October 19th, 2009

amd: blue statue

Whip It!

How about those Phils last night?

It was cold and rainy, but still a good weekend. Watched the ballgame friday night at a bar in Old City with my buddy Michael, then saw a couple Festival films (which I'll review later in the week). Saturday I did the Festival again, then joined K. for dinner and drinks with some friends we hadn't spent time with in a while.

On Sunday, we headed out to the wilds of New Jersey, where I introduced K. to the magic that is Five Guys and we saw Whip It. Based on a novel by former roller derby competitor Shauna "Maggie Mayhem" Cross, it's the story of a small town teenager who rebels against her mother's beauty pageant dreams for her to become a star of the Austin derby scene. Juno's Ellen Page does a great job playing Bliss Cavendish, proving once again that she has no trouble carrying a film, and Alia Shawkat (Maebe from Arrested Development) is equally compelling as the best friend watching Bliss disappear into her new life. Drew Barrymore did a fine job with her directorial debut, blending a realistic coming of age story with a fun losers-to-winner sports story. I think the film did a great job of teaching the audience what roller derby was all about without losing any of the fun and wildness. Although the pacing sometimes felt a bit off, my only real concern was placing when the story was meant to be taking place. It felt completely like the 1980s right up until the main character hopped on Google, and yet no one seemed to have a cell phone. My confusion was compounded by the otherwise excellent soundtrack, which spanned songs from the last three decades. Still that's a fairly small complaint about an otherwise very enjoyable little film. The other derby girls included Drew, Juliette Lewis, SNL's Kristen Wiig, rapper Eve, and Zoe Bell (Death Proof).