Posts Tagged ‘whistler’


Sept 1/11- Cultural Mysteries Revealed!

September 7, 2011


Notes from the Back row- Aug30

It’s officially been one of the shittiest summers in recent memory— cinematically speaking— so let’s salvage what we can and examine Mila Kunis, specifically how she is the next generation’s Angelina Jolie and we can therefore chart her career to learn more about the “kids these days.”
The awesome thing is that Mila played “Young Gia” in 1998’s Gia, which is one of Angelina’s standout films, noteworthy for Angie’s commitment to a risky role as well as the nudity and lesbianism. Only 23, Ms Jolie got an Emmy nomination for Gia but she’d already hit big with movie lovers (and lovers of lips) by stealing the show in the young-love, computer-crime thriller Hackers (which easily predicted an era when renegade computer nerds would ANONYMOUSLY hack into governments, banks and big businesses to steal and peruse data. )
Mila Kunis didn’t hit her naked-lesbian-movie phase until age 27 with last years Oscar-winning Black Swan. The kids these days are less rambunctious, 27 is the new 23, but our culture is pushing them into showbiz earlier— Mila started TV’s That 70’s Show when she was just 15. Angelina was modeling at that age but didn’t start seriously in film for another two years.
Angie followed Gia by winning an Oscar (Girl, Interupted) then doing a bunch of flicks with great nudity and sex scenes. 2001’s Original Sin saw her in various compromising positions with sex-symbol du jour Antonio Banderas– Angie was 26. Mila just completed the new version of celebrity sexy, a flick with Justin Timberlake called Friends with Benefits – she’s 28.
The funny thing about Friends with Benefits (other than the supporting cast) is that while it doesn’t show any real true nudity, it is chock full of Mila pulling on or off her pants and all the sex jokes are about things like cunnilingus, genital grooming and anal sex. Images are not taboo to a generation raised on easy-access Google nude pics. Actions are taboo now— “weird” sex acts and voyeuristic undressing whereas in the old days a good look at some bouncing titties or heavy thrusting would suffice. No longer, the kids have evolved.angelina
Angie, of course, moved away from the sex (not counting Taking Lives) after she became a mega-star with Lara Croft and shifted into overdrive- becoming a UN Ambassador, adopting/having kids, doing voice-over work for cartoons (Shark Tale, Kung Fu Pandas) still getting Oscar Nominations (The Changeling, A Mighty Heart) and marrying (essentially) Brad Pitt.
Also no stranger to voice work (Meg in The Family Guy) we’ll see what Mila has up her sleeve for her post-lesbo phase. You can bet her career/life path will be less full-on than Angelina (the kids are less motivated nowadays- rather than find this generation’s Brad Pitt Mila had apparently been dating Macaulay Culkin.) There is, however, no denying Mila’s talent, beauty or drive (two cunnilingus movies in two years) so she’ll do just fine, banking on her comedy chops for a few films before finding that action picture that spirals her into the big time.


Speaking of the future, there’s a historical spaceman movie opening. Apollo 18 is a PG-13 horror-sci-fi about back-in-the-day American astronauts re-visiting the moon for a secret mission. And then they find giant Transformers— just kidding. Actually there were no previews (not usually a good sign but for a horror it’s actually better this way) so all I know is Apollo 18 looks to be shot entirely on in-narrative security cameras and has a real Paranormal Activity vibe going. Also, even though the flick drops Friday there’s already an Apollo 18 video game/puzzle that you can download and play on Facebook. Kids these days…



Whistler Film Festival is here.

December 3, 2010

This column first appeared in Whistler’s Pique Newsmagazine

Whistler Film Festival part 4

By Feet Banks


It happens to me every year –I draw up a list of all the cool movies I want to see, then strategically plan a schedule with no overlaps. The perfect Whistler Film Festival timeline with room for fresh turns on the hill.

And then I go to the Whistler Creek Productions party on Friday night and hobnob it up with industry pros, longtime locals and the occasional starlet. Except by ‘hobnob’ I mean pound shots of Jack Daniels chased with double Salty-Dogs. It’s always a fantastic night but my first flick on Saturday afternoon inevitably becomes more of a movie/nap.

The amazing thing is that the programming directors somehow account for this when they build their line-up and always present a movie that’s intense and engaging enough to entertain but also paced and quiet enough to sleep through. Last year that film was Nurse Fighter Boy. This year it’s Jo Pour Jonathan, which plays at 4:30, Saturday Dec 4th at the Village 8.

