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Vacation

Minute to minute, one of the most repellent, mean-spirited gross-out comedies it’s ever been my squirmy displeasure to sit through.

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Staten Island Summer

They don’t make movies that seem to purposefully waste the talents of current “SNL” stars much any more. Well, except for this one.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Bump and Grindhouse

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Angie polishes Ponce's pole in "Pretty Maids All in a Row."

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"Revenge" is a dish best served hot!

Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule reports on Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse 2007 Festival at my former neighborhood rep house, the New Beverly Cinema (right by El Coyote!) in Los Angeles. Dennis includes an ebullient assessment of "Revenge of the Cheerleaders" (1976), a giddy teen sexploitation movie I have been very fond of since I showed in my college student film series. Writes Dennis:

There is no curriculum at the "morally compromised" Aloha High School, only figures of authority to disregard or blatantly undermine— these cheerleaders and the rest of the Aloha student body make Riff Randall and her crowd look like straight-A honor society members. The girls and boys only want to have fun, which translates into a heady brew of screwing, playing basketball, cheering, robbing students at a thug-happy rival high school of their drugs (during class!) and riding around in a cherry red 1955 Buick convertible with the top down, and their tops off, of course. (The nudity is democratic too—there’s more than a flash of full frontal male twiggery on view here, including Hasselhoff, though his Boner status, based on this evidence, is overinflated.)

It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered such a relentlessly likable feel-good-at-all-costs vibe in any movie, let alone one as low-rent as this one. Tarantino said in a recent interview, referring to discovering treasures in the world of exploitation movies, that not only do you have to drink a lot of milk to get to the cream, with exploitation fare you have to drink a lot of curdled milk to get to the milk. And that’s what "Revenge of the Cheerleaders" felt like to me Sunday night—the reward for having slogged through a lot of similar comedies that had the sex and nudity but none of the zip and tang and spirit this one has in buckets.

And there's so much more. Dennis also writes about Angie Dickinson and Rock Hudson in "Pretty Maids All in a Row," and other grist for the grindhouse...

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