Saturday, May 26, 2007

STARLITE DRIVE IN THEATER DOUBLE FEATURE

BCI releases a lot of flicks on DVD. I think they may have struck gold with this little endeavor. They take two classics of the drive in era and package them like a drive in experience. Sure, there are other companies that do a better job, but these guys are packaging stuff that actually reminds me of the good old days of drive-ins.
First up is THE POM POM GIRLS. Directed by Joseph Ruben, this little slice of high schoolers life is actually a pretty realistic portrait of kids from the 70's. Having been a kid in the 70's I can tell you we did a lot of the joyrides and drinking and sex that is prevalent in this flick. And, while there are some laughs and some gorgeous cars in the flick, it isn't really a comedy. Robert Carradine (REVENGE OF THE NERDS) plays Johnnie, a hot head who is always ready for a scrap from the arch rival school. I thought it was amazing the shots that Ruben gets in this flick. Especially when the kids hijack a fire truck and visit the rival high school to hose them down during football practice. There is so much going on in this flick that would never make it to the screen today that THE POM POM GIRLS stands as a historical record of what the 70's were actually like. Sure, it's a little pumped up because it's a movie, but it hit pretty close to home for those of us that were there. I was amazed to see that director Ruben is responsible for some pretty solid mainstream work as well. From SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY to THE GOOD SON, this is a guy who makes a solid, Hollywood picture that has legs. All of his filmography probably plays every day on any cable channel somewhere in the world. Not bad for a guy who started out with drive in fare like THE POM POM GIRLS.
The second feature is called THE VAN although it should be called CHEVY VAN because the song by Sammy Johns plays pretty much non stop throughout the flick. While there are a few returning cast from THE POM POM GIRLS it is lead Stuart Goetz who steals the show. Most people will remember Stuart from that episode of The Brady Bunch where Marsha eats a football and then her nose swells up and the cool guy, Doug, won't take her to the dance. Charlie, however, played by Goetz is the good kid who sees Marsha for what she really is and not just a pretty face. Those of us who have recently caught Maureen McCormick in VH1's Celebrity Fit Club do realize that Doug had the right idea because after all these years, Maureen MCCormick is going to be remembered for that pretty face that has turned into an alcohol soaked parody of herself. Anyway, Charlie..uh, I mean Stuart plays Bobby and Bobby has just graduated from high school with one thing on his mind.
Getting a custom van. Now, once again, I was around for this particular phenomenon and I'm kind of sorry that it didn't have better legs. Thousands of people drove these wild customized vans with cool artwork aribrushed on the sides and shag carpeting and a water bed in the back. Bobby is no different and gets the van of his dreams. He basically uses it to get girls and it seems that all he has to say is that he has a van and women are falling all over themselves to get into Bobby's pants and his van.
Of course, the inevitable happens when Bobby meets the girl of his dreams and she could care less if he has a van. In between Bobby has lots of adventures, works in a carwash managed by the one and only Danny DeVito and keeps one step ahead of a gorgeous blonde's jealous boyfriend who also has a custom van and is ready to throw down with Bobby at a moment's notice.
THE VAN is sort of the opposite of THE POM POM GIRLS. Where the director of that went on to other things and a few of the cast members continue to work, THE VAN cast and crew weren't so lucky. The director, Sam Grossman only made two pictures in his career; this and a sci fi flick called STATIC. And while Stuart Goetz is making a suitable career for himself as a television music editor he ain't burning up the silver screen. The only one in THE VAN to do anything with themselves would have to be Mr. DeVito.
Both the flicks bring back the feel of the drive in and the times they were made. BCI has managed to create a suitable cinematic time capsule for an era from a while back that just seems like yesterday to a lot of people.

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