Whip It. Directed by Drew Barrymore (2009).
Man, films like these make me not feel shitty about the movie industry. Do you ever watch movies that just try so hard that you just can't unsee all the flaws in it? Well, this isn't like that. At all. Whip It is a magical movie that somehow vibes in it's own world away from mediocre filmmaking. It's like everyone who made this film/acts in it is in on some big non threatening inside joke. Like a family or some shit. Okay, time to get eloquent.
(*choking* "I'm your only friend!!")
Whip It is this rad film based off a book called Derby Girl by Shauna Cross. It follows the story of Bliss Cavender (Ellen Page) - a teenage nobody much to her parents' dismay, from Bodine, Texas. When her mom takes her to a head shop (dying) something magical happens- the local derby girls come in to drop off flyers for their next match. Bliss and her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) then speed off in her grandma's Chevy Celebrity to Austin Texas. A.k.a. - a whole new world of awesome.
("Ooooh! Pretty vases!")
I guess I should have mentioned this earlier. This Film Muse post is going to have a butt load of film stills. This is probably one of the most aesthetically appealing movies I've ever seen. I think it's supposed to be set in the late '90s (no cell phones), but they don't force that down the audiences' throats. I like that. The thought that went into every shot and every character is insane.
("I like your hair" "Thanks! I did it myself!")
When I first saw this movie back in '09, I did what every impressionable youth does - I wanted to be derby girl. Okay, maybe not do derby, but I wanted to rollerblade down my own street without hurting myself. I strapped up my skates and set out on a wobbling adventure that was actually way more difficult than I thought. I ended up tripping over a twig (YES A TWIG) and scraping up my leg. Punk rock - right? I still have the scar.
What I like about this film is that it encourages young women to be brave. To get outside their comfort zones and defy stereotypes. Of course along the way it might be shitty, but ultimately euphoria will kick in. One of my favorite lines from the movie is when Bliss' mother is lecturing her about spending her time doing something like derby - and she responds:
Bliss' Mom: "This is a MOMENT..."
Bliss: "Well how great is that?"
What a great line.
And then we have the boy. THE boy. Ugh. So cute - yet so painful. I think this was a beautiful take on first time love. The infatuation, the meaningless activities that you do together that actually mean everything to you, and the secret language you both communicate in with just a stupid smile. He broke my heart as much as he broke Bliss'. She gave you her Stryper "In Jesus We Rock" shirt - I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU, WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU. HOW DARE YOU! (second time I've referenced Tyra on my blog- mind you).
(Favorite wet dream: Boy + 7 Eleven)
(Are yOu kidDing me???)
Oh. And Jimmy Fallon plays the ultimate sleaze-ball announcer to a T . Look at his gaudy blue suit. HE WAS HILARIOUS. You go Jimmy.
Lastly - let's just give a shout out to the good family vibes. What I learned from this film is that being a teenager isn't all about opposition, it's about living your life in the most fulfilling ways - while still considering your parent's perspectives. You aren't always going to meet your family's expectations, but it doesn't mean they won't love you for what you do. Maybe this is a too "happy go lucky" way of going about it, but I like the way it sounds - so I'm sticking to it.
With that, I'm going to leave you with one of the most amazing shots of the film: Bliss sitting on the Oink Joint pig. God bless the cinematographer.
If you haven't seen this movie - I've probably spoiled it for you. Actually, wait. I haven't. Still watch it anyways. It's amazing.
Keep it cool,
Best of Whip It's Soundtrack
(!!!= extra good)
Bang On - The Breeders (!!!)
Crown of Age - The Ettes (!!!)