Don’t take that the wrong way– Jo Pour Jonathon is not a bad movie by any means. It’s gritty and raw and a bit heartbreaking– a brotherly love drama with a seedy streak told in a patient, sparse manner full of small-but-real truths.

Made in Quebec, and competing in the Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature, Jo Pour Jonathon is very visual, with minimal dialogue and long moody shots and stretches of near silence. It’s win-win really, depending on your energy levels you can either rest up or catch an interesting flick, or both.

Speaking of staying awake, it’s worth it to hit the special Late-Night screenings for the weird, cool, off-the-beaten track stuff you might not get during “decent-person” hours.

Thursday Night, Dec 2nd, at 11:15pm is a 10th anniversary screening of Ski Bums. This is a film with many fans in Whistler, not just because it was made here, stars people we know, and also the first movie ever shown at the first Whistler Film Festival, but because it totally justifies the local character and lifestyle. Who knew we all had a little Johnny Thrash in us? Doors open at 10 pm for this one, at the Conference centre, and it’s a free screening. Show up in your best “Gaper” outfit and enter to win free beer, potato chips, and ski and snowboard gear. Doors open at 10pm. This is gonna be a party.

Friday late-night is no slouch either, starting at 11:30 pm with Early Evening of Meth Head Hipsters, a Vancouver-made short that took grand prize at the Heavy Hitting B-Grade Horrorfest this year. Bicycles, disembowelment, wet t-shirts, meth and trucker hats don’t get better than this.

The feature presentation is Beyond the Black Rainbow, a crazy, visual big-brother acid trip of a movie with a soundtrack draped with big, heavy sci-fi bass hits. This one also plays at the Conference centre

Late-Night Saturday goes down at the Village 8 with Vanishing on 7th Street, a nifty little end-of-the-world film starring Hayden Christensen, John Leguizamo, and Thandie Newton as survivors of the day the lights went out.  I haven’t seen a screener but this one looks like creepy B-grade fun. It starts at 11:45.

Ski Bums director Johnny Zaritsky has another film playing this weekend. Leave Them Laughing is about a terminally-ill woman’s refusal to go down without some comedy. It plays Sunday afternoon and then the Fest closes that night with 2 Frogs in the West, a coming of age feature filmed right here in town that should also speak to more than a few Whistler locals.

The screens are full of film and hills are covered in pow and the Whistler Creek Productions party is Friday night at the GLC. Does it get any better than this?



notes from the back row- Wild Things Arrive!

October 15, 2009

Notes from the back row- Oct 13

by Feet Banks

Firstly, I’d like to apologize for not posting a review last week. Instead i was present while my supermodel girlfriend delivered our baby boy.

Secondly, I’d like to add that The Heavy Hitting B-Grade Horrorfest is happening Oct 30 in Whistler and there are tickets available at If you are not familiar with the unadulterated awesomeness that is B-Grade Horrorfest check out the article here and be warned, these are badass local short horror films designed to offend and weed out the weaker elements of the audience– Cinematic Darwinism in a 1000-seat theatre, with 8 bars.

Thirdly, finally, Spike Jonze’s adaptation of the 1963 Maurice Sendak children’s book Where the Wild Things Are hits screens this Friday. Among film geeks this is probably the most anticipated flick of the year. Jonze, (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) jumps right into things with a punk-rock sensory assault follow-cam of Max as he rips around doing the stuff that kids do. Instantly drawing us into a true sense of childhood, Jonze, working from a script by hit-and-miss scribe Dave Eggers (Away We Go) portrays Max as a 9-year-old, smart, sensitive and highly energetic kid at a crossroads in life. The childhood era of the do-anything, be-anything mentality is beginning to be displaced by the hard shittyness of the way things really are. Where suddenly your sister ditches you for older kids and your mom’s got a new boy friend and wearing a wolf suit doesn’t really make you a wolf.

Scared and feeling a bit guilty about biting his only parent, Max runs away, hops in a sailboat and ends up where the Wild Things are, an island he quickly claims to be king of and orders the rumpus begin. Child actor Max Records carries the film but the actual Wild Things are equally amazing – real people in giant, Jim-Henson-designed muppet costumes with CGI facial expressions and excellent name-brand voice acting. The Wild Things noticeably exist physically, but are enhanced and attain a super-realness. SOOOOO much cooler than straight CGI effects.

