Pick your movie of the week: Quintessential Canadian Movies! (June 30-July 6/17)

This next movie week begins with Canada’s birthday so I tried to find the most quintessentially Canadian movies for us to choose from. You may not agree with my picks, but you likely have one listed here that you’d favour over the others. Which ones is it for you?

Strange Brew (1983)

Canadian Bacon (1995)

Bon Cop Bad Cop (2006)

Canada 150: What I celebrate, what I grieve

In a week Canada turns 150 years. On social media we are seeing posts expressing national pride as well as posts that challenge this celebration. I am a very proud Canadian, and it is my duty to love my country. That means more than just love the flag and culture. It means loving my fellow Canadians and loving our land enough to want what is best for it now and in the future, regardless of when it is easy or difficult to do so.

Milestone events are more than just a time to celebrate. They are also a time of remembrance and observance. Therefore…

This year I will celebrate:

  • That we are a united country and have peacefully grown into our independence for the past 150 years.
  • That we have been a collection of diverse cultures coming together—especially Indigenous, French, and English—and staying together over the past 150 years.
  • That we continue to grow as a people becoming more independent and yet more dependent on each other and fostering a positive relationship with other countries and cultures around the world.
  • That millions have sacrificed for my freedom and the freedom of Canadians everywhere.

This year I will observe:

  • That there is an asterisk by the number “150.” People have lived here for thousands of years before white Europeans arrived, and for most of them those years were much better before than after, to say the least.
  • That France, England, and First Nation tribes all battled and warred with one another, and therefore all engaged in terrible behaviour and atrocities.
  • That promises and treaties were broken with First Nation tribes and that they suffered much more than what any of the two other groups can claim.

This year I will:

  • Sing “O Canada” and stand at attention.
  • Watch media coverage of Canadians celebrating across the country.
  • Choose to listen and not respond defensively when hearing the stories of my fellow Canadians. These stories I will look for. They’re all a part of our collective story.
  • Admit to the wrongs that exist now, face them, and seek out solutions to make Canada better. I don’t have major influence, but maybe I can discover little things that, if done by millions, make a big impact.
  • Take the day off.
  • Barbecue.
  • Eat a special dessert.
  • Maybe make a Spotify playlist of Canadian bands and iconic Canadian songs.

This year I will not:

  • Answer with “Yes, but…” when people say our land was stolen by force. Nor when colonialism is cited as part of our foundation. Nor when it is brought up that many of my fellow white Canadians have tried to wipe out Indigenous culture.
  • Act as if the problems are now gone and that Indigenous people are not still being treated unfairly.
  • Act as if atrocities done in the past should just be forgotten because they were so long ago. I don’t do that on November 11 and I will not do that on July 1. (These things listed above would simply be un-Canadian to me.)

Happy Birthday Canada. And Happy Future. Let’s truly move forward.

Congratulations Mrs. Doubtfire. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Sally Field as Miranda Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire.

Best Actor: Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Best Quote:Our situation has not improved.” — Sean Connery as Henry Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) as he and Indiana are trapped between a wall of fire and a room full of Nazis.

I chose to write about something very timely, but I don’t want to completely miss out on singing the praises of Mrs. Doubtfire. It’s a perfect movie for anyone who enjoys Robin Williams—and, really, who doesn’t?—and a perfect movie for anyone who likes hilarious movie quotes—and, again, who doesn’t? The director, Chris Columbus, allowed Williams to do a lot of ad libbing, which brought forth some great lines. My favourite non-scripted line that made the final cut is in the scene when Mrs. Doubtfire throws a lime at the head of his ex’s new love. “She” tries to blame someone else whom she claims ran away and out of sight. “It was a run-by fruiting!”


Pick your movie of the week: Movie Dads! (June 23-29/17)

So this one is definitely late, but today is still Father’s Day, so let’s take a look at some of the greatest movie dads. Which movie and its character would you choose, in honour of Father’s Day, for this week’s movie?

National Lampoon’s Vacation / Clark Griswold (1983)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade / Henry Jones (1989)

Mrs. Doubtfire / Daniel Hillard (1993)

Taken / Bryan Mills (2008)




Pride in my daughter’s veggie-ness

Tonight I watched my eldest child receive her high school diploma. It’s a surreal feeling, and I loved every minute. Honoured to address those gathered about my daughter, I told them how proud I was that she was a vegetarian. Being a meat eater myself, it’s important to point out that my pride doesn’t come from a conviction that this is what all people should do. But my reasoning falls into three main categories:

INITIATIVE. Leah made this decision on her own. She did not get this idea from family. If I have any vegetarians in my family, it would be a cousin or uncle with whom I haven’t connected in a while, and am therefore unaware. She was also not responding to peer pressure. She had a fellow graduate in her class who is vegan, but other than that, the student body—and her community—-is made up of hunters, farmers, fishers, and lovers of bacon-wrapped scallops. Now if I was to hate vegetarianism, I’d probably claim that she was brainwashed by the internet. Or watched Bambi too many times. But that would be a silly exercise in pettifogging. The fact is simple. Leah learned about it, read about it, talked about it, thought long and hard about it, and made the decision herself. She is a woman of conviction. That I admire.

