Bombshells and Dollies (2019)

Rating: 9/10

A documentary chronically the Miss Viva Las Vegas Pinup Contest, we watch as these girls compete to be the best model but also explore their past as this group of twelve women get to where they are today.

This feels like a slice of the 1950s while also being set completely in the modern-day. It combines vintage costumes and scenery with Rockabilly music (think Beach Boys mixed with Elvis) and creates a slice of life that is rarely seen anywhere nowadays. Pinups were a type of newsletter made more popular during WWII to get people to buy war bonds, and the like, but soon became common to see all over the place during that time, such as on the sides of planes, for example. This documentary goes through the history of both pinups and the Miss Viva Las Vegas competition and shows all it takes to make something like this happen, along with some of the most beautiful women from around the world to make it all possible.

I really like this film’s style. It has a very fast-paced feel to it that is helped along by the creative stylings. It kind of feels like the type of thing you’d see on YouTube and realize it was all edited together by one individual with a specific, and very creative, purpose. Even if that purpose is only to educate about a not-very-well-known competition in Nevada, they still do so in a way that is very entertaining to watch. This is like a post-modern documentary, combining genres and making something entirely new. Here it seems like a mix of something like Survivor or Project Runway (except no one is voted off or whatever) and a more traditional documentary. We learn about these people and hear them talk about their happiness and their problems in the same breath as we learn about the history of pinups and the music of Las Vegas. It’s a very uniquely presented documentary, to say the least.

Though the fast-pace works, for the most part, there are a couple points where they cut to separate storyline, talk about it for a bit, only to then come back to the main competition between these women never to come back to what they were talking about. I realize that this is meant to set the scene but certain things, such as talking about Rockabilly for a bit towards the end of the film feels more like something to show in the beginning in order to help set the scene, but where it stands it feels more like something they threw in just to draw out the film’s length as it detracts from what the film is really about.


+10: A very unique documentary that takes a very small subject and makes it seem larger than life

-1: Just a few issues regarding pacing and overall story structure

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