French-Canadian musicians Jay Boivin and Germain Gauthier have made one of the most iconic Canadian pop soundtracks of the tax shelter era available once again. More than 30 years ago, the pair’s score for the Canadian teen comedy PINBALL SUMMER offered up a nostalgic panorama of sunny ’70s pop that channeled the surf-kissed California coastline by way of chilly Montreal. Comparing the music of PINBALL SUMMER with that of other Canadian teen pics of the era, such as HOG WILD, POWDER HEADS or even the mighty PORKY’S, reveals just how unique–and undeniably catchy–Jay and Germain’s contribution to Canadian genre film remains.
Released on the St. Laurent-based label Celsius Records in 1980, the soundtrack LP has become quite rare, often fetching high prices from collectors. But the soundtrack’s composer/performer team have now remastered their classic album and have made it easily available as either a limited edition autographed CD directly from the artists, or as a download from iTunes, CDBaby or your online retailer of choice.
With this new version of the soundtrack available for a new generation of cult film fans discovering the film on dusty VHS cast-offs, co-composer Jay Boivin agreed to discuss some of his thoughts on putting together this landmark Canadian pop soundtrack.
The National Film Board of Canada may be the nation’s venerable award-winning public film producer and distributor, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t weird gems lurking on the fringes of its impressive back catalogue. “Psychotronic NFB,” attempts to filter through the earnest docs on social problems, overserious animation and World War II newsreels to uncover the NFB’s weirdest works.
Juvenile delinquency—scourge of our modern era! The sight of teens in black leather jackets may not exactly send us clutching for our pearls anymore but, during the 1950s and 60s, even a hint of such non-conformity or rebellion was enough to cause parental consternation. Educational filmstrip producers like McGraw Hill, Coronet and Sid Davis Productions got much mileage out of depicting the society-threatening vandalism of moody teens and, more importantly, just what could be done about it. Even Ottawa’s Crawley Films got in on the act, producing notable works like AGE OF TURMOIL and EMOTIONAL MATURITY. Not to be left behind, the NFB also managed a handful of similar shorts, including George Kaczender’s 1965 film YOU’RE NO GOOD, where an impulsive motorcycle joyride ends in anger and pain.
YOU’RE NO GOOD—a lurid title sounds more like a exploitation film than a educational work—still manages an unorthodox approach, eschewing the McGraw-Hill school of overbearing narrators directly comparing reenactments of bad behaviour with good. Instead, the film turns on some notable dramatic moments—Eddie confronted by a youth worker in the pool hall, his juvenile fantasies of admiration and destruction, the iconic shot of him running down the middle of Yonge street before unleashing his pent-up anger in an abandoned office building. It’s far more similar to another NFB production from the previous year, Don Owen’s NOBODY WAVED GOOD-BYE, in its portrayal of disaffected youth unable to find an acceptable social outlet.
Still, YOU’RE NO GOOD remains a juvenile delinquency film at heart, even though Eddie is often seen in a sympathetic light. Of course by today’s standards, Eddie’s ride on the stolen bike isn’t unconscionable behaviour, it’s just confused–he seems unable to separate his fantasies from his real responsibilities. Though it’s hard to believe that the Toronto police would expend this much time and energy tracking down the perpetrator of a largely victimless crime, it’s also no surprise that Eddie’s impulsive act finally catches up with him and he pays the price for his actions. The focus may be different, but the ultimate message here is not that far removed from AGE OF TURMOIL and countless other instructional film shorts—behave!
Like many Canadian directors of the era, Kaczender’s early work for the NFB taught him the tools he needed to become a successful director of feature films. The promise he shows in this film bears out in his later theatrical works, including 1973′s “angry young man” movie U-TURN and the right-wing conspiracy thriller AGENCY (1981).
Finally, we must give a special mention to the film’s theme song—an awesome garage-flavoured track by Ontario band The Mercey Brothers before they turned to full-on country crooning in the 1970s. It’s a wild and even aggressive rock track that really drives home the mixed-up emotions that Eddie goes through over the course of the film—a far cry, for example, from the limp folk hootenany of NOBODY WAVED GOOD-BYE.
Bizarrest moment: Eddie’s random rock star daydream, complete with bikini-clad go-go dancer.
Lesson learned: Don’t wait until the cops are on your trail to ditch your stolen motorcycle. They may not be the Mounties, but it appears they always get their man.
It’s a problem that has plagued holiday shoppers since the very beginning of time–what to get that fickle Canadian cult film fan on your list this holiday season? With only 18 more shopping days until Christmas (and even less until Hanukkah), Canuxploitation is again here to help.
In Part 1, we looked at stocking stuffers, CDs and DVDs, and it was items for the home for Part 2. This time out we’re taking a look at clothing and some big ticket items for that very special someone.
Thanks to Kier-La Janisse and Canuxploitation contributors Lauren Oostveen and Allan Mott for their help compiling this guide.
While many of us discovered Canuxploitation films through late night TV screenings and VHS rentals, there’s still something special about catching a locally produced B-movie classic in the theatre alongside other Canadian film fans. Here’s a selection of classic Canadian B-movie screenings happening soon.
DEATH WEEKEND – 35mm
Monday December 5, 7pm
Innis Hall, University of Toronto
Free screening! Bill Fruet’s rape revenge classic doesn’t screen very often, so make sure you check this one out! More info here.
JANIS — 35mm
Wednesday December 7, 7pm
Bytowne Cinema, Ottawa
The latest film in the Lost Dominion Screening Collective‘s Canadian Cult Revue season is this 1974 rock doc that features archival footage and performances by the iconic female rocker. More info here.
BLACK CHRISTMAS — 35mm
Friday December 9, 11:30pm
Metro Cinema at the Garneau, Edmonton
To me, nothing says Christmas in Canada more than Margot Kidder getting impaled on a glass unicorn. More info here.
A CHRISTMAS STORY & BLACK CHRISTMAS– 16mm
Friday December 9, 7pm & 9pm
Blue Sunshine, Montreal
Nothing will get you more in the holiday mood with this essential Bob Clark holiday double bill! More info here.
HIGH – 16mm
Saturday December 10, 8pm
Blue Sunshine, Montreal
Don’t forget to bring your patchouli for this Montreal-shot LSD art/exploitation movie. Director Larry Kent will be in attendance! More info here.
DOWN THE ROAD AGAIN & GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD– DV/35mm
Sunday December 11, 3:15pm & 5pm
Tuesday December 13, 7pm & 9pm
Mayfair Theatre, Ottawa
Christmas got you down? Wallow in your holiday funk with a double bill of Don Shebib’s original tale of Maritimer joblessness and its brand new follow up, released earlier this year! Two chances to catch it! More info here.
THE DOG WHO STOPPED THE WAR – 35mm
Wednesday December 28, 1pm
Mayfair Theatre, Ottawa
This klassic Montreal kiddie matinee hits the Lost Dominion Screening Collective‘s Canadian Cult Revue! Take the whole family! More info here.