Today is National Canadian Film Day, one of the few times where our county’s film industry is celebrated.
Our films may not get the budgets or the star power of Hollywood’s cinematic offerings, but that doesn’t prevent our films from being excellent. We have films that can make you laugh, cry, cover your eyes in fear, and further appreciate our great nation. Throughout this week, cinemas across the country have been showcasing some of Canada’s best, but if you feel like staying in on this National Canadian Film Day, we have some excellent selections for you to check out. This list has something for every patriotic film-lover, so pop some popcorn and top with some maple syrup and enjoy!
Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006)
Who said our country couldn’t produce a mismatched buddy-cop film in the vein of Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours? This film follows a by-the-books detective from Ontario and a wildcard detective from Quebec who must team up to solve a murder conspiracy threatening the greatest Canadian treasure; hockey. It’s a fun and fast-moving flick with a lot of funny moments and gripping action not usual seen in Canadian productions.
Yes, it’s not the most highbrow affair our nation has to offer, but guaranteed you’ve known people like our heroes Terry and Dean. The mockumentary film is loose on plot but heavy on laughs as we follow these two head-bangers through their lives in Alberta. Their days consist of playing guitar, shotgunning beers and growing greasy mullets. It’s not much, but it sure is funny.
You may be surprised to hear that our country produced not only a fairly popular horror film, but also a very effective one. Cube is a low-budget thriller by Hollywood standards but it uses that it’s minimal resources to great effect. The story follows 6 strangers who make up inside a mysterious Rubik’s cube-like maze in which each room contains the possibly of a deadly trap. It’s a tense film that is very well crafted and will keep you guessing the whole time. It’s not for everyone, but if you have a strong enough stomach, you’ll be hooked by the very first scene.
The Grand Seduction (2013)
Seeing as our nation is responsible for breeding some of the funniest people on the planet, it only makes sense that we’ve had our fair share of excellent comedy films. The Grand Seduction is the story of a small fishing community in Newfoundland that is under the threat of going under. To save their town, the colourful locals band together to try and convince a young doctor to move in permanently. No doubt the film’s community of Tickle Head will remind you of one or two places in Canada. And the film is packed with great performers like Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Mary Walsh and Mark Critch.
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)
Too few films have been made about Canada’s native communities and even fewer have reached a wide audience. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner is one of the most widely praised Canadian film ever and continues to be regarded as a near masterpiece. The powerful film tells the story of an Inuit community rocked by tragedy that must then work to heal itself.
We’re the greatest hockey players in the world so it only makes sense that we would be the ones to make the greatest hockey film ever. There’s not a lot of competition in that genre, and Slapshot is not an easy one to beat, but Goon will ring true for anyone who has every laced up skates and grabbed a stick. It follows Doug Glatt, a gentle man who happens to have a great talent for fighting. He’s recruited by a struggling Halifax hockey team to add some muscle on the ice. It’s a hilarious look at the lower-level hockey leagues full of brawlers and scrappers. It’s also more violent than you’d expect for a comedy so be prepared.
A History of Violence (2005)
We can’t talk about Canadian films without mentioning David Cronenberg, one of our most prolific filmmakers. Cronenberg has made so many fine films in his homeland, it’s no easy task to pick just one, but A History of Violence often stands above the rest. The a cast that includes such greats of Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris and William Hurt, it tells the story of a mild-mannered family man who after a feat of heroism find himself marked by dangerous men. It’s a tense, beautiful and, yes, violent drama with excellent performances and memorable moments.
So take the time to enjoy some cinematic acheivements from our nation as we celebrate National Canadian Film Day.