Reals took a look at this documentary hitting digital platforms this Valentine’s Day!
I’m very excited to bring you a special review today for the newly-released documentary project, Bombshells and Dollies! The kind folks at Tricoast Entertainment reached out to us recently to see if W2R would be interested in providing a review of this project, and I volunteered to watch the documentary and share my thoughts.
Bombshells and Dollies is a look into the unique lifestyle of contemporary pinup girls as they compete to be crowned the next “Miss Viva Las Vegas”. This documentary examines the lives of contemporary women who emulate the style and fashion of the 40’s & 50’s, championing self-expression, self-confidence, and body acceptance.
A bit of context for you:
Pin-Up Girls became popular during World War II and the images of beautiful women were used as a symbol to the men serving in the armed forces of what they were fighting for and provided inspiration for the men during tough times. The title “Pin-Up” comes from the fact that many of the photographs/images were pinned on the wall in barracks or inside of a locker.
As discussed in the documentary (and I wish that they had talked a little bit more about this, as there was an opportunity for some interesting analysis and examination of what we consider pornography, male voyeurism, and female sexuality) Pin-Ups can be nude models, such as Claire Sinclair, a 2011 Playmate of the Year, but they are not outwardly sexual or highly sexualized images. In fact, the models in Pin-Up images are always multifaceted and the women appear happy and optimistic in their posed photographs. The images themselves are meant to be inspiring depictions of women enjoying themselves and having fun in a variety of situations and environments.
As for the Miss Viva Las Vegas Contest, it is just one part of the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend in which over 25,000 fans of all things vintage gather at the The Orleans Hotel and Casino to celebrate and share their love of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Hot Rods, and, of course, beautiful Pin-Up girls. Miss Viva Las Vegas is the largest and most respected Pin-Up contest in the world and attracts talented pageant girls from around the globe.
We get some history of the Viva Las Vegas Contest from Tom Ingram, the creator of Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. He discusses his partnership with famous Pin-Up model Miss Rockwell De’vil and how she helped bring legitimacy and focus to Viva Las Vegas and is an integral part of what we now know as the Miss Viva Las Vegas Contest.
Now that we have been introduced to what the contest is and where it came from, the documentary takes us for an inside look into the Miss Viva Las Vegas Contest and the women competing for the title.
I won’t spend too much time talking about each individual contestant, as you can watch the documentary for that, but if you are curious, below is a handy guide showcasing each of the women competing in the pageant!
We begin at the very start of the selection process, with Miss Rockwell De’vil and Lisa Love (a Pin-Up star and contest judge) going through the applicants and picking their favorites.
This is an interesting look at the judging process, as anyone can enter the Miss Viva Las Vegas Contest, but the final selection process is very unique:
First, judges pick their top 5 choices to go through into the finals. The judges make their choices based on the written applications and an applicant’s submitted photographs, community service history, personal background, charisma, and unique voice.
Then, the competitors get to choose their favorite girl themselves! The competitors vote on one contestant to go through into the finals.
Finally, the audience chooses the final 6 women to be featured in the finals. This makes a total of 12 finalists for the Miss Viva Las Vegas Contest.
After this, the documentary goes on to introduce us to the talented finalists and show their journey to the Miss Viva Las Vegas Contest. We get to meet each finalist and hear their stories and what made them enter the contest and what they hope to achieve. As I said above, I am not going to spend too much time here, as this is the meat of the documentary and I do not want to spoil anything. Plus, you really should hear these introductions from the women themselves.
When they arrive, the girls have a meet-and-greet with the judges, the other contestants, and fans, and then the true Contest begins!
Since the contest seems to be relatively short, we do spend lots of time getting to know the girls and their personalities and backstories. Each contestant had a unique story as to how they got to the Contest and came to be a Pin-Up Girl and we move quickly through this section.
On a side note, I thought my vote would go to the Pin-Up model Brittany Jean, since she hails from Cincinnati, Ohio which is near where I am from, but as the documentary went on, I found myself rooting for another contestant: Blue Haired Betty. Betty has a very interesting story and is a business owner with a very positive view of herself and a unique style, which really came through in her interviews and passion for Pin-Up.
What They Could Have Added
One thing that was very interesting to me (and that I wish they had spent a little more time on) is the fact that many of these Pin-Up girls visit war veterans and do volunteer their time to working with disabled or wounded members of our military.
Though I understand that the point of the documentary was about the women and how this form of expression has impacted their lives and given them the confidence to be themselves and share their inner-beauty with the world, I did think that there was a real opportunity to show how this art form could be meaningful and helpful to others as well. Perhaps a small note, and perhaps it would take the focus from the primary theme of the documentary, but, as my grandfather was a WWII veteran, it was one of the parts of this documentary that most spoke to me as a viewer and caught my interest.
I also wish we had more than just a quick time-lapse of the setup and planning involved in the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. Again, I understand that was not the point of the documentary, but I know very little about the Rockabilly Weekend and it would have been interesting to see how everything is planned and executed to accommodate the huge crowds and make sure that the shows were top-notch. Maybe that is a subject for another documentary, but it is certainly one I would watch!
If you are interested in the world of Pin-Up Girls, history, or just want to get an inside look into a unique fan culture, you should certainly check this documentary out! This is a very interesting look into a supportive world and a contest that I had not heard about until I watched this documentary, so it was a really fascinating watch for me.
The documentary runs for just over an hour, so you will have plenty of time to do some more research into the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend and the Miss Viva Las Vegas Contest after the documentary has ended and get your tickets to this year’s show!
Bombshells and Dollies will be available on various digital platforms 2/14 (InDemand, Amazon, DirecTV, AT&T, FlixFling, Vimeon on Demand, Vudu, FANDANGO). Check it out this weekend!
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