1) Whip It
I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a blog post-reviewy thing about Whip It for about two weeks now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just not going to happen. Not because I think it’s a bad film – it’s utterly charming in its ability to recognise that something can be simultaneously camp as hell and the most important thing in the whole damn world – but because it fits into the same space as contemporary art where I find my critical vocabulary isn’t really up to the task of expressing what I’m thinking about after seeing the film.
My short, haphazard take on the film goes something like this: it’s endearing. Specifically, the kind of awkward-coming-of-age endearing you find in Taylor Swift film-clip, only Whip It comes without the puritanical undercurrent that usually causes me to froth at the mouth when encountering Swift’s oeuvre (and thus, Whip It comes closer to having actual substance).
The film actually reminds me, very strongly, of Bring It On (another film that didn’t seem like something I’d like that somehow turned out to be highly entertaining) and I kinda wish it existed in a world where Bring It On didn’t because there’s far to many parallels there.
The sound-track is phenomenal in its eclecticism, but gets bonus points for including both the Ramones and Yens Leckman.
The acting is solid. The most irritating thing about the film is Drew Barrymore’s character, but only because it’s exactly the same character she played in the Charlie’s Angel’s films with a tendency to act stoned on top. Plus it has Ari Graynor in a minor role (Graynor seems to have become the new incarnation of the cinematic past-time once dubbed “Breckin-Meyer-Spotting”)
It’s also a goddamn spectacular film to watch from a writing point of view because there’s not a damn subplot in the whole thing that doesn’t get a resolution in the end. Admittedly this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but there’s something powerful about knowing that if a film introduces conflict it will provide resolution to it, even if said conflict is just a five-second scene between the protagonist and a minor character in the opening minutes of the story. While Whip It telegraphs a lot of punches on the macro-level (I doubt anyone can’t pick the father’s final scene in the film a full hour before it happens), it gets a pass on this because the resolution of the really minor conflicts are also dragged back into the main plot and made meaningful.
It’s a neat trick, and one I’m gleefully lifting given that I’m in the midst of writing the second draft of Black Candy and dealing with a dozen or so minor characters who walk onstage and do very little after their first appearance.
Seriously, though, you can probably ignore all that and go with this instead: my friend Chris and I are the kind of snarky, mid-to-late-thirties blokes who are continuously disappointing by films and prone to venting our disappointment in Waldorf-and-Statler type critiques. As a general rule, it’s a bad idea to go and see film you think you’ll like when either of us are around.
Both of us hit the end of Whip It and said “Yeah, I need to own a copy of this.”
2) Minimally Acceptable Levels of Productivity
So I set myself the goal or writing 14,000 words words last week. I didn’t succeed. In fact, I struck a point significantly below success:
On the plus side, it means I’ve hit the minimum accepted levels of productivity for seven straight days now (aka if Peter doesn’t write a thousand words a day he ceases to feel like a human being and makes life miserable for everyone) and actually started to live like a real human being again. There are even parts of my house that are clean, and food that isn’t ordered from the Domino’s website.
That largely means the weekly goal achieved what it needed to achieve, right in time for the rewrites of Cold Cases to land in my inbox.