Volume 93, Issue 53

Friday, December 3, 1999


Weekend Pass

Miller turns Fifty with flair

Undercovers lose ska disguise


Hellcat shouldn't get the boot

Canadians ride into the sunset across the border


Canadians ride into the sunset across the border

We love America. We as Canadians love to support American industry and ideas. Do you think I'm wrong? Do you say you don't lap at the bosom of American culture and advertising? Well, somebody does.

Classical Hollywood movies have forever presented the world in a certain way. The male hero swashbuckling his way out of a crisis for the love of a good woman – squashing villainy with his bomb-defusing good looks.

Canadian films, such as those of Atom Egoyan or Patricia Roxema, are known more for their aesthetic beauty and realistic characters. "Heroes" are often fraught with emotional flaws and psychological problems. If they even saw a gun they would probably start shaking or pass out, not hold it at the hip and spray a room full of evil into the ground.

It's fun to shut down the old noodle and absorb a good escapist classic occasionally, but what exactly do we say about our society when Sleepy Hollow gets demoted to a small venue – The Capitol theatre on Dundas Street – usurped by the new Bond flick. Obviously, The World is Not Enough is a big budget insta-hit with a big time hero we can relate to and live through, while Sleepy Hollow is made by a eccentric director and features a hero who hides in his room because he's scared. Bond never gets scared.

Economics clearly dictates that Bond gets the bigger theatre, but I think its because we love our British/Americanized big brother and wish we could be like him. The bigger the budget, the more chivalrous the hero, the better. The further away we get from real issues we deal with as people, the more successful the movie.

For those of you who didn't notice, Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter was nominated for two Oscars in 1997 but lost to Titanic. Titanic had Leonardo DiCaprio and The Sweet Hereafter had a repressed little lawyer trying to feed his neuroses. Why did a movie which does not involve any kind of intellectual interaction fare so much better than a movie which requires an intellectual investment?

It did so because everybody, including Canadians, loves an American hero and it's easier not to think during a movie.

Are we wired to take the path with the least difficulty, to live vicariously through these heroes? Do we relegate films which suggest imperfection, psychological instability or paralyzing fear to the fringes? Judging by The Capitol theatre, yes we do.

Mark Lewandowski can be reached at mlewando@julian.uwo.ca

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Copyright The Gazette 1999