Canadian film needs help — not because it’s bad, but because it’s good.
The Genie nominations were announced Wednesday, revealing a roll call of films including Incendies and Barney’s Version that stand up well against anything worldwide, be it The King’s Speech or the double rainbow guy.
At least I assume the Canadian films are great. I haven’t seen them yet, and neither have most of you.
Therein lies the problem. While I will likely see both of those films, you can bet that my chances of seeing any of the other Genie nominees is the same as me getting in line for Twilight 4, the one where Edward Cullen comes out of the closet (but only when invited).
The problem is not Canadian films, which are usually excellent. It’s that we, as a nation, suck at hype.
Filmgoers consume pop culture the same way people buy groceries: We go for what’s at eye-level first, the less reaching the better. We will go to what has exciting trailers, fast food tie-ins, and off-camera controversy.
Subsidies for Canadian film should be used to put money where our mouths are — keeping Canadians talking about film all year round, no matter what the movies are. Here are a few ideas:
There are difficulties promoting Canadian films, given their typical subject matter. For instance, the great Canadian movie The Sweet Hereafter is a heartwarming story of incest, paralysis, and dead schoolchildren, which are difficult concepts to build a Happy Meal around, even with the damaged schoolbus toy.
So I propose Melancholy Meals that embrace the ennui of a Canadian winter and give our children something bigger to chew on. For instance, you can have a burger your way, or you can have Barney’s Version, complete with chewed-off cigar bits for dessert.
Adult film tie-ins
For example — PassionDales, or Sex, Lies, and Videodrome.
Finally, imagine the stirring scene if Ricky Gervais hosts the Genies.
Ricky Gervais: Good evening ... you bunch of sods!
Canadian crowd: He’s right! We’re sorry!
With the proper hype, the Genies could become just like the Oscars. People will have Genie pools where they try to guess the winner of Best Actor You Know From Somewhere, people will ooh and aah at what Gorden Pinsent is wearing this year, and the girl in the shower in Porky’s will captivate during her lifetime achievement speech.
I even have an idea for my own movie. I can’t reveal too much right now, but let me whet your appetite with two words: Triple rainbow.