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Whip It
Whip It
Actors: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis
Director: Drew Barrymore
Genres: Comedy, Drama
PG-13     2010     1hr 51min

Hang onto your helmet and get ready to break away from the pack! Ellen Page scores huge laughs as Bliss Cavendar, a small-town teenager with a big dream: to find her own path in the world. Tired of following in her family?...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Marcia Gay Harden, Juliette Lewis
Director: Drew Barrymore
Creators: Drew Barrymore, Barry Mendel, Chris Miller, Jason Lust, Joseph Drake, Karyn McCarthy, Shauna Cross
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/26/2010
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2010
Run Time: 1hr 51min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Lorilea G. (lorilea) from FREDERICKSBRG, VA
Reviewed on 5/22/2012...
I didn't expect to like this movie. The only reason I ordered it was to get to 3 in the WL Multiples thread for other dvds I wanted. I ended up loving this movie. Kriisten Wiig and Drew Barrymore were great, as well as Ellen Page. Id love to see more movies with these women.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Suzanne B.
Reviewed on 9/3/2010...
This movie was so awful I only watched it to the halfway point. It had potential to be so much better. It wasn't. Especially horrible in her role is Drew Barrymore, whom I usually adore. A huge letdown.
1 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
KAT O.
Reviewed on 4/10/2010...
I LOVED IT! Great acting, story, and skating. Then acting drew me in, the story actually got me to shed a few tears, and the skating was fun to watch and made me want to get skates. Its not about the best skaters but people who found something they loved to do! One good movie!
5 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michelle S. (Chelly10s) from W HOLLYWOOD, CA
Reviewed on 3/4/2010...
This movie wasn't life changing, but I'll agree that it was empowering. There didn't seem to be any breakthrough performances, but just solid efforts from everyone that made the characters fit together so nicely. This is a sports movie but don't expect a repeat of Remember the Titans or Miracle...it's real, and rough, and a lot of fun to watch.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Rolling with the Punches
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 10/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Whip It" is surprisingly good in spite of itself, conventional as a sports movie yet mature in its development of character. It's also an entertaining spectacle, which is relief for me since I've never given much thought to women's Roller Derby (or even sports in general, but that's a topic for another day). Drew Barrymore has done well to hype it as her directorial debut; she proves that she not only has the technical skills, but also the ability to move a story along through dialogue, pacing, and emotion. Having practically grown up in front of the camera, I think it's safe to assume she knows a thing or two about what a film needs in order for it to work. The first thing she did right was cast Ellen Page, who has repeatedly demonstrated just how versatile an actress she is.

She's no exception here. She plays seventeen-year-old Bliss Cavendar, who was raised in a middle-of-nowhere Texas town and gets by as a diner waitress. Her overbearing mother, Brooke (Marcia Gay Harden), a product of a very different set of standards, pressures Bliss into competing in beauty pageants, believing you have to make do with what you've got when you're young and attractive. When Bliss is made aware of a Roller Derby match in nearby Austin, she decides to go and see what all the fuss is about. Lo and behold, she likes what she sees. She then meets Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), a teammate for the Hurl Scouts, and is encouraged to try out for the team. Maggie is one of several teammates that has adopted a clever nickname; some of the other Hurl Scouts are Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore), Rosa Sparks (Eve), and the Manson Sisters (Kristen Adolfi and Rachel Piplica).

Under the guise of taking an SAT studies class, Bliss sneaks away to Austin every week for practice. Conflict abounds: Not only have the Hurl Scouts never won a single game, Bliss' teammates are also unaware that she's underage (you have to be twenty-one in order to be considered for Roller Derby). By the time she starts participating in matches, she develops a rivalry with Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis), the confrontational leader of undefeated champions of Roller Derby, the Holy Rollers. Nevertheless, Bliss has never felt more alive. At long last, she has found something she loves to do, and she does it with people she enjoys being around. Eventually, she will have to find and maintain that delicate balance between her passion, her family, and her life back home, a process that isn't as easy as it might seem.

