Thursday, April 11, 2013
# 86: Bring it On (2000)
Code-name: [everyone, say it with me]... SPIRIT FINGERS!!
Director: Peyton Reed
Type: High School Dramedy
Torrance Shipman- Kirsten Dunst
Missy Pantone- Eliza Dushku
Cliff Pantone- Jesse Bradford
Isis (Clovers Captain)- Gabrielle Union
Big Red- Lindsay Sloane
As always before writing about these movies, I check on their profile on IMDB to see if there's anything I want to add... and also to check on a few names to make sure I have my facts straight.
First of all, I gotta take a solemn moment to, once again, say "Rest in Peace" to feisty former Clover, Natina Reed, who died in a tragic car accident last October.
She will be sorely missed.
It's also kinda saddening how ironic is that she was a protege of TLC member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes who lost her life in a similar fashion 10 years prior.
Second of all, I want to co-sign on a sentiment on this movie's IMDB page:
"Stop the sequels, dammit!"
And to be perfectly blunt, they aren't sequels so much as remakes. Of them, I'd seen two others, "Bring it on again" and "Bring it on: Now or Nothing" to once again see Hayden Panetierre play a cheerleader.
Neither movie came close to the original, so I simply lost interest.
The same can be said about the Broadway adaptation... after my scripted response to every other movie-to-Broadway adaptation in recent years of "WHY?!"
This is yet another one of my guiltless "guilty pleasure" movies.
I wouldn't go so far as to say I watch it every single time it's on cable, but I go crazy for it whenever I do watch it.
Upon recent re-examination, I do concede to the fact it isn't the best written movie in the world and surely won't be bringing any additional trophies to the Rancho Carne Toros, but the fun of it is the journey and the bumps along the way.
It's also highly quotable and demands participation
Of course the cheers are so contagious that I'd dare anyone to rewatch this movie and not "cheer" along.
The highlight of the movie for me is the try-outs when they have to find a new member to take over for someone who fell off a pyramid. Actually, auditions in just about any film can be hilarious... unless you're taking about "The Chorus Line," where the entire movie revolves around the audition process.
All of the girls coming before our winners are so adorable in their cluelessness, except for the one who spends her multiple scenes complaining about every detail... kinda like an overly long horrible "American Idol" audition montage.
Then the two guys are hilarious because they're obviously in the wrong place. The first is really good at ballet and the other mistook the try-outs as the auditions for "Pippin."
Missy comes in, giving off a total biker chick vibe with the leather and chain, and gives a helluva first impression. Her ruthless no-BS attitude here is so enamoring to me that I could just as easily fold and proclaim a massive "Girl Crush."
And she had more than enough skill to earn her space on the squad. (Ironically, her toughness [and said "girl crush"] comes into play a little less when she trades some of it in for a cheerleading unifrom).
After that, all I can really say that thank God that Torrance had her as, seemingly, the only true friend she had in this movie. Otherwise, she wouldn't have made it through all the drama that accumulated.
(ample spoilers ahead)
I don't care what anyone says... spirit fingers are awesome and whether you want to admit to it or not, anyone who'd seen any of these movies has done spirit fingers at some point.
If there's one instance where I can't help but bring out my spirit fingers, it's for the title screen for "So You Think You Dance."
That being said, it's a pretty disheartening scene where you not only find out that "refuted" choreographer Sparky Polastri is a con-artist who taught 6 California squads the same routine, but upon watching the final product, you kinda realize that his routine just wasn't very good.
The drama in the air is at its thickest (e.g. you can cut through it with a butter knife) during the two most devastating scenes for Torrance and her beloved Toros. The other is when she learns that former cheer captain, Big Red, stole all their routines from another squad. In other words, their reputation as national champions was based on a lie.
If that wasn't enough, she stole them from a squad rooted in a poor black community who's been itching to show the world that they can compete with the best.
So the movie not only set up a story of the rich stealing from the poor, but they brought race into the fray. That's just harsh.
After the two parties meet, the Clovers go on to prove that they won't go down without a fight. But after humiliating the Toros during a home football, they dial it back and work extremely hard to go through the ranks.
Their captain, played by Gabrielle Union, is unbelievably focused and driven, but has so much class you can't help but admire her and her squad.
For the final Toros routine, everyone worked together to come up with it, drawing inspiration from everything from Fosse to mime to interpretative dance.
All this being said, it's not too surprising that the placements at Nationals end up as they are. Taking it all into consideration, it's a given that, despite all their hardships, the Clovers go on to win. People love a good Cinderella story.
Then the credits play out to the Toni Basil 80's Classic, "Mickey."
The corresponding music video is also a classic and likely responsible for the integration of cheerleading in pop culture.