, as one IMDb contributor notes, “The film predicts the Madonna Wanna-Be craze by years.”

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • An early, pre-Spinal Tap musical mockumentary
  • A young, vibrant Ray Winstone as the lead singer of the Looters
  • Diane Lane’s petulant portrayal as “Third Degree Burns”
  • Laura Dern and Christine Lahti in early roles

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended.

Links:

2 thoughts on “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains (1981)

  1. Found this one quite bleak, but fitting for what it was trying to do. I cannot say it is a “must see” but I saw it at least 10 times as a teenager! Another film of interest in an odd, odd way: “Starstruck”.

  2. First viewing. Not a must. Oh, no.

    Early on in this ‘probing’ tale of life in the punk world, The Stains ‘wow’ us with one of their trademark ditties: “(I’m A) Waste Of Time”.

    Right.

    So’s the movie.

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