Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
I was so stuck on which film to choose. I have a bookshelf of DVDs and decided to close my eyes and ‘point a finger’. I then skipped through to a random scene and that is the cheerleading scene.
4.53 – 7.04 (YOUTUBE VIDEO)
At the start of the scene the audience is shown one of the main characters Cindy Mancini (Amanda Peterson) through some kind of cage. So already the audience is looking at Cindy from the outside – perhaps emphasising that the story is not from her perspective but an onlookers (Ronald Miller – Patrick Dempsey). Cindy is also wearing different colour clothes in comparison to the rest of the cheerleaders (who wear read) but still holds the pom poms to highlight that she is still a part of the team. This shot lingers as she does her routine – then swaps to a mid shot of Ronald.
The audience is then shown who the onlooker is as he is on the other side of the cage and wears no red whatsoever. He is also clinging onto the cage (fence) which could be interpreting as him wanting to get inside – but can’t. The audience is then shown the cheerleaders again to remind the audience what he is looking at. Cindy then begins to walk out of frame. A next shot is above the cheerleading squad looking down – showing the audience how many people are in the team. Cindy is at the mid/front of the shot – showing that she is the leader. The next shot then follows Cindy (movement) with Ronald behind her. This highlighting her lack of knowledge of him and how is in fact ‘outside’ her space which she is practising in. Which could be interpreted at him being ‘outside’ of ‘her world’ and as he is still holding onto the fence – still wants to find a way in. But the audience is introduced that Cindy is the leader and the one he is watching.
The shot is then switched to the cheerleaders as the camera follows Cindy’s movement and how they are listening to her. It switches another time – which highlights the Cindy is in control of this situation. It then goes back to Ronald gripping onto the gate – still fixated. Then another view of him looking through the fence – as an outsider. The camera has changed to a midshot wear both Ronald and Cindy are in the same frame. Ronald is standstill – and not moving, while Cindy is moving freely. It also shows that he is right then but separated by the obstacle. Which the audience finds out later – is getting into the cool group. Cindy walks out of frame and the audience is introduced to another character – and he is on Ronald’s side of the fence – meaning that he is also not a part of the ‘cool group’.
Ronald then begins to talk about the ‘cool clique’ and the audience is again repeated with the shot of Ronald looking through the fence at Cindy and the cheerleaders – showing the audience that they are the ‘cool clique’. Ronald’s friend states – ‘why would you be thinking of them? They are certainly not conscious of us.’ Which literally states the coverage Cindy and Ronald have shared so far in the scene. The conversation then starts to talk about how they have always been there but still can’t get in – and as this happens they move away from the fence. The audience is then shown the group from above INCLUDING the footballers in the background. This highlights the clique.
The camera then goes from below Cindy and her friends – showing that they are superior within the group. A new character comes in and we are shown the main football players – another section of the ‘cool clique’. The conversation continues between them – showing that they do converse (in comparison to the Ronald and Cindy) but through conversation the audience is told that they don’t actually like each other. As the conversation continues – the camera in different shots gets closer to the characters. This is the audience getting to know the characters through coverage – a closer look into their lives.
This scene to me is the introduction of the cool clique – and the distance that Ronald has with them and who he wants to be with (Cindy). But mainly the fact he walks to be a part of the group.