Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Guiltless Pleasures (Junesploitation Edition): ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT CHEERLEADER

by Adam Thas
Brooks Koepka. Seeing as how you’re reading this on a movie website, there is a good chance that you have no idea who that is.

Brooks is arguably the best golfer in the world right now, and after his win at the PGA Championship, the world was abuzz with shots of his girlfriend Jena Sims. While the rest of the world knows her now as “That girl who is dating Brooks Koepka,” I will forever know her as the star of one of my Guiltless Pleasures: Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader.

It’s hard to describe why I like this movie. Unlike a lot of my Guiltless Pleasures, I think I would have a hard time recommending this to anyone, but it has a charm to it. Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader follows Cassie Stratford (Sims), a biology major and nerd (by nerd, we really mean "a super attractive girl who the director threw glasses on"). Cassie attends Iron Coast University, where her mother was cheerleading captain, and she dreams of living up to her mother’s expectations. While in the lab, she and her lab partner discover an injection that makes ugly things beautiful, so of course Cassie injects herself with the drug. Like Peter Parker discovering he can climb walls, Cassie starts to find she doesn’t need glasses, and her breasts no longer fit in her bra.
Okay, I’m going to stop there. Yes, I’m fully aware it’s sexist. A smart girl gives up her brains for good looks and a spot on the cheerleading team. The movie also ends with two cheerleaders having a topless catfight in a football stadium. It’s obvious what this movie is, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t care if you think it’s sexist. The most important thing in understanding Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader comes in the credits: “Produced by Roger Corman.” Oh, now you get it. Yes, the formulaic genius that is Roger Corman was still producing in 2012, and doing the same thing he’s done with the hundreds of movies he’s produced through the years. I know a producer credit shouldn’t change the way you think about something, but the second you see that credit, you kind of know what you’re in for.

Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader is filled with an odd blend of people who are completely aware of the movie they’re making, but are also working their asses off. No one person is especially great in the movie, but you get the feeling watching it that everyone knows this might be their only chance at stardom. Sims is fine, but I find when she struggles, it's in the scenes where she’s clearly by herself in front of a green screen. I’ve always had a hard time defending why I like this movie. It’s, misogynistic, and sexist, and not doing anything particularly well. Then I listened to the F This Movie! podcast on Revenge of the Nerds (which you should all listen to) and I realized what I liked about Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader is that it's a modern throwback to the '70s and '80s T & A comedies that I (sort of) grew up with, right down to the terrible one liners about women’s breasts. When I eventually got old enough to watch movies like Porky’s or The Last American Virgin, I was watching them after they’d long vanished from the theater. Watching something like Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader now is like running into a guy who is still rocking a mullet in 2019: sure, it’s not cool anymore, but I can smile knowing that dude still exists.
I can’t recommend Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader to any of you, but if you want to borrow it, I’ll gladly lend you my copy (or you could just watch it on Youtube). It was originally shot in 3D and shown theatrically one time at the 2012 San Diego Comicon (a con I was at, and pissed I missed the movie) and on EPIX streaming service. I had fun watching it, and it has a uniqueness to it being an '80s T &amp -- a throwback told mostly from the women’s point of view -- and exists now rather than 30 years ago. Sure you could watch a million different movies during this Junesploitation, but do any of them have a giant girl making out with a quarterback, only to pause and cut the head off a spider with a stop sign? Didn’t think so. I’ve made my choice.


  1. I'm going to watch 3-5 minutes of this later tonight!

    1. You mean all the Ted Raimi scenes?

    2. Well, yeah, obvi - love that guy!

    3. It is the dive bar of movies. Not pretty, but there is a charm to it.

  2. I have a soft spot for this movie. Not only is Jena Sims very beautiful but she's also very charming as well. Ultimately, I liked Attack of the 50 foot Cheerleader because it's an unbashed B movie that doesn't take itself too seriously at all