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Whip It!
3 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Drew Barrymore

Written By:
Shauna Cross

Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, Alia Shawkat, Zoe Bell, Ari Graynor, Eve, Carlo Alban, Rio Scafone, Patrick Moug, Shawntay Dalon, Kyle Clarington, William C. Fox, Tony Stef'Ano, Erik A. Williams, Lauren Mae Shafer, Candace M. Laferle, Joelle ten Damme, Sarah Habel, Joshua Amir, Scott Joel Gizicki, Joe Sacksteder, Kathy Rose Center, Tevis R. Marcum, Rusty Mewha, Misty Mills, Eric Tuchelske, Har Mar Superstar, Dennis Budziszewski, Chris DiAngelo, Victor Pytko, Jamie Klenk, David Gibson, Mike Ancrile, Dwayne Roszkowski, Sydney Bennett, Danny Mooney, Landon Pigg, Jesse Dean, Brent Mata, Austin Bickel, Rachel Piplica, Mark Boyd, Madge Levinson, Adam Beeman, Barbara Coven, Ryan Falcheck, Julia Garlotte, Laura Hinojosa, David Kain, Alexandra LoRusso, Alisa Martin, Alyssa McMillan, Karen Minard, Jessii Raymond, Dwayne Roszkowski, Grace Anne Rowan, Jeremy Salo, Russell Turner, LaTasha Pippen

Whip It! (2009)
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Movie Review by Zara
October 3rd, 2009

WARNING: I am involved with the current roller derby flat track trend and am biased because I know how important the sport is to my girls. Therefore, it's hard to overlook some of the technical problems with this movie.

I'd really love to be able to give this movie 4 or more stars, but the main problem that I have with it is that first time director Drew Barrymore was dead set on billing this as being a movie about roller derby. It's not. This is a coming-of-age story which happens to be built around the sport of roller derby and while she does a more than adequate job of conveying that the sport is intoxicating, I don't think she really gets enough in depth to warrant being able to claim that it's a sports movie.

I had a problem with how much time was focused on the lame romance that goes on between Page and the musician dude that she bumps into at the first bout that she goes to see. That part drags down the rest of the movie, being too much to handle in an otherwise fairly even handed film.

I highly recommend that anyone who watches this understand that it is based on the memoirs of a derby girl who went through a similar experience, but that Drew incorporated the story into the TXRD, a Texas league that started up in the early 2000's, reinvigorating the sport and leading to them creating the rules that flat track derby uses now. Check out both the book and a documentary called HELL ON WHEELS to understand this a little bit better. The TXRD girls were the ones who wrote the first set of WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association) rules, learning that keeping up banked track (what is shown in the movie) is more expensive and harder to control.

The film calls the location "the Warehouse," but the bouts around then were held in an abandoned airport hanger (which is what it looks like in the film). Some of the plays that were used (play #3, a showstopper in the film) are actually breaking most of the rules that were later written (aka No Clockwise High Blocking).

But... all of my gripes aside, this is a decent movie to start with if you're interested in getting to know derby more. Again, this IS NOT a sports movie. The film excels best in the areas of seeing how parents struggle with their children (Harden and Stern are fantastic) but glances over what real derby girls do in their spare time. While they head out to parties after bouts and support one another, the film does not clearly emphasize that all of these women have day jobs and that derby, while a complete and all encompassing lifestyle, is still something that they do not get paid to do. Most pay hefty dues for track time and insurance (USARS) and need to do something other than this.

The film does manage to do the one thing that Drew is good at doing: make you smile. There are enough moments strung together with a great cast (although there are some great people in here who are practically wasted or entirely wasted, like the fantastic Ari Graynor who gets billing as Eva Destruction but isn't given very much at all to do) who clearly and apparently are having a great time being in the film.

This is a good starter film for people to get interested in roller derby again. However, I encourage you to look further than just the film to understand the sport.

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Oct 4, 2009 2:16 PM
also wrote a review of Whip It!
I can't wait to see this movie, and the funny thing is my friend is involved in flat track and has been hounding me to join for the last few months.

Oct 10, 2009 9:38 AM
also wrote a review of Whip It!
watched the movie last night, loved it but agree with you totally coulda done without the love story crap.

FYI me and a few of my sparring partners are heading out for try outs Tuesday for our local derby team, should be fun.
Oct 10, 2009 4:46 PM
That's awesome! You would totally ROCK at roller derby.

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