Notes from the Back Row 

Two ski films, one cup

H uge news in town this week: Twilight- Breaking Dawn Part I opens Thursday night.

This is the one where Bella Swan and Edward Cullen do a PG-13 version of that most ancient vampire dance, the horizontal mambo. I'm not even kidding.

Okay, I am kidding. The big news is that the ski hill opens tomorrow and everyone's reason for existing starts up again. Game on.

To celebrate the start of the season, the Whistler Arts Council (WAC) is presenting a special, ski-themed double-bill at Millennium Place on Thursday, Nov. 24.

At 7 p.m. they're screening Hot Dog and at 9 p.m. Aspen Extreme . Ten bucks for both shows, $6 for one.

Hot Dog is a seminal, sexual romp of a movie that reminds us why we started skiing in the first place: naked hot tubbing.

Hero/underdog Harkin Banks gets up close and steamy with a rich ski bunny played by Canadian girl Shannon Tweed who truly shines in her first major role. This is exactly one day after Harkin hooks up with perky drifter Sunny, who also hooks up with the evil European ski villain who used to date Tweed.

Hollywood ski movies, like real ski towns, are promiscuous so here's a local secret for all you newcomers: there are free condoms at the bottom of the stairs of the public health offices. Use 'em (and if you get there on "stocking day" they sometimes have free lube too).

Released in 1984, Hot Dog continues to inspire and affect mountain culture. Aspen Extreme is not as good. They were hoping it would be the Hot Dog of the 90s but the folly here is that the hero is a ski instructor and it's pretty hard for any real mountain person to empathize with or cheer for a ski instructor. They're generally the biggest knobs on the mountain.

Still, Aspen Extreme stars Canadian boy Paul Gross and is definitely worth checking out but beware of any movie where the video box claims it to be " Top Gun on the Ski Slopes."

Snowboarding is a much younger, urban sport with punk rock roots and, as such, doesn't really have any classic B-grade Hollywood narratives like skiing does. The closest they came was a Tom Green comedy called Shred . It stared a lot of local Wildcats (and Browner is a villain) and also featured the announcing voice and flashy smile of heavy hitting skier Big Mike Atkinson.

Despite such a pedigree, Shred just isn't that good - will somebody please write a decent snowboarding script?

In any case, those ski movies on Thursday are presented as part of the WAC's  "Double Trouble Monthly Movie Series." Interesting because it's election weekend in B.C. and, when heading to the polls, I hope everyone considers what their candidates think about the Arts. Cheap movie nights like this are good for the community.

I don't know what's opening in theatres this week but the Twilight franchise has made $1.8 billion thus far, so expect the Twi-hards to be lined up out the door.

Personally I am stoked on this one, in which Bella Swan gets married and knocked up by her vampire lover. Word on the street is that it's watered down though, and nowhere near dark enough. No surprise there.

Happy Winter!

Happy Voting!

Happy Skiing!

Happy bodice-ripping Twilight drivel! See you next week.

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