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Notes from the back row

The least wonderful time of the year

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And so it begins. Christmas Holidays: the least wonderful time of the year. Personally I find it hard enough to park in this town as it is and the holiday movie lineups are always longer, full of poor saps rushing out to see mind-numbing Christmas movies. Oh, and don’t forget to buy a bunch of crap no one needs just because, "Christmas is about giving."

However, since I’m not a total Grinch, here are Feet Banks’s top DVD picks for last-minute Christmas Shopping. These are sure things.

Everybody likes snowboard movies. They get you stoked in the morning before a day of riding and really, no gift better says Whistler than a locally made snowboard DVD. The hot movie to have this holiday season is Gnarcore Videoplay’s Shoot the Ones you Love. Made by, and starring a tight handful of Whistler’s best up and comers, this is really just a "friends" video, documenting one crew’s winter of fun in the hills. It’s chock full of strong riding (JF Fortin is a standout and Dave Rouleau’s handrail sessions are no joke either) but the best part is the amount of effort/spirit/creativity that went into this movie. Nifty narrative and dreamscape intro segments and clever editing/cameras and art direction help to capture the essence of what pretty much any Whistler local is here to do: Have a great season shredding the mountains with your best friends. Shoot the Ones you Love , top snowboard vid of the year, locally made, and focused on fun, not pro attitudes. Find it at The Circle, Evolution or Bestsellers. Or online at www.gnarcorevideoplay.com. This is a classic Whistler movie. Get it now while it’s hot.

Speaking of Hot, and I mean Smokin’ Hot. The other snowboard DVD you need to own is Shot in the Dark Productions’ all-girl snowboard film Conformed. Yeah, I know, girls’ snowboarding isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you’d be surprised. These girls can rip. In addition to that, the artistic merits of this movie are outstanding, a must have for any young rider whose ever considered picking up a camera themselves. Director Lauren Graham presents a visual and audio feast so engaging and captivating, you almost feel a sadness descend on you when it ends. Like losing your first girlfriend, or what it feels like when your dog gets hit by a car. Luckily the DVD has a bunch of extra features to ease the pain, including Insert Meaning Here , winner of last spring’s Filmmaker Showdown. Get it at Bestsellers, or any good snowboard shop.

And if you really feel you must get into the holiday spirit the best Christmas DVDs are The Grinch , either the old cartoon or the Jim Carey remake. The Grinch is such a classic story, and even though he’s a mean one through and through, the old Grinch sells out in the end and realizes what Christmas is all about. Ditto for Bad Santa, which stars Billy Bob Thorton who was once married to Angelina Jolie and is therefore awesome by association. This film is raunchily hilarious and not for little kids or people who don’t like profanity. Finally, 1984’s Beat Street is a hip hop Christmas movie with more breakdancing than Christmas malarkey but still delivers a message of Unity and Family and all that usual crap.

And that’s it. Five films to keep those stockings stuffed and the kiddies happy. Get out there and shop people, but don’t be just another pompous consumer with no soul. Support home-grown Whistler artists and elevate yourself to real local status, or at least welcome guest. Happy money spending.

At Village 8 Dec. 17-23: Flight of the Phoenix; Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events; Spanglish; Blade Trinity; National Treasure; Incredibles; Finding Neverland; Ocean’s Twelve; Polar Express. Starting Wednesday, Dec. 22: Meet the Fockers.

At Rainbow Theatre Dec. 17-23: Ray.

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