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Friday, January 21, 2005
OMG BRING IT ON IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER!!! Why didn't anyone tell me? This is someone who likes Gilmore Girls here. This is someone who loved National Treasure here. This is someone who owns Josie and the Pussycats, maybe its closest spiritual kin. (It's not quite as good as Josie, but this is like saying it's not quite as good as hate sex. Wait. That came out wrong. I meant, it's not quite as good as an ice cream sundae topped with bacon and then fried in bacon grease and rolled in powdered sugar. Wait. Well, you know what I mean.)

I mean, it's just fantastic! The evil gay choreographer! ("Cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded." "In cheerleading we throw people into the air. And fat people don't go as high.") The sensitive/sardonic indie boy trying to win Kirsten Dunst away from her callous blonde boyfriend by giving her a mixtape, which mixtape begins with a song he wrote for/about her that starts out all quiet and acoustic and then gets loud and punk rock and then Kirsten Dunst gets excited about this and starts jumping on the bed in her PJs and grabs her pompoms and does a little manic fit of happiness! (I'm pretty sure that scene is better than anything in The Godfather.) The little understated gay flirtation scene between two male cheerleaders at the end that's not played for laughs at all and is actually kind of sweet! The annoying little kid's "CHEERLEADING = DEATH" t-shirt, which I totally want! Eliza Dushku just bein' Eliza Dushku! That the main team doesn't win in the end, and that's OK!

Aside from all the great little moments, I think the main selling point was that the movie took itself just seriously enough, which given that it was a cheerleading movie, was not particularly much. And so they weren't trying to overdramatize it: generally every 5 minutes, there'd be somebody saying, "You know cheerleading's stupid, right?" The movie didn't try and disprove this; it just tried to make you care about cheerleading, which is what the characters' attitudes seemed to be, at least the sensible ones. There was also a nice trend of it seeming like it was going to misstep but then catching itself, like when Dunst's (white) character convinces her (white) dad to fund the (black) opposing squad's trip to nationals, and the team captain rejects it and points out how goddamn insulting that is, which was pretty much what I was thinking. But at the same time, it allows you to enjoy its campy aspects in all their wonderful fluffy goodness: they do take themselves seriously when they say "Bring it!" and you laugh and cheer and it's great. It also didn't get all creepy and weird like Showgirls. There is no equivalent of the rape scene here, thankfully.

I seem to remember this getting reviews at the time being like, "OK, I know this seems stupid, but give it a shot! It's actually pretty good!" But au contraire: it is not pretty good, it is fucking fantastic.

Even better, they were showing it on the WB, which invited certain useful comparisons to their slate of shows. I was talking about the tropes it inherited from 80s movies (the annoying character who's not actually a nemesis having something humiliating but unspectacular happen to them around the time of the main character's triumph) and Miss Clap said that WB teen dramas are basically longform, broken-up 80s movies. (I may be misquoting her here.) I'm not so sure. I think the teen dramas descended most directly from Dawson's Creek (although also from My So-Called Life et al) are actually something of a new form, mixing certain preexisting things and creating certain conventions, but also often avoiding these conventions. It's an interesting thing. But I'm probably overstating the case.

Also, Miss Clap does not think Kirsten Dunst is particularly attractive. I, um, disagree.