Category: List

Repost – Funniest Canadian Movies

All the DVDs releasing today are old/B movies and TV shows (or anime) so here’s a repost of an old article I did on Canadian comedies. Happy Canada Day!

As you probably already know, I don’t usually go out of my way to see Canadian movies just because they’re Canadian. Maybe that makes me a bad Canadian. Maybe it just means I’ve got high standards. At any rate, that doesn’t mean I never watch any Canadian movies. In fact, some of my favorite comedies of all time were written and filmed right here in Canada with all or mostly Canadian casts and crews. I’ve listed them for you here, just in case you feel like renting something that will make you snort your stronger-and-therefore-better Canadian beer out of your nose at your Canada Day party. Comedy is notoriously subjective, so if you’ve got different favs why not list them in the comments? Bon viewing!

#5. Men With Brooms

Curling is an inherently silly sport, if you ask me. You don’t even have to be physically fit to play it professionally. Add in Paul Gross as the leader of a team consisting of a drug dealer, a mortician, and a guy with the world’s lowest sperm count, Scandinavian villains who wear silver pants, and a dead coach’s ashes packed inside a piece of sporting equipment, and it gets even funnier. Plot wise it follows the ol’ sporting standard: misfit team, come from behind victory, the captain wins the girl, etc. but with any luck you’ll be laughing so hard at their ridiculous antics that you won’t even notice.

Buy Men With Brooms on DVD.

.


#4. Gunless

Yes, it’s Paul Gross again, but with good reason. Gunless is a hilarious Western about an American gunfighter who ends up in Canada, where there’s no guns, gunfighting, duelling, or wonton violence allowed. Suddenly he has no idea what to do with himself. Maybe he should fall in love! Or build a windmill! His clashes (or lack of clashes, if you will) with the local populace are funny, but the best part is the dumbass Mountie character and his much smarter Native “sidekick.” It would have rated higher on the list if it weren’t for some stumbling around in the story department.

Buy Gunless on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
.


#3. A Dog’s Breakfast

This one is a little harder to find because it was an off-season vanity project filmed using favors called in from crew of Stargate Atlantis but it’s totally worth the extra effort. David Hewlett plays a dysfunctional recluse whose major relationship is with his dog. He receives an unwanted visit from his makeup artist sister (Hewlett’s real sister) and her soap actor boyfriend (Paul McGillion, also of SGA), whom he hates and accidentally succeeds in killing. His Telltale Heart-style efforts to hide the body are cripplingly funny, but even better are the hilariously cheesy sci-fi soap clips. Oh, and how’s this for a fun fact: I actually met him!

Buy A Dog’s Breakfast on DVD.


#2. Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy

A spin-off from the popular sketch comedy series Kids in the Hall, Brain Candy follows the story of a mostly inept scientist working for a pharmaceutical company that treats pills like candy and spends money making parties within parties for their more important guests. He accidentally discovers a drug that traps people in their happiest memories while trying to cure depression. Each of the “kids” plays about eight different characters and the whole thing is totally insane yet brilliantly satiric. Everything from the rose colored glasses grandmas wear to view their families to drug companies’ preference for money over safety is fair game.

Buy Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy on DVD.


#1. Bon Cop Bad Cop

Forget Canada, Bon Cop Bad Cop is one of the funniest movies made anywhere. An Ontario/Quebec co-production, it’s about an English cop and a French cop who have to team up to solve the hockey-related murder of a man who was found draped over the “Welcome to” sign at the border between the two provinces. Whether they’re giving a lesson on conjugating French curse words while stuffing suspects into the trunk of their car or arguing in two languages over who’s fault it is that they just blew up a house full of marijuana, the jokes are smart, crude, and hilarious. This is the sort of movie you have to watch several times because you couldn’t stop laughing long enough to hear all the jokes.

Buy Bon Cop Bad Cop on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

Update: Since writing this a few years ago, I’ve seen a few others worth an honorable mention: The Grand Seduction, and The Right Kind of Wrong.

