Issue 178 Record Reviews
Issue 179 Record Reviews
Issue 180 181 Record Reviews
Issue 174_175 in Focus
Issue 176 Record Reviews
Issue 177- 29 Ann Record Reviews
Issue 174 175 Record Reviews
Issue 173 Record Reviews
Issue 172 Record Reviews
Issue 171 (28th Anniversary) Record Reviews
Issue 168 Record Reviews
Issue 169-170 Record Reviews
Issue167 Record Reviews
Impeachment Blog POost LInks
Issue 165-166 Record Reviews
165-166 Records That Escaped Reviews
2019 year End Issue Holiday Song
Issue163 Recird Reviews
Issue 164 (27th Anniversary) Record Reviews
Issue 157-158 Record Reviews
Issue 159 Record Reviews
Issue 159 Music Related Video Review
Issue 160 Record Reviews
Issue 161-162 Record Reviews
Issue 161-162 Music Related Video of the Issue
Issue 154 Record Reviews
Issue 155 Record Reviews
Issue 156 (26th Anniversary) Record Reviews
Issue 150 Record Reviews
Issue 148-149 Record Revus
Issue 147 Record Reviews
Issue 146 Record Reviews
Issue 144 145 Record Reviews
Issue 142 Record Reviews
Issue 143 (24 ann ish) Record Revus
Issue 142 Bonus Review - ROYAL BRAT @ Cafe Berlin
Issue 140 141 Record Revus
Issue 140 141 Show Revu - THE GOLDBUGS @ The Social Room
Issue 140 141 Live Revu - RADKEY @ The Demo
Issue 139 Record Revus
Issue 139 Live Revu - NOTS @ Rose Music Hall
Issue 138 Record Revus
Issue 138 Live Revu - Tu Pest Pre Party @ Blank Space
Issue 136-137 Show Revu: New Tongues @ Diva Haus
Issue 136-137 Record Revus
Issue 135 (23 ann) Record Revus
Issue 135 Show Revu - Anti Flag
Issue 134 Streams N Demos (Sex Stains)
Issue 134 Record Reviews
Issue 132 133 Record Reviews
Issue 134 Show Revu : SLEATER-KINNEY @ The Blue Note
Issue 131 Record Reviews
Issue 130 Record Reviews
Issue 128-129 Record Reviews
Issue 127 922 ann ish) Record Reviews
Issue 126 Record Reviews
Issue 125 Record Reviews
Issue 124 Record Reviews
Issue 121 (21st anniverrsary) record reviews
Issue 122 123 Record Reviews
Issue 118 119 Record Reviews
Issue 116 Recording Revus
Issue 117 Recording Revus
20th Anniversary Record Revus
Issue 113 Record Revus
A Few Thoughts On the Pussy Riot Case
Issue 112 Record Reviews
Issue 111 Record Reviews
Issue 110 Download Review
Issue 110 Record Reviews
Issue 109 Record Reviews
19th Anniversary Issue Record Reviews
Issue 106 Record Reviews
Issue 104 Recording Reviews
Issue 105 Recording Reviews
18th Anniversary Issue Record Reviews
Issue 101 Record Revus
Issue 100 Record Reviews
Issue 99 Record Revus
DVD Review: Pansy Division Life in a Gay Rock Band
Issue 98 Record Revus
17th anniversary record revues
Live Review: Testament @ Pops May 13 2009
DVD Review - Still We Ride
Ish 95 - Check This Music Out
Issue 95 Record Revus
Gay Beast @ Lemp
Show Review Terra Caput Mundi @ Cafe Berlin
Issue 94 Recording Revus
Issue 93 Record Reviews
92 Zine Reviews - Belated
Bald Eagle @ Mojo's Spetmeber 10, 2008
bellafea @ Lemp September 7, 2008
Ish 92 Record Reviews
Live Review: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Patches, Joe Stickley, Dark Blue Dark Green
Assorted Back Pages
Issue 89 Recording Revus
Ted Leo at the Gargoyl e October 10, 2007
Issue 88 Reviews
Drive In Oddities - The Pom Pom Girls
Issue 87 Reviews
15th Anniversary aside - Love Is Fucked
15th Annivrsary online extra: Love Is Fucked (1994)
Review: The Red Alert at Vintage Vinyl
Review: Degenerettes, Stiff Kittens
Live Review: Battlefields, Rosetta, Midnight Suit
84 Reviews
Interview Page
A Quick Aside
Photo Album Page
ISSUE 118/119 Recording Revus
Issue 138 Streams N Demos (Narrow Waves)
Issue 151 (25th Anniversary) Record Reviews
Issue 152-153 Record Revus
Issue 152-153_ Records that Escaped Reviewing

