(a.k.a. This Is America)
Cast: Nobody you've ever heard of
No doubt inspired by the legendary Italian
schlockumentary Mondo Cane,
which can be said for a number of other movies in this vein. Emphasis
these movies is usually to gross out the audience by showing gory
around the world. This time, it's different; the emphasis is on
out the audience by showing sexual practices in the United
I can't be sure what audiences thought of the happenings
in this movie
in the 70s. But it's reasonable to assume that since this was a low
independent movie, the filmmakers decided to get as much outrageous
as they could to drag in the crowd. With this theory in mind, I then
to confess that much of the events shown here are no longer shocking,
says a lot about how our society's beliefs have changed in just over
The movie begins with a montage of clips from what we
are about to see,
with a punk version of the song "America The Beautiful", performed by
Dictators. Then we begin. The narrator makes some inane comments about
how the car has become such a big part of American life, etc. Then, to
shock us into believing him, they show....gasp!....a demolition derby!
We watch cars making the most unspectacular crashes for several
Next, we see actual footage from the Indy 500 held a few years earlier,
and the narrator makes some inane comments about how popular auto
has become and we witness the announcer yelling, "Gentlemen, start your
engines!", then a few minutes later, one of the race cars has a
wipeout. The race is then restarted, and a few minutes later, another
car crashes! The announcer yells, "Gentlemen, start your engines!" for
a third time (though at least every time he yells it onscreen, they
a different camera angle), and then.....you guessed it. Nothing of real
interest is here, since I have seen an endless amount of crash footage
on those sport network blooper shows, and it's just the same as what is
shown in this film.
We cut from this car-nage to a nude beauty pageant. Huh?
the 1975 Miss All Bare American pageant, and it's exactly what you
it is. Except that the editing suggests that the women at one point in
the pageant put their clothes on for one segment. Don't worry,
are naked at the announcement of the winner.
To be fair to the audience, the next segment is about
exotic male dancers.
The narrator mentions that ordinary women from all backgrounds go to
clubs to get some excitement in their lives. I wish I could talk to one
of these women to discover why they get so excited, because, frankly,
dancers shown here have pretty ugly bodies. Add to the fact that these
dancers never go the "full monty" - all they do is boogie in one place
on the stage in their trunks. However, we do find out why they have
large bulges in their trunks - it's where they stuff the money.
Next is a short segment about the legal Nevada
whorehouses. Save the
fact that supposedly some of these businesses have private airstrips
the modern ranchers of the state, there's nothing to report that you
know. Which also goes for the next segment about "massage parlors",
in one quick cut you do see one of the legendary Pussycat Theaters in
Sex therapy is then covered. Though all the participants
are in the
nude (including the instructor), it's isn't very exciting. Mostly it's
close-ups of fat and/or hairy bodies and people rubbing legs or running
their hair all over a person.
It's then time for the Eros awards! Those are the awards
to people involved
in the sex industry. After seeing Boogie Nights, I had assumed
such awards were of a small, casual nature. But here, it's a more
and formal event. The highlight is a dance number with a naked man and
woman completely covered head-to-toe with silver paint. Well, the Oscar
is naked, so I guess it's okay.
With wiggling wieners still dancing in our heads, it's
next up is devoted to hot dogs. Did you know that hot dogs are made
various animal parts??????????????????? Then we go behind the scenes of
Frederick's of Hollywood. Ho-hum.
Bored? Don't worry! - up next is something
unforgettable. We next visit
a tattoo parlor, and we get nice close-ups of tattooing in progress
with spots of blood). The lip tattoo is pretty intense, but it can't
the close-up of a man getting his penis tattooed! (And
without blood.) This was quite an ordeal to sit through, but just
to tell the recipient that; he has a monologue about how his penis
makes him feel really exited and more of a man.
We get some footage of pro wrestling. About all that's
changed is that
the wrestlers' now have more colorful personalities. Then some female
wrestling. The narrator comments that these women - ordinarily
and college students - do this for excitement. He also calls them
The Golden Gate Bridge suicide phenomenon is touched on
by footage of the coast guard pulling out the body of a victim from the
ocean. The interesting thing about this is that the closing credits
the same action at the opposite angle. Very nice of the coast guard to
be willing to push the body overboard so they could shoot it again.
Three segments on religion follow. The first reports on
The second is about the Lutheran Church of the Clown, where the
minister puts on clown makeup in front of the worshipers. And then we
get a fairly
obvious faked report on Satanic cults. ("They agreed to let us shoot
if we didn't report the location of the church.") Then we are treated
part of their worship, in several camera angles, including one far up.
Did you know that people get married in crummy wedding
services in Las
Vegas? They show it here! And how do people celebrate their honeymoons
these days? At a special hotel, where a "typical" newlywed couple check
in with their two small suitcases, they work off their energy
part in target practice at the rifle range.
Rent-a-dungeon are supposedly a growing phenomenon where
practice their S&M to their hearts' content. Not for the Mormons,
indulge in polygamy and are probably too tired to do so. We get a sneak
peek at an actual Mormon wedding, with the groom's other wives present.
In one brief shot, we see one of the wives has a rifle slung over her
Is this a "rifle wedding"?
The rest of the movie covers nude beaches, dildo
factories (all you
every wanted to know about the process!), brothels for seniors,
(which do exist), cryogenics (where the body is placed in the chamber
the scientists shoving the corpse when the last part gets stuck
- haven't they heard of stretchers?), footage of an "actual bank
(never heard of security cameras that could follow people's movements,
and in close-up), and co-ed prisons.
With a significant amount of the footage now obviously
faked, and topics
no longer shocking, this will disappoint a lot of viewers today. Though
it's not the worse of this dubious genre, and it certainly gives people
an idea of the feelings of sex in the pre AIDS era, as well as a feel
the 70s. So it's not without merit, but I wouldn't say you should go
of your way to rent it. I think it's one of those movies that people
know if they will like or not by its description. I read the box, had a
idea it wasn't so great but rented it anyway - and I was right.
Check for availability on Amazon.
See also: Dogtown & Z-Boys,
On Any Sunday, Skateboard Madness