Whip It (2009)

Whip It is a movie about a girl who who sneaks away from her coming out party debutante existence to find her heart in Roller Derby.  What makes the film really stand out from other rebellious teenager coming of age movies is the relationship with Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) and her mother (Marcia Gay Harden). This is one of the main themes of the movie and is nicely developed.
Bliss grows up in a small town (Bodine) in Texas, which is on the outskirts of Austin.   One day while shopping in Austin she picks up a flyer for the local Roller Derby team, the Hurl Scouts. Bliss talks her best friend  (played by Alia Shswkat) into driving her into Austin to watch an actual game. She is invited after the game by Maggie Mayhem to attend a tryout to make the team.
Drew said she was attracted to the sport of Roller Derby by the crowd. When she attended an event, she looked around and saw yuppies, blue collar workers, teenagers, families, and just a wide range of people, all drawn to the sport of Roller Derby–a class leveler.
The book was written by Shauna Cross, who based her experience on her career with the LA Derby Dolls. Shauna skated with them as Maggie Mayhem (played by Kristen Wiig). Shauna was looking for a tennis partner and searched Craigslist for one, and found an ad for Roller Derby, which started her career.  Basrrymore made some additions to the script– she came up with the Manson Sisters for Whip It. They play silent but deadly teammates on the Hurl Scouts. A little hard of hearing or not caring to, they walk by the white board with a play diagrammed, look, and just keep walking. They are played by LA Derby Dolls skaters Kristen “Krissy Krash” Adolfi and Rachel “Iron Maiven”. Adolfi and Piplica are teammates on LADD’s Tough Cookies, on whom the film’s fictionalized Hurl Scouts are based.   Most of the actors did their own skating and had their share of mishaps. Bliss (Ellen Page) was trained by LA Derby Doll’s Axle of Evil. Drew suffered a huge bruise on her thigh while wrestling with one of the trainers. During the training, some of the actors would yell out “I am hurting” and the trainers would yell back “Keep Skating”.
Landon Pigg goes from musician to his first acting role, as Bliss’ love interest.  I think this is the only scene of making out under water I have ever seen.
The movie scenes of Roller Derby action look extremely real as Drew used hand held cameras for a lot of the action. A huge crane in the middle of the track took shots from high above and also went down close to the action.
The moral of the movie (per Drew) is finding yourself, to get out there and do things, to improve yourself, and to pick yourself up and keep trying.  I give this a 7/10.


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