Where The Wild Things Are is a non-conventional kids movie, the book didn’t spoon-feed a moral and neither will the film. The plot meanders, sometimes the visuals take over the story, but it doesn’t matter, that’s point even. This is a film about being a kid and how it feels when it everything changes. The exciting and happy segments are offset with scenes sloshing melancholy. The Wild Things, big teeth and all, carry emotions, problems, and family dynamics of their own and there are no clear empathies where the wise old Chicken Monster explains to Max the difference between good and bad. Instead, Jonze reveals the pain of childhood, the loneliness, and then shows a child beginning to realize things like empathy, love, and self-control.  Everything is subtle, nothing is spelled out or smacked over our heads and the result is refreshingly different from almost every other children’s movie going.

Will kids understand the themes of the movie? Probably not outright, but the same allure that made Sendak’s book one of the best stories ever will stick with the kids walking out of this film until long after they’ve found and left, their own worlds where the wild things are. Jonze has crafted an instant classic.

Also opening at the Village 8, a decent revenge flick called Law Abiding Citizen and Michael Moore’s Capitalism, a look at the flawed system and division of wealth in America (and we are not far behind.) Great movie, but depressing as hell. Hopefully this “great” society of ours gets our shit together before my kid grows up.


Notes From the Back Row- Zombie, Love, Lies

October 1, 2009
i want to eat your brains...

i want to eat your brains...

Notes from the back row- Sept 29

by feet banks

The bad news– Whip It, the Drew-Barrymore-directed chick rollerderby movie starring Ellen Page is not coming to Whistler this week. Which is too bad because I did some research and did you know there were three badass chick rollerderby movies released in 1972? One starring Raquel Welch (One Million Years BC) and another starring Playboy’s Miss November 1969 Claudia Jennings, whose real name was the much porny-er sounding Mimi Chesterson. There’s a lot to learn about rollerderby movies but we’ll save that for another day.

The good news– the Village 8 is opening a couple bangers this week, starting with the latest zombie comedy Zombieland. The film’s tagline is “Nut up, or Shut up” and it delivers a near-perfect mix of violence, humour, gory deaths and even a bit of sweet romance.

First-time director Reuben Fleischer proves he has a good sense of timing with this fast-paced stompfest but it’s really the acting that elevates this flick, as the plot – band of misfits heads for California, killing zombies along the way– is secondary. Woody Harrelson knocks one out the park as Tallahasse, a Snake Plisken-esque tough guy who just really loves killing zombies (and devouring a certain snack food.) Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland) slips into his usual sincere-neurotic-social-outcast role but he wields a shotgun well enough to avoid the sameness that has plagued Michael Cera’s (Juno) career. Emma Stone (Superbad, House Bunny) and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) turn up as a couple of shifty scam artists in lesser roles who join in on the fun. Emma Stone is still my favourite up-and-coming actress (more talent than Megan Fox, and almost as hot.) Add in a fantastic cameo from a deadpan comedy legend and you have a character driven zombie tour de force that shouldn’t be missed.

Set in the near future (like next month– a theatre marquee advertises Roland Emerich’s 2012 in the background) Zombieland doesn’t provide any new takes on zombie mythology but you’ll be having so much fun you won’t even care. If watching a zombie puke up its gory, dead stomach contents is your idea of awesome then this is one of the best flicks of the year, in any genre.

In the romance genre, Marc Webb’s 500 Days of Summer is finally opening up here. It’s been out since early July and has already hit the Drive-In circuit but better late than never because this smart, dynamically put together post-breakup rom-com is honest, intelligent and really well crafted. (It’s also a tiny bit emo and slightly pussyish at points but most of the time it really sings.) Zooey Deschanel and Joesph Gordon-Levitt perfectly enact both the good and bad sides of infatuation.

What makes the film is how relate-able it is. The joyful feeling of pure bliss when you’re walking home the morning after nailing someone you’re really into and you want to start high fiving strangers on the street– that’s in there. The crushing sadness when your boyfriend desperately tries to replicate something that once you made you laugh and shiver but this time it doesn’t work–also in there. These are real moments captured perfectly and there are literally dozens of them throughout the flick. For a non-love story, 500 Days of Summer is a perfect date movie with one of the best endings of the year.

Also opening at the Whistler Village 8, Ricky Gervais’ latest, The Invention of Lying, about an alternate universe where everyone tells the truth, until one day one guy doesn’t. Smart premise. Lots of religious themes. Hugely talented cast. PG-13. Your parents will love it.

Not as much as your dad probably loved Miss November 1969, but that’s a hard act to top.

nuff said.

nuff said.


