Maxed out 

The Bums’ rush

By G.D. Maxwell

That’s a wrap.

The red carpets have been rolled up and put away for another year, the limos sent back to the garage for steam cleaning. The beautiful people have all jetted off to wherever beautiful people go after a gala event, someplace warm and a whole lot dryer no doubt. Restaurants momentarily abuzz with the glitterati once more resemble the mess of the Mary Celeste, anxiously anticipating a ski season more retreating mirage than face shot.

But for five days, Whistler was the centre of all things film. For five days, the pale, the contemplative, the strong of spine and firm of bum were allowed a brief über-urban experience of wallowing in the heightened magic of darkness, taking what nourishment can be had from popcorn and jujubes, mesmerized by shadows and light flickering on The Big Screen.

Yes, Harry Potter came to town.

Just kidding. It was the world premiere, the debut, the coming out of the Whistler Film Festival. Five days and thirteen doses of life in the Great White North as seen through the squinting eye of delusional misfits who labour to capture their visions on celluloid and hope against hope somebody actually comes out to see them.

Being Whistler, the "stars" wore blue jeans and fleece and probably arrived in beaters or SUVs. The seating was far from plush, the theatre’s floor a bit flat and the sound system not quite as crisp as your average home theatre setup from London Drugs. But all good things start small.

Talk about strange people and strange movies though. There must be some really, really weird people living in the rest of the country if any of those films was really a slice o’ life.

Of course, we’re not weird here. In Tiny Town, we’re all ski bums. Ski Bums – John Zaritsky’s documentary of the same name – had its world premiere on Wednesday night and the joint was packed for both showings.

Stunning ski shots might as well have had CHRISTIAN BEGIN stamped in big letters along the bottom of them. No one else who makes snow films could possibly have made such beautiful pictures. I don’t know if the sky in those two shots was real, computer generated or simply acid flashback but no sky has looked like that since Scarlett returned to Tara after the Yankees burned Atlanta.

I’m looking forward to Ski Bums II though. Ski Bums was a little too typecast for this ski bum. With the exception of Crucial Mike who seems to be hard-core enough to still be a ski bum at a time in life when most of the people he grew up with are into Dockers and Viagra, and Johnny Thrash who, in a more enlightened society would simply be locked up in a pit with vipers and other extremely crazy people, the bums all fit under a fairly small bell curve, demographically speaking.


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