A Canadian Duet, and no, I don’t mean Celine Dion and Ann Murray

I watched these two movies recently, and they’re only appearing in the same post because of their Canadian content.

Goon – I avoided this movie because it reminded me of Slap Shot, which came out before I was born and I’ve never seen but hate all the same because of my Mom’s ex-boyfriend. His name was Keith and he was a loser. He was a decade too young for her, two decades too immature, unemployed goonof course, lived with his parents, didn’t have friends but loved to hang out at the local hockey rink trying to get the kids to call him “Ogie”. No one ever did. He was probably borderline mentally challenged, now that I think about it. Anyway, he was a creep, and anything he touched, I’d be turned off of for years. So a lack of comedies about hockey didn’t strike me as a national tragedy, but it did to Jay Baruchel, so he and Evan Goldberg set about to adapting this book into a film treatment.  I have mad love for Baruchel but it still wasn’t until a fellow blogger suggested that this movie wasn’t awful that I finally gave it a chance. Sean William Scott stars as a guy who isn’t good at anything except taking 6-Goon-BaruchelPatHollihan1a-e1330461849638punches, and giving them. A scrap gets him noticed by a local hockey coach, who drafts him onto the team as an enforcer, and once he learns to skate, he joins Kim Coates’ (Tig, from Sons of Anarchy, if you’re bad with names like me) team in the minor hockey league where Liev Schreiber’s thug character has just been demoted from the NHL for remorselessly hitting one too many people. Baruchel also appears as a cable access TV personality and salty-tongued cheer leader, and Eugene Levy plays Scott’s disapproving father. The movie doesn’t exactly break new ground, but it’s a little smart and a little sweet, and it kind of works. A sequel is in the works, with Baruchel set to make his directorial debut.

Stories We Tell – This “documentary” is by Sarah Polley. Does her name mean anything outside of Canada? I grew up watching her as Ramona (we didn’t have proper cable, but my Aunt Joan would send me VHS cassettes in the mail, having taped the episodes diligently from TV. She also starred in Road to Avonlea, a Canadian classic though not exactly my style. And I was also lucky enough to catch her on the stage in Stratford, performing the lead role in Alice Through The Looking Glass. More recently she’s known for having directed Away From Her (which got her an Oscar nom for adapted screenplay) and Take This Waltz. Stories We Tell is her first full-length documentary, though I hesitate to call in that because she really experiments with the form, incorporating re-enactments meant to look like home video, and she cleverly pieces together narrative from several different sources, highlighting the discrepancies in our memories and perceptions. It basically investigates a family rumour that Sarah’s dad is not her biological father. Her mother, who could easily put this argument to rest, died when Sarah was 11. You’d have to see it for yourself, because I’m still not sure if she so carefully protects her family out of compassion or narcissism, but either way it’s compelling.

Sarah Polley apparently turned down the role of Penny Lane in Almost Famous, but you know who did appear in that movie? Jay Baruchel! There you go. Full ciricle. Have you seen either of these? Who is your favourite Canadian actor?

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42 thoughts on “A Canadian Duet, and no, I don’t mean Celine Dion and Ann Murray

  1. kmSalvatore

    Oh Jay you once again made coffee come outta my nose. You description of everything is something else, I do enjoy reading your reviews, and there’s a lot of us who can relate to your childhood too;)!!!! Nope never saw either of these movies and I don’t know who Sarah Polley is either ;). At the moment I can’t think of a Canadian , but I know I have a few. My nose hurts to much;)))))

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Thank you. I’m sorry I repaid that lovely compliment by inflicting a nose injury upon you. Maybe get a milkshake and I’ll be funny again, and the milkshake could soothe the coffee burns?

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Indah Susanti

    I am so sorry, being raised in Indonesia and now living in Europe, I am far behind on Canadian movies – nope never watched these two movies.. I haven’t heard Sarah Polley before but perhaps because I keep forgetting the names of the movie stars..but I know Hayden Christensen as a Canadian actor – Star Wars movies are my fave!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      I haven’t seen any Star Wars, but I really like Life As a House, where he is super good (but it’s super sad!).
      And not to worry, I’d wager most Canadians don’t know these movies!

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  3. Andrew

    I haven’t seen Goon, but Stories We Tell is possibly my favorite documentary of all time…it’s just a perfect film. I love me some Sarah Polley. She may not be a household name here in the states, but she’s a household name to stateside cinephiles.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. domingosaurus

    I can understand avoiding something for no other reason but an association with douchebaggery, BUT you’re missing out if you’ve never seen Slap Shot. There’s some genuine funny laugh out loud moments in that movie. (I liked Goon too.)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. Carrie Rubin

    Hmm, I might have to go with Ryan Gosling (his movie ‘Fracture’ with Anthony Hopkins is still one of my favorites). I also like Rachel McAdams. And, of course, one of the funniest guys out there: Martin Short.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. domingosaurus

        I’ve always been a big fan of Martin Short. It sucks that he just kind of disappeared. I was at some restaurant on a Sunday morning recently, and there was some televangelist show on. I don’t know who the guy was, but for a few seconds I thought it was a new Martin Short character. (I was disappointed when I realized it was actually just some goofy looking televangelist.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. reocochran

        I liked “The Three Amigos” and the other two guys were hilarious, too. Wasn’t there a little girl in this one, too? And yes, I know the difference: “Three Men and a Baby” didn’t have Martin Short 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Sean

        And Martin Short was my dad’s lab partner in university, so that’s 2 asshole connections out of the 3 actors on your list. Maybe Matt knows Rachel McAdams?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. filmfunkel

    Almost Famous kinda had a big impact on me – I’m trying to imagine Sarah instead of Kate and it just won’t compute. :/

    Nice reviews – I concur with kmSalvatore 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      I know, I can’t imagine her either.
      But people really solidify in their roles, and imagining any kind of swap for an iconic role usually fries my brain a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  7. Brittani

    I like Goon. I never would’ve expected to enjoy that one as much as I did. Stories We Tell felt very boring and pointless to me. I had high expectations for it because it got rave reviews, but it just wasn’t for me. Nice write up!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  8. The Knitting Cinephile

    Sarah Polley was also the little girl from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
    Right now I’m simply in love with the Trailer Park Boys, but surely you know that James Doohan was one of the greatest Canadian actors EVER??? And then there’s Donald Sutherland and Nathan Fillion for heaven’s sake. And Christopher Plummer. And Bill Shatner, even. Okay, maybe that last one is more in the realms of Justin Bieber.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  9. reocochran

    I like many that Carrie named but of the 2 listed here, I like Sarah Polley best. I would say Kate did well in Almost Famous and Hayden C. was good in sad House film. I watch the Avengers for brothers sake and Mom likes them, too. Great post but may not see “Goon” unless someone has it on and I s m viditing. My kids sure loved, “The Goonies,” My mind is tired so going everywhere in this comment. Have a great weekend!

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    Reply
  10. emmagc75

    Canadian Actor? The guys from Strange Brew!!! Rick Moranis n Dave something lol. Take off eh? How can u not love Slapshot!?! Forget that creep, it’s a funny movie. I didn’t see it til years later as I was born in 75 but laughed my ass off.

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. Pingback: Canada 150 | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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