Friday, October 2, 2009

Garden State + Slap Shot

Who knew they were such fun?

The past couple days I've been spending a serious amount of time reading up on the skater-gal subculture. I've been learning the lingo (fresh meat = new recruits) and making a list of my fav derby names. (Axles of Evil, Nutcracker, Mack Truck Mel & Vega Vendetta)

The new movie WHIP IT, starring Ellen Page, is the reason for my new-found obsession. I liked Whip It when I saw it and I'm liking it more as time passes.

Part of my hesitancy was when I first watched Whip It was I focusing perhaps a little to much on Drew Barrymore's directorial debut. Was the music mixed too low? Should she have gotten better coverage of the action scenes? Why did you bother to set this in Texas when the actors sound as Southern as Woody Allen? All true, but those are small quibbles.
As I've had some distance, I'm growing impressed with what Drew was able to do here. Here's an actress that is no Megan Fox. Her look is a little more off-kilter, and that's a good thing because it forced her to develop other talents. Comic chops. A unique voice.

Then Drew finds this screenplay based on a book about RollerDerby gals, written by someone who put on skates herself. Drew tells the screenwriter, keep it messy, keep it raw. The result, a grrl power movie with some guts. The mother character isn't a total caricature. The loose ends are left hanging.

In a world of crappy remakes like FAME and plastic preachy flicks ala HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, Whip It is a rallying cry, filled with real gals who are strong, smart and happen to look fine in fishnets.

By the way, keep an eye out for Ellen Page's teammates in the Hurl Scouts. Seems Drew called in a lot of favours for this film.

Zoe Bell stuntwoman/actress is there, as it SNL's Kristen Wiig, R&B star Eve and Andrew Wilson is their coach Razor. He's the bearded brother of Luke and Owen Wilson.

See you out on the rink!

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