Life and Times- Hose Face Killer

September 29, 2009
photo by rob

photo by rob

The summer of 2002 was bonkers. I was working everyday on the Blackcomb Glacier filming snowboard camp kids for the camp video. The workdays started around 7:30 am and you usually finished loading footage into the computer around nine at night. But half of that you were outside on a glacier in either scorching sun or freezing snow/rain and clouds. There was no structure save that we had to hand in a 5-segment video with every kid doing a trick at teh end of the summer. It was a job designed for cocktails.

The day before we started filming Rob came home and his girlfriend had everything she owned piled into boxes on the porch and fifteen minutes later she was gone. He was ready to drink that summer and i figured he may as well have a partner. Two of our favourite chicks were also freshly single so Rob’s place became an unofficial hangout for heartbreak and sorrow. And margaritas and breakdancing contests involving handspins performed in mixing bowls of butter. The apartment became known as Chez Serious. I was always single in those days (and fairly serious) so i fit right in.Our buddy Czech had just had a cyst drained and was lamenting his lost “au jus” so he somehow fit in too.

But no one was more serious than HoseFace Killer. A girl Robbie hooked up with to help take his mind off things and put his dick into them. I guess she had a job but mostly she’d just kill a bottle of wine each morning waiting for us to get off the ski hill and hit the patio, where she’d meet us for tequila/OJs. Hoseface got her nickname because she pounded booze like she had a hose attached to her face, with a funnel on the other end. She was pretty awesome for a couple months.

When Rob and her broke it off, (I think she left town to dry out) it was decided that the old HoseFace Killer persona, with the run she’d had, deserved a proper funeral. And of course, nothing is more haunting and sombre than a marionette funeral. Czech had brought these things back from his homeland and well, it all worked out pretty nicely.

A lot of things died that summer of 2002, if you count brain cells and innocence, but from the ashes rose laughter and friendships and some of the strangest memories i have. And for us, Hoseface has become a sort of figurehead– like the Queen (if the Queen has ever put frozen hot dog buns in a margarita blender because she’s out of ice.)

RIP Hoseface. I can’t even remember your real name but I think it was Michelle.

-feetbanks  29/09/09


Whistler, our shit don’t stink

September 23, 2009


With the 2010 Winter Olympics just a few months away Vancouver and Whistler are working overtime to either sweep all their social problems under the rug (ie. vancouver’s zombieland drug fiend/mental illness/homeless problem) or solve them. The new Whistler sewage plant is supposed to be finished soon so for the first time in 20 years or so it might not smell like shit the next time you drive into town. In memory of that peculiar odour here’s an old piece originally printed in The Vice Guide To Whistler, April 2007. Photos by Mark Gribbon And give it up for the hot blondes who rolled into various rooms full of open sewage and started shoveling ice cream into their faces while the dudes that work there strongly advised against it, “We don’t even chew gum in here.”

Whistler- our shit don’t stink. (wait, yes it does.)

by feet banks

photos by Mark Gribbon

Driving up, the smell hits just as the ‘Welcome to Whistler’ sign comes into view. That pungent, gag-inducing reek of shit and rot hangs thick, as if the entire south end of town itself has just laid down a monstrous fart. It’s the Whistler Sewage Treatment Plant, and it’s working overtime.

“There are times when the smell gets pretty distasteful,” says Operations Manager Ron Sander. “When you don’t want to be chewing gum while you work.” Sander explains the foul stench is a result of the technology they use but also depends on how much crap they’re actually dealing with- the ‘flow.’ And that’s what makes Whistler’s shit unique and interesting- sometimes we have a ridiculously heavy flow.

With a permanent population of about 12,000 (including the people living in closets and attics that don’t make it into any official census) Whistler is a small town, but on high season weekends there can be as many as 40,000 tourists here- everyone eating rich foods, pounding stiff drinks, and laying down massive holiday dumps. Our small-town sewage plant (built in the ‘60s, upgraded once) routinely deals with 4 or 5 times it’s regular amount of shit. Don’t worry, we can handle it, but what really happens to all that poo?

First it enters the headwoods area, Sander explains as we tour the 5-acre facility, basically a moving grate that separates any ‘foreign solids’ like condoms, tampons, credit cards, rolled up money, sex toys, golf balls and action figures. Anything even half-cool is fished out and saved on a ‘Wall of Fame.’

Next the flow is slowed down, allowed to settle, and the grease, hair, corn and peanuts get separated and pasteurized at 550 degrees and introduced to oxygen and organic organisms. Once the water is removed the dry sludge gets tested (in Europe they can test an entire community’s cocaine usage through its shit) and chemistry takes over on the liquids as ferous-chloride and chlorine gas do the final cleaning before Whistler’s shit enters the Cheakamus river and heads off (fittingly) to Squamish. It all takes about a day.

