Notes from the back row 

Fever and the desert

It was Ernest Hemingway, I believe, who said, "There are only three sports: Bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering. All the rest are merely games."

His point being that unless you’re facing a high probability of death or being gored by a one-tonne beast, you’re really just playing around like children pinning a tail on a donkey.

Baseball definitely falls into the category of game, the only chance of death is through boredom, but that’s not to say baseball doesn’t make for good movies – Major League, The Natural, or that one where that little kid breaks his arm and then it heals weirdly, somehow allowing him to throw a 110 mph fastball and pitch in the Major Leagues, ( Rookie of the Year).

Taking another swing at it is this week’s newest romantic comedy, Fever Pitch starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon in a story about a very-obsessed Boston Red Sox fan who falls for a career woman and has to compromise one love for the other. Meanwhile, she must discover the romance and intimacy imbued in the shared emotional experience of watching "your" team win with a bunch of obsessive freaks just like you.

Stop here, and let me say that romantic comedies don’t get me that excited, nor does baseball, and Jimmy Fallon is simply a poor man’s Adam Sandler (a really poor man’s). Somehow though, miraculously, Fever Pitch isn’t all that bad. It’s not that good either but for all of the poor acting (Fallon), clichéd characters (Barrymore’s) and the obviousness of the story, it’s still offers 100 minutes of decent humour, tugged heartstrings, and people you almost don’t mind. I’m crediting it to the Farrelly Brothers, known more for semen, idiocy, and shit jokes ( Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber).

This time the brothers have reigned it in and slip us a more contained and "adult" humour. Still, The Farrellys have that quirky ability to make you relate to their characters on some strange suppressed, lowest common denominator. It’s weird, even though this movie should suck, it kinda grabs the obsessed geek in everyone and says, "Yes, even though you’re a dork and you live in a predictable generic world; there remains a slim chance that you too can screw Drew Barrymore." Sometimes that’s enough.

Also opening this Friday at the Village 8 Cinemas is Sahara, a movie that no one knows much about save that it has a crappy poster and looks like an Indiana Jones rip-off. Matthew McConaughey plays Dirk Pitt, a treasure hunter searching for The Ship of Death, which is supposed to be full of gold but just might have something to do with all the mysterious disease and deaths popping up in its general area. Go figure. Anyhow, Dirk teams up with hottie doctor Penelope Cruz (who stays clothed) and together, amidst beautiful Saharan landscapes and fast-paced action, they solve the mystery and save the day.

The Dirk Pitt character is popular from Clive Cussler’s 17 books featuring his adventures. Cussler’s fare is the kind of stuff you’d read on the airplane and I imagine Sahara is the filmic equivalent. Still though, I’m stoked to see it, deserts are cool.

What’s also extremely cool is the Filmmaker Showdown during the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Contestants have three days to shoot, edit and score a short movie. It’s more difficult than it sounds and, even though over 50 teams from all over the place are expected to compete, locals have a tradition of taking home the spray-painted gold. Thursday, April 14 at the conference centre. Get your tickets at that ticket booth by the concert centre, they’ll go quick.

AT VILLAGE 8 April 8-14: Fever Pitch; Sahara; Sin City; Miss Congeniality 2; Guess Who; Robots; Hostage; Hitch; Beauty Shop; Million Dollar Baby.

AT RAINBOW THEATRE April 8-14: Hotel Rwanda.


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