whip it

October 26, 2009

“yeah, let’s celebrate mediocrity! that’s fantastic!”

whip it is a film i probably would have waited for on dvd had i not received free passes.  and i’m glad i did receive free passes, because i would have not wanted to pay a redbox fee (or risk the late fee from the library) on this film.

something is to be said about predictability in certain films.  romantic comedies, other mainstream comedies, sometimes benefit from predictability.  it’s comforting to know that the story isn’t going to take your for a ride you’re not ready for.  there’s also something to be said about predictability in films that are trying to be “alternative” now.  and it’s not what you want.

the script for this film is probably the worst i’ve heard all year.  every line of dialogue is so contrived and completely forced.  shauna cross wants to be hip, wants you to laugh at her little indie sensibilities, wants you to fall in love with her quirky characters, and it all falls completely flat.  nothing about the script is original, nothing about the script is relatable or funny.  it’s just bad.  it’s trying to be something that it’s not.  just because roller derby isn’t mainstream, doesn’t mean you can just half-heartedly write the script and get away with it.  all of the dialogue just cannot stand on its own.  you take an interaction ellen page has with one of her old friends who’s fallen by the wayside…

friend:  so what are you all like alternative now?

ellen page:  alternative to what?

friend: i don’t know..isn’t that the point of this movie?  to be alternative?

ellen page:  no, i think it’s meant to be extremely derivative to every other indie film and indie music and indie indie indie indie indie indie indie indie indie indie indie indie.  wait, is indie alternative?  then yes, i like indie.  aren’t i cool?

friend: no, not really.

how anyone would option that script….i don’t know.  and i’m not saying that every movie has to be completely original.  i said before that predictability has its place in movies.  just don’t try to pass off predictability as something completely new and fresh and “alternative” and try to make it cool.  that’s when we run into problems.

and the script might not even be the worst part!  let’s put aside my personal disdain for drew berrymore’s acting capabilities.  i tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.  i thought that maybe since she’s practically grown up on film sets, that she might have actually picked something up from directors and dp’s about how to make a film.  but i was wrong (i don’t know if i actually thought that, or just hoped that it might just possibly, somewhat be true).  she has absolutely no idea how to construct a film.  all of the staging was completely awkward, forced, unnatural.  she cannot frame a shot.  i just could not believe how awful her direction was from beginning to end.

wow.  i cannot believe that i’ve written almost the most i’ve written all year about whip it.  that just seems sad.  anyways, one thing i did like about the film, and it was almost a sort of revelation, was kristen wig’s performance.  i hate kristen wig.  she is the same in every single thing she does whether it’s on snl or a movie or whatever.  she just sits there, uncomfortably and sort of mumbles under her breath something completely stupid and incongruous with the rest of the scene.  but in this flim she plays something completely different (or at least after the first 10 minutes we see her) and it’s almost a breath of fresh air.  i didn’t feel my stream of contempt i normally do when she appears on screen.  it was refreshing.

and!  i almost forgot.  the relationship between ellen page’s parents (marcia gay harden and the tall bad guy from home alone) was great!  it was really awesome to see a married couple who love and support one another, who don’t cheat, who don’t fight openly, and love their family.  you might not agree with their stances on things, but you cannot deny that they loved each other and respected marriage.  that was a nice touch that helped me get through the movie.

ok.  that’s it.  i’m done talking about whip it forever.