      Welcome to Drive In oddities: TTWN’s latest feature.  Here we take a peek at an era mostly gone: the age of the drive in theater via movies they most likely showed there.  Many older readers likely have some memory of the drive in, whether it’s going with your folks as a kid, some back seat incident with a date, etc.  Some of the movies were hits screened there after their first run at the indoor cinemas, others were obscure low budget films mostly likely intended for these places.  We’ll cover the films likely in the latter category.  While this will probably most likely be an online thing, it seemed like a good idea to do the first one in print (Okay, we had some spare space, but we meant well).  Obviously these films are now on DVD but you may have to scour the Internet to find them.  Enjoy the column.  Boone.

      The opening shot of a film is one of the most important scenes in a movie.  Whether it's a montage of shot related somehow to the movie's plot or an aerial view of a locale, this shot may not only serve as a backdrop of sorts for the opening credits but also help provide a glimpse of the backdrop, either physically or culturally, of the plot.  The film covered in this edition of Drive In Oddities is no exception.  After the studio logo that kicks off every film (you know what I’m talking about) the screen is dark.  Then right after the first credit, it kicks into gear as a body or effigy falls into scene with a noose around its neck and set on fire.  This kicks off the opening credits for 1976's The Pom Pom Girls from Crown International Pictures.


     The remaining credits alternated between the football team suffering through a morning practice in the hot summer sun and cheerleaders practicing their moves on the beach before heading into the story.  The Pom Pom Girls is the story about a group of football jocks, some cheerleaders, and a school rivalry that gets a bit too out of hand.  The two main jocks featured here are Jesse (Michael Mullins) who’s basically dividing his post practice/post school time between trying to have fun and getting laid and Johnnie, (Robert Carradine) who has a reputation for being “crazy.”  On the cheerleader side the main characters are Laurie (Jennifer Ashley) and Sally (Lisa Reeves) who play the role of girlfriends when not in school or practice.  They and their peers basically spend their free time at practice, the game, dating, or cutting class to take part in the prank war.  In between this, they take part in some typical teen activities of the time (eating at the drive in, drinking, fooling around). 


     The guys have problems to deal with.  In Jesse’s case it’s a coach (James Gammon) that seems to single him out and is drifting further away from sanity as the film progresses.  For Johnnie it’s his nemesis Duane (Bill Adler) the boyfriend he has to steal a woman from and try to get into fights with rather by food fights in the lunchroom or actual violence.  It’s interesting that we never see the girls’ nemesis in a film that’s supposedly about them, though we do get to see them as window dressing or getting ready for a game.


     As for the movie itself, in terms of quality film making The Pom Pom Girls is, to a large degree, crap.  The storyline is thinner than dental floss and there appears to have been more focus from the filmmakers on making money at the box office (even through the drive in and B movie circuit) than realistic portrayal of American adolescence circa 1975-76.  The title itself is a misnomer with the actual Pom Pom Girls themselves appearing more as secondary characters to be fucked or to see strip in a locker room (though some reviews I’ve seen online suggest that some of the nudity has been cut out of the video/DVD version) while the male characters get the actual adventures (much in the same way that 1984’s teen classic Sixteen Candles wasn’t about Samantha Baker but The Geek and his adventures [thanks to the late Sarah Jacobson of Mary Jane’s Not A Virgin Anymore and I Was A Teenage Serial Killer fame for pointing that one out]).


