Comments on watching and making films.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Whip It

I'm always leery of films by actor's. When I heard Drew Barrymore was making a film, I had to weigh her career of somewhat crappy rom-coms and girl flicks against the fact that her production company has helped produce a lot of great independent movies, including Donnie Darko. When I found out that Ellen Page was in it, though, that sealed the deal.

Whip It stars Page as Bliss Cavender, a girl in her late teens, who's mother has managed, through either guilt or force, to get her to take part in various pageants in and around their little town of Bodeen, Texas (which is outside of Austin). Not feeling like she fits in anywhere, she discovers roller derby, and sneeks out of the house with her best friend Pash, played by Alia Shawkat, to go to Austin to watch the derby. One night she approaches some of the girls to express her love of what their doing, and they invite her to try out (even though you have to be 21 to do so). Bliss decides to take a chance and lie about her age so that she can try out, and makes the team. Now she just has to figure out how to balance the lies she's telling to the team and to her parents to be able to live the life she's always dreamed of.

Barrymore does an incredible job as a first time director, and her ensemble cast of the team is incredibly well put together. The story is simple, but really inspirational. Ellen Page, as always, delivers an amazing performance, and is complimented by Shawkat, Kristin Wiig, and Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern as Bliss's parents. It is so awesome to see Daniel Stern in some stuff again, and he does a great job. Surprisingly, for a film that takes place in Texas, it was mostly filmed in Michigan, but you wouldn't know it. It definitely looks like Texas, and Barrymore picked some great stuff for the shots she did in Austin. Whip It is one of my favorite's of this year, and I wish more people would see it. If you don't get a chance to see it in theater's, though, definitely check it out on DVD.

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