After re-watching Goon (2011) this week, I realized that I have a sweet spot for films made by those fuzzy, drunken, northern-neighbours. Here then is a top-ten list of my favourite Canadian films.
A quirky comedy following a young high school couple, Ellen Page and Michael Cera, as they experience the world of teen pregnancy. The best comedies are able to tip toe between the seriousness of a gloomy situation and the hilarity that life can contain. I recommendable film for just about anyone.
Also dealing with pregnancy, but in a complete opposite way, David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises is a master of filmmaking. This film’s supposed to take place in London, but with a lot of the shooting and casting being Canadian, I think it should make the list. The cast includes Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, and Vincent Cassel involving the Russian Mafia. Not a film for the faint of heart.
- Away From Her (2006)
This is an incredibly sad story about a husband and his institutionalized wife with Alzheimer’s. The Canadian director, Sarah Polley, made a force of a film that finds the wife soon forgetting about her husband and shifting her love to another man within the institution. Away From Her is a very sombre film that is worth the viewing even though you’ll ache for days afterwards.
- Canadian Bacon (1995)
This film is probably the most well known Canadian film from my generation. John Candy, as a Niagara Falls Sheriff, and Alan Alda, as the US President, team up to make a hilariously silly film about the US starting a cold war with Canada to try and boost the economy. Also, Michael Moore directed the film before he became too politically correct and opinionated.
- Wayne’s World (1992)
Would any Canadian top ten lists be complete without Mike Myers?
- Goon (2011)
See my review here.
- Strange Brew (1983)
“This movie was shot in 3B – three beers – and it looks good, eh?”: Bob McKenzie
A favorite film of mine growing up due to its overly-quirky, dry humour, Strange Brew is about Bob & Doug McKenzie as they get their dream job at the Elsinore Brewery under unusual circumstances. The plot is pointless, the dialogue is numbing, but there are crazy hockey players, sweet mullets, and terrific one-liners. Crack a Molson and watch or take off you hoser.
- Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
A horribly depressing documentary about events that seems too unbelievably frustrating to have actually occurred. To put it into perspective, how many documentaries have actually caused changes in public policy due to its story? This is one of them.
- Barney’s Version (2010)
This film was one of favorite from this year and I was surprised it never received the audience it deserved. Paul Giamatti plays his normal curmudgeon character, but as this film expands several decades within it’s story, you get to see the changes in his mental state and personal life.
- Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)
The inventive comic book comedy from director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) follows Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) as he defeats his new girlfriend’s evil seven exes. The film has a constant flow of ADD flowing through its veins, but with deceivingly good dialogue and terrific side-characters, it is definitely worth watching.