Friday, October 23, 2009

Movie recommendation: Go see Whip It!

Sorry for the absence these past two weeks. Little bit of travel and some pending deadlines have made me a little scattered.
But the weekend is nearly here and if you are looking for something indoorsy to do (temps here dropped 30 degrees in one day--*sigh*--with rain the forecast) go see Whip It!
I went a few weekends ago and really enjoyed it. Pretty light, puts you in a good mood, which I was quite in need of, and it's about roller derby. Like I said, not too deep but very woman-centered. Touches lightly on issues of class and age. Though it does not really interrogate the aggression required of and afforded to female skaters, it's obviously a big part of the movie. Acting was so-so. (I really hope Ellen Page can get out of her Juno-esque stereotype some day--yes, yes, I know there was Smart People.)
I have heard next-to-nothing about the movie since it was released, but prior to the wide release there were a lot of articles about women's roller derby. Here are some of the few I saw:
An AP story that talks primarily about midwestern teams. It brings up the "feminine" side of roller derby with the make-up (it's titled "Rouge and Tumble"--who uses rouge these days?), etc. I am becoming more and more interested in roller derby as a site of alleged empowerment, gender queering, etc. And the make-up thing is really interesting. Is it a feminine apologetic? Is it part of a costume? Is it women in female drag?
This one gives a little history of the sport and explains how today's version is different from the more spectacle-like version in the 70s (i.e. no more staged fights).

Not being a skater, I don't really know how well the movie conforms to the reality of today's skaters. But I do know the sport is looking to raise its profile, so hopefully the movie will contribute to that effort.

4 comments:

Diane said...

I found the film somewhat enjoyable, but was annoyed by the "all-male metaphors all the time" aspect of it. The message was (to me) once again--to be tough and aggressive is to be male, even if women are the participants. The language in particular bothered me, but I shouldn't have expected anything else. I actually saw it as more anti-feminist than feminist, but--as I learned during the 2008 election--I'm a "paleofeminist."

What I did like: The casting of Juliette Lewis! And while I like Page very much in anything she does, the performance I most enjoyed was that of Drew Barrymore, who cracked me up every time she was on the screen. Seeing "Whip It" made me want to see "Kansas City Bombers" again, too.

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

If I weren't a boxer I would try out for our roller derby team here. I love the aggression, the drama, and the highly social, slightly counter-cultural nature of it. It's the only sport I follow where I see such a wide variety of fans: male, female, parents with kids, gay, lesbian, trans. Everyone's there and having a party while enjoying the derby.

I didn't see that kind of fan base in Whip It, and I grew deeply weary of the over-focus on teen drama, but I enjoyed the action, and loved that there was a wide range of ages among the women on the team (also true in my experience).

So, some wins, some oversights; not a bad film overall, although not one I'd see again.

Anonymous said...

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nit said...

Whip It ! movie is the ultimate entertainment for all the viewers. Trust me guys, this is the best movie which I have ever watched. I must say that I enjoyed this mind-blowing movie a lot. You must watch Whip It ! the hilarious and uproarious comedy whose story will make you break into intolerable tits of mad laughter. Really it is very enjpoyable.