     So why am I telling you about The Pom Pom Girls if I don’t think it’s that good of a movie?  Well, it’s one of the earliest examples of films that show high school jocks as the sociopaths I remember them as.  This is especially true for Johnnie, who Carradine plays off as somewhere between a bully and prankster.  An example early in the movie is when Johnnie tries to shout some comment at a girl and gets the finger.  In response he peels rubber onto a sidewalk to get to a parking lot to beat up the guy (I believe, the first scene with Duane).  Whether trying to provoke fights with Duane (which he does start for the most part) or dropping his pants and pissing out a window onto some girls below during class, there’s something about him that really seems unrelatable unless you’re not just a jock, but an asshole jock.  While Duane is shown to be a prick near the end, Johnnie’s arrogance (in one scene he buys beer with a fake ID, almost doesn’t get it, and acts indignant after leaving) makes him seem like a complete dick (and he’s supposed to be one of the good guys in the film).


     As for the prank war, what we first see as a rival school lynching a fiery effigy takes a different turn as Johnnie, Jesse and company steal a fire truck and unleash the water on the practice field of the rival team – and gets caught.  While the school tries to punish the team, the team makes it impossible to single anyone out thus there’s nobody held accountable.  Also to be noted is that many of the actors were nearing the mid to late 20s and looked it when they appeared in this film (when Jesse is jumped by some people from a rival school in one scene, the guys attacking him appear to be near 30 rather than high school kids).  The fact the teenagers looked adult makes The Pom Pom Girls a prime example of one of those movies that 80s teen filmmakers such as Amy Heckerling and John Hughes would reference when they talked about wanting to find actors who looked young rather than follow actors who looked 30 in earlier teen movies.


      Then there’s the cheerleading in this movie.  In the last decade or so movies such as Bring It On have sought to portray cheerleading as a serious sport, one with risky choreographed moved and even some chances for injury.  Some may be looking for earlier films that show cheerleading in this light – this isn’t it.  The cheerleading in The Pom Pom Girls is rudimentary at best though probably accurate for its era (it was 1976, remember).  To expect a lot of flashy moves or dancing here would be unrealistic, even if the cheerleaders were the focus of the movie.  Instead, expect very primitive moves when even shown cheering (which isn’t much – a pep rally scene ends in a fight on this one).


     However, all the problems in this movie probably had little impact on its actual audience.  If they were kids at a drive in circa 1976, chances are they probably saw this with a beer in one hand and a joint in the other; that is unless they were on a date, in which case they were trying to get laid in the back seat during the movie.  The film, by some reports, was a sleeper hit at the time and would later find a home in the late 70s and 1980s on independent TV channels to fill late late show airtime (where I first came across this film during the summer of 1986), though in retrospect it pales in comparison to later movies like Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Heathers, or even Porkys.  In that light (and with the intended audience of the time), plot or a lasting story may have been considered an afterthought by both studio and movie goers (especially teens at a drive in circa 1976) alike.


     So what does one make of a movie like The Pom Pom Girls?  Basically it’s something you see at your own risk.  If you’re searching for a movie that accurately examines the ups and down of U.S. teen life, this ain’t the movie to get.  However, if you want something that either unintentionally shows the dark side of high school jockdom or just something to watch while you get wasted, this movie may be something you’ll find interesting.  I’ve tried to be as complete as I could without giving too much of the movie away.  But it is interesting to see Robert Carradine play the type of character who would’ve mercilessly tormented the character he’d become most known for a decade or so later (Lewis Skolnick in the Revenge of the Nerds movies) or Gammon years before he'd play the coach in the Major League movies of the early 1990s and might pique some interest for that alone.  It isn’t really a good movie but some readers might find it useful as mind candy if not to see just how far we might have come in the last 32 years culturally.


- Boone

Enter supporting content here