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Opinion: Drinkwater movie is an ode to Penticton and has all the feels

Thumbs up for sweet storyline, cameos from Steve King, Vees coach and many favourite landmarks

I finally got to watch the Penticton-made movie Drinkwater at Landmark Cinemas on cheap-night Tuesday and by the cheers and whispers when the audience saw a local landmark to the spontaneous clapping at the end of the film, I’d say we all walked away feeling pretty good about our Peach City and how it showed so well on the big screen.

My son and I gave the awkward feel-good teenager-themed movie a solid 9 out of 10.

The theatre was packed, with only the front rows available which made for a good vibe to watch a movie that plays homage to our hometown. I’ve heard in the two-week run of Drinkwater, the theatre has been filled with locals eager to spot Penticton landmarks in the film.

This movie is as much about Penticton and everything that is great about this city from Skaha Lake to the Vees as it is about a dorky teenager trying to get through high school.

I had my whole family with me including my brother and his family. We all loved the scenes set in the historic Memorial Arena (where his son played hockey) and at the track at Pen-Hi (where our kids have run in track meets), to the Rocky-style fist pump at the top of the Penticton sign. The Pen-Hi 80s theme grad party was even held inside the SS Sicamous.

I would be remiss if I didn’t add that the 80s soundtrack to this movie added to the enjoyment of Drinkwater.

Penticton’s beloved race announcer Steve King has a role at the end of the movie which was great to see.

One of my favourite scenes involves Mike throwing a frozen octopus on the ice during a Vees game. The hilarity of all that went wrong had the audience in stitches. Vees coach Fred Harbinson had a great cameo in this scene.

The movie is a coming-of-age comedy set in Penticton, with the main character Mike Drinkwater (Daniel Doheny) an extremely awkward Grade 12 Pen Hi student in love with the most popular girl in the school. Yes, the cheesy-predictable plot. But Mike, who is obsessed with Bruce Lee and terrible at martial arts makes for a really lovable character that you want to root for.

Mike lives with his dad, famed Will and Grace actor Eric McCormack in an unkempt bungalow somewhere in the Cherryland area, near King’s Park.

Mike calls his dad Hank, because Hank isn’t really a dad figure. Hank is scamming the government by faking an injury at the mill where he used to work in and getting benefits. He plays the part with his neck brace and scooter to grocery shopping at the local IGA.

Secretly at home, Hank is training for the Penticton Ironman he’ll never compete in.

Mike Drinkwater, actor Donheny, is amazing at physical acting. The upside-down scene at the Tim Hortons drive-thru, as well as the hilarious scene where he shows off his terrible martial arts moves kept all of us laughing.

Drinkwater is filled with everything Canadiana, from a Mountie and Terry Fox shirt to a Wayne Gretzky card. Another thing I love about this movie is it was made by the Vees owner Graham Fraser.

The last showing of Drinkwater is Thursday, Oct. 27. I talked to the Frasers last week about where people could see Drinkwater once it leaves theatres. Sadly, there isn’t anything in the works yet.

“Currently, the movie has a limited theatrical release in Canada. There will be a streaming service deal eventually,” said Sue Fraser.

READ MORE: Landmark Cinemas extends showtimes of Drinkwater

— Review by Penticton Western News editor Monique Tamminga

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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