The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, July 6-12


But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
Directed by Jamie Babbit
Megan must be reprogrammed. She’s a tofu-eating, Melissa Etheridge-listening, Georgia O’Keeffe-admiring teenager, and naturally, this means she’s a lesbian. Babbit’s raucous comedy focuses on the retransformation of this high school cheerleader (the adorable and infectious Natasha Lyonne), who is thrust into an intervention in which her jock boyfriend, fellow pom-pommers (including a cherubic Michelle Williams), and her parents let Megan know they are sending her away to True Directions, an organization that will take of her, er, problem. From here, hilarity and camp ensue, as Megan is transported and placed under the tutelage of Mary Brown (Cathy Moriarty) a stoic Stepford woman, and her reprogrammer Mike (RuPaul Charles, out of drag). The camp is essentially a dollhouse in the middle of nowhere, filled with teens just like Megan (the terrific Clea DuVall and Melanie Lynskey, among others) who “suffer” from homosexuality and are forced to shed their “liberal arts brainwashing.” Overwhelmed by heteronormativity, the kids rebel against True Directions and are taken to a nearby bar by two ex-ex-gays who also felt Mary Brown’s wrath. At the bar Megan succumbs to her feelings for Graham (DuVall), and begins down the path of accepting herself, notwithstanding the repercussions of being abandoned both by the program and her family. Though the film’s trajectory is a bit predictable, it’s become a favorite on the midnight cult circuit and allows us to laugh at the absurdity of such institutions like True Directions thanks to stellar, knockabout performances from an impassioned cast. Samantha Vacca (July 11, 8pm at the IFC Center’s “Queer/Art/Film”)


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