With the Olympic year bearing down on us, the usual Super Bowl
frenzy, March Madness and over-blown Hot Stove Baseball talk there
may never be a better time for a review of TWIRL than right this
TWIRL, where young ladies compete in a big ol' Texas-style
Twirl-off for cash and prizes and of course a real College Scholarship.
That's right, America's favorite pastime Baton Twirling and the
lives it make and the lives it takes. Feel the burn.
Surprisingly this genre hasn't taken off, say like the Kevin
Costner-backed Baseball film genre, we haven't caught any Looney
Tunes characters battling aliens in a Twirl-off to save the world
and there is no behind the scenes tell-all like NORTH DALLAS FORTY,
which indicted pro football in the 70s. But TWIRL, you might say
has elements of all the aforementioned. I'll explain.
Costner's baseball tomes deal with the maudlin national pastime
in a personal, single individual struggle with the game and with
the emotional baggage that comes with trying to be a success in
the game. TWIRL gives us the friendship of Bonnie Lee (Happy Day's
Joanie, Erin Moran) and Jill (Fats, er, Facts of Life's Blair,
Lisa Whelchel), two young ladies who have been twirling together
for years, and that is not a reference to Moran's supposed sexuality,
the two are best friends, doing high school stuff and anticipating
the "Miss Twirl" competition which is just around the
corner. No big deal, right, wrong, because Bonnie Lee's father
(TV stalwart and Hill Street Blues' Renko, Charles Haid) is the
organizer of this tall Texas twirlin' tournament and he sure would
like to see Bonnie Lee take home the title. But his drive doesn't
match Jill's mom's hopes for her little dumpling. Carol Moore
(the shapely, sultry Connie Stevens) is the town's single mom
(harlot) who wants something better for her pudgy twirlnik and
she is willing to lay on her back and hold her ankles to see it
happen. Do I have to point out the similarities to FIELD OF DREAMS?
Doesn't Costner cornhole Thulsa Doom while Shoeless Joe plants
corn or something?
Aliens? You ask. Well, girls are coming from all over the US
of A (and parts of Canada, not doubt) to vie for the honor of
twirling a rubber tipped stick in front of a panel of "judges."
Well you got a cosmetics executive, a college gymnastics representative
and of course, Edd "Kooky" Byrnes as a washed up and
bitter Bobby Bennett, former radio or TV guy or something. Judges,
very capable judges. Anyway, these Aliens from another high school
are invading the turf of Bobbie Lee and Lisa. This Aliens include
the very talented and token black contestant, Vanessa, Kim King
our Asian representative, Cherie (played by a young and spunky
Heather Locklear) and Cindy (Tracy Scroggins) who wears her shorts
too tight and chews a lot of gum. So our heroines have to not
only fight for their friendship but they have to battle forces
from all over the universe, er, well Gus Trikonis' universe. Who?
Gus frickin' Trikonis, you know, director of such wonderworks
as The SIDEHACKERSs, SUPERCOCK
and MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS.
In 1981, TWIRL was just one of Trikonis' made-for-TV efforts,
with MISS ALL-AMERICAN BEAUTY, ELVIS AND THE BEAUTY QUEEN hitting
the little screen, as well as the theatrical release of TAKE THIS
JOB AND SHOVE IT. Trikonis was the shit-flavored director of choice
for quickie, straightforward productions that featured everything
from Dwarves to the King. Trikonis worked on no less than 23 different
projects from 1980 to 1990
busy, to say they least. So although
no extraterrestrials show up for the Miss Twirl competition, our
gals have to ward off evil batonists from "parts unknown"
to take the belt. There's no Foghorn, but I admit my Leghorn got
stiff seeing Whelchel's heaving womanhoods.
But what makes Twirl entertaining is the part of the film most
like NORTH DALLAS FORTY, the "behind the scenes." I
already mentioned the parents of the star twirlers. Bonnie Lee's
dad is like a man possessed with the twirling, played like a former
jock living vicariously through his student athlete son, he makes
Bonnie Lee practice in the dark on the patio constantly, he forbids
her to cavort with Lisa, her best pal and makes Bonnie Lee's life
fucking miserable with all the aplomb of a gay drill sergeant
with a bad case of hemorrhoids, he ain't pleasant. On the other
end of the spectrum Lisa's Mom wants something better for Lisa,
she wants her to get that chance at a scholarship a Baton Community
U. or wherever. She likes to take a snort or two, ramble on about
her teenage years and ain't above trading tail for a nod from
the judges for her daughter. It is also apparent that Bonnie Lee's
Pops has tasted the fruits of the town's sexy divorcee and I thought
we might head down a road that made the gals sisters but it didn't
happen that way. Nonetheless, the typical TV melodrama ensues,
tears flow, people get their feelings hurt but it all comes down
to the actual event. Trikonis effectively draws sympathy for some
characters and gets us to dislike others almost like a real director.