One could see this film just for the satisfaction of watching an uplifting, inspirational sports film, as has been done so many times before. For me, what made this movie so enjoyable were the characters, most so interesting and well developed that they seemed authentic. Bliss, for example, is willful and determined, yet not so haughty that she only seems like a spoiled brat. There's a remarkably tender side to her, and yes, some of it is reserved for her mother. It would have been easy to write Brooke as a controlling, spiteful stereotype, but all of that is avoided--despite having unrealistic expectations and a dated ideal of successful womanhood, she genuinely cares about her daughter, and we sense that all throughout. The only character who poses a bit of a problem is Bliss' father, Earl (Daniel Stern), seemingly included just for the sake of physically and morally clashing with his wife.

Other characters function as quirky interludes, like Bliss' supportive best friend, Pash (Alia Shawkat), the Hurl Scouts' eccentric coach, Razor (Andrew Wilson), and the boisterous Roller Derby announcer, "Hot Tub" Johnny Rocket (Jimmy Fallon). The screenplay even has room for a teen romance between Bliss and a guitarist named Oliver (Landon Pigg), who eventually swaps his coat for Bliss' Stryper tee shirt (which she claims is the only cool thing her mother ever gave her). Most of these characters, the last one especially, are expected, as is the inevitable final match between the Hurl Scouts and the Holy Rollers. And yet, it all comes together smoothly, making for a fun and endearing film that you'll want to see through to the end.

The game sequences are quite effective on their own, not only because of the well choreographed skating maneuvers, but also because of the camerawork; every shot exploits the spectacle that is Roller Derby, gliding in time with the actors as they zoom over and around each other on an inclined track. Other shots reveal the grungy feel of a Roller Derby event, from the makeshift arena to the ramshackle benches to the screaming fans, most of whom look no older than twenty. This is interesting in and of itself, given the fact that, save for Bliss, all the teammates are in their early to late thirties; one of them even has a young son. Knowing these women are mostly in it for the love of the game, one wonders how long Bliss can keep playing right alongside them. But if there is a message attached to "Whip It," it has nothing to do with what the future may or may not bring; this movie is all about living in the now and loving every minute of it."
Whip it good!
wiredweird | Earth, or somewhere nearby | 10/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's official: Until further notice, I will happily see any movie featuring Ellen Page. As in previous movies, Page does an outstanding job in bringing her angsty teenage character to life. This time, she's a slightly lost seventeen year old being herded around by a pageant-passionate mother. The first glimmering that she might have goals of her own comes when she sees roller derby girls dropping off flyers for an upcoming event. Of course, she sneaks out to see it using a pretext transparent to everyone but her parents, and she is transfixed. After the show, she tells one of the skaters, "You guys are my heroes!" The tattooed derby girl answers, "Come to the tryout - be your own hero." And she does.

The rest follows an inspiring and hilarious season of sneaking around the parents, doing her part to bring the last-place team to the championship. As you might expect, the poo hits the fan when pageant-panicked Mom finds out that her little beauty queen has another life as Babe Ruthless. I found the parent/teen flareups somewhat milder than realistic, but then the rapprochement was unconvincingly minor, too.

But, if that tension had been much tenser, a lot of the movie's core fun would have been hidden. Barrymore, in her debut role as director, clearly had fun making this and the fun comes through in the final product. The girl-power, be-who-you-are messages come through without shrillness, and Page's navigation of teen heartbreak leaves her character convincingly in the lead. One scene near the very end, her father with hammer in hand (wait for it) was a bit predictable, but satisfying none the less. As was the whole movie. I don't always want a movie that takes itself too seriously. When you want a fun bit of fluff with plenty of physical comedy, give this one a shot. It's well worth the time spent seeing it.

-- wiredweird"
Blu-ray: Enjoyed it more than I expected. Solid PQ, AQ coul
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 02/05/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Roller Derby. I can easily remember turning on the television and watching the Los Angeles T-Birds. Personally, I didn't know if this was a true sport or if it was like wrestling and it was just sports entertainment. But I was hooked. Not sure if it was the blonde women with poofy hair throwing other women out of the rink or that one person who didn't look should be on the rink, actually kicking butt. Needless to say, that roller derby has had its following for decades and now here we are with a film based on a character who takes part in roller derby competitions.

"Whip It" marks the directorial debut by actress Drew Barrymore ("E.T.", "50 First Dates", "The Wedding Singer", "Charlie's Angels" films) and is an adaptation of the novel "Derby Girl" by Shauna Cross, a fictionalized book of skating with the TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls.

