Sunday, January 09, 2011

Battle of the Netflix Stars #10

Bout #10: Battle of the Films in Which Drew Barrymore Frequently Laughs in an Annoyingly Loud Manner

Movie:Going the Distance

Whip It

Director:Nanette Burstein
Drew Barrymore
Star Power:Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Christina Applegate, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis and Ron Livingston.
Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Daniel Stern, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon and Kristin Wiig.
Plot:New York commitment-phobe Garrett meets Erin, an aspiring writer who is moving back to San Francisco in six weeks. The two try to keep things light but end up falling in love. Erin and Garrett look for work in each others' cities to no avail and try to keep their relationship alive while living on opposite ends of the country.
Shy high-schooler Bliss has been pushed into beauty pageant life by her failed pageant queen mother. Desperate to escape her small Texas town, she discovers that an Austin roller derby league is holding try-outs. She makes the team, new friends and snags a boyfriend, but wonders if she can continue lying to her parents about her whereabouts and her teammates about her age.
Pros:Charlie Day is hilarious as always

Great performances; fantastic soundtrack; roller derby KICKS ASS
Cons:Justin Long's annoying face; Drew Barrymore's cackling; too much hipster bullshit; a lot of crudeness for crudeness' sake and not enough genuinely funny moments
A tiny bit of hipster bullshit; took me about 15 minutes to get over how fat Daniel Stern got
My Thoughts:I was really looking forward to seeing this movie, mainly for the presence of Charlie Day. While Charlie didn't disappoint (as a cleaner, more literate version of his Sunny character, he stole every scene he was in), the movie did. Considering I don't like Justin Long to begin with, you might think the odds were stacked against this film, but I found him innocuous enough in Dodgeball and a few other movies. So I think he's capable of rising to the occasion in a good flick, which this wasn't. It had some funny moments, mostly thanks to Charlie and Jason Sudeikis, but I didn't like either of the lead characters (OMG, they were both, like, soooo hip), so I certainly didn't like them together. And I enjoy crude humor and swearing just as much as the next guy, but it still has to be funny, otherwise it's just like eavesdropping on a conversation between the booth of douchebags sitting behind you at the Waffle House: it's not really entertaining and kind of just makes you feel like walking out. Nearly the opposite of Going the Distance, I didn't have high expectations of this movie and I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. I may have even shed a tear at one point, but let's not dwell on that, OK? Firstly, I love roller skating and I think being a roller derby girl would be pretty awesome. I guess at my age, that would be kind of a silly dream to follow, and maybe that's why I didn't hate Juliette Lewis's "bully" character, Iron Maven, a late-in-life derby bloomer. (That and she was perfect in the role.) Ellen Page was fantastic as a teenager trying to find herself, and Bliss was a much more likable and believable character than Ellen's best-known (but loathed by me) role, Juno. Drew Barrymore's cackling was kept to a minimum, as her eternally-stoned Smashley Simpson, was merely a side character. Drew was wise to focus on the directing, and she did a great job. She got great performances out of her cast, especially Ellen, Marcia Gay Harden and the hilarious (and lesser-known Wilson brother) Andrew Wilson. The film perfectly walked the line between comedy and coming-of-age drama, and was simply a treat from beginning to end. Up-and-coming musician Landon Pigg as the love interest, though? I just don't get it. But if I were 17 again, it would probably make total sense.
Final Grade:



The Vegetable Assassin said...

I haven't seen "Going the Distance" yet although I'm sure some quiet, boring winter evening will have me acquiring it somehow for easy watching, but I liked "Whip It!" although in my case, not as much as I thought I would. It was fun and the roller derby looks kick ass, but somehow I expected more... Not at all bad for a directing debut though.

Back to GTD, I'm happy someone else is as annoyed as I am by hipster shit in movies. It's not cute, it's forced. Plus Drew and Justin are a tad long in the tooth to be acting like dickwads. :)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm impressed with the degree of precision in your rating system!

Nice Girls In Coffee Shops said...

Great reviews. I haven't seen either movie but I'm thinking I have to see Whip It. I just wanted to let you know...I am 38 years old and a LOT of my friends are in Roller Derby and I would be willing to guess that the majority of our local team is my age on average. In fact, the younger girls seem to have a harder time being tough than the ones in their late 30's/early 40's. It looks like a really great time and I doubt you're too old!

Scope said...

Good thing one of the movies wasn't "Never Been Kissed" where she played 'Grossie Jossie'.

And now I have SKATEAWAY in my head.

NOt a bad thing.

Del-V said...

Anythign with Charlie in it is worth seeing.

BeckEye said...

Veg: Yeah, you know how we know that Drew Barrymore's character is cool? Because she's an aspiring writer (of course she is) who's good at video games, smokes weed, doesn't mind having sex while her boyfriend's roommate listens in and plays music for them and she drops the F-bomb a lot. And you know how we know Justin Long's character is cool? Because he works for a record label (of course he does), bristles at the idea of signing a boy band, smokes weed and really loves "Top Gun," so much so that he's in his 30s and has posters of Tom Cruise on his walls.

Barbara: I don't think it's as precise as you might think, but thanks for thinking I'm capable of precision anyway.

Nice Girls: Thank you, welcome to my blog and thanks for the inspiration. Maybe I WILL become a roller derby queen after I whip myself back into shape again!

Scope: Hey, I like "Never Been Kissed."

Del-V: So true.

Cora said...

I haven't seen either film, but thought Whip It looked amusing. I might just check that one out now.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

I actually enjoyed Whip It also...found it cruising the channels one day

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I think she can be really charming. No? Maybe I just have a soft spot for her since E.T.

BeckEye said...

Cora - You'll like it, I promise.

Bond - Ooh, you must get all the fancy pay channels.

Dr. Ken - Yeah, she is rather charming. I actually have nothing against her; it just so happens that in these two movies, she was constantly cackling in this loud, harsh tone that seemed forced and it annoyed me. It didn't seem so out of place in "Whip It," because she was supposed to be a tough stoner chick, but in the other one, it was like everything about her character was being forced to show how edgy and cool she was that it was irritating as hell.

Ed said...

I have seen neither of these.


Billy said...

I loved "Whip It" but admit that it probably benefits from (understandably) low expectations. I think of it along the same lines as "Adventureland." Touching and amusing and with this retro-feel to it. Both of them are wonderfully endearing, and my love of them proves I'm a wimp softee. But I'm keeping "Whip It" so I can have fun uncomfortable conversations with my daughters in a couple of years.


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