Hot damn, it's a big week for movie lovers and the action kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 8, with a free screening of Echo in the Canyon at Whistler Olympic Plaza, plus a live performance by the film's producer/musician Jakob Dylan and the Echo in the Canyon Band.
In case you missed the movie at the Village 8 a couple weeks ago, Echo is a thorough and intimate documentary charting the explosion of folk-rock music that emerged from L.A.'s Laurel Canyon in the mid-1960s—a time when bands like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Beach Boys and The Mamas and the Papas were all living in the area, hanging out and feeding off each other's creativity (with outside influences/guests like Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, and more).
Directed by Andrew Slater, Echo follows Dylan as he interviews the key players of the era and performs their hits with an ace band of musicians from his generation (including Beck).
Echo in the Canyon also features Tom Petty's last filmed interview and if that alone isn't enough to come to the free show tonight, Dylan, director Slater and co-producer Eric Barret will be in attendance for questions after the screening/performance. It all kicks off at 7 p.m.
Don't sleep on this one, Whistler.
But wait! Squamish has an outdoor film on offer on Friday, Aug. 9 with Academy Award-nominated documentary (it shoulda won) Minding The Gap screening at the Squamish Youth Centre at 8:30 p.m.
Director Bing Liu spent most of his youth in Crap-ville, Illinois skateboarding and filming with his buddies as they navigated the potholes of growing up in a world fraught with domestic violence, trauma, racism and economic dislocation. Drawing from more than a decade of footage and honest and intimate interviews, Liu crafts a cutting film about race, class and manhood in contemporary America. And the skateboard footage is killer, too.
This screening is presented by the Squamish Arts Council to kick off their "Through the Lens" youth film series/program and admission is by donation. (Shout out to the Zero Ceiling Foundation for helping bring this flick to Squamish.)
And the fun keeps right on rolling in theatres this week. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark opens at the Whistler Village 8. Produced by Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) and directed by André Øvredal (Autopsy of Jane Doe), this one is based on Alvin Schwartz's popular 1981 novel of the same name (and its sequels).
Pulling primarily from old myths and legends he found in anthropology journals in the Princeton University, Schwartz took tales about bloody heads falling down chimneys, cannibal scarecrows, and people stealing livers and eating them, and packaged it into one of the best children's books ever.
Of course, not everyone appreciates a story about a spider laying eggs in a kid's face right before bedtime, and Scary Stories was also the No. 1 most challenged tome on the American Library Association list from 1991-99.
Parents were not digging it. (For context, civil rights hero Maya Angelou's biography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings took second place for books people wanted banned, with Daddy's Roommate, a story written to help explain homosexuality to pre-teens, taking bronze. So the take home lesson here is American librarians have to deal with a lot of intolerant asshats.)
The Scary Stories film collects some of Schwartz's greatest hits into a narrative about a group of teens who discover an old book written by a young girl with dark secrets. And as they read it, those stories become their own.
Both del Toro and Øvredal have repeatedly said they made the movie for a younger audience but it's carrying a 14A rating here in Canada and the trailer is goddamn terrifying. (Take the kids! Society is too scared to be scared these days and some terror in the dark will do everyone good—fear builds character!)
Mob-wife flick The Kitchen also opens, as does Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Angry Birds 2 and a Kevin Costner-voicing-a-dog flick called The Art of Racing in the Rain. Talking animals are a tough sell but Amanda Seyfried co-stars and you can't go wrong there.