PERSISTENCE. I have a sister who doesn’t like ice-cream much, whereas I can’t get enough of it. I tell her she’s crazy every once in awhile, but that’s about it. For Leah, being a vegetarian is a conversation ice-breaker that keeps going long after the ice has been broken, melted, and evaporated. None of us realize we do this, but when we meet someone who’s different from us, particularly if it’s because of a choice they’ve made, we tend to put it at the front of our conversations with them. Also, consider the fact that I hardly ever drink orange juice or eat oranges. No one has ever asked me in 20 years where I get my vitamin C. Yet, in the past 3-4 years Leah’s been asked where she gets her protein on at least a monthly basis. She sometimes will engage and argue, but she’s learning how to handle it, and beautifully at that.

INFLUENCE. Leah has taught me many lessons in her meatless journey. As much as I love meat, I should be more concerned about how animals are treated in the food-making process. I should also think more about what I’m eating and whether or not it’s a wise choice or not. And I have to say that I’d be a fool to think I’m the only one who gets inspired by this wonderful woman. The number of people she will impact will only grow with each passing year.

But my pride in Leah reaches far beyond this, as I’m sure you can imagine. Though I have the apprehension and worry that any parent has in letting their child go, I am pleased at how Leah is entering adulthood and am excited about her heading out on her own. You’re the best my little cheeseburger!

Congratulations Leah—and Ice Age. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Angelina Jolie as Tigress in Kung Fu Panda (2008).
Best Actor: John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth in Ice Age (2002). However, I have to say I think Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs may be my favourite cast ensemble in an animated movie. Mr. T, Andy Samberg, Anna Faris, Bill Hader, and James Caan was the perfect mix.
Best Quote:You know what you are, Flint Lockwood? A shenaniganizer! A tomfool!” — Mr. T as Earl Devereaux in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009).

And as I also quoted in that speech last night, this excerpt from “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol is for Leah:

I don’t quite know
How to say how I feel
Those three words
Are said too much, they’re not enough
I need your grace
To remind me to find my own
If I lay here,
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That’s bursting into life
All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They’re all I can see
I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things
Will never change for us at all

Animation Superlatives

I loved animated movies as a kid, and I still do now. Here is a list of my own favourites in all kinds of categories. Feel free to share your own.

Greatest animated movie: TIE: Dumbo (1941) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Greatest animated movie storyInside Out (2015); Close 2nd and 3rd: Finding Nemo (2003) Toy Story (1995)

Greatest animated movie character (female): Cruella DeVil, 101 Dalmations (1961)

Greatest animated movie character (male): Timon, The Lion King (1994)

Greatest animated movie villain: Scar, The Lion King (1994)

Greatest animated movie quote: “To infinity and beyond!” — Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story (1995)

Personal favourite animated movie quote“Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” – Anton Ego, Ratatouille (2007)

Funniest animated movie character: TIE: Genie (Aladdin, 1992) and Donkey (Shrek, 2001)

Funniest animated movie: Shrek (2001)

Saddest animated movie: The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Most attractive animated movie character (male): Flynn Rider, Tangled (2010)—as voted by my daughters

Most attractive animated movie character (female): There are too many. Animators love drawing beautiful women. Maybe Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Ugliest animated movie character: Yubaba, Spirited Away (2001)

Personal favourite animated Disney movie character: Wall-E, Wall-E (2008)

Personal favourite animated non-Disney movie character: Sid the Sloth, Ice Age franchise.

Greatest non-speaking animated character in film: Dumbo

Miscellaneous Non-Opinion Movie Superlatives:

  • Oldest animated on standard film: Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)
  • First animated character to be merchandised: Felix the Cat (1920)
  • First known animated feature film: El Apostól (1917, Argentina)
  • Oldest surviving animated feature film: Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926; German/French)
  • First film ever to receive an Oscar for “Best Animated Feature”: Shrek (2001)

Congratulations Shrek. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Cameron Diaz as Fiona in Shrek (2001).

Best Actor: Sacha Baron Cohen as Julien in Madagascar (2005)

Best Quote: Pinocchio: “I’m not a puppet, I’m a real boy!” Captain of the guards: “Five shillings for the possessed toy. Take it away.” — Shrek.

Shrek is definitely a movie that you’ll want to read its IMDb trivia page. Sometimes stuff on that part of the website isn’t completely reliable, but there are so many interesting bits of info that I’m sure you’ll love. To read it, click here.

Pick your movie of the week: Non-Disney Computer Animated! (June 9-15/17)

Disney and Pixar have unarguably made the greatest computer animated films in the last 20 years. But out of the ones made that were not under their banner, which would be considered greatest? Here are three of the most celebrated ones. Which one is your pick?

{For those of you thinking, “What about…?” Well, this is a part I. We will have a part 2 to this category of nominees later this summer. Maybe even a part III with a final sudden death vote!}

Shrek (2001)

Madagascar (2005)

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)