THE EXCELLENT EIGHTIES: Tomboy (1985)

Editor’s Note: No sooner did we finish our review of Tomboy for Mill Creek’s B-Movie Blast 50-film pack, we discovered it’s also on their Excellent Eighties 50-film set. It’s a fun film that bears recycling and repeating. So here we go with a new, second fresh take on the film.

Tomasina “Tommy” Boyd isn’t like the other girls. No, she’s not sneaking into school and switching her gender like Terri/Terry Griffith. But unlike all her friends, she’s more into fixing and racing cars than boys. This is presented as something completely out of the sphere of reality, as if she were some mutant.

Herb Freed, who directed Tomboy, has a pretty fun resume, with movies like Beyond EvilHaunts and Graduation Day to his credit.

For some reason, this confident woman has a crush on a total jerk, racecar driver and male chauvinist Randy Starr (Gerard Christopher, Superboy), who doesn’t take her seriously because, you know, she’s a girl.

Certainly, the main reason to see this is because Betsy Russell has the lead. Modern folks may know her from the Saw movies, but for my generation, she was much better known for starring as Molly “Angel” Stewart in Avenging Angel, as well as appearances in Private SchoolCheerleader Camp and Camp Fear, which steals its poster art from Body Count.

I love that someone once asked about Russell how the trailer for this movie positions Tomasina as a strong woman and then cuts to her in the shower. Teh actress replied, “I’ve never really paid attention to that. I guess strong females still have to take showers. They still like to feel sexy, so I don’t think there’s one thing that should stop someone from feeling sexy and showing their body if that’s what they choose to do. I don’t think it makes any difference in the world.”

Kristi Summers from Savage Streets and Hell Comes to Frogtown plays our heroine’s friends, who cares more about boys than cars and she’s normal, of course. Plus, Cynthia Thompson — Cavegirl! — and scream queen Michelle Bauer also show up.

If this movie came out in 2020, it would be decimated on social media and rightly so. I mean, can you imagine a movie that purports to being female empowerment coming out today where the main character only proves herself by repeatedly showing off her breasts?

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