On Was Brought
Turns out this movie's actually about artistic integrity, how to cultivate true leadership qualities, and becoming an independent adult who faces problems head on.
Yeah, this movie has its share of girly situations, but what it NEVER does is pander. Instead it gives our main characters credibility by giving their issues weight and gravity. Their hard work is recognized, their struggles are relatable, and they are never talked down to by the writers or the audience. It sounds so easy, but it's very difficult to pull off, especially in 2000 with a movie about high-school girls.
So yeah, I'm glad I never saw this movie when I was younger. Because now, along with good film sense and years of experience, I can drink alcohol. And thank God I was never a cheerleader.
"Drink it All": The Rules
1. Title drops: Drink whenever someone says the words "Bring it On"
2. Drink when they drink.
3. Drink for Daddy Issues
4. Drink for cheerleading. Drink whenever each new routine begins.
5. Drink when someone says "shut up", or variations on the phrase. "Bite me", for example.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Title drops: Drink whenever someone says "Bring it".
2. Drink for SAT words. If someone uses a word that shouldn't be in a normal high schooler's vocabulary, take a sip.
3. Drink when someone falls over.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink for hitting or shoving.
2. Drink when someone makes fun of cheerleaders.
Krissy Pappau: Learned a lot about friendship (Medium)
Dijan de Nero: Has never successfully spoken to a cheerleader (Easy)
Big Moose: Ships Eliza Dushku and Kirstin Dunst (Hard)
Velma Jinkies: Thought this was a 90's movie (Easy)
Pooh Daddy: Will become that creepy choreographer in ten years (Easy)
This movie brought all the boys to the yard. If you feel like passing out anytime during this game, take another swig and just say "BRING. IT. ON."
It was difficult to write rules for this game because so much happens in such a short span of time. This is one of those movies that feels a lot longer than it actually is, but in the best way. The characters are constantly moving forward. There isn't any dead air, never even a moment where Dunst has to consult anyone else for advice. She's an incredibly active character, and the things that hold her back are people who are equally active.
That might be the thing that sets this movie apart from other teen movies for me: nobody is being used. Torrence is arguably not a great cheerleading captain, but she doesn't allow anyone to set rules for her or take control of her job. When she meets resistance from some of her bitchier teammates, she rallies and works to raise their moral, or she pulls rank and sticks to her guns. When she finds out people are holding her back, like her boyfriend who is cheating on her (apparently while other people are present, because as Dijan de Nero said when we got a look at his dorm room, "There are other beds in there."), she gets rid of them and moves on. Her inexperience and naiviety balance out her extreme self-confidence and that's what keeps her likable.
Let's take a look at Mean Girls, another great teen movie with a female protagonist. Mean Girls is about Kady navigating unfamiliar territory and coming out on top against genuinely negative people. Bring it On is about someone rising through the ranks of a world she thinks she's familiar with, only to find that the nastiest elements of her world have been purposely hidden from her. These are both good premises, but we see the former SO much more than the latter, and SO much more often we're taught to see everyone but our protagonist as a potential threat.
I'm gonna come out and say it: purely based on presentation and forward momentum, Bring it On does a better job conveying a more positive message than Mean Girls does. Mean Girls teaches us that there's evil in the world and evil in ourselves. Bring it On teaches us that self-reliance and perserverence can help you bounce back from any bad decisions you've made in the past. Between these two themes, I think it's more important to encourage cultivating positivity than combating negativity.
...Okay, you can throw tomatoes at me now.
Writers, I Can Hear You Writing
For starters, we as an audience enjoy explosive, drama-fueled conflict, and there just isn't enough of that in Bring it On. Mean Girls gives us the satisfaction of seeing a Queen Bee get toppled, slowly but surely, by our underdog heroine. It deals with the more social aspects of high school, which more people can remember struggling with whether they were popular or not.
Really though, the aspect where Mean Girls succeeds and Bring it On fails is the writing.
Beyond that, the side characters are all pretty bland. They're painted in broad strokes. There's the bitchy girls, the douchey boyfriend, and the nerdy but supportive love interest. You thought Aaron Samuels didn't have much going on? Aaron Samuels had hobbies and things that gave him identity at least. Cliff, while sweet, doesn't really have a life going on outside of Torrence. He likes punk music and plays guitar. That's all we really get.
What it does well though, it does well.
Not So Black and White
The central conflict of the story begins when Torrence finds out her previous Captain had been stealing choreography from a team from East Compton, knowing they'd never have enough money to compete in a regional championship. Torrence only finds out because Missy drags her ass over to Los Angeles and shows her the proof.
There's something great that this movie does: it gives the Clovers the final win. This is great, because the Clovers deserve it. Because they are the better team.
"I really like how the black team is in no way inferior to the white team," Velma Jinkies commented halfway through the movie.
I nearly leapt out of my seat. Yes! That's what's going on! The Clovers are portrayed as true rivals. They are good at what they do, they talk trash without behaving like bullies, they stand-up for their own material, and they do what they have to to compete and win. They're EQUALS to the Toros. And their team is mostly comprised of black or hispanic members.
Now, I'm just a white girl with a drinking problem, but I need to ask: why is this so difficult to do? Why is it so hard for writers to create a rivalry that is split down racial lines but NOT racially driven?
Isis tears the check up in her face and proclaims that they'll find a way to raise the money themselves. And they do.
"They take no help," elaborates Moose. Every school has at least one person who's a true leader, who has a hand in everything and does everything well. She works hard and inspires hard work in others, not to make other people proud, but to bring prestige to her school and to better herself and her allis. Isis is clearly that person, and she is unstoppable. She's a fucking role model, and the best part is that the movie lets her speak for herself. There aren't any overblown speeches, no name-calling, not even a hint of how difficult it might have been growing up in East Compton. Just Isis and her team working hard. And all their hard work pays off.
Moose and Velma both expressed interest in a movie starring the Clovers, but it would probably be really boring. They'd just be practicing the entire time. And hard work doesn't make for good entertainment. That's what montages are for.
Drink when you hear the word "cheer"
Ideally, use this drink for anything but "cheerleader". For example, Whitney accuses Torrence of having "Cheer Sex" with Cliff as he sits in the audience during their meet. Torrence claims that the team isn't a "Cheerocracy", it's a "Cheertatorship". What other fun puns can you find?
Whenever the cheerleaders get sexy
The movie does a good job of pointing at the fetishization of cheerleaders without doing so itself. But it still manages to slip in naked Kirstin Dunst and a car wash scene. You gotta throw the boys a bone, I guess.
Drink for homophobic slurs
These little Nazis like to gay-bash a lot, and not just with the male cheerleaders. The remarks mostly come from people we're not supposed to like, but they never get shot down either. It IS high school, so we can't be too shocked, but someone should give these kids a talk.
Starting next week, we'll be reviewing Christmas movies! What's our first movie going to be you ask?
For Your Inebriation is written by Krissy Pappau (Hollis Beck). Video footage is taken by Pooh Daddy (Vincent Graham) and edited by Seb (Amy Yourd). All "Bring it On" images are owned by Universal.