Put your gats in the air one more time for the Whistler Film Festival. Unfortunately, having so many great films in town last week only makes it all the more depressing when New Year's Eve opens this Friday at the Village 8 and Garibaldi 5.
You'd think it would be hard to screw up a film about the mayhem, drama, and random making out that occurs every Dec. 31 but leave it to Garry Marshall to find a way. Marshall is the guy who made Pretty Woman but he hasn't done much of note since 1992's A League of Their Own and for the past 15 years he's been totally washed. His last film was 2010's sucky Valentine's Day and this one is more of the same, another breezy ensemble film about a bunch of clichéd characters, played by recognizably typecast actors, bumping along a dozen or so barely tangential plotlines. That everyone from Robert DeNiro to Zac Efron to Seth Myers to Jessica Biel stars just makes it all the more bewildering.
I suppose the cast does their best and are almost likeable but as a movie-watching experience New Year's Eve is like propping used toothpicks under your eyelids then watching the 15 worst romantic comedies one after the other on double speed. It's the cinematic equivalent of getting mugged by people you thought you knew, and left in the ditch to rot with the wet leaves and dog crap.
Sorry Squamish, The Sitter also opens this weekend but only in Whistler. Too bad because The Sitter stars Jonah Hill (Superbad, Cyrus) as a lazy schlump who takes a job babysitting three monstrous kids, ends up in 'the big city' and gets into an Adventures in Babysitting-style comedy of errors (with perhaps a little young Uncle Buck-style humour tossed in). You can guess how it all turns out.
There were no advance screenings (bad sign) but The Sitter is directed David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Your Highness) and he usually gets some laughs. This one is R-Rated and only 81 minutes long and Method Man is in it. Worth seeing because babysitter movies usually rule. (See Exhibit B — Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead.)
Documentaries, especially ones that have real meaning and help spread the word about some grave injustice, are perhaps the most important films of our time. Rainforest: The Cost of Splendor just won Best Mountain Culture Film at the Whistler Film Fest and this week Sitka surfboards and director Ben Gulliver dropped Tipping Barrels, a 20 minute online documentary about the waves and wilderness of B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest.
Solid filming and beach-dwelling good times are cut amongst mind-blowingly awesome wildlife footage topped off with a rather urgent message of conservation — this natural wonderland is next up for destruction if government approves a pipeline and oil tanker route through the area.
Watch Tipping Barrels on the Sitka Vimeo channel or visit http:/vimeo.com/33234007. But just watching a movie isn't going to do jack squat unless you act. There's a good "Take Action" tag on the top right for www.pacificaction.org.
Do it for those little white bears. Or for you own kids. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that the only reason oil companies push fossil fuels is because that is the easiest way for them to get our money.
So watch a movie, fight the power and be the change. Or else we're all gonna die and end up in a hell where New Year's Eve plays forever on loop.