Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Whip It (2009) - Some Tough Cookies

On the Menu: WHIP IT (2009); Blockbuster Rental Exclusive DVD

Ingredients: Ellen Page, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden, Daniel Stern, Eve, Jimmy Fallon, Andrew Wilson, Zoe Bell and Drew Barrymore. Directed by Drew Barrymore. Run time: 111 minutes. Rated: PG-13.

At First Bite: I heart Ellen Page. I hearted "RollerGames." And, I think Kristen Wiig is hilarious. So, why wouldn't I watch this?  It is also Barrymore's directorial debut, and kudos to her for not trying to upstage her fellow actors. Her character, Smashlee Simpson, is funny and loves to dish out some pain, but she's in the backseat for most of the ride. Wiig is pretty low-key, but she's the mother hen of the lovable Hurl Scouts, which happens to be the worst team every year. Owen and Luke's older brother, Andrew, coaches the Scouts. If you close your eyes when he speaks, you'd think it was Owen. Lewis, as you might have guessed, plays the league bitch and poster girl, Iron Maven. 

Page's character, Bliss, stumbles upon Roller Derby while shopping with her uptight mother (Harden). Her mother is a pageant mom. She buys $800 custom dresses and makes her two daughters stand up on stages telling pageant officials which famous person they'd like to have as a dinner companion. Ugh. So, which will it be: pageant or derby? Sticking with the pageant means Bliss is momma's little girl, right? The derby is her chance to shine. It's her chance to grow up (obviously, we're dealing with a coming-of-age story here). Well, maybe it means she'll become daddy's little girl since her father (Stern) is a huge sports nut (they do live in Texas after all). By the way, where have you been Daniel Stern? Seriously, I think seeing VERY BAD THINGS in the theater my freshman year of college might have been the last time I've seen you in a movie. But, anyway, Stern does a great job. Throw in a new boy toy and a fight with her best friend and the coming-of-age story is complete.

Tough to Swallow: I don't know that I can say anything bad about the movie itself, except I didn't hear Devo once throughout the entire film. Unbelievable.
One thing I will say is the rental version of the DVD is crap. Sometimes there are good "Blockbuster Exclusives" DVDs where they give you extra stuff on one disc that would normally be a 2-disc at Best Buy. However, they're trending towards bare bones DVDs now, which are crappy versions without any special features. Hopefully, I will be replacing the ones I actually have in my collection soon. The version of WHIP IT you can buy in stores includes 9 deleted scenes, including an alternate opening (no gag reel or commentary?!). The version I watched has a WHIP IT Soundtrack spot only. Stupid.

Something to Chew On: "RollerGames" debuted on television in 1989. Remember the T-Birds and the Violators?  Remember when they split up the T-Bird Twins? Remember the alligator pit? Yeah, probably not. The show, unfortunately, lasted just the one season. I loved watching it.

Asheville has its own derby squad named the Blue Ridge Rollergirls. Their season opens at the Civic Center on March 13 against the Rollergirls of Central Kentucky (ROCK). Which reminds me that one of my best friends, Anna, went to speed skate practice with the Carolina Rollergirls in Raleigh. I think her nickname would be Mommie Smearest.

The Hurl Scouts in WHIP IT were fashioned after a real team called Tough Cookies, which I didn't know about when I came up with the title for this blog. Coincidentally, my fiancée, Megan, also baked cookies before we sat down to watch the movie.

Another interesting bit of trivia is that Ellen Page dropped out of DRAG ME TO HELL for this role.

Also, this film is based on the novel "Derby Girl" by former Roller Derby girl Shauna Cross. Cross actually skated under the nickname Maggie Mayhem (portrayed by Wiig in the film).

There's also a scene where Bliss goes to the movies with her love interest, Oliver; they watch THE JERK. Makes sense when you think about it.

The film currently has a 7.3 user rating on  (6,440 votes).

Sides: The lone soundtrack spot and some trailers for other movies.

Aftertaste: It's a women's empowerment/coming-of-age/sports movie. It's rated PG-13 because of crude language, and maybe the violence on the track. The music was pretty good; I've actually been listening to bits of the soundtrack on's Music Sampler. I wouldn't mind having one of those Babe Ruthless posters either. WHIP IT is definitely a movie I could watch a second or third time. I say, WHIP IT? WHIP IT, good.


1 comment:

  1. haha...great review! thanks for the shout out...i like my derby name. i think i'll keep it...