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Herbert B. Leonard
Dimwitted but sweet high school girl of easy virtue and the most popular boy in the school share an improbable romance. But when his buddies forget she's no longer the crew slut she once was, watch out!! Written by
Mike Campanelli <email@example.com>
(Story takes place in Georgia 1948) Very touching bittersweet love story. If you have not seen this movie then don't read this review and comments, instead go get a copy. Beg, barrow or steal it and watch it as I wouldn't want to spoil it for you.
I recommend seeing this movie in one sitting because it is a movie that slowly builds your feelings for the characters which will impact you more at the end of the movie.
Buster Lane (Jan-Michael Vincent) is a typical country boy with maybe a little more scruples then the average southern country poke. Buster is engaged to be married to Margie (Pamela Sue Martin) in the upcoming June and he has been playing touchy feely with her but she wants to wait until they're married to have intercourse. Buster's main friend is Whitey (Robert Englund--"Freddy Krueger") and they hangout and drink beers together and take a trip to the ocean and we get an idea where Buster's friends minds and morals are at and this suffices as the story comes to a close later in the movie. I little more about these friends in the next paragraph.
In the meantime Billie (Joan Goodfellow) who is a very very shy country girl from a very poor family has been having sex with several of Buster's friends in a way of getting some attention. You are never made to feel anything but compassion for Billie, you never think of her as a slut. Her performance radiates innocents and loneliness and sadness and then joy and happiness later in the movie, you can feel all her feelings as the movie progresses.
When Buster can't holdout any longer for sex with Margie his attentions turn to Billie and are not honorable at first. He finds her to be very very innocent and sees the beauty in her and finds himself falling in love but is not sure of his feelings reflecting his own youth and lack of experience to this new feeling called love.
Before Buster even realized what his feelings are he acts on his basic instinct and feelings and breaks off his relationship with Margie and is seeing Billie exclusively. You feel their new found love and see it as a rosebud just beginning to form. Billie is taken to her first movie with Buster to see a Tarzan movie, and you can see her elated joy at this new experience. When Billie and Buster go swimming Buster looks over at her to see if she is taking off all her clothes before he strips to the bare-ass as if to not offend her. It's little moments like this throughout the movie that all add up. The getting up in the middle of the night and waiting for the sun to show itself at the horizon and they jump up and down and then hold each other in a very very loving manner is touching as well. There are exchanges of gifts to one another and they both realize they love one another. Billie is taken to a dance with Buster and you again feel her joy. Billie is lit up like a Christmas tree by this time and you can actually feel her and his joy and happiness. but especially hers.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the boys that were getting laid by Billie before her self-esteem got elevated by her new love comes for some more poontang. Of course Billie resist and fights back but is beaten, raped and killed by these boys.
Buster finds her body shortly after the killing and ends up killing two of the boys who had the evidence literally written on their faces. Buster is released from jail just after Billie's funeral and she was buried with only Buster's parents and the preacher being present, her parents weren't even there. The movie closes with the opening song and you get a big lump in your throat in the closing scene at the cemetery with Buster at Billie's graveside.
I have seen reviews that see this movie as a sweet movie that turns into a sadistic mean spirited movie and was rated as a poor to fair movie because of it. I do not subscribe to this view. We live in a world where ugly things happen every day. We can be sure of two things, it was inevitable that these boys were going to come back for more poontang and that she would refuse them. I'm not sure how else this outcome might be played out. I suppose she could have been assaulted and then just told Buster about it and he could deal with it in a nonviolent manner. We all like happy endings and I love a good Cinderella story as much as anyone. American Beauty is a great movie and didn't end on a very happy note for the main character either, but these same reviewers don't knock that, go figure?
Bottom line is this is one of my favorite movies. I seen it at a drive-in movie theater as the second feature back in 1974 when it was released and just bought a copy last month from an e-bay seller. It was sweeter then I remembered from 26 years ago. Joan Goodfellow doesn't seem to have done any visible acting since 1984. She gives one very sweet performance in this movie. I give Joans performance an 11 and the movie a 10. This movie will always have a soft spot in my heart.
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