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New Moon Movie Night: ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ Is One of My Roots


Welcome to our moon-synced movie review show, hosted by Saira Barbaric and NEVE. This duo of South Seattle creatives make multidisciplinary work together and individually. For this show, they’re ecstatic to join their love of astrology, ritual, and pop culture.

Stream this month’s podcast at the New Moon Movie Review official podcast website

Whenever I watch But I’m a Cheerleader, I viscerally experience being a  teenager again — all of the yearning and shame; the sparkle ache of finding out what you like and wondering if you’re likable; the desire to fit in any box you can. But I’m a Cheerleader is a 1999 romantic satire directed by Jamie Babbit and starring Natasha Lyonne. Long before she was serving up iconic performances in shows like Orange is the New Black and Russian Doll, she was baby-facing it in a gay cult classic. In the film, Natasha plays high school student Megan who really loves cheerleading and really doesn’t love making out with her boyfriend. Due to this, the fact that she’s a vegetarian and enjoys Georgia O’Keefe paintings, she is subject to an intervention from her family and friends, who tell her she’s a lesbian and cart her off to gay conversion camp. Now, it would be very easy for this to not be a funny storyline. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, another movie I like, tells a similar story, while leaning more on drama and pathos. They/Them, a movie so terrible I almost regret mentioning it, is also set at a gay conversion camp and is supposedly a satire. It is not funny. But I’m a Cheerleader is very funny, and this is because it commits to the height of its camp, allowing things to be so absurd that they are grotesque, balanced with a disarming sincerity where a character’s feelings are concerned.  

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