You don't have to be a cheerleader to love Bring It On — it's one of the best high school movies of all time.
So in honor of Bring It On: The Musical playing at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday, I rewatched the original Bring It On with Kirsten Dunst and the so-terrible-it's-kinda-awesome Bring It On: All Or Nothing starring Hayden Panettiere and Beyoncé's little sister, the best of four (yes, four) straight-to-DVD sequels.
The musical picks up a few plots elements from both films — the cheer captain transferring to an inner-city high school, finding love with a DJ., etc. and it totally, um, brings it when it comes to gymnastic spectacle.
But how does it compare to the movies? Allow me to break it down.
Best Lead Character Name
Winner: Campbell, Bring It On: The Musical
Frankly if this was a competition for the weirdest thing the writers think a blonde cheerleader from SoCal might be named, Whittier from Bring It On Again would be the champion. (Seriously, Whittier? Is she a cheerleader or a liberal arts college in Ohio?)
But alas, Bring It On Again is so terrible I can't even bring myself to enjoy it ironically.
Campbell is not only a somewhat unique yet believable name, it's also a set-up for comedy. By the time she makes it into the cool clique, she's gone "from cream of mushroom to chicken and stars." Only a Warhol reference could be better.
Best Sassy Sidekick
Winner: La Cienega, Bring It On: The Musical
The sassy black sidekick has been so overdone it's hard to even tell them apart anymore. Props to the musical for changing it up by including a drag queen named after a Los Angeles boulevard.
Best Guest Appearance
Winner: Sparky Polastri, Bring It On
You could argue the biggest star is actually a pre-Umbrella Rihanna playing herself in All or Nothing. But global pop stars aside, the most memorable scene in the Bring It On franchise is when Upright Citizens Brigade founder Ian Roberts shows up as the choreographer with spirit fingers and a sharp tongue.
I'm not sure who else could deliver a line like "I will attempt to transform your stiff, robotic routines into poetry written with the human body," and also rock a black unitard.
Winner: Eva, Bring It On: The Musical
Look, it wouldn't be a cheerleading movie without a couple bitches. Bitches are to cheerleading movies like mullets are to Monster Jam. But Eva makes the girl from Single White Female look tame, and seems to have a lot of fun doing it.
Best White Girl Learning to Be Hip-Hop
Winner: Julia Stiles, Save The Last Dance
I'm sorry but Julia Stiles in Save The Last Dance is always the answer to this question. You know it, I know it, and even though they can't say anything official right now, the Juilliard judges know it too.
Most Embarrassing White Girl Trying to Be Hip-Hop
Winner: Hayden Panettiere, Bring It On: All or Nothing
Nothing is more cringe-inducing than when the tiny cheerleader from Heroes learns to dance out her anger by krumping. Krumping! Oh man.
Do I even need to mention she ends the movie in camo cheerleading gear, including a do-rag? It's the most awkward I felt watching Panettiere onscreen since she told Ellen about her boyfriend's giant penis.
Winner: Solange Knowles, Bring It On: All or Nothing
Solange spent most of her time in BIO:AON staring with dead eyes and calling Hayden "white girl." (Oh . . . snap?) Also, shouldn't cheerleaders be, I don't know, peppy?
Solange is more of a wet blanket. Plus she totally does not get that Hayden's krumping is going to take them to the next level.
Winner: This scene, Bring It On
As far as stolen cheers go, let's talk about "Brr, it's cold in here/There must be some Toros in the atmosphere." I've been wondering for 10 years — what does this mean?
Are Toros cold? Are they like the co-worker who always turns the A/C down to 60? Because I am not cheering for that asshole.