Bring It On.
You’ve seen the memes. You’ve watched it get painfully ripped off twice with Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2. If you’re a film person, you realized that it’s directly responsible for the disastrous casting that was Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane in Spider-Man two years later. But most importantly, Bring it On was Gabrielle Union’s last acting venture within white Hollywood. And man did she leave an IMPRESSION (that Hollywood was too stupid to pay attention to).
But, I digress.
Bring It On, like Die Hard and The Terminator, is a classic film riddled with sequels. The first couple are watchable, and then the rest are straight trash. But let us not let Hollywood cash-grabs to get in the way of the greatness of this classic sports film.
That’s right! Bring it On is a SPORTS film. Because cheerleading is a SPORT. Jessica Bendinger is one of the few female screenwriters in Hollywood who is famous for writing a sports film. I’d also say she’s famous for Most Ignored Follow-up, with her underrated gymnastics movie, Stick It.
I have plenty of theories as to why Bring It On and Jessica Bendinger don’t get the respect they deserve, but this is a comedy piece, so I’m just going to make a silly claim and back it up with snarkiness:
Torrance and Missy should have ended up together.
Allow me explain.
When Cliff flirts with Torrance in the classroom scene where they meet, she realizes how obnoxious and condescending he is and blows him off. This of course makes him want her even more, because guys are creeps.
When Missy tries out for the squad, it’s love at first sight for Torrance. Missy’s attitude, athletic prowess and smoking hotness is too much to resist.
When Cliff opens the door to reveal he and Missy are siblings, Torrance walks past Cliff, totally ignores him, and convinces Missy to stick with the squad all on her own. No douche-y broody rocker boy help needed.
Cliff makes himself a sad sandwich.
The entire car ride to East Compton is fraught with sexual tension. But not just that, it’s the tension of Torrance allowing Missy to take her so far out of her bubble. It’s exciting. Exhilarating. There are people other than white people, she learns. Missy shows her the way.
When Isis meets Torrance, she gets an anger crush on her. Torrance feels a little attraction there, but is totally intimidated by her bad bitch nature. She knows Isis is out of her league. Because she is out EVERYONE’S LEAGUE HAVE YOU SEEN HER?
Torrance and Missy have a brief but intense falling out due to Torrance’s reluctance to stand up to Courtney and drop all the stolen cheers. We see this onscreen with a heated fight, fraught with conflict.
Torrance has a bonding moment with that gay male cheerleader (Les? Is that his name?) and she reveals her feelings for Missy. He talks about his struggles with being in the closet and it’s a wonderful, deep, well-handled scene. A scene that helps us remember that guy’s name. And that other male cheerleader he hangs out with.
Because those guys are main characters and we should probably know THINGS about them.
Les (once again, assuming that’s his name) convinced Torrance to face her fears and come with him and other guy to pick up Missy for the football game. It’s another great character moment for this guy who is (hopefully) named Les.
We get an inner monologue from Torrance as she watches Missy come outside and dance in your uniform (to that amazing Blaque song, BTW). It’s hilarious and sweet and gay and the best.
When Torrance stays over at Missy’s place, she examines Missy’s room instead of Cliff’s.
Actually Cliff leaves his door open for her to look, and she just walks past it.
Cliff, dejected, mopes by watching Reality Bites and lusting after Winona Ryder.
None of this is onscreen, because who cares? Isn’t the mental image enough?
Torrance and Missy brush their teeth together.
In the future, many a queer gal will pass around the GIF on their Tumblrs.
This exchange happens:
Missy: Are you into my brother?
Torrance: No! I’m into you! Duh.
Somewhere in the house, Cliff weeps.
OF COURSE THEY MAKE OUT IN THAT BED. WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS?!
The car wash scene is cut. Too male gaze-y.
(The girls honestly got enough in the last scene to be good for the rest of the movie, anyway.)
After Aaron tells Torrance to give up the reigns to Courtney and Whitney, she goes to Missy for advice. Missy tells her that Aaron is full of shit.
Then she goes with Torrance to break up with Aaron. They make out in front of him. It’s great.
When Isis tells Torrance to “bring it”, we linger on that scene just a bit longer. Because it’s glorious and we really need to give the girls a little more room to ship.
When Torrance says this –
Torrance: Thank God you were here this year. I could not have done it alone.
Missy does this –
The music SWELLS.
At the end after they get second place, Cliff runs to Torrance, hoping to win her heart.
But she and Missy are looking deeply into each other’s eyes, each holding an end of the spirit stick.
Cliff walks away, dejected.
By graduation, they’ve broken up. It is high school after all. And this isn’t Carol.
In college, Torrance runs into Isis again. They have a brief, steamy fling. But they are from different worlds, and alas it doesn’t work out.
Their last words to each other –