Category Archives: Comfort Pop Culture

DVD Delight: Whip It

Drew Barrymore Director Whip It

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:

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Comfort Pop Culture: The “Last” Summer of Friends

Friends repeats on E4, Jennifer Aniston

Friends. Today. On my TV.

Friends, we’ve had our differences. No, actually that’s not true. We’ve had our indifferences. And that’s just because you’ve been part of my TV schedule for pretty much as long as I can remember.

There were the brand new episodes on a Friday night – when Ross and Rachel were in their first ‘will they, won’t they’ phase in series 1, I heard whispers of my primary school friends watching it with older siblings and parents. Then there was the one that aired during a performance of our secondary school’s version of The Sound of Music – I watched Monica and Chandler’s London rendezvous during the interval, surrounded by nazi soldiers and von Trapps, while dressed as a nun. And finally, the last ever episode – watched through tears as I sat with my boyfriend in our first flat together in Winchester. (You should know, I’m overemotional when it comes to TV and film. Hell, I cry at adverts if the music’s sad enough – the last episode of pretty much any show and I’m guaranteed to bawl.)

When it was announced that E4 were going to let the show go, and take it off air, I didn’t mind at all. It was no big deal. It’s been on forever, I’ve seen every episode at least twice or maybe three times. In fact, if it was one of the lucky four episodes on the one series 2 VHS I bought, I’ve probably seen it 20+ times. Basically, I know the episodes inside out and I was happily indifferent to the show’s imminent retirement.

But then I looked over some of the other E4 output. Hollyoaks (I still miss Jambo), One Tree Hill (neverending, and just renewed), 90210 (don’t care) and Glee (dire, but loved it at the start) for instance. Would I really be happy giving up this mostly good-quality comfort TV, and familiar faces, for those? Er, no thank you. Is this me getting older and stuck in my ways? Er, possibly.

A couple of weeks ago, I realised that Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey have become my peers. Granted they’re stuck in mid-to-late 90s fashion – which is now bizarrely on trend – and their older selves are showing their more mature looks on current shows like Mr. Sunshine (RIP), Episodes, and Cougar Town… well, the male contingent are looking older, at least. Still, I’ve caught up with their Friends-age selves.

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