Be Your Own Hero

I’m floating on a cloud at the time of writing this, and that is down to the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, Whip It.

It’s so good. We went en masse, a gaggle(?) of feminists (what is the collective noun for feminists?), and I temporarily lost the ability to articulate my thoughts upon emerging from the screening at Leicester Square. I laughed, I cried, and crucially, I believed. If that sounds mildly evangelical, I’m not even sorry. Whip It is, without a doubt, going to be one of my Top 10 films of 2010.

From the friendship between the film’s protagonist Bliss and her bezzie Pash (Alia Shawkat – cousin and lust object Maeby from Arrested Development), to the camaraderie that exists between the Hurl Scouts roller derby team who take Bliss in, to the mother-daughter dynamic, it is pitched perfectly. The players probably won’t trouble the Academy, but for my money, Ellen Page should. Her pixie-ish face registers every emotion that the audience is feeling, and crucially, it doesn’t even feel like she’s acting. Juliette Lewis chews the scenery delightfully in a rare return to film (COME BACK, MALLORY!), and Kristen Wiig… Oh, Kristen Wiig. I wish they’d give her more to do in Hollywood, because she’s as good as fellow SNL-alumnus Tina Fey and they’re both a little bit awesome, y’know?

The eyeliner, it's ferosh.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but I am entirely convinced. More movies like this need to be made, and in order for that to happen, we all need to go out and see them. If there is one way for us to collectively change the way Hollywood thinks of women characters and audiences, it is with cold hard cash – support this awesome movie. I can’t think of any circumstance in which you won’t enjoy it. Unless there’s a nasty roller derby accident in your life story. Even then, just go. You won’t be disappointed.

In tribute to the gals in Hurl Scouts – Babe Ruthless, Rosa Sparks, Jabba The Slut, Smashley Simpson and Maggie Mayhem among them –  and no doubt testament to our very full workdays, some of us came up with some alternative roller derby names on Twitter earlier today. Apologies for the awful punnery you’re about to witness…

  • Sylvia Wrath
  • Nigella Lawless
  • Scary Wollstonecraft
  • Pain Austen
  • Killy Allen
  • Rory Kill-More
  • Victoria Deck’Em
  • Louisa Slay Alcott
  • Emmeline Pank-hurts
  • Audrey Rugburn
  • Veronica Scars
  • Enid Blight-On

And my absolute favourite, Annihilate Nin.

Thanks to @plumpieinthesun, @writerspet, @abbymcdonald and @oddnumbereven. You’re all awesome. “We’re #2! We’re #2! We’re #2!”

14 responses

  1. @plumpieinthesun is the undisputed roller derby name creator. She could take over the world!

    I’m trying to decide between Screw Barrymore or Rusty Springfield if I ever decide to take to the wheels again…

  2. I was going to say, Nikki’s late entry, Screw Barrymore, was pretty hilar. And so relevant! My obsession with punnery even made my boyfriend jealous, so we came up with Leonardo Decapitate or Vincent Van Gouge.

  3. Of varying quality…

    Gloria Pain-Her
    Marilyn Mon-throw
    Killie Holiday
    Germaine Fear
    Martha Flay ‘Em
    Simone de Breaker
    Mother Terroriser (say it out loud)
    Patsy Flyin’ (likewise)
    Maria Callous
    Tina Burner

  4. OK, been a-thinking. Sigourney Heave’her? Marlene Death-Trap? Queen Eliza-Beat-Down? Angelina Pitch-Dolly?

    For my homies: Ow!Tearoa.

  5. Oh, ladies (and gentleman). You’ve truly outdone yourselves. I’ve been doing the movie-esque slow clap all day, in the hope that everyone else will join me until it builds into a defeaning crescendo… So far, no dice. But know that you are all worth it. And by extension, we the audience, are NOT WORTHY.
    MOAR, PLS.

  6. tweeted earlier but not put on t’blog: kd Bang, and on another lesbian note, Ellen Ungenerous (and perhaps Portia Don’t-Cross-Me?).

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