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The Pom Pom Girls(1976)
A football player at Rosedale High School is amorous of one of the cheerleaders, who is going with another guy. Another player can't decide which of two cheerleaders he wants to be with. Meanwhile, the Big Game with Hardin High School is approaching, and a prank war is in full swing.
For more about The Pom Pom Girls and the The Pom Pom Girls Blu-ray release, see the The Pom Pom Girls Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on November 25, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Robert Carradine, James Gammon, Cheryl Smith, John Lawrence (I), Cooper Huckabee
Director: Joseph Ruben
» See full cast & crew
The Pom Pom Girls Blu-ray Review
Hamburgers for all!
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, November 25, 2013
Ah, the 1970s. It was a time of randy teen behavior, bralessness, and rampant high school mischief. It was an age before movie make-up, where anyone could scrounge up a few bucks to make a film about adolescent behavior and not even bother with a plot. 1976's "The Pom Pom Girls" isn't a classic of the genre by any means, but it contains a charmingly free-flowing take on matters of the juvenile heart, following whims without any concern for structure, while encouraging its untested cast to express emotions far beyond their skill levels. Raggedy and unshowered, "The Pom Pom Girls" is best appreciated as a time capsule, where viewers of today can look back on an era before lawsuits, social media, and proper nutrition, where the only concern facing young men of the day was the number of girls they could sleep with before the weekend was over. Obvious and determined shortcomings aside, the feature does a fine job itemizing the dilemmas of '76, developing into a beguiling snapshot of the way things once were.
It's the start of a brand new school year at Roseville High, and star football player Jesse (Michael Mullins) is facing the pressure of performance from the Coach (James Gammon). Spending his free time palling around with Johnnie (Robert Carradine), the friends attempt to seduce as many girls as possible, doing whatever they can to charm their targets, looking to score as quickly as possible. Jessie's quest to fill the back of his van with a steady stream of young women is interrupted by Laurie (Jennifer Ashley), a sensitive member of the cheerleading squad who takes a liking to the lothario, despite his attention on Sue Ann (Susan Player), an easy employee of the local burger joint. Faced with a troubling future of punishment from Coach and the burden of commitment from Laurie, Jesse is caught between the academic and social participation expected of him and the opportunity to serve his needs. For Johnnie, back seat romance doesn't come easily, soon entangled with Sally (Lisa Reeves), the ex-girlfriend of school bully Duane (Bill Adler), and a man who doesn't take kindly to public humiliation.
Directed by Joseph Ruben (who would go on to make "Sleeping with the Enemy" and "The Stepfather"), "The Pom Pom Girls" is a gelatinous production that barely offers a narrative to cling to. There's a vague outline of developing opposites-attract love between Jesse and Laurie, but the union is explored in a most scattershot, bipolar manner. One minute, the pair can't the stand the sight of each other, the next, they're sleeping together. Jesse's wandering eye, triggered by his sexual frustration with "good girl" Laurie, passes for screenwriting knots, finding the football star luring Sue Ann into the back of his van for quick sex, though this subplot is also left high and dry, offered only vague rumblings of distress as Laurie pushes Jesse away. I suppose Ruben is looking to evoke the passage of time and the impulsive nature of teenage lust, but there's no consistency to inspire interest, while Jesse's interactions with Coach and his abrasive manner also register as padding to get the film to its contractual run time, left a meaningless heap of random incident by the end credits.
Mangling its "American Graffiti" influence, "The Pom Pom Girls" remains effective as a portrait of Southern California life in the 1970s. The film is teeming with fast cars, incidents of bullying, classroom pranks (with a whoopee cushion no less), and the consumption of hamburgers. Oh my, the hamburgers in this thing. Every character is offered a chance to chew on bunned meat during the feature, with a sizable portion of the tale set at the local drive-in, permitting Rubin to satisfy his fixation on automobiles and fast food.
There are raging hormones to contend with, leading to uncomfortably charged scenes of sexual coercion, but the effort remains lighthearted, focusing on antics involving a fake I.D. used to procure beer, escalating pranks with school rivals before the big game, sand dune playtime, a food fight (more of a duel between Johnnie and Duane), dirt bike racing, a pep rally, and the theft of a fire truck. "The Pom Pom Girls" often plays a like a checklist of teen interests, coated with a soundtrack of smooth rock songs from Cotton, Lloyd & Christian to set the mood. Take the picture on this level of engagement, and it's a fine little distraction, although some accidental tension is trigger by a few of the car stunts, which highlight an unnerving amount of driver recklessness. At one point, Carradine is hit by his co-stars in a scene that simply requires them to park. I'm surprised nobody was seriously hurt during the shoot.
As for the title, pom pom girls are used sparingly in "The Pom Pom Girls," which is more about the males and their horndog ways than the female characters. Still, Rubin allows for a tryout sequence and some football field action, adding the requisite lasciviousness. And to preserve the era, one cheer employs Geritol as a taunt.
The Pom Pom Girls Blu-ray, Video Quality
The AVC encoded image (1.78:1 aspect ratio) presentation for "The Pom Pom Girls" brings the film to BD with satisfactory clarity, providing an appropriate look at low-budget '70's cinematography. Detail is generally good, highlighting facial reactions (the lack of make-up is apparent) and location particulars, with special attention paid to signage and automobile design. Distances are also easily surveyed, adding a welcome sense of depth to the image. Costume textures are equally inviting. Colors are largely stable with some fade, with uniforms and set decoration adding more powerful hues, and exteriors, with blue waters and skies, also supplying a natural look. Skintones are acceptable, but run very pink. Print does feature a steady display of damage, but it's rarely distracting. Grain is managed acceptably. Shadow detail isn't taxed beyond a basic display of blacks, showing minimal solidification.
The Pom Pom Girls Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix struggles to find a position of clarity, coming across with crispy highs and muffled lows, making a few exchanges of dialogue difficult to understand. Hiss is also prevalent. Soundtrack cuts are adequately defined and balanced well in the mix, acting supportive without overwhelming the listener. Performances retain their intended emotion, but the inherent sound quality of the film never allows for a pristine appreciation for the acting. It's a clotted track that requires some extra concentration to enjoy.
The Pom Pom Girls Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Pom Pom Girls Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Although he flirts with the idea of "The Pom Pom Girls" as an update of the teen cinema exploits of the 1950s, Rubin masterminds a more overt homage in the finale, which involves the suspense of "Suicide Chicken" between two drivers racing along a cliff. It's an amusing conclusion, and perhaps the picture might've found more personality had there been a concentrated push of satire instead of the meandering events found here. "The Pom Pom Girls" obviously has value as a relic of the era, displaying '70's permissiveness with abandon, which is immensely entertaining to watch. It's just not much of a movie as it swings indiscriminately with its drama, but story only takes up a small portion of the viewing experience.
The Pom Pom Girls Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Scorpion Releasing Set to Bring two Cult Drive-In Comedies to Blu... - August 21, 2013
Independent distributors Scorpion Releasing will bring to Blu-ray two cult drive-in comedies: Joseph Ruben's The Pom Pom Girls (1976), starring Robert Carradine, Jennifer Ashley, and Michael Mullins, and Bud Townsend's The Beach Girls (1982), starring Debra Blee, ...
The Pom Pom Girls Blu-ray Screenshots
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