Monday, October 5, 2009

We Review Whip It


On Friday night we went out to the Whip It premiere in Santa Cruz...here's what we thought:

FM Rachel: I went into Whip It expecting to totally identify with Ellen Page's character, Bliss, a bit of Fresh Meat with TXRD's Hurl Scouts. I wanted her to struggle more and to be really bad at skating (like me) and then to triumph, but after a three minute training montage she just seemed to start flying around the track. How is that possible??? There were some other things that bothered me, namely: the food fight (who is going to clean that up?), the underwater sexy scene (why aren't they drowning?), people not wearing seatbelts (what kind of message does that send our youth?), love-interest Oliver (take a bath and do your laundry!), and on-track fighting (we don't do that!).

For all the things that I didn't like, here's what I did like:
  • Kristin Wiig (Maggie Mayhem): I have a big fat crush on Kristin Wiig. She makes me laugh every time I watch her in something. Plus, in Whip It, a film with a lot of characters and very little character development, we actually got to know a little bit more about Maggie Mayhem and I liked that.
  • Andrew Wilson (Razor): Another Wilson brother? Who knew? But this guy may now be my favorite one!
  • The dad: Daniel Stern (think tall villain from Home Alone) was great as Bliss' father. He was sweet, funny, and tender. I absolutely loved the scene at the end with the lawn post. So touching.
  • Alia Shawkat (Pash/bff): It's Maeby Funke from Arrested Development!! I thought she was just slightly underutilized in Whip It, but she was still adorable and funny.
So that's pretty much it.  My recommendation: See it if you love all things derby and are willing to overlook the movie's overall cutesiness.
    FM Daisy:  I went to Whip It hoping to see something I wished I could have seen as a 12 year old. I was not disappointed. The tag line "Be Your Own Hero" is something every girl (perhaps of any age!) needs to hear. It's a great antidote to the message girls get about staying in the background. Don't limit your dreams! Be Your Own Hero! Kick ass for yourself! (And kick your own ass!) Push yourself and fight for what you want to do in this life... not your mom's antiquated picture of what femininity is!  Seeing it with skaters and other fresh meat was great, but hearing the Junior Derby girls cheer at their favorite parts was what really made my night. Those girls are being their own heroes!
    • I agree with FM Rachel. The quick-training sequence did not show an accurate picture of the trials and tribulations of fresh-meatdom. I felt a little redeemed when Iron Maven said she's 36 and has had to work her ass off. I could definitely relate--It's hard to be in your late 30s and see some young whippersnapper have it come easy!
    • I liked that Bliss was afraid of hitting... (not that I can relate with that At All...*whistling*)
    • I thought the different derby personality types were pretty accurate renditions of real phenomena: Maggie Mayhem was wonderful-- tough, encouraging and hilarious! (My friend Vin says she reminds him of FM Alayna.) Smashlee Simpson didn't give a s*&$t about much... and I've seen girls like that--acting crazy and having fun and not worrying about rules or even knowing that tryouts are coming up. It was fun to see Drew Barrymore having a good time--especially beating up her 'fiance' and him loving it! Iron Maven (the divine Juliette Lewis!) was a great nemesis. She was the scary, scrappy girl--the loose cannon aimed right at you! Yikes!
    • I loved the parents. The mom really was trying (willing to buy combat boots "At least they don't have duct tape on them") and good movie dads almost always make me cry. I loved how he looked up derby on Google. Awww!
    • The Love interest: *slight spoiler alert* I really liked how the romance part of the story turned out. Was relieved that Bliss followed her bliss--put herself first ahead of some stupid guy who didn't respect her. Are there any movies besides this and White Men Can't Jump where a girl doesn't settle for a loser guy? Let me know!!
    • I liked that people looked real. Dude (Oliver) had a big nose and bad teeth, Maggie had wrinkles, Bliss was super pale and Pash was super freckled. Movies are more realistic to me when people look like people I might know rather than supermodels.
    All in all, I say see it! To make it even better, when you sit down in that theater seat, tune in with your inner 12-year-old girl and soak in the reminder to Be Your Own Hero!

    4 comments:

    Rachel Eloise said...

    While I want to agree with you about this movie sending positive messages to young girls, I can't also help but think about all of the negative messages in the movie. For example, Bliss lies to her parents about her whereabouts and activities and she lies to her teammates about her age, but with no real consequences. She gets a little yelled at by her parents, but in the end she still gets to play in the last bout; she gets what she wants, but she lied and cheated to get there. That was part of what made Iron Maven's speech to her so important, because Iron Maven, as bitchy as she was, got there through honest, hard work.

    And what about when Bliss runs away from home? Her answer to conflict is to literally run away? It would have broken my mother's heart if I had run away from home for any reason or length of time. Then there's the underage drinking. I liked that Pash gets in trouble for having a beer at the bout and that she expresses fear that this will impact her future college options, but in the end, she gets into a good school and all seems forgiven. And did anyone think about how well condoms work underwater? I think their little dalliance in the pool could have its own dire consequences, but I'm forgetting that that's another movie with Ellen Page.

    I already mentioned the food fight, but again it just reinforces my opinion that this movie had no regard for the consequences of one's actions. Throwing food means someone else has to clean it up. I've also already mentioned the seatbelt thing. I always thought it was a national law to have your seatbelt on, but they just passed a seatbelt law in Minnesota around June of this year, so maybe Texas is still behind the times. In my opinion, that is no excuse. Click it or Die!

    Anyway, perhaps I am just getting old and curmudgeonly and have inadvertently killed my twelve-year-old self.

    PS...FM Daisy...your twelve-year-old self would need to attend this movie with adult supervision...it's rated PG-13!

    FM Daisy said...

    Do movie staff pay attention to that now? Bummer. I saw numerous R rated movies during middle school. (And drank under age AND lied to my parents. I always used my seat belt, though!)

    Brian said...

    Rachel's fiance's review here: http://brianjjames.blogspot.com/2009/10/movie-review-whip-it.html

    She made me disclaim that my animus is not directed towards derby itself, something I felt was obvious, but which I will include since I know where my bread is buttered.

    Fox said...

    Totally agree with your movie assessment, ladies. My major beef with the movie was the lack of body diversity. Take a look at any track--I have never seen a team where the majority of girls were size 6 or less. Ridiculous! I noticed one big girl in the entire movie, and you had to strain to see her, because the camera never focused on her. It's hard to buy into the whole "girl power" theme when the power is only given to women whose bodies conform to a certain Hollywood standard :P

    Great blog!