Lou Adler on “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains”

Lou Adler on “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains” (photo)

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How did you decide to cast Lane?

I liked her in “A Little Romance,” which showed that she could act. She had a certain quality about her in the meetings that was tough and vulnerable at the same time, which is unusual for a 15-year-old. That was what we were looking for. We were looking for that vulnerability, but also somebody who could be very tough when she had to be. Diane seemed to have those qualities.

How tough was it convincing punk musicians to take part in a big studio film?

Surprisingly easy. When I look back at it — to be able to get two of the Sex Pistols, and Simonon from The Clash, they were just coming from the right environment from the music scene, to understand what we were trying to do within [the story’s fictional] groups. I look back and am sort of surprised that it was fairly easy to get them. I’d only done one film before that, so it’s not as if I was a director that they knew. Fee Waybill, who is really great in the film, he was an easy choice for that, because of the work that he did with the Tubes.

What compelled you to make a film about punk rock?

You know, I was making a movie about the music industry. Even though the film was probably originally written as a punk film, the film that I saw in it was much broader than that. It also took in the exploitation throughout the industry, and also the media. Those were the things that attracted me to the script.

It strikes me as particularly cynical about the industry.

I didn’t realize I was that cynical until I made the film.

So you didn’t set out to make a critique?

No. As I said, it was the second time I had ever directed a film. I was pretty much going on instinct and knowledge of the music business and knowledge of the different types of music groups. My interpretation of the script probably was a little softer than the script itself, but it was much more from an insider perspective, seeing those things happen from the inside. And not with a cynical attitude towards them, but just wanting a chance to explore them — or expose them. But I wasn’t trying to make a statement that it was wrong or right. I just wanted to show it.

How did your experiences working in the music business inform the film?

I think I was on both sides of it. I think I was probably one of those that exploited, and one of those that had seen exploitation. It was just the way the industry ran, and it’s not to say that it’s right or wrong. It’s like I said — I was probably a part of it. I produced and managed groups, and I probably did some of those things. That’s why they were easy for me to put on film. Or, at least, I was accused of doing some of those things.


What was the music industry’s response?

I don’t think anybody knew I made the film. [laughs] I don’t think there’s been a comment until now. Really, the film was probably screened in a theater once, and then really late night cable. So the people that found it definitely weren’t the executives at record companies.

Did you always plan on ending the film with the Saints music video?

No. [laughs] And if you ask me today why I did it, I don’t know that I can answer the question except to say that I could have ended the film before that, and probably had a more subtle way of showing that the group had some success when it came over the boombox. But sitting around for a length of time, I just decided to really show it. It might have been that I had the idea of the Andrews Sisters. I don’t know. A lot of it is so far back, I don’t recall why I did that. But obviously, it was to show the success of the group. It was sort of tailored after The Go-Go’s, who were big by that time.

Do you feel any differently about the music industry today?

There’s a very thin line between promotion and exploitation. My son, Cisco Adler, is in a group called Shwayze, which is doing really well. And I’ve watched the label, Suretone, promote that group over a year before the release, which is today’s music business. There’s a thin line, but it is promotion. It’s how you do it. Who’s doing it and what their reasons are…the person that was doing it with the Stains also did it with the group before, and he shows that he would do it with a group in the future. He had no particular passion for the group. He had passion for exploitation. I think it’s different now, although I’m not that active in the music business anymore.

To what do you attribute the film’s enduring popularity?

I think we hit a nerve with girls, and some of the girls who became rock stars, Courtney Love and others like her, were real fans of the film. If somebody connected that [Courtney Love and the film], they became fans of the film. If they could see who Courtney Love was — what she was thinking about, how she acted, how she dressed, what her attitude was — we showed that attitude in the Stains film. And that must have hit a nerve. Because I heard back mostly from women. Although Jon Bon Jovi is a big fan — I think he has a Stains tattoo, in the same way that we use it in the film. But I think he also dated Diane Lane for a while.

[Photos: “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains,” Paramount Pictures, 1982]

“Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains” will be available on DVD on September 16th.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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