Forest fire fallout has the entire Whistler Valley looking like the inside of my old gas mask bong right now, but the silver lining is there has never been a more sensible time to not go outside and instead hit the movies.
Minions opens this week at the Whistler Village 8. For readers without children, minions are the little yellow gumdrop-looking creatures from the Despicable Me films who basically perform the same function as the penguins in Madagascar.
And now they have their own movie too, apparently about how the crazy little buggers have been around since the beginning of time out-evolving "evil" bosses from T-Rex to Napoleon to the latest one, a Sandra Bullock-voiced '60s throwback named Scarlett Overkill who is being billed as "the world's first female super-villain."
Overkill is also exactly how I'd describe a 91-minute Minions movie but if nothing else this one will give you somewhere air-conditioned and smoke free to take the children this weekend.
Also opening this week, The Gallows is a found-footage-style horror flick about — you guessed it — some high school kids poking around with forces they ought to have just let lie. No pre-screenings for this one but it is the second theatre/performing arts horror from writer/director team Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing (Stage Fright) and that's a red flag.
I went to art school and the theatre crowd is generally painful to watch/be around and it's highly unlikely any of them can pull off a decent horror. Although watching them die one after the next sounds like a good time, this could still end up being worse than 81 minutes of smoke inhalation. Buyer beware.
The sad news is the Village 8 is no longer screening the wonderful Mad Max, but they do have the biggest box office hit ever with Jurassic World, the app-vs.-humanity crap fest Terminator Genisys, the funny-but-not-as-good-as-I-wished-for Ted 2, and Magic Mike XXL, which has proven to be more than a female fantasy flick thanks to a pretty solid plot and characters with arcs that transcend their crotches.
Actually, this probably is the ultimate female fantasy flick because the film's director also cares about how women feel and think. Magic Mike XXL has made over $110 million so far on a flick that cost about $7 million to make, so regardless, it's a hit and the female demographic is having the kind of summer Hollywood might start paying attention to — and should.
Speaking of not going outside, hard-up biking fiends can take solace in a few good BMX docs that are freely available online these days. Joe Kid on a Stingray charts the history of BMX from the early roots on 13-year-old Scot Breithaupt's renegade racetrack in "BUMS field," to the legendary Malibu downhill tracks built on a nudist colony, through to the freestyle BMX Action Trick Team and into the X-Games circus era.
Featuring archival footage and interviews with dozens of pros, Joe Kid can be a bit in-depth for the layman but it's pretty kickass. Also, who knew ultra-awesome director Spike Jonze (Her, Where the Wild Things Are) started as a BMX Freestylin' magazine photographer? Find Joe Kid on a Stingray on YouTube or if you're still rocking a DVD player, buy it at joekidonastingray.com
The other good one is BF-it, a niche doc about BMX icon Brian Foster a.k.a. the Blue Falcon. This guy excelled at racing, jumping and freestyle over three decades with pure style and a simple love of riding and having fun.
The film, courtesy of FIT Bike Co, follows Foster through the '80s race circuits, the explosion of the 1990s "Extreme" era and into the X-Games and energy drink video age. I'm not sure if FIT cleared all the music rights in this one (Zeppelin, Tom Petty and Neil Young?!), but it's a rocking good BMX movie about a rider who never lost sight of what's important. This one is on Digbmx.com.
BMX flies a bit under the radar in the Sea to Sky but there are a lot of young kids ripping and with proper tracks in Squamish, Pemby and a Whistler track in the works, the scene is only gonna grow. Taken together these flicks provide a good look at the roots and ethos of biking's punk rock, hardcore side.
Of course the best-known BMX flick is RAD, shot in Calgary for just a bit more cash than it takes to gas up a station wagon.
Notable for '80s style, recycled shots, the Norco Spitfire and Lori Loughlin, we've covered RAD in these pages before but it never gets old.