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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Five Best: The Great White North Films

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I've decided to ease us into the holiday season a bit by getting used to the colder weather. For this week's top five, we're looking at the five best films set in our upstairs neighbor, the great nation of Canada. There are a lot more movies filmed in Canada than are actually set there, so I wanted to give the respect to "America's attic." So, here are the five best (and one bonus) films set in Canada, as you ease your way into December and the colder temperatures.

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Most Cronenberg Films

I couldn't pick just one, but most of David Cronenberg's films take place in Canada. Everything from The Fly to The Brood exists in a little world north of border. Cronenberg hails from Canada, so this is really no surprise. To see my list of the five best of his horror film canon, take a look at the link below.

Cronenberg's Five Best Horror Films
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Canadian Bacon (1995)

He's now a documentarian/propaganda-driver, but Michael Moore directed this hilarious story of a president who declares a cold war on Canada to raise his popularity in the polls. Starring the late John Candy and Alan Alda, this satirical look at politics is really all just low-brow, stupid humor, but it certainly works with the cast he's got. Nothing like a good war to get the people on your side.
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The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

Atom Egoyan's brutal look at the effects a school bus accident have on small town is cold, dark, and layered in grief and nobility. Ian Holm stars as a lawyer who heads up north to try to convince the parents of the dead children to bring a lawsuit against anybody he can, struggling with his own demons brought about by his collapsing relationship with his own daughter. Excellent performances and brilliant directing earned the film well-deserved Oscar nominations for directing and writing.
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Frozen River (2008)

Not long before she won the Oscar as Mark Wahlberg's aggressively irritating mother in The Fighter, Melissa Leo earned another nomination for her portrayal of a struggling mother that enters the world of border smuggling to provide gifts for her children at Christmas. Working alongside a Mohawk Indian woman and single mother, Leo plays cat-and-mouse with a New York State trooper as they navigate the frozen waters of the St. Lawrence river and her own ethics.
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Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)

Edgar Wright's "video game on screen" take on the popular graphic novel stars Michael Cera as the title character, fighting off the seven evil exes of his lover interest, Ramona Flowers. Filled with pulpy performances from some talented young actors, it's an imaginative, funny look at what it could be like dating a free spirit like Ramona and proving yourself to her as a viable option for young love. Fun all around, but I wouldn't recommend it to people with epilepsy.
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BONUS: Dear Zachary (2008)

I didn't want to include any documentaries on this list, but I felt I had to mention this absolutely heart-wrenching one. Easily one of the saddest, most enraging films I've ever seen, Dear Zachary is a touching portrait of a father, his son, and the grandparents who worked to right an egregious wrong created by the Canadian government. Warning: This film will ruin your week. It's that devastating. But it's still really good.

So, thanks to all your hosiers up there for being such an interesting place to set movies, ya know? It may be cold, but that doesn't make it miserable, right?

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