Notes from the back row 

Killing time over the holidays

Since we’re having such an epic snow year, I doubt any of you really feel like putting in some serious couch time watching movies. I mean c’mon, rain to the top?! You’ve got to get out there and rip it up.

However, if you do find a spare hour (or eight) in your busy day you may as well start watching season three of Kiefer Sutherland’s spectacular television series 24. DVD collections of TV shows are the best invention since toilet paper (they used to use sticks or big leaves you know, or pinecones). Anyhow, with TV shows on DVD there are no commercials and you don’t have to wait a week for the next episode. It totally rules, especially for a show like 24, which unfolds in real time. Yes real time, as in a minute of real life is a minute in the show, so the whole season takes place in just one day. It’s cool and it works.

Recently released, season three of 24 stars Kiefer Sutherland as a very capable and handy field agent in an L.A. based anti-terrorist unit (terrorism, still so hot right now) and ultra-cute Calgary girl Elisha Cuthbert as his daughter/terrorist bait. Kiefer must save every minute of the day and prevent a deadly virus from killing hundreds of millions of people. High drama and riveting action, combined with the real-time format, gives you a pant-fillingly tense cliff-hanger every hour. I swear, hunkering down for a good 24 marathon is the most gripping and nerve-wracking way to lay on the couch and do nothing. Even after 14 or 15 hours of not moving, your heart pounds constantly and the old adrenaline really gets pumping. It beats the hell out of "raining to the top" or bulletproof ice, that’s for sure.

Most importantly, 24 marathons really bring friends and family closer together. I once cancelled reservations at the Rimrock AND called in sick to work just so my closest friends and I could lie on the floor and share the emotional bonding that occurs in times of heavy crisis. We’re all better people for it, I assure you.

If you want to get really serious, and I know you do, go get seasons one and two of 24 as well and start at the beginning. With all three DVD sets, you could actually lock yourself in a room tonight, Christmas Eve, and you wouldn’t have to leave until sometime on Tuesday. If you bring enough food and an empty four-litre milk jug to piss into, you could essentially miss Christmas completely. I can’t think of a better way to spend the holidays actually.

If, however, you’re one of those people that feel they simply must get out at some point and suffer through all the lineups and hustle and lack of parking that is Christmas in Whistler, you can head down to Village 8 cinemas, stand in line, and check out The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou , which is supposed to open Christmas Day. Life… stars the delightfully spectacular Bill Murray as an oceanographer on a revenge mission to kill a rare and mysterious "Jaguar Shark" that ate his buddy. I’ll have to get into this one more next week but for now just know that it has a cast of some of the best character actors alive and is directed by Wes Anderson. He made The Royal Tenenbaums and brings more of that kind of really intelligent yet childishly deadpan humour to this film as well. It rules.

So yeah, Happy Holidays to everyone who reads these rants each week. Don’t drink and drive, wear a condom, and keep your kids quiet in the theatre.

AT VILLAGE 8 Dec. 24-30: Flight of the Phoenix; Spanglish; Meet the Fockers; National Treasure; Blade: Trinity; Ocean’s Twelve; Polar Express; Lemony Snicket. STARTING Dec. 25: Aviator.

AT RAINBOW THEATRE Dec. 24-30:

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