Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (TV Movie 1979) Poster

(1979 TV Movie)

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If We Could See Them Now.....
Poseidon-318 August 2004
This imaginatively titled TV-movie served as a showcase for what was then a phenomenon: curvy cheerleaders doing a poor man's Busby Berkeley-style routine on the football field at half-time and cheering the players (and fans!) through the game. Though other teams have since adopted their own versions of this (the Ben-Gals, for example, with the Cincinnati Bengals), at the time the title ladies were a red-hot commodity with mega-selling posters, appearances on "The Love Boat", etc.... Here, Seymour plays an undercover reporter sent to do a hatchet-job expose on the organization by her ex-boyfriend Convy, a high-profile publishing editor. She infiltrates the auditioning process and makes it to the finals, all the while hoping to dig up the all-important dirt to make the story sing when it's printed. Not surprisingly, she eventually begins to see the frosted, feathered, buxom babes as human beings with real hopes, dreams and feelings and she begins to have second thoughts. Meanwhile, several of the other ladies are having marital or boyfriend issues of their own. Den mother Stephens oversees the whole gaggle of women with a firm hand. Considering the subject matter, no one tuning in should be expecting "Long Days Journey Into Night" and, as light, cheesy fluff, the film manages to entertain to a point. Seymour is, of course, gorgeous, but her acting chops don't get much of a workout here. Her considerable ballet training does her no favors either as she tries to display the chops it takes to become a swinging, flailing cheerleader. Convy pretty much phones in his role, though he is Laurence Olivier compared to the rest of the positively dreadful male performers. Notable baseball player Dent inexplicably portrays a Dallas Cowboy hopeful and is excruciating every time he opens his mouth. Troster plays a redneck jerk who is trying to blackmail cheerleader Tewes into posing for nude photographs in her uniform. Most of the cheerleading applicants are played by women either pushing thirty or beyond it and their performances vary from okay to awful. Apart from Seymour, the only dash of taste or class in the film is the inherently sophisticated Stephens, who gives her role just the right amount of warmth mixed with bitchiness. Still, the film succeeds in what it set out to do, which is show a lot of legs and cleavage and while away two hours. This film just preceded the death of disco and it's amusing to see the judges refer to it and the ladies doing their thing on the dance floor after hours while polyester-suited, thick-mustached extras court them with their "awesome" moves. The movie was a ratings smash and inspired an almost immediate follow-up (with the equally knockout title of "Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders II".)
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As Bucky Dent said to Ellen Bry,
Putzberger5 June 2006
"How can you be . . . so shallow?" I adore this cheesy made-for, which featured the acting debut (and farewell) of the aforementioned Yankee shortstop. Our boy Bucky is almost as wooden as the bat he used to crush the dreams of the Red Sox Nation in 1978, and watching him lumber (so to speak) around the set as a washed-up football player hopelessly in love with a snooty cheerleader, played by future "St Elsewhere" star Bry, would be enough to make "Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders" a camp classic. But it also offers a trio of unintentionally delightful performances by Lauren Tewes as a sweet little piece of white trash, Bert Convy as a sleazy magazine publisher, and Jane Seymour as a tough, aggressive undercover reporter. Lauren could never project much more than a sort of bland perkiness, but in this film, she's supposed to be troubled and vulnerable -- she's a nice girl with a dark secret that could get her kicked off the squad. She fails miserably, but the effort she puts into it is quite moving since it hints at the personal trauma poor Ms. Tewes was then suffering as the resident crumpet on the "Love Boat." Throughout his career Bert Convy built a reputation as an affable nonentity, but now and then there were hints of the resentment and misery that must surely fester within every self-acknowledged cipher, and you can sense some real malice beneath the blow-dried cardboard villain that Convy plays here. Maybe Convy could have played a brilliant Ted Bundy.

"Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders," though, is a vehicle for two, and those two are Jane Seymour and the Dallas Cowboys organization. The film posits that the Dallas Cowboys represent everything that is good and wholesome about America. (Why else would these gals swathe their breasts in the Red, White and Blue?) Why, despite their success and fame, the Cowboys are so down-home and authentic that their cheerleaders' choreographer is a woman named Texie! And if they need a dour, brittle woman like Laraine Stephens to safeguard the sanctity of the Cheerleaders, so be it. (The lovely Miss Stephens seems to have researched this character by watching every episode of "Another World" ever broadcast -- behold her stern-browed, soapy malevolence as she dismisses an overly ambitious young woman from the squad. Careful, girls, you don't want to think you're better than you are.) But it's the beautiful Jane who carries this film into the end zone. At this point in her career, she was absolutely radiant and utterly shameless, so she could play nasty characters who would have roasted Dr. Quinn over a campfire, and here she warms up for her scenery-pulverizing turn as Cathy in the "East of Eden" mini-series two years later. Watch her toss that silky hair and dish about her fellow squad members. Watch her assemble those flawless features into a mask of phony empathy and suck the seedy truth out of Lauren like a vampire. At her sordid best, Jane combined the blunt intensity of Joan Crawford with the eye-searing beauty of Gene Tierney. She could have ruled the 80s, or any other decade, really. But she surrendered to her nicest impulses, and we're left with mere glimpses of the colossal diva that might she have become. Sigh.
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It may be cheesy and full of jiggle but good movie
ashleychica20014 August 2004
This movie is in the era of Jiggle TV and movies; Charlie's Angels, Three's Company, H.O.T.S., etc. This movie qualifies as a jiggle movie. This movie featured women from different backgrounds who try out for the squad, including one that is a writer (Jane Seymour) who is trying to do undercover work about America's Sweethearts, while trying out. There were different problems among the women, i.e. romance and sexual abuse. Although I'm a straight woman (and a big Cowboys fan), I'll have to say that the movie is good, despite the cheesiness. I'm sure that guys that were teens or young adults in the late 1970s find this movie amusing because it got Jane and Lauren Tewes in cheerleader uniforms (especially Jane because she really showed a whole lot of skin two years prior in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger). This movie comes on rarely, so tape it now while you get a chance, whether or not you're a Cowboys fan.

Rating: 8/10
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