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A Highly Scientific Analysis of STICK IT

Alix performs some highly scientific research on the modern classic gymnastics movie, Stick It, and finds Haley Graham guilty of HOTNESS.

A Highly Scientific Analysis of STICK IT

Is anyone else missing the Olympics? I know I am, and not just because they remind me of a warmer, more summery time when the sun didn’t set before 4pm. I also keep reading about Olympians guest starring on TV shows I can’t watch over here, and it’s making nostalgic for a time when Ryan Lochte jokes were still relevant. Clearly, this means it’s time for a Highly Scientific Film Analysis of my favorite non-bobsledding-related sports movie, the 2006 gymnastics hit Stick It.

The So-Called Plot:

Tomboy, juvenile delinquent, and Mysterious Loner Lady Haley Graham is in trouble with the law again. When her judge gives her the option of being shipped off to either Texas Military Academy or VGA, Haley eagerly requests Texas Military Academy. Haley’s judge, like McKayla Maroney, is Not Impressed and sentences Haley to her own personal hell, Vickerman’s Gymnastics Academy.

You see, before Haley was a tomboy, juvenile delinquent, and a MLL, she was really good at gymnastics. Like, on the US national team good. But then she fucked everything up big time when she walked out of her floor routine at Worlds, costing the United States team gold.

Now she’s back in the worst possible place she could be, the world of elite gymnastics, where everyone, and I mean everyone, hates her. In order to go back to her normal, gymnastics-free life of juvenile delinquency, Haley must get in shape, return to competition, and win some restitution money.

Casting Callback:

Missy Peregrym

I’ve never seen Missy in anything else, but I guess she was in Heroes? Anyway, DAMN, Missy Peregrym is hot. In general, I am both heterosexual and also not inclined to hook up with strangers who show up on my doorstep, but if Missy appeared at my apartment right now and said “let’s make out,” I WOULD NOT QUESTION THIS TURN OF EVENTS. And because I have a 15 page paper due in two days that I don’t feel like writing, here are some gifs I made to illustrate my point:

Also, maybe it’s just me, but she reminds me a lot of Kristen Stewart? But you know, HOTTER and MORE AWESOME. Facially, I think they look very similar and have a lot of the same mannerisms, with the notable difference that I don’t want to punch Missy in the face constantly. In fact, after seeing this movie for the first time, I had a little daydream where come the final Twilight installment, they fired Kristen Stewart and made Missy Peregrym the hotter, more awesome Vampire Bella, which would make sense considering that she is both HOTTER and MORE AWESOME. Sadly, none of this happened.

Jeff Bridges

Oscar Winner Jeff Bridges plays Haley’s coach, Burt Vickerman. You might be wondering what Oscar Winner Jeff Bridges is doing in this teen movie. Clearly Jeff, who has most recently been seen in such critically acclaimed films as True Grit and Crazy Heart, knows a good thing when he sees it.

Vanessa Lengies

Vanessa Lengies plays Joanne, the bitchy and idiotic antagonist at VGA and one of my favorite characters in the movie. You might recognize Vanessa most recently from Glee, but to me, she will always be Brittany Snow’s slutty friend on American Dreams, a show that nobody watched but me.

Kellan Lutz

Hey guys, it’s Emmett! Emmett has a pretty small role in this film as one of Haley’s juvenile delinquent sidekicks, but he’s pretty charming for the few scenes he’s in. Unfortunately, he has his natural blond hair in this movie, which looks RIDICULOUS. I still can’t believe that’s the actual color that grows out of his head.

There’s also a bunch of random cameos from Real Gymnastics People, like Nastia Liukin, Carly Patterson, and Elfi Schlegel. Nastia even does some gymnastics!

Chemistry Grade: N/A

So despite Missy Peregrym’s unmatched hotness, there’s no swoon in this movie. I mean, there’s no swoon on screen. There might be swoon in your living room, because SERIOUSLY.

But really, this is not a kissing movie, and it would not be as good if it were. This story is all about Haley becoming strong, independent, and rebelling against authority in a constructive way, despite the shitty lot she’s been given in life. That message would be irrevocably compromised if some sappy teenage romance were helping to propel the plot.

Cliche Count: 11

Despite not being set in high school, this movie is still rife with typical teen drama:

Mysterious Loner Character: 1
Cartoonishly bitchy nemesis: 2
Terrible parents: 2
Drink tossing: 1
Slow motion tears: 1
Shopping montage: 1
Training montage: Actually the entire movie, but I’ll just count it once
Positive Coach/Athlete relationship: 1
Youth rebelling against fascist authority: 1

Quote-a-long:

Some of the lines in this movie are terrible, but they are consistently delivered in such a way that they round the corner back to awesome. It’s similar to how in the original Star Wars trilogy, the dialogue is horrendous, but the actors are just so damn charming that they pull it off. Whereas the prequel trilogy... not so much.

Everything that comes out of Vanessa Lengies’ mouth, for instance, should be an abomination but is actually just genius:

Don't do it Vic. This is a really bad idea. If you get on this tramp you will have a cardiovasectomy. I'll have a cardiovasectomy!

Vic, can we retire the old long-sleeved leotards? I have a constitutional right to bare arms.

What's with all the closed captioning? I'm not mute! And GED... what does drunk driving have to do with anything?

and my personal favorite:

Dogs are people too, Haley!

Those probably read terribly if you haven’t seen the movie, but if you HAVE, you can appreciate how magical they are. I use that last one all the time, with whatever non-human object is at hand.

Soundtrack: Let’s pump some iron

I don’t know about you, but I hate going to the gym. I like it once I’m there, but the thought of putting on workout clothes and trudging all the way over there is enough to put me off exercise forever, particularly now that it’s winter.

Everytime I watch this movie, though, I want to run a freaking marathon afterwards. Part of that is because everyone in the movie is so ridiculously buff, but a good portion of the ensuing fitness motivation can be attributed to the soundtrack. The movie starts out with “We Run This” by Missy Elliot, moves quickly into some Panjabi MC, and somehow even manages to convince me that Fallout Boy is an appropriate thing to listen to.

Slumber Party Potential: Epic, but homophobes beware

There is no better way to watch this movie than at a slumber party. It has girl power, a kick-ass soundtrack, and excellent quotability. But just so you know, if you don’t already like girls, this movie might make you a little bit gay. I hope you’re comfortable with your newfound hobby of objectifying Missy Peregrym, because it’s almost guaranteed to happen. Unless you’re made of stone. Are you made of stone?

I’m not.

Alix West's photo About the Author: After recently moving from Washington DC, Alix is an impoverished student in Scotland. When she is not out on the wild, windy moors, she dreams of warmer weather, Marcus Flutie, and days when she could still afford to buy champagne.
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