on June 8, 2004
This movie is one of the best gay movies I've seen in the last few years. Yep, it includes just about every gay sterotype there is (the softball player, the goth girl, the boarding school girl, the social outcast, the actor/dance/singer, the retail worker, etc.), but underneath it all there is the underlying message of acceptance and the pride in the fact that you are who you are, and you have to learn to embrace it. Cathy Moriarty makes a great turn as the head of a program to "cure" teens of their homosexuality, without realizing that her own son is dancing to showtunes while mowing the lawn. Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall carry the movie wonderfully, and you actually believe the connection between the two of them (as opposed to a lot of other gay film leads). I loved the colors in this movie. I loved the music. Whenever I need a laugh, this is one of the movies I turn to.
on November 22, 2003
I felt this film didn't reach the potential of its concept or its superb cast, although it was enjoyable. The sets and costumes are good, almost carrying the film through an aura of 1950s innocence and hypocrisy. And there were some hilarious scenes (my favourite is the wooden cut-out of the soldier pointing his *ahem* gun at another kneeling in submission).
But most of the humour is based on the same stereotypes that I expected the film to subvert. For most of the movie, there was no attempt to portray the campy gay boys in a thoughtful way. Actually, there was little character development altogether, but most infuriating was this seeming self-contradiction -- the film succumbed to the misconceptions of the homophobic institutions it was also attacking, but without any obvious awareness of this paradox. As a result, I'll admit I didn't find the film very funny or clever.
The best thing about this movie, for me, was the soundtrack. It kicks off with a wonderful kitschy, girly, faux-retro-pop song by April March called "Chick Habit", which is infectious and delicious as sin. There are some gorgeous Go Sailor songs like "Ray of Sunshine" which highlight the cute, first-love factor. And during the love scene (which is one of the best I've seen), "Glass Vase Cello Case" by Tattle Tale provides the most beautiful music for the sweet and pretty cinematography.
I don't think there's a soundtrack available, so maybe this film is worth listening to, at least. Although, just to be shallow, the cast is very aesthetically pleasing so you may as well watch it too.
on January 28, 2003
My friend and I got this video out as a joke, as it looked light-hearted and funny. It turned out to be a rather dark comedy, which I really enjoyed. Lots of laughs were had at the sake of stereotypes and overall I really enjoyed the movie. However, the REAL drawcard of the movie was the AMAZING soundtrack. I sat & wrote down each & all of the songs after I had watched the video and downloaded them the next day. I have searched all over the net to buy a copy of the soundtrack, with no luck. If you too were hooked by the soundtrack, here is a list of all the songs.Chick habit by "April March", Just like Henry by "Dressy Bessy", If u should try to kiss her by "Dressy Bessy", Together forever in love by "Go Sailor", Ray of sunshine by "Go Sailor", Funnel of love by "Wanda Jackson", Evening in Paris by "Lois" and We're in the city by "Saint Etienne"... Hope you enjoy! =)
on May 13, 2004
If you're in need of proclivity-evaluation, need reassurance that it's okay to be you despite others who would repress you ... or perhaps just generally yearn for a romantic comedy with gay characters ... then BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER does everything it's supposed to do. And in that regard, it also serves as polished, professional filmmaking.
But if you want a movie that's entirely gratifying on its own terms (even a gay-themed movie), look elsewhere. There's a confusion of tone -- sometimes it's light comedy, sometimes it's John Waters-type camp, sometimes it's more humanist comedy-drama -- and it's not as if those different aspects can't co-exist (Josh Whedon's series BUFFY and ANGEL, for example, mix storytelling styles constantly) but these relatively young filmmakers haven't found the balance here.
Ultimately the biggest disappointment of the film is that, by the end, it feels slight. The story is a slender, attenuated one, and the message is delivered with such a sledgehammer approach that the phrase "preaching to the converted" comes to mind. (You wonder how effectively CHEERLEADER can soften prejudice when the victims are painted as total innocents and the repressers are painted as total idiots ... )
In any event, BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER is mild and harmless and maybe a nice thing for some confused kids to encounter and ultimately forgettable.
on March 22, 2004
This film is delightfully campy, get it's also an intelligent attack on conservative anti-gay/anti-woman ideologies. If you liked "Bedrooms and Hallways," or "Kissing Jessica Stein," or "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," or even "Supersucker," this is the movie for you! The casting was perfect, the costumes and sets were both political and laugh-out-loud funny, and the plot...well, I've never seen anything like it...and perhaps the highest praise I can give it is this: this is a lesbian "chick flick" even a group of gay men would love! (...) This is a witty, well-made, well-acted film. It's an affirmation of what it is to be young, to be female, to be gay, to feel like an outcast--things we should all be able to symphathize with, even if we can't empathize. My point is, you don't have to be gay to enjoy this movie, but if you are, that's wonderful, and perhaps this film will open up some doors for you, by making you realize you're not alone. In addition, if you or your mother ever took a home economics course, or read a 1950's textbook directing you how to cater to your "man's needs," this film will give you a real giggle...it's full of those reflective moments when strong, sensible women have to take a step back and say, "if being a lady means I have to spend more time using my elbow grease than my brain, is it really worth it?"
