Friday, February 26, 2010
I have tried to keep this blog intelligent and analytical--I don't even attempt to write reviews of the films I see, but make observations that I hope are a bit unique, since there are millions of other places on the Interwebs to read all sorts of bollocks about movies. But then there's Ellen Page.
How can I put this? William Goldman once wrote that Willie Mays came along to justify all the hours of terrible, boring baseball that had come before: "I was waiting for Willie because in my head there was a notion of the way things ought to happen but never quite do. Not until Willie came along and did his demonstration and I could finally sit there and say to myself, "Oh sure, that's it."
Whip It (2009) began as a novel (which is odd, given the number of sports movies cliche the novelist incorporated in the screenplay), so Ellen Page could not have been in mind. And sure, it's conceivable there would be other young women who could have been very charming and entertaining in the part.
Billy Joel could have made a record of "Glory Days" and it could have been a fun, peppy little thing. Maybe Stephanie Meyer could have written The Shining and maybe Normal Rockwell could have painted Munch's "The Scream." But none of them would be landmarks.
Unfortunately, in her first big vehicle since Juno, the producers have tried to fit Page's energy and wit into a pretty conventional structure. (Plucky girl from stodgy small town bucks Mom's expectations, pursues her passion, finds success and wins her parents over. *Yawn*) Luckily director Drew Barrymore has energy of her own to pump into the project, especially with the help of cast members Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, the awesome Zoe Bell (Deathproof), Juliette Lewis and Andrew Wilson. But there are those dreary and evidently obligatory parent scenes and even the talents of Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern can't get them to see like much more than a trip to the dentist to be endured until we get to the fun stuff.
Great flourish which should be mandatory in all movies which are not Art--final sequence just before the official credits with full-screen cards and credits for the principal actors--it's like a victory lap for fun movies.
The only thing that makes me sad is that I will probably die before Ellen Page (I am 32 years older than her), and I will never get to see all the brilliant performances she is going to give. Come to think of it, being dead will probably suck generally. Is there something else to watch now?