Posted by Alia Haddad on July 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm
So, here’s the thing. We all have different pump up movies, right? And by “pump up”, I mean those movies that you watch that give you an utter sense of inspiration and a strong drive for personal accomplishment. After all, one person’s Remember the Titans is another person’s Cliffhanger is still another person’s Brokedown Palace (surely there is at least one of you out there inspired by this harrowing, almost morbid tale). Well, my pump-up movie comes from a very unlikely source, especially given my penchant for Westerns and action films.
And while I remain a Western/ action/ horror aficionado, I am comfortable to say that I find utter inspiration (and chills, no less) in one great chick flick, that even my father (no joke) enjoys, Legally Blonde. Yes, that’s right. The bona fide Robert Luketic (Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, The Ugly Truth) 2001 chick flick which stars Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods, a Los Angeles ditsy blonde native who decides to go to Harvard Law School in an effort to win the supposed love of her life back. While at Harvard, Woods discovers she is an intelligent, hardworking student with a passion for law and justice, and after just one year at Harvard, she is able to prove to herself, and all the blonde-haters out there, that she is, in fact, an extremely capable student and critical thinker.
I mean, come on guys, the plot alone is pure inspirational gold– perfect for ripe, “chills down my spine” scenes. But, we mustn’t forget that as inspirational as Legally Blonde may be, it remains a chick flick. And what do chick flicks do best? Why, the montage scene, of course! Don’t believe me? Go ahead and Netflix Gary Marshall’s Pretty Woman, Roger Michell’s Notting Hill or David Frankel’s The Devil Wears Prada. You see, the chick flicks love the montage scene! After all, it is the optimum way to relay some sort of information or theme in a small amount of screen time, while also showing the passage of greater time in a film. It’s genius, it’s perfect, and it’s perhaps perfected in Legally Blonde, as it combines a shift in character with both personal inspiration and motivation.
Once Elle figures out that in order to be happy she must prove herself as a serious, dedicated student, the film embarks on a two and half minute long montage, in which Elle buys a computer, goes to the library, gets answers right in class and studies whilst working out. And, while yes, all of these individual elements may not make a great “chills down my spine” scene, the music it is paired with combined with the motivation as depicted on Elle’s face makes for a priceless inspirational, pump-up scene. One that not only leaves me with chills, but also leaves me with the burning desire to go and study ridiculously hard every time I see it.