I first watched Whip It in a movie theatre in the East Village, shortly after a cab ride from JFK and a quick check in at our hotel. I was exhausted when I sat down in my seat – always more comfy than UK viewing conditions – but by the time I left the cinema I was totally elated and energised. When I got back to London I actually counted down the weeks until it was released and I could watch it again, and Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut remains one of my favourite DVDs to play when I’m feeling a little blue or run down.
The book / memoir by Shauna Cross – Derby Girl – is just as fun, and I’d highly recommend you read it if you loved the film, but there’s something about seeing those brutal roller derby bouts, featuring teams of individual female characters (that you really want to be friends with) on screen that enhances the story. I know at least one person who now skates in a team because of the film, and I thank everything that I didn’t give in to my temptations to try out – I’m the kind of person who manages to break her elbow in the comfort of her living room. Still, my derby dreams live on when I watch this film.
With some of my favourite actresses involved, including Drew, Alia Shawkat, Ari Graynor, Ellen Page, and Juliette Lewis, as well as a standout turn from Kristen Wiig – who I can’t wait to see in Bridesmaids – it has a superb female cast and great guys in the lineup too, including Jimmy Fallon, Andrew Wilson and Daniel Stern. Excuse me… I’m going to go watch it right now.
Check out a behind-the-scenes look at it all under the cut: