Mr. wOw, ‘Whip It’ Director Drew Barrymore and ‘That Crappy/Wonderful Thing Called Life’

© Fox Searchlight/Darren Michaels

Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut: the teen-angst, mom vs. daughter, roller-derby film, “Whip It.”

Mr. wOw has to state upfront he has a weakness for most things Drew. Years ago he interviewed the actress. We were seated in a dark corner of a dark hotel bar. At some point, the interview — for whatever she was doing at that time — was over, and we began to talk about childhoods and loss and life: that crappy/wonderful thing called Life. I cried. She cried. It was lovely. She is genuine and beyond mere movie-star charm. Drew is a real person who has suffered stardom and crazy parents and has come out the other side OK. (If only somebody could deliver Lindsay Lohan into Drew’s hands!)

But beside my sentimental memory, “Whip It” is very fine. The star, Ellen Page of “Juno” fame, is superb. And I have long adored Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Ellen’s beauty-pageant-winning mother, who (natch) assumes her daughter will want to continue the superficial thread of what it means to be significant as a woman. Or at least not get into a business where being beat up by other gals is just a day at the office! 

“Whip It” also brings Juliette Lewis back to the screen, as a character named Iron Maven. I love Juliette, who patented the psycho/killer-nymphet. Mr. wOw caught Juliette on Chelsea Handler’s show recently. Miss Lewis wore red gloves and silly shoes. She was promoting her music, in which she is quite invested, even if the rest of us want her to get back to making movies full-time. She still looks like a psycho/killer-nymphet, so there’s hope for film fans.

By the way, check out Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea Lately” show. Handler is the utterly profane take-no-prisoners/screw-the-Hollywood-establishment comic that Kathy Griffin once was, briefly. (And never will be again.)

Back to “Whip It.” It’s great, it’s empowering, and it’s the only female roller-derby film I’ve enjoyed, other than Raquel Welch’s “Kansas City Bomber.”

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