The film never goes for a full on disembowelment of the sport
of baton twirling but like NORTH DALLAS, make no mistake, it's
brutal, folks get hurt, fingers are blistered and callused and
some of those damned things even have fire on the ends. Ouch.
Surprisingly very few ever make it to the pros. Sad.
Staged like a scene from Rocky, girl after girl is paraded up
to a stage where they twirl, while twirling around, dancing, jumping,
smiling ad naseum until someone is crowned Miss God-damed Twirl.
Edd Byrne's character spits vile, rolls his eyes and doesn't want
to be there. The dad prays for other girls to drop their batons
and it all trudges towards the finale' of the Miss Twirl competition,
only one will win. You'll have to watch it yourself to find out,
I only wish there had been some sort of lesbianism, murder or
incest to add to this review but much to my and probably more
so, your dismay, it didn't happen that way. But you do get a fair
amount of those terry cloth shorts that allow for easy access
to gaze upon, so all is not lost on the exploitation aspects of
the film. It really is too bad Lisa Whelchel never got desperate
enough for porn. Sigh.
If you need TWIRL, let me know, I'll see what I can do. Mail
I'm a lesbian."
|The movie's called
|Sorry, but this is
just funny. A helmet to protect your head from a baton...Rodney
King sure wished he'd had one.
Gestapo Black Exploitation?
From Tobacco Row It's Good!
Squad Join Today!
Meateater Do Not Touch!
Stranger Run Run Opie!
House On Hwy 5 Sheesh!
Locked Doors It's Dirty!
Massacre Some Like It.
Pussy It had to be done
Alley It is Rock.
Woman Truck. Woman.
Freak A Classic for You!
Geek Bigfoot Porn
School Ghosthustlers Wow!
Island You Must See!
Not that kinda Cock!
Alienator Feeling Alienated?
Island Vanity and the Beast
Spree Tim Ritter's $0 budget wonder
Prof. Tread still can't sleep.
Tramp She is sumpin' else.
Footmen Tire You...? Heavy religiosity!
Knievel Evel of Course!
Killing Of A Chinese Bookie! Smart Guy.
Pink Angels Gayness, and Bikes
Burning The 80's, ahhh the 80's.
- The Winged Serpant! Larry Cohen rules!
For Your Life! WARNING Racist content
Tall Buford Pusser in the Hizouse!
Camp Internet Geeks Unite!
Losers Ya Loser!
of the Mutilated Bro. George gets busy.
Me An Angel Gal Biker and more.
Grim Reaper Reap on.
One of William Girdler's triumphs.
At Dawn A Modern Classic.
Boy Carradine, Dress, Dourif!
Hollywood Rape-Slaughter Rare expose'.
Savage Weekend. Take
Dead and Buried.
A Should-be Classic.
Summer In Barefoot County. PeeUww!
Night Train To
Terror Choo Choo!
Drink Your Blood Glug, glug!
Russ Meyer and breasts!
Stop Women Honnnk HonnnnK!
Deadly Darling! Pigs!
the Germ Fighter! Clean up!
Doesn't Cathy Eat Breakfast? Why?!
County Express! Glug, Glug!
The Night God Screamed!
White Dog Racists
City Slickers get offed!
Times Five Sean MacGregor's Titantic!
at the Red Wolf Inn Burp!
Eyes See It
Greatest Sinner One of the best!
Baby! Goo Goo!
Camp Nightmare Viva the Revolution!
of the Beast Creatures Booga!
Play Dead Incest craziness!
of Death Vacation madness!
Come, Evil Go! Bye, Bye Sinners!
Strutters Get Black Sucker!
Pretty Eddie Deep South Craziness!
Golem Jewish Folklore or what?
NYC Apartment Blues
To Kill A Clown
Alan Alda Vietnam Vet!
Spook Who Sat Next To The Door Booya!
Woke Up Early The Day I Died Mr. Ed Wood.
Mutilation Man Andy Copp goes arty on us!
People Across The Lake Good TV!
Woman Hunt Load Up Gents.
Devil At You Heels Daring Devil.
Are The Damned Dammit!
Farm TV movie Classic!