I don’t think anybody understands how hard it was to decide to follow Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion with anything at all, other than another screening of Romy and Michele and then maybe Titanic. But I did it. I went for it, I committed, and I chose the exact opposite movie Romy and Michele would probably watch because not even Christy Masterson was a cheerleader, but that’s neither here nor there. (She was an actress, and more specifically, she auditioned for The Music Man.)
So here we are. We are bringing it on. Literally, thanks to the teen film Bring It On which I saw in theatres twice and which inspired me to try out for the cheerleading squad in grade ten that ended in total failure. (Spoiler alert: only three people did not make the team and my best friend and I were two of those people.) But who cares! I’m not athletic. Or good at cheering. And after that fateful day, I didn’t know much about cheerleading other than the fact that the public school I transferred to didn’t have it, which was okay because by then I was watching whatever movie it is that people watched in 2001 and my dreams of cheerleading professionally had long passed.
YOU CANNOT WIN THEM ALL. Unless you are competing at for an international cheerleading title and WOULDN’T YOU KNOW, here’s where it begins.
Let’s bring it on!
1. THE INTRODUCTORY CHEER
Well here’s a fun story from my high school career! A “BFF” I had for approximately four months ran for school co-president, and because we were really into pop culture and very knowledgeable about everything that people want (nope), we introduced her “vote for me!” speech by reciting this cheer word for word, effectively turning the masses against us. Evidently, high school students do not like hearing about how somebody is “sexy and cute” when everyone else feels the exact opposite. She still won, but our friendship did not withstand her thinking it was hilarious to push me into her pool which I will say was my karma for being Cady Heron for approximately 12 weeks.
2. The soundtrack!
We’re eight minutes in, and I’ve heard Mest and Sum 41, and now some sort of weird pop song but WHATEVER. Guys, let’s grab some comb-in pink dye and channel our 2000-era selves. Dickies pants and ill-fitting belly shirts for all!
3. Cheerleading seems terrifying
According to everyone at this very fancy-looking school, cheerleading is a huge part of one’s academic career which confirms that I did not undergo mine properly. (Further confirmed by failing grade 12 and having to do it again twice.) BUT my high school did not have a cheerleading team, so I will blame everything on that. In fact, many of the high schools around where I grew up did not have a cheerleading team, which makes me think we did everything wrong.
Although I did go to Catholic high school for two years, and that school had a cheerleading team, but my best friend and I (aka the Romy to my Michele) did not make the team because every time we screwed up a move, we started swearing audibly. BUT WHATEVER, we had our secret handshake.
4. Why is the mom a bad guy for wanting Torrence to actually succeed in school?
Surprise surprise! Torrence is mad at her mom because her mom’s all, “Could you please study in addition to caring about cheerleading?” and Torrene is all, “MOM, school? GROSS.” Well you know what, Torrence? I am on your mother’s side 110% because HELLO, you are at school, and that is where the learning happens. Good for you that you can cheer! You are doing very well. But maybe go to class or try or do the things that are also important because according to Liz Lemon in one of the greatest 30 Rock episodes, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL.
5. Some bro coughed and said “loser” because Chuck (eh?) the new guy is wearing a punk shirt …?
Remember when people did that? I am trying to, but I think it was usually done when someone was flirting with someone else in a terrible way (thus scarring the flirtee psychologically for the rest of their natural lives). So let’s make this whole “Chuck is unpopular because he likes punk rock” way more interesting by saying “these bros were obviously in major envy, and instead of working on not buying matching short sleeve zip-up sweaters, they focused on bullying the guy who will probably be their boss in 10 years.”
6. Ugh but these bros for real
THEY JUST HIGH FIVED BECAUSE THEY LOVE THE LOSER SNEEZE. Also, his name is Cliff and ooh la la he just met Torrence. [WINK]
7. Torrence just asked if The Clash was Cliff’s band
Listen, you do not have to be a punk rock aficionado, but you do have to know that even my parents who know nothing about pop culture know exactly who The Clash is because they do not live under the sea. Considering my parents are in their 50s and Torrence is supposed to be someone from the late 90s/early 2000s, I will assume that Torrence DOES live under the sea, or she is Ariel and used to be a mermaid. Let’s see how this theory ways as we continue.
