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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Stick with Stick It

Published: February 9, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

In usual Dan Baron fashion, I would like to make a somewhat provocative, somewhat outrageous, somewhat youre kidding me, right? statement: Stick It is one of the best movies that I have ever seen in my entire 20-plus years of living. It is well-written, well-acted and well-filmed and well, its a great movie.

I even put it up there with my A+ movies. Now, I am no cinematic expert. However, I can claim with confidence that Pulp Fiction, Sin City, Glengarry Glen Ross and The Shawshank Redemption, among others, are A+ movies by many (if not most) cinematic experts opinions. Hopefully that provides me with a drop, albeit tiny, of credibility. In any case, I would like to right here explain why Stick It is one of the best movies ever produced.

WRITING. Stick It hits the nail on the head on what I consider the most important aspect of a movie, play, or television series: the script. Filled with both sophisticated and obvious humor, Jessica Bendingers text works for both teenage and adult audiences. I viewed the film with my sister, my mother and myself. We all got the jokes and laughed at them naturally (not the forced laugh you create when Silverman occasionally misses the mark or during an off-night for Menciathen again, some would argue, when does Mencia not have an off-night?).

Aside from the humor, though, there is a heartfelt story of a rebellious girl with a difficult past who really just wants to make someone proud. Is it formula? Of course it is, but who cares! Formula is formula for a reason;

when its done well, it works. I am not stating that this movie is genius, and I do not believe that it is special or even necessarily unique in terms of plot and concept. What I do claim is that its words fit perfectly with its films equation (angry girl + acceptance = redeemed happiness, for example) and that it does so in a way that jerks tears from my eyes and makes me consider what in life matters most (the realization that one is focusing on the wrong issues + a little bit of help = reforming ones priorities).

MESSAGE. Once again, there is nothing new under the sun here. Nonetheless, the message here, similar (though not the same) as the message in Little Miss Sunshine (a possibly A/A+ movie), is that the results of subjective contests (beauty contests or gymnastic competitions, depending on the flick) are not what count;

what counts is how you play the gameand how much fun you have while playing it. This is more than a feel-good message. It is an important cultural message for young females (and males, too) whom are too many times criticized (in somehopefully rarecases, even tortured) because of poor scores.

Dont get me wrong. There can be constructive criticism for ones actual mistakes and discussions on how one can improve, but there should not be a Machiavellian desire to get a perfect 6.0 (or 10, or 100) even if that means restricting oneself to safe, boring and conventional sequences. Not that theres anything wrong with being safe, boring or conventional, but at the same time, risk, excitement and being a maverick should not be measures for penalization. And neither, of course, should politics (coach with a bad reputation + mean judges = unprofessional decision based on personal experiences instead of legitimacy;

yes, I know, another formula, but at least, once again, done well in this movie).
ACTING. Ill compose here that I found Jeff Bridges unbelievable.

OTHER. Yes, I cop out and put an OTHER section. Heres the deal: If you hate gymnastics, youll love the critique of the sport that this movie offers, and if you love gymnastics, youll love the gymnastics in the movie. If you are apathetic, you will still be amazed by the exceptional (and in this aspect, genius, or at least really really really cool) cinematography. The action in this movie is both beautiful and stunning. There is gymnastic action, x-games/Jackass like action (the first five minutes of skateboarding and bike riding) and simple action (girls stretching on the floor, for example) through the lens of a kaleidoscope and specially timed and placed cameras (and other cinematic devices of which I am not aware).

But dont take it from me. See Stick It for yourself. I must warn you, despite my proclaiming the movie's greatness, I cannot say that it is must-see;

if you have high expectations, you will be disappointed. See Stick It expecting a decent movie, and then re-read this piece;

you might just agree with me. As for those who've seen the movie, I just want to let you know how proud of you I am.