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Top 5 and Bottom 5 Movies of 2013

new-year

2013 is over and it’s time to rank the movies I saw according to their bestiness and worstiness. As I paged through my review notebook listing films according to their secret star rating, I noticed three things. One: franchise films have done well with me this year. Two: I only saw 45 movies. And three: only one of them was bad enough to rate one star. My policy this year was not to waste money on bad movies, but it made me realize that bad movies have their uses. They force you to think about WHY the movie bad, and they make for hilarious reviews. I therefore resolve that 2014 shall be the year of using my Scene points to see crappy movies.

And now, the list. If you don’t agree with it, feel free to argue with me in the comments. That’s what they’re for. Just keep it clean, ok?

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5 Underplayed Christmas Movies

xmas tree

This week, I didn’t feel like paying money to see Christian Bale as Jennifer Lawrence in Scary Hillbillies Took My Family Part 2. It occurred to me that this feeling of not wanting is similar to the feeling of not wanting that comes over me every time someone suggests we watch It’s a Wonderful Life (I’m looking at you, all the TV stations) or Love Actually (Mom) again around Christmas time. If you are also sick of whatever movies made their way into your tradition, allow me to suggest some alternatives:

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Top 5 Horror Movies That Could Really Happen

pumpkin

It’s almost Halloween and this week’s new releases were pretty underwhelming. None of them were even horror movies! Being poor, I’m into voting with my wallet, so I decided to save money and do another list instead of subjecting myself to a movie I knew I wouldn’t like. This list is all about horrifying things that are actually real and could really happen to you (so no vampires, aliens, giant monsters, sharks inside a tornado, etc.) not all of the movies on here are technically horror movies, but I really liked each one and they all contain at least one scene that I wished I could un-see. If you’re a horror fan and you’ve already seen all the good horror movies, or if you’re just looking for new ideas for your Halloween party, maybe this will help you broaden your horizons and/or scar yourself for life.

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Top 5 and Bottom 5 Films of 2012


Well, another year has gone by, so it’s time to look back and see how the 62 movies I saw in theaters stack up against one another. This year’s best and worst movies were easy to choose but numbers 2 through 5 were hard, especially when I thought about them in retrospect – some big ticket movies were great in the theaters but didn’t hold up when I thought about them later. Others weren’t that great to begin with. In the end there were a lot of pretty good movies and a lot of pretty bad movies, but pretty doesn’t make the cut with me. Here’s what did.

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Top 5/Bottom 5 of 2011

It’s the New Year, which means all of the movie sites are slapping together “Best of” lists and starting their Oscar predictions. I don’t bother with Oscar predictions (that would require caring about the Oscars) but I do like to put together a Top 5/Bottom 5 just in case you missed something good or want to revisit a terrible movie and make fun of it some more. Only movies that I’ve seen count, so there are about 65 movies in contention out of the six million or so that were released in 2011. My criteria for winners and losers are rather nebulous – it all boils down to how I feel about it rather than acting or the directing or the effects or whatever.

Wondering if I picked what you’d pick? Click below to find out!

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Remembrance Day Movies

Since I’ll be away at Hal-Con this weekend, I decided to replace this week’s in depth movie review with an overview of films you might want to watch for Remembrance Day.

For most people, Remembrance Day means wearing a poppy on their coat for a week or so, and maybe even going to a ceremony. It’s rote. It’s what they’re supposed to do, at least on the surface. But you’re still missing the point unless you’re really thinking about and appreciating our soldiers, sailors and air men/women. If you don’t find that speeches and documentaries have really helped you understand what our military men and women have and are going through on our behalf, these movies may help. They’re fictitious, but they’re all based on true stories and they have that sense of immediacy that documentaries lack.

I’ve endeavored to include a broad spectrum of viewpoints and experiences, not just US Army ones, so please don’t message me asking where Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down are.

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Favorite Harry Potter Characters

Severus Snape

Played by: Alan Rickman

I can’t delve too deeply into why I love Snape the best out of any of the Harry Potter characters without spoiling The Deathly Hallows Part 2 on you, but suffice it to say I always believed there was more to Snape than what you could see on the surface. It’s easy to be a hero when everyone’s patting you on the back for it, but when you’re universally reviled (even by yourself) and you still keep doing the right thing, even though no one can know, that’s the most impressive thing in the world.


