Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Stick It, Too

Some may have laughed when they saw Stick It, a teeny bopper movie about angry gymnasts in R. Emmet Sweeney's list of the best movies of the year on indieWIRE's film poll. But I know enough about Arrrrr to keep an open mind when he says something is good. In the section of the poll devoted to "orphans" — where critics who are the only ones to rank a movie get to defend their choice — The Sween wrote:

"Stick It" is the only film of 2006 that captured the spirit of musicals at their heyday. Bursting with sexuality, Busby Berkeley-esque gymanstic sequences, and a raft of wittily slangy put-downs, it announces Jessica Bendinger as an honest-to-goodness auteur. With this and her screenplay for "Bring It On," she's made two of the most pleasurable pop creations of the past 10 years.

Though it still wouldn't have made my own list of the best of the year, I have to report that, yes, Rob, Stick It is a damn good movie. Sometimes this guy knows what he's talking about (we'll talk later about Idlewild).

I don't know that it's really bursting with sexuality — as Rob himself noted in his Termite Art post on the subject writer/director Jessica Bendinger chose to focus on the girls' sense of self rather than their love lives — but there's no denying the highly creative Berkeley homages and the truly witty screenplay. Best of all, as Sweeney wrote, "This is not a normal teen movie, even though it apes the structure and style of it." Well said, broseph.

At least once a year, Hollywood makes a movie aimed at teens that tells them to rebel or believe in themselves, or distrust authority, but that typically just mean the characters wear Black Sabbath shirts and dye their hair black, so, in essence, the real message is reject conformity by conforming in different ways (i.e. by buying these clothes, etc.). And, at first, I was a little worried that Stick It would be more of the same; the heroine Haley (Missy Peregrym) does have a tendency to wear an excessive amount of Black Flag shirts.

But by its superb conclusion Stick It has revealed its don't-let-others-judge-you message to be more than simple lip service, and Bendinger provides an idea that could completely shake up the stodgy, uptight world of gymnastics. It teaches young women who might watch the movie to try their best and push themselves to the limit, and not to let bullshit rules determine their own self-worth. And that's pretty powerful. Good call Sween.


Blogger P.L. Kerpius said...

I can't wait to see it. I loved Bring It On (and in fact my essay on it and few more teen movies got me into the M.A. program), but I've been dragging my feet with the teenster flicks lately. There are some great ones out there. Have you guys seen Drumline, Crazy/Beautiful, or Save the Last Dance? They're really good!

10:57 PM  
Blogger R. Emmet Sweeney said...

You're a gentleman and a scholar.

And I think that those females gaining control of their bodies and sense of self is damn sexy, hence the "bursting with sexuality" comment. So it's not as overt as that phrase implies (i.e., there's no humping), but those are the pratfalls of trying to sum something up in a pithy paragraph.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Matt Singer said...

STICK IT is way better than SAVE THE LAST DANCE.

7:38 PM  

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