Happy 2023, and hopefully you resolved to watch more movies because we have a good one for you to start the year.
Drinkwater, described by the Victoria Film Festival as the most Canadian film of all time, is a wonderfully likeable coming-of-age comedy set and filmed entirely in Penticton.
Produced by Suitcase Charlie Films, a company owned by Penticton Vees hockey team owner Graham Fraser, the movie is based on a student film Fraser shot in 1981 with the actual Mike Drinkwater. This present version of Drinkwater was written by Graham’s son Luke Fraser and Ted McDonald, but watch for scenes from the original during the closing credits.
The movie is the story of dorky teenager Mike trying to survive his last year of high school. He is consistently let down by his deadbeat father (Eric McCormack) who goes to bizarre lengths to maintain an ongoing insurance fraud.
He calls his dad Hank “because he’s more a Hank than a Dad.” Of course Mike is in love with the most popular girl at school, so, yes, we have unrequited love, and a rivalry with a jock that mercilessly bullies him.
When Wallace, an American girl, moves in next door to Mike following a tragedy in her family, she and Mike strike up a close friendship which helps each of them get through their own teenage hardships. This deeper story of family and friends trying to deal with loss and abandonment lies underneath all the quirks, ’80s nostalgia and jokes in the movie.
With just the right mix of sentimentality and humour, and packed with Canadian references and music, Drinkwater was voted Audience Favourite at several Canadian Film Festivals.
“It may not re-invent the wheel, but there’s a real sweetness at the heart of this movie,” said reviewer Gabriel Sigler. Nailed it.
Drinkwater plays at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Classic Theatre.
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