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15 Spirited Facts About Bring It On

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Bring It On, Peyton Reed’s big-screen directorial debut, was a much better movie than anybody could have expected. So much so that, when reviewing an inferior cheerleader movie in 2009, Roger Ebert called the Kirsten Dunst starrer “the Citizen Kane of cheerleader movies.” In celebration of its 15th anniversary, here are 15 things you might not have known about Bring It On.

1. IT WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO BE A DOCUMENTARY.

Jessica Bendinger wanted to make a documentary on the national cheerleading competitions that began running on ESPN in the mid-1980s, but none of her colleagues at MTV News seemed interested. She ended up writing a script titled Cheer Fever.

2. TORRANCE SHIPMAN WAS BASED ON GWEN STEFANI.

Bendinger had a picture of the No Doubt frontwoman hanging over her desk while writing the script.

3. KIRSTEN DUNST KEPT TURNING DOWN THE ROLE OF TORRANCE.

Marley Shelton was the filmmakers' first choice before she decided to star in the other cheerleader movie that was starting production at the time, Sugar & Spice. Dunst was convinced to take the role while she was working "in Prague on a really depressing, bad indie film ... I read it and was like, 'Oh, this is a fun movie,' but then I was like, 'I don’t know.' Then I talked to Peyton Reed, the director, and he just sounded like the most awesome fun guy ever and I thought, 'OK, this is going to be a fun movie.'"

4. JASON SCHWARTZMAN AND JAMES FRANCO AUDITIONED FOR CLIFF.

Franco auditioned just in case the show he just shot a pilot for, Freaks and Geeks, didn’t get picked up. Jesse Bradford took the part of Cliff without auditioning. "I took the meeting [with Peyton] to discuss it and then I liked this guy so much," Bradford told MTV. "I said to myself, this guy’s not trying to make a cheerleading movie, he’s trying to make a great movie."

5. EVERYBODY AT THE AUDITIONS HAD TO HAVE A CHEER PREPARED.

It was to see if they had a sense of rhythm and coordination. Reed wanted to use stunt doubles as little as possible, so he had the actors attend a four-week cheerleader camp before filming.

6. THERE WERE A LOT OF ACTUAL CHEERLEADERS IN THE MOVIE.

Though Dunst had been a cheerleader in 8th grade and Gabrielle Union was one in high school, each squad was made up of eight actors and 12 cheerleaders. Most of the East Compton Clovers were from San Diego's James Madison High School, whose cheerleading squad was ranked third in the country at that time. "We were fortunate to have some of the top cheerleaders in the country on these squads," said Reed, "and they helped to motivate Kirsten, Eliza, Gabrielle, and the rest of the actors during cheer camp."

7. IAN ROBERTS CHANGED THE ROLE OF SPARKY POLASTRI.

The Upright Citizens Brigade co-founder and Reed knew each other from Reed’s work directing the UCB television series. It was Roberts’ idea to make Polastri an "angry, pill-popping, Bob Fosse wannabe."

8. ELIZA DUSHKU SPENT PART OF ONE NIGHT DURING FILMING IN A MEXICAN JAIL.

She was hungover the next day, but got back to San Diego in time to shoot the bikini car wash scene. Dushku claimed Jesse Bradford was with her in Tijuana.

9. WHITNEY AND COURTNEY REALLY ARE BEST FRIENDS.

Every night after filming, Nicole Bilderback and Clare Kramer watched The Jerry Springer Show together. Bilderback was the maid of honor at Kramer’s wedding.

10. BLAQUE HAD TROUBLE ADJUSTING TO APPEARING IN A MOVIE.

Natina Reed, Shamari Fears, and Brandi Williams made up the girl group Blaque, and were making their movie debut in Bring It On as three of the Clovers. They were used to music video productions, but not movies, so at first, the three looked directly at the camera when they were supposed to be looking at Dunst. After a brief, private conversation with the director, Blaque figured it out.

11. IT COST $40,000 TO GET THE RIGHTS TO “CHERRY PIE.”

Reed thought Warrant’s song was the “perfect fit” for a scene in which a wannabe stripper auditions for the squad, so production worked with their fixed music budget to get the song.

12. PEYTON REED PLAYED GUITAR FOR DUNST.

Rufus King’s “You’re Just What I Need” wasn’t ready for the scene, so Dunst danced to Reed's guitar playing.

13. REED WAS "OBLIGATED" TO DIRECT A PG-13 MOVIE FOR THE STUDIO.

Reed claimed he never got a straight answer from the MPAA about what would turn his film from R to PG-13 or vice versa. A producer explained that they were going to get an R rating if they kept a scene involving Jan lifting Courtney and then smelling his finger intact. After the editor cut out the part when Jan smelled his finger, they were fine. Reed still wanted to push as much sexuality as he could, watching “cheerleader exploitation” movies from the 1970s like the Paul Glickler movie The Cheerleaders while editing.

14. IT WAS SCREENED FOR CHEERLEADER GROUPS.

"They were thrilled about it as there was a movie made about competitive cheerleading," Reed said. "I got calls from some people who said the movie was really great, but there were some technical errors in terms of the competition."

15. A DIFFERENT ENDING WAS FILMED.

In an alternate ending, Torrance and Isis join the same cheerleading squad at U.C. Berkeley; the scene was reluctantly put in by Reed in the DVD extras. Of course, the “Oh Mickey” blooper reel was the ending in the theatrical cut.

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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