Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Top 10 Canadian Films

I was actually writing about this in an email this morning and thought that it might make for an interesting post. Not because these films aren't great, but because I don't know that I can list more than a handful of other Canadian films. That is a fairly depressing prospect. There are a lot of Canadians 'in' film, and a lot of Canadians 'making' films, but to have a film that's really about Canada, isn't really all that common.

This one time I saw a really funny made for tv mockumentary on Canadians in the American run film industry called The Canadian Conspiracy. It basically purported that Canadians have slowly been infiltrating American film and television as a secret plan to subvert American culture and make them ripe for invasion. It was very funny, with everyone from Eugene Levy, and John Candy, to Margot Kidder, Bill Shatner, and Leslie Nielsen. And of course never forgetting the godfather Lorne Greene. I doubt anyone would ever be able to find this, but if you do let me know cause it was damn amusing.

So without further ado, my list, in no particular order, of the top 10 Canadian films, let me know if you agree, disagree, or whatever. Info is mostly from IMDB, trailers are mostly from Video Detective...

1 - Jesus of Montreal
A group of actors putting on an interpretive Passion Play in Montreal begin to experience a meshing of their characters and their private lives as the production takes form against the growing opposition of the Catholic church. (1989)

2 - Hard Core Logo
A psuedo-rockumentary along the lines of 'This is Spinal Tap', we follow director Bruce Macdonald as he follows punk bank Hard Core Logo on a harrowing last-gasp reunion tour throughout Western Canada. As magnetic lead-singer Joe Dick holds the whole magilla together through sheer force of will, all the tensions and pitfalls of life on the road come bubbling hilariously to the surface. (1996)

3 - Strange Brew
Something is rotten at the Elsinore Brewery. Bob and Doug Mackenzie (as seen on SCTV) help the orphan Pam regain the brewery founded by her recently-deceased father. But to do so, they must confront the suspicious brewmaster and two teams of vicious hockey players. (1983)

4 - Dance Me Outside
A story of life on an Indian reservation in Ontario: Silas and Frank are trying to get into college to train to be mechanics but they find themselves having to deal with girls, family ... and murder. (written by WP Kinsella - 1995)

5 - The Sweet Hereafter
A small community is torn apart by a tragic accident which kills most of the town's children. A lawyer (Ian Holm) visits the victims' parents in order to profit from the tragedy by stirring up the their anger and launching a class action suit against anyone they can blame. The community is paralyzed by its anger and cannot let go. All but one young girl (Sarah Polley), left in a wheelchair after the accident, who finds the courage to lead the way to the sweet hereafter. (1997)

6 - Black Christmas
This 98-minute film is a stark and stylish horror/thriller that turns everyone's favorite time of the year inside out. Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder star among an ill-fated houseful of sorority sisters celebrating the holiday season. Festivities turn fatal when obscene phone calls break the serenity and it becomes clear that a psychopath is stalking the house. (1974)

7 - Fubar
Terry and Dean are lifelong friends who have grown-up together: shotgunning their first beers, forming their first garage band, and growing the great Canadian mullet known as "hockey hair". Now the lives of these Alberta everymen are brought to the big screen by documentarian Ferral Mitchener in an exploration of the depths of friendship, the fragility of life, growing up gracefully and the art and science of drinking beer like a man. (2002)

8 - Videodrome
Lowlife cable TV operator Max Renn discovers a "snuff TV" broadcast called Videodrome. But Videodrome is more than a TV show - it's an experiment that uses regular TV transmissions to permanently alter the viewer's perceptions by giving them brain damage. Max is caught in the middle of the forces that created Videodrome and the forces that want to control it, his body itself turning into the ultimate weapon to fight them. (1983)

9 - Last Night
At the turn of the century (Y2K), the end of the world is known to be coming to an end. This modest comedy-drama examines how the impending doom affects its cast. McKellar plays an architect who plans to meet the end alone at dinner. Others (Sandra Oh, David Cronenberg) make a suicide pact, but are caught apart and struggle to get together before the end. Another man (Callum Keith Rennie) pursues final sexual conquests and a milquetoast woman (Tracy Wright) strives to gain courage. Of course, the group ends up interacting. (1998)

10 - Black Robe
In the 17th century a Jesuit priest and a young companion are escorted through the wilderness of Quebec by Algonquin Indians to find a distant mission in the dead of winter. The Jesuit experiences a spiritual journey while his young companion falls in love with the Algonquin chief's beautiful daughter underneath the imposing and magnificent mountains. Dread and death follows them upriver. (1991)

I also really enjoyed these other bits of Canadianna...
Anne of Green Gables
The Sweater
The Dog Who Stopped the War
The Log Driver's Waltz

Anyone have any thoughts on the list? Did I miss something vital?
What film or films represent where you're from?
Wisconsin? Colorado? I dunno....
Off for lunch now, later all.


Lisa said...

Now this kind of post I can't resist! Off the top of my head...

What about Guy Maddin films?

And Cronenberg's Existenz and Dead Zone are amazing!

Lisa said...

Oh, and next time you're in Toronto I'll show you James Woods' apartment building from Videodrome and the house from Black Christmas! Did you know they're remaking that film?

Chappy said...

yea, I knew they were remaking it. My sister's boyfriend is a cameraman and worked on it. He said it looks good, although the 'stars' were all coked up the whole time. Very unprofessional.