Harmless cheese, not enough sleaze.
D. Steinmetz | Georgia | 12/27/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
""The Pom-Pom Girls" can be summed up simply: Plenty of cute girls, not enough 'pom-poms', if you get my drift.
I could identify with 'The Van' a little better, since, growing up in the 70's, I clearly remember the van craze. It never caught on here on the east coast as much as it did in California, but I still recall lots of guys going full tilt into "van-o-mania".
If you're looking for 70's vintage T&A, you've got the wrong films with this 2-pack. There are only 3 scenes of nudity in "The Pom-Pom Girls" and they're very tame. The story line, although lame, gets us from begining to end, and that's about the best that can be said for it. It was quite interesting to see Robert Carradine, who later came into his own in "Revenge of the Nerds", in what had to be one of his very first roles.
"The Van" is a little better. At least the story is somewhat more believable, and the film's featured hottie, Connie Lisa Marie as 'Sally', gets a couple of nice extended scenes to show off her charms. First, while washing her car in a soaking wet tank top, then later when she hooks up with the movie's hero, a hapless red-headed dork named Bobby. That was one of the problems with "The Van"....the lead character Bobby, played by Stan Getz (aka Stuart Goetz), is a bit of a goofball and just not someone you could sympathize with or root for."
"That's one hell of a van you got there."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/02/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"From BCI's Starlite Drive-In Theater series comes The Pom Pom Girls (1976) and The Van (1977), both indicative of the types of the slightly sleazy drive-in fare released by Crown International Pictures throughout the 1970s.
The Pom Pom Girls (1976)
Co-written and directed by Joseph Ruben (Dreamscape, The Stepfather, Money Train), The Pom Pom Girls (1976) features Robert Carradine (Revenge of the Nerds), Jennifer Ashley (Inseminoid), and Michael Mullins, whose career consists mostly of episodic television work. Also appearing is Lisa Reeves (You Light Up My Life), Bill Adler (Switchblade Sisters), James Gammon (Major League), and Susan Player (Malibu Beach). The late Cheryl Smith (Revenge of the Cheerleaders) is listed in the credits (as Rainbeaux Smith), but her part is a relatively minor one.
As the film begins we switching back and forth between some cheerleaders practicing on the beach (in their swimsuits) and a high school football team practicing some drills. Neither group seems particularly proficient at what they're doing, but at least the girls are nice to look at, especially since the cinematographer has a tendency to focus on certain `stimulating' areas of the female anatomy. Anyway, soon after this we meet Johnnie (Carradine) and his friend Jesse (Mullins), a pair of football players who accost a couple of the cheerleaders after practice for the purpose of getting it on...does anyone else think Robert Carradine is perhaps the homeliest of the Carradine Brothers? Anyway, from here there's really not much of a story as what follows is a bunch of semi-related sequences involving returning to school after the summer, malicious pranks performed on (and by) a rival school, getting soused, some pointless montage sequences as Johnnie and Jesse schmooze various girlies, Jesse having a falling out with the gruff, hardnosed football coach (played by James Gammon), and so on...there's also some interpersonal conflicts as Jesse, who's something of a player, tries to get with the `nice' girl of the cheerleader squad, a brunette named Laurie (Ashley), and Johnnie hooks up with a girl named Sally (Reeves), which angers Sally's previous boyfriend Duane, who's apparently something of a possessive psychotic, so much so Duane eventually challenges Johnnie to a contest call `suicide chicken', which involves two guys driving each other's car towards a cliff, the first one who brakes being the loser.
The title `The Pom Pom Girls' is somewhat a misnomer here as the film tends to focus more on the male characters of Johnnie and Jesse, but then would those who originally went to see this film would have gone if it was titled `The Football Players'? Probably not...there is a few scene with a small amount of skin (all natural, no enhancements), but not as much as I would have expected. As I said earlier there's not much of a story here, just a bunch of sequences strung together, most of which involve Johnnie and/or Jesse trying to score, getting into fights, driving around, and so on...I really didn't find either too likeable as Johnnie seemed like an impetuous idiot more concerned with boozing it up, driving fast, and getting into fights more than anything else while Jesse seemed more or less a pretty boy whose main interest was in snogging as many girlies as possible (both were about the most self serving, self absorbed pair you'd ever meet). I will admit at one point Jesse did appear to be more than he seemed once he started getting serious about Laurie, but this notion didn't last too long as in one scene we see him shacking up in his boogie van in the school parking lot with a blonde right outside the window of the classroom Laurie was currently in...that's lovely...perhaps one of the funnier parts of the film comes when Jesse sneaks into Laurie's room, spends the night, sneaks back out the window in the morning, and gets spotted at the front gate by Laurie's father, who assumes he's just arriving (instead of leaving), and invites Jesse in for breakfast. One element I thought very strong here was the 1970s southern California vibe given the hairstyles and clothes, but also through the cars, the locations, and the scenery in general so that's worth something.
The Van (1976)
The Van (1976) aka Chevy Van was directed by Sam Grossman and stars Stuart Goetz (Record City) and Deborah White (Fast-Walking, Alligator II: The Mutation). Also appearing is Harry Moses (Sweater Girls), Marcie Barkin (Chesty Anderson, USN), Stephen Oliver (Werewolves on Wheels), and Danny DeVito (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).
