Notes from the back row 

Perhaps people are much more civilized up here...

Know what I can’t stand? Walking into a movie theatre, perhaps after partaking in a quick one hitter or two, and ambling over to the concession knowing exactly what I want – a medium popcorn and a medium drink, Peach Kool-Aid to be exact. Then waiting in line, eyes scanning the prices and – Holy Shit! A medium Peach Kool-Aid costs how much? This is a drink that’s been heavily marketed as "Just pennies a glass!" for the last 30 years and now, all of a sudden, it’s got an ounce-for-ounce value of weapons-grade Plutonium?

After reminding myself that, as a consumer, I can always walk away but deciding my mouth is too dry to go without, I cannot stand it when the bored 15-year-old kid behind the counter robotically says, "Are you sure you don’t wan’t to upgrade to the large combo, it’s only 75 cents more and it comes with free refills."

Apparently it comes with the smallest piece of candy known to mankind as well. Yippee.

Forget the small fortune I just dropped to get in the door. Never mind the five minutes of commercials I’ll have to sit through before the trailers even start. No, that’s not enough; they have to pull the old upsell-gouge scam when you buy your overpriced sugarwater and corn/hot air. One time my buddy Travy was so annoyed I honestly thought he was gonna jump over the counter and jersey the poor kid. I wouldn’t have blamed him; we were watching Mighty Ducks 2 after all.

Up here in Whistler however, we have lucked out. The honourable Village 8 Cinemas is above such foul practices. I have never been subjected to the old upsell trick in Whistler. Perhaps people are much more civilized up here, perhaps management loathes it as much as I do, but for whatever the reason it seems to be a technique reserved for the big city theatres. So even though they weren’t able to bring First Descent , the too-long-but-still-a-sure-thing-in-this-town documentary about the history of snowboarding from an obnoxious, rebel fad to a highly marketable, Olympic sport, The Village 8 still deserves some accolades. (Don’t worry it’s set for a Feb 21 DVD release anyhow.)

But that’s neither here nor there. What’s truly important is that the Village 8 is gonna make it up to us now by slashing admission prices. That’s right, for just the second time in over 100 years (cinema was invented in 1895) Whistler movie prices are going down! I’m not shitting you. In an attempt to become "even more accessible" to all us poor souls the Village 8 is dropping prices from $12.50 to $9.95. It’s unheard of, I know, but it’s true.

As well, this week they’re screening a bunch of the Oscar candidate films too. Last chance to check out the beautifully depressing oil industry film Syriana or see if Phillip Seymore Hoffman really is truly the world’s greatest actor in Capote a somewhat villainous biopic look at a less-than-flattering time in writer Truman Capote’s life. That one’s up for a slew of awards, as is George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck and Ang Lee’s gay cowboy love story Brokeback Mountain .

Fresh this week is Hoodwinked, an updated Red Riding Hood re-working a la Rashomon that’s pretty clever even with crappy animation, and When a Stranger Calls, which looks terrible but who cares, at $9.95 go see it anyways. You’re saving over two bucks!

Just for the record, expecting me to walk out a movie halfway though to get a "free" Kool-aid refill after I just put back 36 ounces is by far the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard of. Choke city; giv’r Village 8.

AT VILLAGE 8 Feb. 2-9: Hoodwinked; Syriana; Capote; When a Stranger Calls; Good Night and Good Luck; Brokeback Mountain; Big Momma’s House; Underworld Evolution; Nanny McPhee; Annapolis.

AT RAINBOW THEATRE Feb. 2-9: Derailed.

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