Nymphadora Tonks

Played by: Natalia Tena

J.K. Rowling does take pains to put witches and wizards on footing that is theoretically equal, but the one problem I have with Harry Potter is that the male characters have twice as much impact on the story as the female ones. Tonks is a character who deserves a story all her own. She can change her appearance at will, is a badass Auror with a great sense of humor, and has a really cute love affair with a shabby werewolf.


Remus Lupin

Played by: David Thewlis

For a while Sirius Black was my favorite because he was flashier, brasher, and more obvious in his concern for Harry, but as the series wore Lupin grew on me. Afflicted with lycanthropy from an early age, he dealt with it with quiet resolve, patience, good humor, and solid logic. Though a little ragged in appearance, there’s nothing shabby about his understated dedication to the people he cares about, particularly Harry, who is not even formally tied to him in any way, and Tonks.


Lily Evans-Potter

Played by: Ellie Darcey-Alden, Susie Shinner, and Geraldine Somerville

Lily never actually appears in the stories, but I really feel like flashback segments and secondhand stories us enough information for her to feel real. She was a sweet kid, willing to befriend the bitter freaks and intolerant of any sort of bullying, even from her own friends. She grew into a mom so dedicated she imbued her son with a special magic that saved his life even as it cost her her own. I’d say her character (if not her fate) is something to admire, wouldn’t you?


Neville Longbottom

Played by: Matthew Lewis

Neville is the character I would have focused on if I was writing a children’s story in the Harry Potter world. A clumsy, underappreciated nobody, Neville comes through again and again in battle despite his fear. His parents were tortured into insanity by Death Eaters, leaving Neville quiet but intensely loyal. He runs an underground resistance movement after Hogwarts is captured. He is the boy who could have been Harry Potter if anyone had bothered to pay attention to him at any point in his life.

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Funniest Canadian Movies

As you probably already know, I don’t usually go out of my way to see Canadian movies just because they’re Canadian. Maybe that makes me a bad Canadian. Maybe it just means I’ve got high standards. At any rate, that doesn’t mean I never watch any Canadian movies. In fact, some of my favorite comedies of all time were written and filmed right here in Canada with all or mostly Canadian casts and crews. I’ve listed them for you here, just in case you feel like renting something that will make you snort your stronger-and-therefore-better Canadian beer out of your nose at your Canada Day party. Comedy is notoriously subjective, so if you’ve got different favs why not list them in the comments? Bon viewing!

#5. Men With Brooms

Curling is an inherently silly sport, if you ask me. You don’t even have to be physically fit to play it professionally. Add in Paul Gross as the leader of a team consisting of a drug dealer, a mortician, and a guy with the world’s lowest sperm count, Scandinavian villains who wear silver pants, and a dead coach’s ashes packed inside a piece of sporting equipment, and it gets even funnier. Plot wise it follows the ol’ sporting standard: misfit team, come from behind victory, the captain wins the girl, etc. but with any luck you’ll be laughing so hard at their ridiculous antics that you won’t even notice.

Buy Men With Brooms on DVD.

.


#4. Gunless

Yes, it’s Paul Gross again, but with good reason. Gunless is a hilarious Western about an American gunfighter who ends up in Canada, where there’s no guns, gunfighting, duelling, or wonton violence allowed. Suddenly he has no idea what to do with himself. Maybe he should fall in love! Or build a windmill! His clashes (or lack of clashes, if you will) with the local populace are funny, but the best part is the dumbass Mountie character and his much smarter Native “sidekick.” It would have rated higher on the list if it weren’t for some stumbling around in the story department.

Buy Gunless on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
.