As the movie begins we meet Bobby (Goetz) and his friends as they've just graduated from high school (participating in the 8 year program I suspect, as they all appear to be in their mid 20s), and, as it turns out, Bobby's got big, post graduate plans...he's going to take all the money he's been saving up these last few years working part time at the carwash and buy himself his very own van...but it's not just any van, no, but a deluxe palace on wheels. It's real a sweet ride, complete with Mag wheels, diamond tuck pleather (synthetic leather) upholstery, custom paint job, racing stripes, wall to wall shag carpeting, air-conditioning, captain's chairs, cup holder, overhead lighting, a refrigerator and pop up toaster, CB radio, side bubble window, television, 8-Track tape player, quadraphonic speakers, fog lights, mirrors on the ceiling, and a waterbed in back (What? No disco ball?)...yes sir, it's a real shaggin' wagon, and Bobby's going to put it to good use in scoring with the femininas...seriously, what woman, plied with liberal doses of weed and booze, wouldn't want to be seduced in the back of a funky van by a 98 lb, red-headed nerd with horse teeth and wearing bell bottom jeans? Tina (White), for one, who Bobby's got a little thing for, but won't give him the time of day (uptight attitude is nothing that can't be fixed by a surgical procedure removing the three foot rod from her behind). All sorts of hi-jinks ensue as Bobby cruises about town in his new boss wheels (including attending a `van-in', or a gathering of van aficionados), and the movie eventually leads up to a big race showdown between Bobby and the local psycho Dugan (Oliver), who drives a black monster Chevy van complete with flame motif...
This is your basic, dumb teenage comedy, set against the subculture of custom vans. The story is pretty lame, basically involving Bobby buying a tricked out boogie van specifically to score with chicks, but ultimately learning that, while impressive, his shaggin' wagon is only a material possession, and true happiness comes from within...or something like that...the character of Bobby, who was supposed to be the hero of sorts, was actually a pretty sleazy one with a tendency for erotic fantasizing (these fantasies would have been much more erotic had Bobby not been in them) and date raping. His modus operandi includes luring woman into his van, doping them up with weed and booze, and then trying to forcefully jump their bones. Since he was a pretty small guy, the women were able to fend him off easy enough, but still, it was kinda creepy, and borderline criminal. Here's another great demonstration of Bobby's fine character...one scene in a local hangout has the muscle-laden bully Dugan threatening Bobby with physical violence, and one of Bobby's friend Jack (Moses) comes to the rescue. Bobby ends up taking off after a girl, leaving Jack behind to fend for himself against the much larger Dugan. The next scene we see Jack with a good-sized bandage on his face, indicating Jack took a real beating. In yet another scene we see Bobby taking revenge on some co-workers by poisoning some beers with bowel stimulating drug, to which the co-workers ingest, and subsequently spend the rest of the film chasing him around for retribution. Danny DeVito is in the film, playing Bobby's boss at the carwash and also a bookie, featured in a subplot involving Bobby loaning his van payment money to his desperate boss to pay off some losses. This sets up Bobby's need to race near the end, otherwise his ride would get repossessed. All of the main female characters get nekkid in this film, although Ms. White shows the least (there's always one in the bunch). There's plenty of driving montages, accompanied by the soft rock croonings of Sammy Johns, whose biggest hit, being "Chevy Van", is featured here, which was odd considering the main vehicle portrayed in the movie was a Dodge. Since the makers of this film paid for the rights to use Mr. John's music, use it they do, over, and over, and over again...if I ever hear `Chevy Van" or "Early Morning Love" again I'm likely to jam two cocktail shrimp forks in my ears in search of blissful release. All in all the movie is a mindless, silly affair, with some crude humor, and exactly what I expected. Is it worth seeing? Perhaps, if you, like myself, enjoy forgettable 70s films, or have an interest in fun truckin' vanners (I got the impression Bobby was no true `vanner', but only a party vanner, one who's only predisposed in using his vehicle to score). If I learned anything from this film it's that if you have a boogie van with a waterbed in back, it'd probably be wise not to engage in intimacies with Rubenesque women due to the distinct possibility of springing a leak, and the time you'll have to spend removing the moisture from the shag carpeting with a hair dryer...
The picture quality on this DVD, which is dual sided (one film on each side), looks decent enough for both features, and is presented in fullscreen format on both films. The audio on both films comes through well enough. Along with the films the disc includes something called the `drive-in experience', which is essentially opening and intermission clips one would have normally seen at the drive-in back in the day, along with a cartoon (Mighty Mouse), and some previews of other Crown International Pictures releases. The quality of the video is somewhat sketchy, but it's a nice addition and is sure to bring back some fond memories for those who had the chance to go to the drive-ins when they were still around. Of the two films I enjoyed The Van more, mainly because it seemed to have more of an actual story and the characters seemed slightly more interesting.
The Van is the Citizen Kane of Sammy Johns/Conversion Van Mo
Mobtown Rat | Baltimore, MD | 11/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don't know about the Pom Pom Girls yet, but Bobby's adventures in "Fun-Truckin'" are as cheesy-good as the residue in his van's toaster oven. An unforgettably weird soundtrack by Sammy "Chevy Van" Johns only adds to this so-bad-it's-great movie. Exactly how does a "Miss country lady" make a guy feel like he's "flying in space"?"