8. ELIZA DUSHKU IS IN THE HOUSE
And she is baaaaadass. I know this because she is walking in with rock music playing and she has given herself a fake barb wire tattoo and she put dreadlocks in her hair BY HERSELF (aka the hair and makeup department). “Missy is bank!” says Torrence, ‘cheer-tator.’ And gross, the mean girls just called Missy a lesbian (but a worse word that I will not say ever because it’s terrible), because she looks like a cool person …? I don’t understand anything other than that we all wanted to be Eliza, and we were thrown for a loop when . . .
9. Cliff is Missy’s brother!
OHHH SNAP. Best friends! Lovers! Other strangers! Let’s not worry about it being super weird that Missy will, say, have to play Monica to Cliff and Torrence’s Ross and Rachel, and worry instead about how I haven’t mastered the dance to “Brr it’s cold in here” despite having YouTube’d it several dozen times (per day) (for three months) (starting in January).
10. Torrence is going to kick Missy’s ass because she’s a “sad-ass liar”!
Guys, this is classic Save The Last Dance-type drama where Julia Stiles is all, “It ain’t over” and the mean girl’s all “I don’t even know why it started” but it’s the other way around, yet still completely horrendous and awkward. In this case, we’ve got Missy being all, “You ripped off those cheers!” and Torrence being all, “I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS!” but she sounds actually insane . . . ? In all fairness, transitioning from a life spent under the sea into the sunny world of California would take a toll on anybody’s nerves, but even this is uncalled for – especially because approximately zero fellow classmates are stopping to say, “What is going on, everyone? Would you like some help or a Conflict Manager?”
11. Remember how everyone has their own cars in teen movies?
Why doesn’t anybody else take the bus like how I took the bus? Or walked? At night? Sometimes alone? Also, they all have their OWN cars, so it’s like, WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS DO/are you drug dealers? I mean, nice VW Bug, Missy, who’s Mom and Dad obviously breed money for sport.
12. GABRIELLE UNION!
I hear that between the years 1999 and 2001, Gabrielle Union signed a contract with teenage-hood (as an entity) to appear in every formative teen film ever made. Obviously I have no problem with this, because she rules. What I DO have a problem with is that the words, “Bring it on!” have yet to be uttered onscreen.
13. “My entire cheerleading career has been a lie!”
Says Torrence, who is 17. I don’t know if Torrence knows this, but your cheerleading career consists of learning really hard moves and carrying them off successfully. So you did that! Calm down! Congratulations! You’re hysterical. That and the fact that you said, “I am cheerleading” has me terrified and makes me think this film was actually the original Black Swan. (“I was perfect.”)
14. Cheer camp and the Spirit Stick
Are things that exist in this movie! And also maybe in real life? I DON’T KNOW. Guys, Canada is different. Ontario is different. Maybe it was just my area of town was different. BUT WHATEVER. I know my CITY has a cheerleading team, but I don’t think there’s a camp or a spirit stick. SOMEBODY HELP ME UNDERSTAND PLEASE. Just like Adam Sandler asks in The Wedding Singer. Just like it.
15. AH, the little brother’s playing Twisted Metal!
Remember 1999, you guys? I don’t even know if this movie was made then, but I definitely remember babysitting this little kid who had PlayStation and Twisted Metal AND Crash Bandicoot. So we would eat cookies and play those for hours because I was the greatest babysitter in the world and it was obviously smart for grown-ups to leave me in charge of their children. (I mean, in all fairness, we both had a blast. And ate like kings.)
16. Gross, gross, the guys on this team are gross
They are talking about the Mean Girls and how one doesn’t wear underwear and how the guy’s finger “slips” and it’s like UM HI THAT IS CALLED SEXUAL ASSAULT. I feel uncomfortable, and I think that if I met these characters IRL there would be some literature handed out or about eight lectures on respect given and also charges pressed (actually). Also, another scene happened and everyone’s basically homophobic? What is happening! What school is this?! WHY IS EVERYONE THE WORST. Everybody, watch this movie and just do the exact opposite of what you see onscreen forever.
17. Confirm or deny: if you wear a belly top that means you’re a cheerleader
According to everyone’s wardrobe in this film, that is. I mean, if I had washboard abs I would do the same thing, but wait I would not because guys, they’re just not flattering, you know? BUT WAIT OH SNAP the Clovers have shown up to beat the team down with a cheer-off of sorts and now they need a new routine like, yesterday.
