Who's In It: Ellen Page, Alia Shawkat, Marcia Gay Harden, Daniel Stern, Jimmy Fallon, Kristen Wiig, Zoe Bell, Eve, Drew Barrymore, Andrew Wilson, Juliette Lewis
The Basics: A dutiful but silently rebellious small-town Texas teenager decides to join one of those punk-rockish roller derby teams where all the women have handles like Princess Slaya. She hides it from her parents because her mom wants her to compete in beauty pageants instead. You can guess the heartwarming rest, which makes it the sweetest film of the year revolving around a young girl's awakening to her previously untapped potential for enthusiastically breaking the bones of other women.
What's The Deal: This is Drew Barrymore's first try at feature filmmaking and, since I'm talking about roller-skating here, she seems to be holding onto the railings a whole lot. But so what? It may not look amazing but she more than makes up for that with her totally chill dude-lady charms. In fact, the whole movie is soaking in the kind of good vibes she's either expertly manufactured as a public image or that do, in fact, actually exist. I choose to believe the latter. It's warm and friendly, a shaggy girl-dog that won't stop licking your face. Best of all, Ellen Page isn't being all smart-alecky and Junoish here and not one person uses the word "empower."
Things That Are Kind Of Weird About It: Daniel Stern as a Texas bubba-style father. You won't really buy that one. And while there are some exterior bits where you see real Austin stuff (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, for example), the movie was mostly shot on location in Michigan. Good job on that, though, because I figured it was Texas the whole time. Oh, and there's also lots of love on display for amazing Austin musician Daniel Johnston. He's awesome. So that was a nice surprise.
Featuring The Coolest Scientologist In The Whole World: I've said this before in other reviews but I think it bears repeating that Juliette Lewis and her crazy eyes pretty much make any movie better. She comes fully equipped with an air of unpredictability that most actors would kill for. That sci-fi religion of hers would do well to send her out on public relations missions instead of some of the other weirdos they count among their ranks.