Notes from the back row 

Too early for Halloween?

Remember the 'good old days?' The 80's and 90's? When there were no Olympic make-work projects and two competing ski hills kept everybody honest? When Whistler reached build-out for the first time? When it snowed every night and even if it didn't the secret stashes would last for a week anyways? Remember the old Dusty's? The Boot? Santini? Whistler Wonderland? Those were the days weren't they?

Not for movie fans they weren't. In those days Whistler was a one-screen town and sometimes we'd be nut-punched with a month of Robin Williams' Toys twice nightly. Or Robin Williams' Hook for all of December.

It all changed just over six years ago with the arrival of the good old Village 8 Cinema, which finally brought real movies to our quiet mountain town. Six full years since I started this column as an excuse to watch free movies, and while times have changed a lot since then the movie situation is strong and steady.

Of course, a year or so into my tenure the Village 8 practically disowned me (like it's my fault that 85 per cent of movies suck balls) but it doesn't matter, we're all better off now and we should thank the Village 8 for leading Whistler out of the cinematic dark ages. Thank them the best way we can, by handing over our money and taking in a double feature or horrorific awesomeness.

Start with Halloween 2, Rob Zombie's sequel-to-a-remake that seems to pick up right where his last one left off. There were no advance screenings for anyone (Zombie knows the value of ignorance/surprise) but expect an enormous Michael Myers to enact all kinds of brutally graphic revenge on an assortment of poor saps and slender chicks. Zombie's wife, Baby Moon Zombie, makes her usual appearance and that alone makes it worth admission. Halloween 2 looks brutal and badass and is quintessential Zombie, who deftly mixes torture with real tension and always delivers, despite the fact that this is like the 12th installment of Halloween.

After Rob Zombie has scarred your psyche you can give the old retinas a workout at The Final Destination, another no-preview horror/effects showcase. The Final Destination franchise is memorable because they contain some of the most elaborate and best accidental death sequences in recent film history. The first time it was a plane crash, then a traffic pile-up (the best in my opinion were the heads getting pulverized by huge logs) then a rollercoaster accident, and this time it is a stock-car racetrack accident gone wrong that sets the scene for Death to come stalking the survivors. This movie isn't gonna change your life but play it right (pre-rolleds) and it might change your day.

The only other movie opening this week is The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard starring amazing character actor (and potential one-trick pony) Jeremy Piven (from Entourage) as a fast-talking, take-no-prisoners car salesman who's brought in to save a used car lot and falls in love with the owner's daughter, who happens to be engaged to the competition. The flick fires up well with funny characters, but quickly turns into a lemon that can't even make it off the lot. The jokes are old and tired (boy band jokes? I'm not that nostalgic) and even Piven's asshole-charm can't save this from suckery. As a DVD, this is a borderline waste of money. As a movie theatre movie? No chance.

Skip it. But hit up that double feature, and buy the popcorn combo too, the Village 8 needs to afford a digital 3D projector if we expect them to carry us into the next round of 'good old days.'

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