18. Cliff likes music and you can tell because he plays the guitar!
THAT IS HOW WE KNOW, OKAY? Torrence is all, “Gotta brush my teeth!” and WOULDN’T YOU KNOW, she ends up creeping on Missy’s brother as he’s in the throws of passion with the exact same guitar that Heath Ledger gave Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You and despite him not actually playing any discernable chords, he is REALLY REALLY GREAT. The odds of him actually not playing at all and just listening to really loud rock music? I’d say the exact same as when I turn the music on really loud in my car and pretend I can sing. (I swear I sound exactly like the characters from Smash. Each and every one of them.)
Also, Cliff’s wearing his leather cuff and chain to bed, so I think his badassery has been officially confirmed.
19. Torrence’s boyfriend has a Sugar Ray and a Matchbox 20 AND a Hootie and the Blowfish poster in his dorm room
Which doesn’t matter AT ALL BECAUSE – GASP! – he is cheating on Torrence!
And gasp (!!!111oneone!) again because the team needs to get a choreographer and he costs $14 million so they are going to ask their parents and have a car wash which is actually perfect because we’ve already established that everybody in this wonderful, wealthy high school has their own brand new car. And everyone is washing each car in his/her bathing suit and Missy just said “My brother wants to check out your rack” which would actually make me punch Missy in the face.
On another sidenote, Cliff’s car is absolutely covered in mud, so there’s another new development proving EXACTLY just how hardcore he is.
20. JAZZ HANDS!
I think is the joke that accompanies this terrible, offensive choreographer. Like, ACTUALLY terrible and offensive. Guys, I think this movie might also be described as those two words (“terrible” and “offensive”). I’M SORRY. Why didn’t I remember it being like this!? I think I literally only remembered the “athletic” music and that opening cheer which I’ve chalked up to one of my most reprehensible high school memories. But we’ve made it this far. We’re not quitters, everybody, WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS.
Okay, wait, they’re called “spirit fingers.” SORRY EVERYONE. (But especially this guy.)
21. For the record, we all live the Clovers more, right?
RIGHT? I mean, not only are they the underdogs, but they are scientifically better than the . . . whatever team Torrence is on, so bada-bing, we have a winner. And also, they’ve got attitude and 10 Things I Hate About You cred. Which is what I like to call “Gabrielle Union went to prom with Andrew Keegan.”
22. But then Cliff comes to Torrence’s house and he brings her flowers even though she has a boyfriend?
Okay, so I skipped a bunch of stuff because how many times do we need to go over that they keep stealing cheers, but I have arrived at the part where Torrence’s boyfriend tells her to cheer because that’s the only thing she’s ever been good at (WHAT), and then he drops her off at home and Cliff’s there, and he made her a tape. But like, DUDE YOU KNEW SHE HAD A BOYFRIEND. But also dude, NICE MIXED TAPE. Because that’s what he makes her! One with a full-blown band and it sounds crystal clear and not like he recorded it in his basement AT ALL! And she’s feeling pretty, pretty, pretty good and she’s going to WIN! (Just like in Drop Dead Gorgeous: “I mean, I won. I’m the WINNER.”)
23. “You were too busy to believe in me!”
Remember when Torrence shows up and dumps her boyfriend by saying that? And oh my goodness now she’s screaming “YOU BELIEVED IN ME!” at Cliff in the hall because he is OVER IT. (“It” being the Discman he is currently using to walk away angsty after saying, “Whatever.”)
24. THEY KEEP SAYING “BRING IT”
Quick! Name three movies right now who actually use the title in their dialogue once. (“Titanic.” Forever. I love you.) But one million times? ZERO! Bring It On is the trailblazer of films that choose to repeat their titles in their actors’ lines, which makes up for everything minus the offensiveness (no – kidding, nothing will make up for that.) Case in point.
Gabrielle Union: “Remember. Bring it.”
Torrence: “Oh, I’ll bring it.”
Me: “ON! SAY ON! FULFILL THE SENTENCE AND YOUR DESTINY.”
Fine, so it’s not technically the same thing, but they say “bring it” unironically. To which I would love if Torrence actually said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to bring because I’m not 100% sure what that means.” And that’s when Gabrielle Union says, “Who knows. The writers of this movie just added it in, and I think it’s the title?”
I just got back from 1999 and I’m pretty sure that’s the way it went.
25. Aaaaaand The Clovers WIN
“I mean, I won. I’m the WINNER.” – Denise Richards/Gabrielle Union
And all’s well that ends well when everybody brings it. But the person who truly deserves the title? Cliff. Because he went on to appear in The West Wing.
Told you he’d be those “loser cough” guys boss one day. TOLD YOU ALL.