Josh MacDonald is the writer of THE CORRIDOR, which will be released by IFC Midnight (U.S.) and D Films (Canada) March 30th, In Theatres and On Demand. For this CanFilm Five, Josh presents his top five “Surprise-Stirrings of Patriotism While Watching Movies.” Take it away, Josh:
Growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the 1980s, I was a movie-struck kid who—like most Canadians, I figure—predominantly consumed American pop culture. Out here on the East Coast, I felt pretty far away from where movies actually got made, and pretty far away from seeing my own nation, province, city, or self reflected on the big screen. (I also spent a lot of time finding movies like MON ONCLE ANTOINE or JESUS OF MONTREAL in the Foreign Film section of my local video store: now what kind of cultural schizophrenia was that, I ask you?)
Discovering unexpected Canadiana (or better yet, “Maritime-ishness”—a word I’m now coining) in my movies has always given me a happy jolt, and it’s an experience which usually time-stamps itself onto my movie-going grey matter.Recently, I had this out-of-left-field, knee-jerk “hey, it’s us!” moment while watching WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Tilda Swinton’s character has a wanderlust wish to escape her maternal bonds because, well, her baby son is an asshole. Just before Tilda’s Bad Seed can deface her study-room, we see it decorated in a wallpaper collage of world maps, the most prominent of which is a close-up of the Province of Nova Scotia (its shape sorta resembling a lobster-in-profile). My heart high-fived itself.
I’m hoping that GAME, a short horror movie I’ve recently finished writing and directing, also might trigger some memories in Canadians who grew up in the 1970s and ’80s. As GAME is only seven minutes long, I do want to hold back some surprises about it, but let me say it tries to invoke a generation’s televisual understanding of our hinterland outdoors… I’ve got my fingers crossed for GAME to make it into some festivals later this year, and I’ve also got my fingers crossed that—should you check it out—it’ll startle unexpected patriotism out of you, too, for our True North, Strong and Free.
Top 5 Surprise-Stirrings of Patriotism While Watching Movies
The first time I experienced this joy-buzz recognition was while watching a sold-out screening of GHOSTBUSTERS during its first-run at Halifax’s Oxford Theatre. I was too young to know that Ivan Reitman or Rick Moranis were Canadians, but when Moranis’ Louis Tully held his apartment party and told his guests, “This is real smoked salmon from Nova Scotia, Canada: $24.95 a pound! Only cost me $14.12 after tax, though,” the entire Oxford Theatre blew up in cheers and laughter. I can say with confidence this line didn’t provoke a reaction anywhere near as strong anywhere else on the planet, but in Halifax we couldn’t hear the movie again until Moranis wondered, “Okay… who brought the dog?”
Among the hardest working and most prolific indie filmmakers in the city, Toronto’s own Brett and Jason Butler have launched a funding drive for THE UNDRAWN, a new film project that promises to bring the sibling’s unique voice and smart satire to the comic superhero genre.
The Butler brothers made some of our favourite local indie comedies over the last decade or so. Although their films aren’t strictly genre works, they manage to combine pithy dialogue and cleverly observed relationship moments with just enough gratuitous penis jokes to keep them well outside the usual quirky indie fare and, therefore, well within the realm of Canuxploitation. We called their 2006 film CONFUSIONS OF AN UNMARRIED COUPLE ”equal parts Woody Allen and the Hanson Brothers,” which actually describes the bulk of their work pretty well.
Based on the early teasers, it looks like THE UNDRAWN is set to throw Stan Lee’s name into that prestigious mix too for a fun romp through a dark comic world of awkward sex, mid-life crises, and personal humiliation. As they ramp up towards filming, the Butlers have been debuting character teaser trailers for the last few weeks (new videos each Thursday and Friday), with more on the way followed by a “SuperTeaser” as the campaign draws to a close.
In anticipation of the film, we spoke to Brett Butler (above centre, flanked by Jason on the left and THE UNDRAWN director Jeffrey P. Nesker) about their new direction towards more traditional genre cinema, when simultaneous orgasms are a bad thing, and why you should kick them a couple bucks to help make THE UNDRAWN a reality.
You released a whole series of teasers for this project instead of just one, like most filmmakers. What was the idea behind this campaign?
We’re releasing a series of trailers for this project because we want to fully immerse people in the world and the characters of THE UNDRAWN. Basically we wanted to show the characters and their twisted and deviant world rather than just telling people about it, so we put our all our own money in and shot the teasers. It’s kind of an appetizer to let people decide if they want more!
Digging through my old files yesterday I turned up some original scans of art that John Paizs created for his film CRIME WAVE . John gave me a copy of some of the scans that were made of his work a few years back and they’re just too good not to share. Here’s a few of the travel brochures that John designed for Steven’s trip to meet Dr. Jolly:
I’ve added some additional images to the interview we did with John back in 2007. If you’re a fan of the film you don’t want to miss them.
Here at Canuxploitation we usually focus on feature-length films, but of course there’s a whole lot of bloody and brilliant shorts being made, especially right now with so many genre festivals cropping up across North America and around the world. Saskatoon-based Bad Monster Films programmer Tyler Baptist of (who previously contributed a CanFilm Five) gave us a sneak peek at his new effort, MANTIS IN BLACK LACE, which should meet the approval of Canuxploitation buffs– cool slab of sinema that’s perhaps even more twisted than its nameske 1968 feature. Check it out:
Canuxploitation contributor James Burrell forwards this pic from Toronto Comic Con last week. Jason and Vincenzo appeared at a panel called “Adventures in Canadian Genre Movies” moderated by Rue Morgue magazine editor in chief Dave Alexander.