Before we get into things, it may already be all over.
This week's movie listings came with an ominous post-script from the Whistler Village 8. "Please note the Village 8 will be closing at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday going forward, starting on Feb. 9."
It might mean nothing, or rather it might not mean what it probably means, and what movie fans who remember the Squamish Garibaldi 5 hope it doesn't mean — first they close early, then they just close.
Granted, I was in the Arizona desert riding ATVs around impromptu assault rifle shooting ranges at the time the email came in, so I was unable to push for more explanation. But without the usual caveats like: "all our staff left town because they can't afford accommodation" or "due to simultaneous outbreaks of herpes and bedbugs..." this message causes great alarm.
Going to the movies is one of Whistler's best date nights, a pillar of hope for nerdy kids who don't give a shit about toe-pin bindings or what grade of lube your sled takes. A night in the darkened temple of the silver screen gives everyone a chance at romance...
Coincidentally, it's Valentine's Day on Wednesday and (so long as you go before 7:30) potential lovebirds can go get their BDSM-lite on with Fifty Shades Freed, the third installment in the film adaptation of the literary empire built for women (and some dudes) who aren't getting bedded properly. There were no pre-screeners for this one (likely because the first flick sucked donkey balls and the second didn't even get the donkey's pants off) but from the trailer it seems like Fifty Shades Freed is the one where now-married Dakota Johnson gets jealous, then not, then jealous, then stalked, and the dude seems shady the whole time.
With its exotic locations (Seattle! Aspen! Somewhere in Europe!!), fancy cars and giant Pacific Northwest mansions, Fifty Shades is looking more lifestyle-porn designed to make you feel inadequate than soft-core to get you randy (there's also some kind of statutory rape sub-theme from Christian Grey's past that sounds extra dodgy). Tangentially, Kim Basinger is in this one, which means you should probably just stay home and stream 9 ½ Weeks — Kim's iconic kinky, bondage soft-core flick from the 80s, co-starring Mickey Rourke. Back in the day, it was the hottest thing this side of Wild Orchid.
On the other end of the spectrum, Peter Rabbit also opens this week. It's a romantic comedy/love triangle/revenge flick wherein Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, Neighbours) keeps a bunch of anthropomorphized rabbits (including the titular Peter) at her quaint country home until one day, a sour-tempered new neighbour moves in and begins making all the wrong moves. Good news on this one is it's directed by Will Gluck (Friends with Benefits, Easy A) so even if your kids do drag you out, there will likely be some joy to be had. Rose Byrne always commits 150 per cent; she's like a female early career Nicolas Cage that way.
Back to the romance, the stream/download of the week is The Babysitter, a top-shelf B-grade horror/comedy that forges absolutely no new paths creatively yet still provides solid entertainment through pitch-perfect mood, solid acting, an 80-minute run time and a truly age-old premise: what if your hot, nerdy, perfect babysitter was actually running a satanic sex cult in your living room after you fell asleep?
Not much more needs to be said other than that while The Babysitter leans heavily on cliché'd characters and how-stupid-are-your plot devices (like running back into your villan-infested house once you've already escaped) there's also plenty of gore, an actual coming-of-age story, and Aussie actress Samara Weaving using her acting to perfection as the titular babysitter. This one's a Netflix original.
And, awesome as Netflix is, they are also undoubtedly playing a role in the demise of movie theatres around the globe. And we still don't know for sure if that's what's happening here in Whistle-town; hopefully I'm misreading the signs. But for anyone who's actually been in Village 8 lately and sat beside one of the broken seats covered with taped garbage bags, the writing is on the wall.
It will suck if I'm right, but Whistler is pretty good at making our own movies too. Plus there's always Netflix and Chill. Happy Valentine's Day.