My son has lately become obsessed with "America's Funniest Home Videos." He thinks this show is hilarious from start to finish. I don't argue too much because I find it decidedly more palatable than endless episodes of "Ben 10" or "Danny Phantom." However, I'm not certain that a small child being bitten in the face by a snake constitutes a "funny home video." I find the preoccupation on this show with people being injured or maimed kind of disturbing. Call me crazy. What's even more disturbing is how often Rob and I laugh out loud at some of the selections. Alas, reruns air every weeknight on ABC Family, and Daniel knows this, and also knows how to work the remote (which happened sooner than I might have hoped; I was hoping he would remain clueless about the remote until high school, at least, but he IS a guy, so I know I was foolish). So... "America's Funniest Home Videos" it is.
Luckily, with all the time I've spent viewing ABC Family channel lately, I've had ample notice of some programming I might have otherwise been unaware of: the numerous sequels to classic films Bring It On! and The Cutting Edge. Bring It On!, as I'm sure you're aware, is the cheertastic movie about Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku and their cheerleading teammates taking on the East Compton Clovers in the national cheerleading competition. For my (four) international readers, this competition does actually exist. In fact, aside from its melodrama, Bring It On! is a pretty factually accurate flick. And its melodrama makes it a classic. It brought us such brilliant made-up words as "cheerocracy" and "cheertator." "Cheertator" being a play on "dictator," not something to do with a cheerleader and tator tots. Just so you know.
But I am glad to say the story did not just die with the Toros taking second place to the East Compton Clovers. Oh no! We now have such gems as the straight-to-DVD-then-resurrected-for the ABC affiliates Bring It On Again! in which something cheer-related happens at some college. And then there was the made-for-ABC-Family Bring it On: All Or Nothing, in which Disney tried to milk Hayden Panettierre's pre-Heroes contract and her newfound Heroes-related popularity into big ratings with a movie about a cheerleader (and isn't Hayden Panettierre everyone's favorite cheerleader??) who moves to a new town and is confronted with a bitchy cheer captain played by Solange Knowles (probably channeling all her inner-resentment towards older sister Beyonce) who insinuates that our Hayden isn't good enough to be part of her squad. AS IF! Hayden, as we know, is the whole world's favorite cheerleader. What was really funny about this particular Bring It On! sequel is that it aired parallel to the start of Heroes season 2, and just seemed like an extended version of the Claire plotline. Especially if you are easily confused by television. Like, I could completely imagine some viewer new to Heroes and unfamiliar with the Bring It On! film franchise watching this sequel all confused, thinking Wait -- I thought her name was Claire. And where is Adrian Pasdar??
And now there is a fourth Bring It On! And I am happy to report that it is a modern-day retelling of West Side Story:
Southern California high school senior Carson arrives at the all-important "Cheer Camp Nationals" determined to lead her squad, the West High Sharks, to victory. But chic New Yorker Brooke and her team, the East High Jets, are equally steadfast in their pursuit of the competition's coveted "Spirit Stick." As tension mounts between the two rival squads, Carson falls for fellow cheerleader Penn, not realizing he's a Jet. When Brooke discovers the budding romance, she raises the stakes by challenging Carson to a one-on-one cheer-off. A spectacular "cheer fighting" sequence erupts into a no-holds-barred brawl and cheerleaders on both sides are suspended from the competition. With their dreams of taking home the top prize all but shattered, the leaders of both squads realize they'll have to take drastic measures to stay in the game. Written by Universal Pictures
I mean, it just sounds amazing, does it not? "A spectacular cheer fighting sequence?" Could you even dream of anything more cheertastic than that to sell this movie? I can't wait to see it. I think it's on tomorrow afternoon.
And then there's The Cutting Edge. Where Bring It On! finds its way onto the top 10 list of every former cheerleader, The Cutting Edge will always find its way onto the top 10 list of any former figure skater (I bet hockey players secretly love this movie too, but would never admit it. I know they are all secretly jealous of figure skaters.). It is cheesy and sometimes makes me cringe, but I love it! I love it the way former dancers love Center Stage (which has not, at press time, spawned any sequels... to the best of my knowledge... but wait! I think that's incorrect! I think there was one! I will research this and get back to you!*) -- it's kind of cringe-inducing and poorly executed, but the idea of it is brilliant, and in the case of The Cutting Edge, all the actors were fantastic in a movie that was totally beneath all of them. And the only place the cinematography really failed in this movie was during the actual skating sequences, which is too bad. Plus, this girl I used to figure skate with was Moira Kelly's skating stunt double, and weirdly, I recognized her skating style long before the credits rolled the first time I saw the movie.
So Disney/ABC somehow obtained ownership of this movie as well, and made a part two starring Kristy Carlson Romano as the daughter of Kate Moseley and Douglas Dorsey. And she too is a budding champion, but as a singles skater, and then when she gets an injury, they decide she should skate pairs instead (as if pairs skating is somehow easier with an injury than singles skating), and set her up with a partner with whom she bickers while romantic sparks fly. What's awesome is that they didn't even have to come up with a new plot, except for like the first fifteen minutes of the movie, and that fifteen minutes was just giving us what we wanted to hear -- that Kate and Doug got married and had a kid and now Kate is a figure skating coach... for her own kid. And there's some sort of tension between KCR and father Doug. Because what would an ABC Family movie be without ten subplots? I must admit that I haven't seen the entire thing because the first half an hour gave me the willies and I changed the channel, but one of these days, I will watch it all. I'm sure it's as fabulous as it sounds.
And now they have brought us The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream. This one is merely a retelling of the original with the characters backwards -- it is the boy who has been training to be a pairs skater and has a partner who can't cut it, and his coach finds this female hockey player to learn to skate as his partner. And she's Hispanic -- I'm not sure if that's just one of Disney's attempts to be multicultural or if it's crucial in some way to the plotline (girl from the wrong side of the tracks! Ooh!), but what I do know is that this movie has the requisite "Tooooooe piiiiick!" jokes which it would fall completely flat without. I can't wait. My only fear is that I think both this movie and the 4th Bring It On! movie are on this weekend, and I would hate to have to choose between them. I can only hope that Disney and ABC Family will air them both a thousand times so I have a chance to catch them both.
(Insanely, I still get offended by factual inaccuracies in the original Cutting Edge movie. And the one that gets me the most is the use of spotlights on the skaters during the competition sequences. They did this in Ice Princess as well, and it drives me crazy every time I see it. You don't get a frickin' spotlight during competition. Of all the things about these movies that I could find offensive, it's an inappropriate spotlight.)
I have no idea what the point of this entry was, other than to sort of question whether or not these sequels were really necessary. Obviously they're necessary, because otherwise, how would the young people of today know the joys of Bring It On! and The Cutting Edge? They would live such sad, empty lives without ever hearing the words, "BRRRRR! IT'S COLD IN HERE! THERE MUST BE SOME TOROS IN THE ATMOSPHERE!" and "When we're done here, can we teach it to breathe with its mouth closed?"
*I knew I had seen something about a sequel to Center Stage somewhere, but it turns out it is still in production. I suspect this one goes straight to DVD. But Johnathan Reeves and Cooper Neilsen are both returning. Yay!