According to IMDB.com “Whip It” is the story of a young misfit from Bodeen, Texas finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin. This movie was actually one of the few that Hollywood has offered up in recent years where a group of women are not completely obsessed with clothes or boys, a movie empowering girls to be independent and stand up for themselves.
Drew Barrymore, in her directorial debut, shows promise as a filmmaker relishing the opportunity to tell a coming of age story with varying elements of action. It’s as cheesy as any coming of age flick inevitably will be, but the star studded female cast do a great job of taking the reins of their characters and living it up. Kristen Wiig shows sincerity in her role as Ellen Page’s “guardian angel, “Maggie Mayhem”. Juliette Lewis does a great job as the fiery “Iron Maven”, Page’s antagonist rival Derby skating competition. Marcia Gay Harden performance as the bitchy strict mom had me intears for the last 45 minutes of the movie. Daniel Stern, in one of his better performances since Home Alone, serves up a genuine performance as Page’s caring and supportive father.
Arrested Development alum, Alia Shawkat, is all kinds of sass and charm, playing the quintessential best friend, I hope that this gives her the much needed showcase to get her some more roles because she deserves her own movie. But it is Ellen Page as Bliss Cavender that steals the show. With a mix of her Juno charm and her heartfelt performance from “An American Crime”, Page is the catalyst from which my coming of age tears were flowing. Support Whip It because it dares to defy the standard archetype and because it is possible for women to want to succeed on their own accord. One can only hope that Whip it will be the first of many.
Now I will be the first to admit that I have a major dvd buying compulsion. I own hundreds of dvds and easily half of those I’ve never seen and a better portion of those are still in their original packaging. Back in the early 2000’s toward the end of Blockbuster’s reign, I perused their section of previously viewed dvd’s on a weekly basis. I’d spend $25 bucks every Friday and leave with a little white yellow and blue bag filled with upwards of 5 used but otherwise in good condition movies. Of those 5, I would watch one and throw the rest into my dvd bucket in the corner of my room.
The times they changed and so did my responsibilities so like any good 26 year old with rent to pay, I purchased my very own Netflix subscription. For $13.99 a month I can watch as many movies as I want but only 2 at a time. Only problem is the returning of said movies. I find it to be as difficult as killing a newborn kitten to physically remember to return these movies. I manage to send back my movies once a month on average, meaning that I am spending $14 bucks a month to rent 2 movies. My name is Desiree and I am a sloth.
Then on a day like today, after practically taking a lynching at the office, I get home with some Chinese takeout and decide that I want to be entertained cinematically. I saunter over to my makeshift library and I select a lesser known David Duchovny directed movie entitled ” The House of D”.
The cover reflects a few name brand stars with credible work, Robin Williams, Tea Leoni, David Duchovny, and Anton Yelchin and that’s pretty mucha recipe for a good hour and a half of entertainment. I throw the disc into my electric pink dvd player and snuggle into my Transformer blanket as the credits begin to roll.
The movie is of the coming of age variety. Kid has a bad childhood, a few horrible events follow him into adulthood and he must revisit his painful past if he wants a brighter future. I sobbed like a bitch for maybe 45 minutes of this heart wrenching film. It played like a shocking prediction. I was too shocked to see this obvious about to occur. Robin Williams was great as “Papass” a mentally challenged man. Actors playing the ubiquitous mental retardation role for the Oscar nod should be smited. Duchovny (director, actor) was stoic and snarky per usual, even Tea Leoni was good as the single mom with the world on her shoulders. However, Mr. Anton Yelchin stole the movie and a tiny portion of my perv heart. He put a realness, warmth and empathy into a run of the mill movie. Erykah Badu was amazing and necessary, providing the movie’s much needed edge factor. I fully recommend this movie if you want to drop a few tears or if you want to join the Anton Yelchin train. Not a bad ride. Wow I employed a lot of critique cliches in this post. How gauche.