#3. A Dog’s Breakfast

This one is a little harder to find because it was an off-season vanity project filmed using favors called in from crew of Stargate Atlantis but it’s totally worth the extra effort. David Hewlett plays a dysfunctional recluse whose major relationship is with his dog. He receives an unwanted visit from his makeup artist sister (Hewlett’s real sister) and her soap actor boyfriend (Paul McGillion, also of SGA), whom he hates and accidentally succeeds in killing. His Telltale Heart-style efforts to hide the body are cripplingly funny, but even better are the hilariously cheesy sci-fi soap clips. Oh, and how’s this for a fun fact: I actually met him!

Buy A Dog’s Breakfast on DVD.


#2. Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy

A spin-off from the popular sketch comedy series Kids in the Hall, Brain Candy follows the story of a mostly inept scientist working for a pharmaceutical company that treats pills like candy and spends money making parties within parties for their more important guests. He accidentally discovers a drug that traps people in their happiest memories while trying to cure depression. Each of the “kids” plays about eight different characters and the whole thing is totally insane yet brilliantly satiric. Everything from the rose colored glasses grandmas wear to view their families to drug companies’ preference for money over safety is fair game.

Buy Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy on DVD.


#1. Bon Cop Bad Cop

Forget Canada, Bon Cop Bad Cop is one of the funniest movies made anywhere. An Ontario/Quebec co-production, it’s about an English cop and a French cop who have to team up to solve the hockey-related murder of a man who was found draped over the “Welcome to” sign at the border between the two provinces. Whether they’re giving a lesson on conjugating French curse words while stuffing suspects into the trunk of their car or arguing in two languages over who’s fault it is that they just blew up a house full of marijuana, the jokes are smart, crude, and hilarious. This is the sort of movie you have to watch several times because you couldn’t stop laughing long enough to hear all the jokes.

Buy Bon Cop Bad Cop on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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The 7 Stages of Being Stuck in a Time Loop

Last week, when I was reviewing the trailer for a movie called The Repeaters, I observed that in movies and TV episodes where a character ends up repeating a day, the character always goes through the same emotional progression, even if they don’t do the exact same things. It’s almost like the 7 Stages of Grief. I call them the 7 Stages of Being Caught in a Time Loop and I’ve laid them out for you here with an example that I made up myself.

1. Confusion

“La la la, I’m walking to school… argh! Dog poop! Wait… didn’t I step in dog poop yesterday? In the exact same place? What a weird coincidence.”

2. Disbelief

“No, no, no, it’s clearly not possible that this day is the exact same as the last day. Even if my homeroom teacher just gave us the exact same assignment. And is wearing the same clothes two days in a row… along with everyone else. It’s clearly all just a hugely elaborate practical joke.”

3. Curiosity

“Time for an experiment. If today is exactly the same as yesterday, then I should be able to kick out behind me right NOW and hit that jerk in the balls before he can sneak up behind me and put a spider in my hair… holy s*** it worked!”

4. Recklessness

“If tomorrow is just going to be today all over again, it really doesn’t matter what I do right now – like strip off all my clothes and run naked through the cafeteria! Wheeee!!”

5. Frustration/Hopelessness

“Ugh, god, how many times am I going to have to sit through this day? I’ve already stolen a boat, painted the school lime green, let chickens loose in the boys’ locker room, and exploded the chemistry lab. I give up. My fountain of creativity has gone dry.”

6. Determination

“That’s it. I’m not going to stop until I figure out why I’m repeating this day! You think maybe it has something to do with those green sprinkles mom put in my cereal after I complained about how she always serves the same thing for breakfast?”

7. Understanding

“Okay, what’s the antidote for green sprinkles? Red sprinkles? Nope. A tuna fish sandwich? Nope. Asking mom to lay off the sprinkles? Nope. Not eating the cereal? No again. Geez, something’s gotta work. Maybe I should just tell her I’m sorry already. Hey! There we go! This whole thing was just to teach me a lesson!”

Test out this formula by watching one of the following yourself: Groundhog Day, Source Code, Triangle, The Repeaters, The X-Files episode “Monday”, the Supernatural epsisode “Mystery Spot,” the Fairly OddParents Christmas special, or any one of a vast number of time-loop related stories. You can even read a book if you’re so inclined. Todd Strasser’s Help! I’m Trapped in the First Day of School and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, are likely candidates.

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