The independent film was released in theaters during the fall of 2009 and now makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut. The Blu-ray edition comes with a second disc which contains a digital copy of the film.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

"Whip It" is presented in 1080 High Definition (Widescreen 2:40:1), AVC @ 36 MBPS. The film sports vibrant colors with the Hurl Scouts green outfits, while amber lights shine on the roller derby rink. You can see details in the surroundings, especially injuries ala bloody noses to bruises. Even the tattoos on Kristen Wiig are seen much clearly on HD. Skin tones are natural and blacks are nice and deep. Everything is visible from the freckles of Pash, to the sweat and tears of Bliss and the other girls during competition or the more emotional scenes of the film. I will say that at first, I thought this was a period film shot in the '80s but you realize that the film focuses on Bliss living in a very small town.

There is a fine amount of grain in the film and I didn't notice any compression artifacts, banding or any sign of DNR. A solid Blu-ray release in terms of PQ from Fox.

As for the audio, "Whip It" is featured in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and Spanish, French 5.1 Dolby Digital. The film is front and center channel driven. Dialogue and music are both crystal clear but there is minimal use of surrounds. You can hear crowd ambiance and the women racing on the rink and hitting the side rails and hearing the skates but its not immersive as I would have hoped but still, the film is not all about the roller derby and there are plenty of dialogue scenes and music-driven scenes that are very clear, with some songs having a nice kick of bass. A pretty interesting soundtrack as well from '80s 38 Special's "Caught Up in You" to music from the Ramones and the Breeders.

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Whip It" comes with a digital copy of the film and comes with a few special features:

* Deleted Scenes - (16:14) Included is an alternate opening and eight deleted scenes.
* Fox Movie Channel Presents Writer's Draft: Shauna Cross of "Whip It" - (3:04) A short featurette with an interview with novel and screenwriter Shauna Cross about "Whip It".
* Whip It Soundtrack Spot - (:32) A promotional for the "Whip It" soundtrack.


JUDGMENT CALL:

"Whip It" may seem like a film about roller derby and the antics that go behind-the-scenes of the sport but truthfully, the film has many layers. From a coming-of-age film, a relationship movie and a girl power film, there are a good number of things going on in this film that there is far much more to enjoy than expected.

I have to admit that Drew Barrymore's directorial debut definitely shows promise. The actress has starred in so many films since she was a child and has worked with a good number of quality director's, I had no doubt that she would do a pretty solid job.

Part of the challenge of "Whip It" is bringing together this wild bunch of characters that the character Bliss associates with and then bringing this other side of her life as a teenager from a small town, having an overbearing pageant mother and working at a fast food restaurant while trying to maintain her friendship with her high school friends and then finding love. Definitely not an easy task for Barrymore but one thing she does have is the original author Shauna Cross involved with the screenplay and she has a talented actress in Ellen Page in the main role.

At first glance, I didn't know if Page can pull of such a role but as she did with "Juno" she manages to pull of Bliss very well for "Whip It".

As for the other supporting characters, personally I don't if roller derby lifestyles are similar to what is depicted in the movie. As much as I do enjoy Barrymore's directorial debut, her role as Smashley Simpson is a bit too much while I do feel Kristen Wiig manages to pull off another solid supporting role like she has done in "Extract" and Juliette Lewis still does a great job in portraying the bad girl. Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern (who plays Bliss's father) also do a good job as the parents of Bliss.

As for the Blu-ray, the picture quality for the film was very good and the lossless audio was satisfactory but it would have been great to have it a bit more immersive via use of the surround channels. And it would have been great to have audio commentary by Barrymore and Shauna Cross or even a featurette on how the talent prepared for the film or even Behind-the-scenes footage. I felt the special features were a bit short for this Blu-ray release. But as for the film, "Whip It" is an entertaining, humorous and a solid coming-of-age, feel-good style of film. And again, although roller derby does play a big part in this film, "Whip It" is not an all out sports movie. The film has many layers to it and fortunately, the solid performances definitely made this film enjoyable.

Overall, "Whip It" is a solid directorial debut from Drew Barrymore and fine performances by Ellen Page and its supporting cast makes this film better than expected."