Notes From the Back Row 

Be thankful

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Well it’s that time of year again, time to eat turkey and be thankful for things like pumpkin pie, oral sex, and the fact that you don’t live in a trailer park (even though trailers are nicer than most Whistler rental suites). Might as well be thankful for Ricky, Julian and Bubbles too, thankful that they do live in a trailer park and even more thankful that their Trailer Park Boys movie hits the Village 8 this Friday.

With a limited release in the States (where they mostly don’t get that show) the TrailerPark Boys: The Big Dirty was made for a modest $5 million. But it’s shot on film and they actually use tripods so the boys truly do shine on the silver screen. Apparently the rest of the budget was spent on car crashes and rye.

The Big Dirty follows the boys as they plan and execute the scam to end all scams: ripping off video games for their “completely untraceable” change. All the regular characters are involved, and true fans will recognize lots of minor parts from TV. There are no big name cameos, just lots of dope, smokes, f-bombs, kitties, mustard, baloney, liquor and whores. So it’s pretty much perfect. If you’re the kind of person who can sit down and watch 3 episodes of TPBs on the dvd then you’ll love this film. If you think 90 minutes of shit-talking, drunks, idiots and Ricky’s evolved use of the English language might be too much for you, stay home. The boys don’t give a f*ck, that’s why they rule. I think this flick is gonna catch a cult following from all the Americans who’ve, up until now, been deprived of Canada’s greatest cultural export. So pour some rye into your four-dollar coke and be thankful — the boys are back in town.

From entertainment’s gutters to its streets, its mean streets, The Departed, a flick that finds Martin Scorcese returning to his roots, also opens this Friday, and it is a doozy. Forget Gangs of New York, The Aviator, or his excellent Bob Dylan documentary, Scorcese is at his finest making gangster pictures and he’s back here with a vengeance. Part of that vengeance is the all-star cast led by Jack Nicholson as a Boston mob boss so ruthless, cool, and powerful that he gets away with lines like, “I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me.”

Ultimately The Departed , a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong blockbuster Internal Affairs, is a movie about a gangster pretending to be a cop and a cop pretending to be a gangster. Matt Damon, a good Boston boy himself, has been groomed from his youth to be Nicholson’s mole in the police force. Leo DiCaprio plays the undercover cop that sneaks into the mob. Both sides know they’ve been infiltrated and it’s a dangerous, tense and nerve-wracking minefield for the two men, departed from their true selves, living lies, and, of course, in various stages of love with the same woman. Interestingly, and a step away from standard Scorcese, this is a modern mob story where cell phones play a huge role and the police are given as much focus as the crooks (a la Michael Mann’s Heat.)

The Departed is a terrifically written modern noir that twists and turns into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with plenty of blood, danger, guilt and, true to Scorcese, redemption. Toss in some of the best dialogue of the year (much of it coming from Mark Wahlberg as a top cop) and perhaps this will finally be the year Marty Scorcese gets to do some thanking of his own, at the Oscars.

AT VILLAGE 8 Oct. 6-12: Trailer Park Boys; Departed; Employee of the Month; School for Scoundrels; Open Season; Jackass 2; Jet Li’s Fearless; Guardian.

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