Sunday, October 4, 2009

Boys Wanna Be Her

So I'm not gonna lie, it was so hard to watch WHIP IT tonight at the movie theater with an unbiased opinion. I mean . . .

1. It's set in Austin, Texas where I'm from and I got NOTHING but love for my hometown

2. It's about roller derby chicks, who I think are completely bad to the bone. Seriously. I know that I don't seem like it, but I'm totally an alternative chick. From the screamo rock music to the glam makeup to crazy hair colors—I LOVE the alternative tough chick gig.

3. It's about GIRL POWER! And as a screenwriter, one of my favorite things is making the girl the hero, as opposed to the guy. I dunno why. It's probably a subconscious thing, or my appreciation for strong women as a whole.

4. I HEART Ellen Page as an actress. It's so hard for me NOT to like a movie she's in. That chick just always does a great job, in my opinion.

So yeah. It was tough. But I was able to watch it from a somewhat unbiased perspective. I still enjoyed it a LOT. Mainly because it was a chick flick, but it wasn't a TYPICAL chick flick with flowers and sob songs and sitting around a couch talking about how "He said he loved me . . . boo hoo . . . that homewrecker . . . boo hoo" business. It was a TOUGH-CHICK FLICK. Thus, I really really liked it.

However, there were things I didn't like. Let's start with what I DID like and then we'll go with what I didn't like and then I'll end with some notes about the soundtrack. Kind of that "lather, shave, lather" effect if you will (or if you won't).

The Girl Power. Hands down. That was what made me enjoy the movie the most—the fact that it showed the power of friendships between girls and the fact that it shed some light on some of the more "socially acceptable" view of what a successful woman is and how wrong a lot of the stereotypes are.
The Scenery. Austin, Texas is and will always be my hometown. I'm not gonna lie, a GIANT smile spread across my face when I saw a shot of UNCOMMON OBJECTS on South Congress! And seeing the HI, HOW ARE YOU wall and all the other locations that reminded me of the quirkiness that IS the ATX was just wonderful.
The Actresses: They all did a great job. Even Eve was great as "Rosa Sparks." I must admit that when I saw her name on the cast list, I had my doubts. Most music artists are NOT good at acting. Eve's was a very likable character and she pulled it off well. Kristen Wiig and Ellen Page were phenomenal. Juliette Lewis did a great job playing the villain, "Iron Maven"—she made it easy to hate the villain, which is hard to do in a chick flick. I even found myself WISHING that Ari Gaynor had a bigger role.
Bliss' Journey. There are so many people from small towns that deal with the discouragement of always wanting to break out of the mold, but feeling they can never do it. That feeling that says you'll never make it. It was great following the main character's journey and feeling like you were right there with her.
The Portrayal of the Roller Derby Chicks. I LOVED that they gave insight into the lives of the ladies that participate in Roller Derby. It gives them a more "human" side, as opposed to being these tattooed, pierced, ragamuffin trash girls that most assume they are. I'm pretty sure that if I told my family I was going out for Roller Derby, holidays would get a whole lot more awkward. And my parents might disown me. Just sayin. ;) But yeah, I liked that the story went beyond just these chicks that hit each other.


The Choppy Film. As a disclaimer, I love indie flicks. It's true. I do. But more importantly, indie flicks that flow smoothly and don't leave the viewer wondering if the director took the term "CUTTING ROOM FLOOR" a little overboard. And I haven't read the script so maybe it's just written that way, but so many of the scenes didn't flow into one another and were just static jumps. And that kinda . . . okay, no. really annoys me. It's completely possible and beneficial that unless you are doing some intense action flick (see: Bourn Series) that you keep the scenes running smoothly in a preset order that doesn't confuse the audience.
The Love Story Arc. I get that she had to be in a relationship, but her whole relationship just seemed a bit too typical and awkward at moments. Mainly because I think the guy wasn't a really good actor. Sad, I know—but it's just my opinion. I just felt like there could have been a lot more developed into it in place of some of the more static film shots. I found myself not being able to fall in love with their love story.
The Supermarket Sweep. I felt like the movie tried to focus on so many little things that the few things that could have been BIG hit points were lost in the fuzz. It was almost like watching an episode of Supermarket Sweep, you know, and they have like 15 minutes to get as many things in the shopping cart as possible. That's just how I saw it. I think when you have a major motion picture, you should focus on 2 or 3 major points like: Adolescent Love, Fear of Living Up to Others' Expectations, and Fighting Past Stereotypes, as opposed to those 3 plus 15 other things.
The Pool Scene. Watching two people make out under water is a nice cinematic effect. Making it seem like they can make out underwater for 20 minutes without coming up for air is silly. I felt like it took away the realistic factor. I mean, unless somewhere just before, they both turned into merpeople. In which case, I take it back. But also, that would be trying to hard to add the sci-fi twist to the flick.
The Over-Girlyness. I get it. It's a chick flick. But really, it's a FULL BLOWN chick flick. And that was kind of a turn off at times. I'm glad that Drew Barrymore helmed the project. She did a pretty good job directing. But it's like when I try to make a brochure for a car company and involve one too many curly swoops. I think that some parts of the film could be toughed up and made a bit more "macho" if you will. There were certain parts where I was like, "Okay. This has gone from girl power to CHICK TOPIA." It just seemed so unreal at times. . . then again, it may just be a sign that I need to have more "girly girly girly moments." But then again, knowing myself, I'd probably run from that sort of environment.

Overall I really DID enjoy it. It made me laugh so much and I loved the acting. It definitely isn't one of those big award winning films (and I may just have to eat my words with some humble pie if it actually wins an Oscar) but it was a great Tough Chick Flick. And I DO have to congratulate the screenwriter and the director and all of them because this is SUCH a unique type of film. It's not Mona Lisa Smile. It's not Steel Magnolias. It's not The Next Karate Kid (which, by the way, should NEVER have been made). It's not Sleepless in Seattle. It's like MIRACLE for chicks. And I haven't seen a movie like that in a long while.

The music was great as well! The music supervisor did a great job! I loved that it involved a lot of different styles. I think my favorite song from the soundtrack is the LOLLIPOP remix. It's a perfect chick steeze 'get pumped up, ready to rumble' angle on that song. :D Also good songs from the album Har Mar Superstar's cover of Never My Love and Crown of Age by The Ettes.

1 comment:

Kelley R. said...

I didn't know it was set in Austin. That's crazy. ...And unfortunately makes me even more apprehensive about seeing Whip It than I already was. I'm the opposite of you when it comes to filming in the ATX, I think. I'm such an Austin snob, I just assume they'll totally misrepresent the city. :(

That's funny about the pool scene, though. LOL. How awkward. :D

P.S. I love the Bourne movies. Now I totally want to watch one.