here's a post i wrote in response to a friend of mine's entry about the new Drew Barrymore movie, Whip It.
my friend Scott's blog is a really interesting perspective from a filmmaker/screenwriter based in iowa. i just happened to disagree with one point he made about the new roller derby film...that by having the main character completely turn away from/reject from the pageant dreams her mother has for her, the character/movie is somehow a little less three-dimensional. the rejection of the traditionally feminine (and more stereotypically desireable) role somehow automatically lessened the character's attractiveness, or real-ness, or value.
i begged to differ.
i think the movie can still be three-dimensional with NOBODY choosing that traditional beauty queen role. in fact, NOT including a character who wanted to pursue that role is a deliberate statement in-and-of itself, and one that is too infrequently made. how refreshing for a movie to allow its female characters to choose the non-traditional role, and be celebrated for it. in my opinion, saying that "they missed a huge opportunity to show some three dimensionality by at least giving a nod to the fact that the tribe some girls may want to be in is being in beauty pageants. What if Page’s best friend in the film would have really been gung-ho for doing the pageant thing?" implies that the pageant thing inherently has more value, is more interesting, or is a more comforting (more safe, less unnerving) option to portray, than the derby thing. which of course, is TRUE in our culture.
the "nod to the fact that the tribe some girls may want to be in is being in beauty pageants" is validated in our society every day, by every fashion magazine and make-up commercial.
that nod is UNDERSTOOD. girls know that being a beauty queen is much more socially acceptable than being a jock. but, from what i've read about it so far, Whip It challenges the audience to accept the fact that girls can be loud, crude, tough and STILL be good people, attractive women, and valuable human beings.
but i have to admit- i really should SEE the movie before i get TOO defensive. ;) too bad i have zero weekends open this month. Whip It is already on my netflix queue.
also- my opinion couldn't possibly have anything to do with my general feelings about beauty pageants. (scholarship program FAIL.) nah, that couldn't be it.
props to my friend Scott for his post- hope he doesn't regret telling me to follow his blog! :) check it out @ http://screenwritingfromiowa.wordpress.com/