on November 21, 2003
I am about as straight as straight could be, and mind you, I have absolutely "nothing" against anyone's sexual preferences. Otherwise, I don't think I would have even watched this movie, let alone give it 5 stars. Matter of fact I live in the next town over form the Lesbian Capitol of Massachusetts, and they're some of the BEST people you'd EVER want to know.I agree with the other reviewer on here who says you do NOT have to be Gay to enjoy this movie. It's just a really feel-good type of flick, about a young school-aged Cheerleader coming to grips with her sexuality.I caught it one night on IFC, (Independent Film Channel) on Satellite TV with my wife, as we were flicking through the channels, and we both absolutely loved it. It's funny as hell. The humor is dry & witty. We even have Richard Moll, (Bull, from Night Court) playing one half of a gay couple, and he has HAIR, by God. Although that's been known now for awhile. We even have Ru Paul OUT, (literally) of DRAG, in this flick.I would compare this movie closely to like a John Waters flick, (Think Hairspray, Polyester Gen), in terms of humor. If you like this kind of humor, as much as I do, then I think you'll really enjoy this film?We missed about the first 15min. of this on IFC, but we finally tracked down the OOP release of this, brand-new, and sealed for $10. Can't beat that price for this great movie.Even Roger Ebert's comments are on the cover of this movie. "A Very Funny Movie"- Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert & The Movies. Of course I didn't know this was on the cover until I bought it, but if you trust Roger Eberts reviews like I do, then go for it, and get this flick. You won't be disappointed.
on October 19, 2003
Possibly one of the best gay & lesbian interest comedies in recent years (far eclipsing the sentimental and condescending 'Jeffrey' in terms of likeability), 'But I'm a Cheerleader' charts the story of a teenager's coming-to-terms with her homosexuality, via a summer camp that attempts to train gay teens to be straight.
Natasha Lyonne gives an extremely endearing performance as the hapless Megan (she's a comic actress of note: her timing is excellent and she has one of the most expressive faces of recent years), who is trying to please her family & friends by becoming straight. Cathy Moriarty gives a typecast (but excellent) performance as the Joan Crawford-esque camp leader and a fantastic cameo by a drag-free RuPaul as an ex-gay Camp Leader completes the ensemble cast.
The script is simplistic but does the job, and the real joy of the film lies in the likeable visual cliches of the 'True Directions' camp - the blue and pink dormitories, the plywood silhouettes of men doing manly things, and the debutante-like graduation party at the end of the movie all come together to make something sweet, lighthearted and genuinely funny.
Highly recommended for all fans of comedy, 'But I'm a Cheerleader' is a very charming, lighthearted look at the effects of peer pressure.
(Also, to note, a cameo by Mink Stole as Megan's mother - from 'Pink Flamingoes' and 'Serial Mom' to possibly the most unglamorous woman on the planet!!)
on July 31, 2003
It's one of the funnier and more clever gay/lesbian flicks to have come out in recent years. It is the story of Megan (Natasha Lyonne), a prissy high school cheerleader who is disgusted w/ kissing her jock boyfriend and likes to fantasize about her cheerleader gal pals. Her family and friends suspect lesbianism is the culprit. And while Megan never really shows any major "lesbian tendencies", her parents list a few wacked stereotypes of what they feel is lesbian behavior. They are afraid that if they don't act fast, she'll be lost forever. They send her to the True Directions Rehabilitation Camp for Homosexuals - or like her mother calls it, "Homosexuals Annonymous". The camp is run by Mary, (Cathy Moriarty) who founded the camp, probably to make up for failed attempts to convert her son Rock (Eddie Cibrian). Ru Paul (out of drag) plays a camp counselor and is an ex-(but obviously still gay)-gay man, who is secretly attracted to Rock. But he'd never admit to it.
Megan herself doesn't feel that she is a homosexual and she comes to the realization in an interesting manner, yet she feels it will be easy to be "fixed" so she could go home. Once in the process of becoming an ex-gay, Megan actually develops lesbian desires - or at least comes completely out of the closet to herself and falls for her roommate, Graham, an outsider rich girl with an attitude. And they clash in the typical 'good girl meets bad bo--oops I mean girl' -- story and they fall in love. But True Directions will have none of that! And make every ridiculous attempt at making them "normal" fun-loving heterosexuals.
Not so much serious as it is funny, But I'm A Cheerleader throws out some of my favorite lines like Clea DuVall's "I'm Graham, and I like girls. A lot! (smile)" Or "Get caught in the throws of sodomy, and it's 'au revoir'". And NaTasha's off the wall "Underground homo railroad" comment that had me rollin'. It makes fun of gay sterotypes and homosexual conversion camps that obviously don't work. A little over the top and goofy at times, which is why I liked it. Good for some laughs...
on July 26, 2003
My God, where to start?
The premise of the movie was weak at best, and probably looked better on paper, anyway.
The movie is too silly to be drama, but not funny enough to be a comedy. I tried to view it as a satire, but in doing that, I was only overwhelmed by the over-the-top stereotypes. This would normally put it in the burlesque genre, but again, it did not fit, because it tried to be serious at times.
The girls were fairly neutral, but the guys were as close to imitating Richard Simmons as you can get without bursting into flames. If this was pro-gay - then it failed miserably. Gays do not need this type of buffonic support.
There were a few interesting casting choices such as Richard Moll - with hair, and Dante Basco who I know from a few Wonder Years eps. RuPaul, as an ex-gay, worked for one or two scenes, but was generally weak.
The little costumes the guys wore, the self-spanking antics of the son of the reform school director...was too much. This is as bad as Lost and Delirious, but in a different way. At least they don't run around quoting Shakespeare.
on November 30, 2003
I like to review the film by itself and then the DVD...
Film - Very funny movie, good acting, writing and directing. Great costumes as well. Unfortunately, Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvall have little chemistry. This is especially disappointing considering how talented these two actresses are. Cathy Moriarty is a bit type-cast in her meanness. I definitely suggest this film as a rental, not to be bought. As funny as this film is, the jokes don't last past the first or second viewing.
DVD - Once again, the independent film gets shafted when it comes to bonus features. At least this film has a chapter list and language options, which some other DVDs lack. The only other feature is the trailer. Don't be fooled by the picture of the welcome screen found on the back of the DVD -- the text "Bonus Materials" is replaced by "Trailer" when the DVD is actually played.