I can’t help it.
The movie starts and I’m automatically playing “Spot the Revelstoke Landmark”, along with “Name that Revelstoke Movie Extra.” I’m also hoping Mountain Men is at least decent, since I’m there watching it on opening night at the Roxy Theatre specifically for the purpose of writing this review. Oh, not to mention half the town – or at least a good chunk of the population – were involved in the film in some capacity, and it turns out producer Jason James is the son of Mayor Mark McKee,and well… it’s kind of like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, only with people and places I know.
Turns out the movie is good. Like really good. As in, you should go see Mountain Men while you can, and not just because your neighbour’s cousin’s husband (or whoever) was an extra during the wedding scene filmed at the United Church.
While the movie definitely has a prominent comedic element, mainly carried by actor Tyler Labine, the film is also largely a drama, telling the story of two estranged brothers, Toph (Labine) and Cooper (Chace Crawford). Cooper flies in for a visit from Manhattan to attend their mother’s second marriage (we learn that their father is dead). Cooper, it seems, is having a difficult time accepting their father has passed on, given that no body has ever been found.
If you’ve seen the trailer, you will already know that the two brothers head up to the family cabin, and that after an overnight stay the truck won’t start, which results in the rather idiotic idea to start a fire to try and unthaw the frozen battery. You’ll also know that along with the truck, the entire cabin happens to burn down.
That scene acts as the catalyst for the rest of the movie, where Cooper and Toph must find their way out of the woods, figure out their relationship, and struggle with their inner demons (you know the old Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Himself bit). If it wasn’t for the comedic relief (Crawford does a pretty convincing job of acting high after eating a few of Toph’s organic pot cookies), I’m not convinced the dramatic element would work. It’s almost the coupling of the comedy and drama that pulls the film together.
The only disappointment I have in the film is that a large part of the plot is centred around Cooper’s developing mental illness, which we discover the brothers’ father also suffered from. While there is some effort to include this element as part of the storyline, it’s never referred to as being a mental health disorder (instead using words like “crazy”).
Overall, however, the film is enjoyable. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll recognize the scenery and the people in Revelstoke. Oh, and you can brag that you’ve seen the movie that was filmed in Revelstoke, featuring Revelstoke locations, using people who live here as extras.
Did I mention they didn’t try to turn Revelstoke into another town? It’s actually Revelstoke. That might be my favourite part.
Mountain Men is showing at the Roxy Theatre at 6:30 p.m. every day until Thursday, Sept. 17.