I, as well as many others, I assume, have a special relationship with the movies I adored when I was in middle and high school. Bring It On is one of those movies. Back then, I was a wannabe cheerleader and subsequently, an actual cheerleader, so not only did I relate to wanting to be a captain like Torrance, but I was actually interested in the specific dances, cheers and stunts (I may or may not have learned to do them myself). Now, I cannot believe that I’m admitting such things, but re-watching the movie recently, I found a whole new set of things to love about it.
Torrance’s reaction to Cliff’s The Clash t-shirt. Okay, first of all, I love The Clash. I got into them later in high school, in my intense-guitar-playing post-cheerleading days. Also, their interaction, (Torrance: “So, is that your band or something?” Cliff: “The Clash?”) makes me feel like the screenwriter Googled – or the late ’90s equivalent of ‘Googled’ – “bands an indie guy would like”. The best part is that the shirt clearly says 1978 on it, so unless Cliff looks very young for his age, then no, it’s not his band.
Sparky Polastri. The leather-donning, hip thrusting, judgmental choreographer who teaches the Toros their routine for regionals is played by comedy icon Ian Roberts, one of the original members of the Upright Citizens’ Brigade. As I’ve been doing improv and sketch at UCB for a few years now and have seen Ian in countless improv shows as well as the UCB’s Comedy Central series, I was simultaneously shocked and enthralled to find out he played Sparky.
Torrance and Eliza Dushku in the car after they find out that Big Red stole all their routines from the East Compton Clovers. Just. Amazing. Torrance is absolutely devastated. Eliza: “But hey, look on the bright side, it’s only cheerleading.” Torrance: “I AM only cheerleading!” Aside from that, there are a few other cheerless cheer-based lines, because hey everyone, it’s important. Casey: “What’s a wolf swall?” Jan: “Only the hardest pyramid known to cheerleading. AND mankind.”
Ah, the ’90s. Even though the movie was released in 2000, it’s so gleefully ’90s. When Sparky Polastri dishes out his down-the-line criticisms, he tells Darcy to “Report those compliments to [her] ass, before it gets so big it forms its own website.” Ah, the pre-Tumblr-pre-MySpace-pre-Blogspot days. And Cliff makes Torrence a tape. A cassette tape… A casette tape.
The number of times they say “Bring it”, AKA the number of times they ALMOST say “Bring it on”. In all actuality, it’s only three times. When Torrance tries to give Isis a check to fund the Clovers trip to nationals: Isis: “Bring it.” Torrance: “I’ll bring it. Don’t worry.” And then at nationals after Isis and Torrance have a captain bonding moment: Isis: “Remember, bring it.” In the former, I really, truly, honestly wish it’d gone like this: Isis: “Bring it.” Torrence: “I’ll bring it. I’ll bring it on.”
And really, that’s just some of it. Torrance’s boyfriend Aaron? The spirit stick curse? Brief moments of unintentional self-awareness? It’s pretty great. In fact, it almost makes me nostalgic for my own cheerleading career. But then again, I think I can settle for just watching the movie again.