Friday, October 2, 2009

Weekend suggestion: go see WHIP IT!

Well, it's been a week. Quite a week, starting off with my birthday and my job exploding with work every day. Before you get a chance to ask - yes, I had a great birthday and I'm so glad I got to share it (finally) with Jesse. And now I have to tell you about last night.

Erica got us reserved seats at a screening for the new movie Whip It - and it was RAD. I absolutely loved it! Jezebel enumerates quite well the reasons it rules, and I agree. All the characters really bring something to the film that makes it feel relatable and it doesn't play out like the whole thing is a silly joke. To that point, with people like Kristin Wiig, Juliette Lewis, and Jimmy Fallon in the cast - there is no roll-your-eyes overacting here, either. Quite a feat in these days where comedies are all about gross-out stunts and over-the-top jokes set in a world where only dudes are funny (see: Land of the Lost, Year One, The Hangover, Bruno) or in a world where women can only be funny in relation to dudes (see: the rom-com genre, like this year's The Ugly Truth or The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past). Whip It is set in the world of (OMG!) reality.

As I'm sure you already know, the movie is about a teenager in Texas who finds herself trying out for a spot on a roller derby team. Ellen Page proves that she's not a one-hit-wonder with her Oscar-nominated role in Juno - she plays Bliss so well at every turn, whether she's slightly insecure, vengeful, apologetic, sad, ecstatic, or, of course KICKASS. Her relationships throughout the film recalled moments in my own teenage years, from her best friendship with Pash (Alia Shawkat) or her dad (Daniel Stern). But the relationship that stood out the most to me was of Bliss and mother: during the movie I recalled moments as a teenager between me and my mother. I was reminded whether it was as inane as Bliss and her mother shopping together or having small disagreements, or the big, paradigm-shifting arguments. I didn't participate in pageants or join the roller derby, of course, but the basics are there and I think in tune with what a lot of people go through in their teenage years.

Also, Marcia Gay Harden was oh-yeah-that's-why-she's-an-Oscar-winner perfection as Bliss' mother.

Some of the immensely talented cast of Whip It.

And through all this teenage angst, the movie is straight up hilarious. There was serious uproar in the theater at times, and it was a credit to all the actors and the script. Not to mention the noteworthy directing. I may have underestimated Drew Barrymore's directing abilities, though I have no reason to, since she's done so much business-wise in film. Let me tell you, her directorial debut was fantastic. She's grown up making movies, and then producing movies, and her first take at directing deserves an A.

I'm also not just saying this because she showed up at the end of the movie as a surprise and did a short 10-minute interview:

WHAT?! Yeah, it was awesome, as is she. She remarked on her own relationship with her mother being a source of inspiration for the film, as well as working on the script for over a year with the writer, Shauna Cross (who also wrote the book the film is based on). Barrymore said she'd been waiting for something to direct that encompassed everything she'd learned over her years, and everything she personally liked in movies and music and art, etc. She explained her hands-on directing style, her efforts to get improv'd reactions out of her actors, and how they could only film certain scenes once due to budget constraints. She also talked about all the women doing their own stunts and hanging out with real derby girls - of which there were some in the audience! All in all, I had a great time last night watching the movie and hearing from the creator herself. I would see it again, and highly recommend it to anyone reading this!

In other news, on my birthday, Jesse and I walked out of The Informant! an hour into it. Yes, walked out. Warning: not laugh-out-loud funny like the previews, and actually quite boring. That is all!


  1. yesss...LOVE ROLLER DERBY. one of my bff's is a ref for the Minnesota Rollergirls and she turned me into a fan a few years back. cannot wait to see this movie.

  2. I'm glad you had a great birthday! I'm very excited to see Whip It - I love Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore.

  3. Me and Drew Barrymore have a special relationship. I've almost knocked her down multiple times. She always happened to be walking opposite in the direction I was running on 13th st. back when I worked at FP.

  4. The girl who wrote the book and screenplay was a member of the LA Derby Dolls.

    I've had friends skating with them for a long time now, and they're always fun to watch, and even more fun to hang out with. I can't wait to see the real Dolls in the movie. Yay Tough Cookies!

  5. I'm currently reading the book its based on and really enjoying it.