While the system works fine right now, it does get challenging. Removing dental floss or say, a tattered gortex ski jacket strand by strand from the pumps is dirty, meticulous work and plant supervisor Andrew Tucker and his staff of 8-9 brave souls have to stay on their toes to maintain and test the system daily. The good news, Sander tells me, is that construction is set to begin this summer on a brand new, cutting edge, $30-40 million system that should be completed in 2009.

“Whistler has lofty environmental goals and this new Biological Nutrient Removal process will use natural bacteria and organisms rather than chemicals,” Sander adds. The new plant will be a top-of-the-line, enviro-friendly facility integrated into the surrounding neighbourhood. And, perhaps most importantly, it will eliminate that tell-tale shit smell just in time for about a zillion people to arrive for the Olympics and flush, flush, flush to their heart’s content. Of course, we still have to deal with the fact that there’s only one public washroom in the entire village, but that’s another day’s problem.


Shit tells an interesting story. In Europe they can determine and entire town's weekend cocaine consumption just by testing the sewage on monday morning. Shit really is a log of life.

Shit tells an interesting story. In Europe they can determine and entire town's weekend cocaine consumption just by testing the sewage on monday morning. Shit really is a log of life.

The Wall of Fame. Did a kid throw these things in the toilet? Or did they fall out of someone's ass?

The Wall of Fame. Did a kid throw these things in the toilet? Or did they fall out of someone's ass?

Shit-eating grins

Shit-eating grins. That's raw sewage in the lower right corner.


Life and Times- Fight Fire with Rubber

September 23, 2009
Life is about knowing when to say, 'Why the Hell not?'

Life is about knowing when to say, 'Why the Hell not?'

(Note- Start-up magazines and websites in Whistler keep asking me to write them articles and then the mag never actually happens. This piece of wisdom has been kicked around for almost a year now and never seen publication.~Feet)

Fight Fire with Rubber– Free condoms prevent that telltale burn.

By Feet Banks

The days of free love are over. You can find a lot of cheap love in Whistler, or even hand-me-down love but the free variety is a thing of the past. Luckily, we still have free condoms.

I remember the first time I bought a condom. I was seventeen and didn’t spend much time in public restrooms (or I would have certainly used a handy vending machine) so the only place to buy ‘domes’ was at the Pharmasave.

Of course there was a super cute girl working the till, the only till open (it was slow season and I was looking to catch the spring rut.) I strolled the aisles– shopping, avoiding suspicion, and making sure to read a few pages of a magazine until the coast was clear. Then, with the precision of a master criminal, I dipped out of my comfort aisle and entered the realm of prophylactics.

Condom companies probably spend millions of dollars to ensure that when some nervous kid reaches for that first pack it’s their brand he goes for. I did just that– instinctively grabbed some Trojans. But then I noticed a no-name three-pack of coloured ones- red, yellow, blue, Cool. Rubber Ducky Condoms, with a suave looking cartoon duck on the box.

Adrenaline and the sense of discovery flooded through me– not only would I (hopefully) be having sex that weekend, I’d be doing it with a yellow cock!

But the hot chick at the till was still a problem. To bypass the teenage embarrassment of buying rubbers off someone you wouldn’t mind using them on I decided to double it up and grabbed a tube of Preparation-H as well. I’m pretty sure I had no idea what Hemorrhoids were back then (still don’t really) but I knew they were embarrassing enough that maybe she wouldn’t notice that I was spending my snow-shoveling money on a pack of rainbow dong-bags.

It didn’t work. She just looked confused, as if the two purchases were somehow linked. And, I hate to admit, I didn’t ooze casual confidence either. Needless to say, I didn’t get laid that weekend anyhow so the whole effort was little more than a twisted learning experience.

The moral of the story– Stay safe and healthy and save your cash by simply picking up free condoms at the bottom of the stairs at the Health Care Centre. There’s a nice big box on the wall and never anyone around. It’s a quick in-and-out operation (not unlike teenage sex.)

Unfortunately the Public Health people don’t offer coloured condoms in their arsenal but beggars can’t be choosers, and if you get their on the right day they sometimes have those tiny satchels of Lube. I’m not going to tell you what day they re-stock the box either. For that info, you’ll have to man-up and head upstairs to ask someone. See if they have any plans for a free Prep-H box while you’re at it.