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Shoulder season cinema



Well it's almost shoulder season, that mini-recession that happens every year and yet somehow seems impossible to prepare for. The next few months are about longer nights and smaller paycheques. Thankfully, the fine folks at Troma Entertainment have just what you need to beat those rainy season blues.

Troma is a long-standing independent American film studio and distributor specializing in B-movies (mostly B-minus) since the mid-'70s. They're best known for The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High and various other flicks of ill repute. Keeping on top of the changing cinematic times, Troma just released 150 movies from their back catalogue onto their free YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/Tromamovies).

This means that instead of spending valuable effort and energy leaving the house (every kilojoule counts when you're living on Rice Crispies and bong hits) you can now spend your evenings watching the 1988 Carmen Electra classic The Chosen One: Legend of the Raven or Trey Parker and Matt Stone's first flick Cannibal! The Musical.

Certainly, it takes a certain type of film geek to enjoy 150 movies with titles like Mad Dog Moran (a Dennis Hopper Australian Western), Seduction of a Nerd or Coons: Night of the Bandits of the Night, but for Whistler movie fans lamenting the lack of a B-Grade Horrorfest this year, watching these nudity-trumps-acting masterpieces is like going to film school. Knock off three a day and you're busy for over two months. Viva Troma!

Of course, you can't stay shut inside forever and despite the predominance of huge flatscreen TVs (even amongst the unemployed) nothing beats a night at the theatre. This Friday the illustrious Village 8 is opening The Words starring Bradley Cooper as a hack writer who finds an old manuscript in a pawnshop and passes the riveting war-drama story off as his own. This leads to great success until the real author (Jeremy Irons) arrives and...

...but wait! All that drama and tension is really just a story within a story, one being read on stage by another hack writer played by Dennis Quaid. The Words is all meta and multi-layered, kind of like Inception meets The Notebook. It's a genre-buster that uses its three-internal stories to hop from drama to romance to thriller as if the whole movie itself were inside a giant spinning hallway of mediocrity.

Flicks about writers are hard to pull off. Writers are not generally interesting; most just sit around, drink, complain and occasionally write. Sometimes there's enough drinking and womanizing to make that the story, but usually you end up with a character study at best (and Wonder Boys at worst).

The Words is cute. It's a simple tale about how our best is often not good enough and has lessons around resisting temptation and taking the easy path. It's well made and populated with a solid cast, but lacks any real intellectual or inspirational punch. The Words doesn't shed any new light on the art of writing or filmmaking so if you only see one flick at the theatre this weekend, hit up The Possession instead. It's like a Jewish The Exorcist.

Shut-ins looking for more downloads can check the best "Writer" movies ever:

Barfly (Bukowski-penned booze story), Barton Fink (Coen Bros surreal trip into madness), Misery (pre-internet stalkers are so much more freaky), Permanent Midnight (Ben Stiller as the strung-out creator of Alf) and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (most faithful book-to-film adaptation).

Happy slow season Whistler, enjoy the flicks.

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