Monday, January 7, 2008

How I Discovered Ellen Page

(Edit - I just saw Juno last night. I'll be reviewing it later, but for now let me just say that everything everyone has been saying about this film is true. Go see it immediately. Tonight!)

(Oh, and the red hoodie's back...)

I watched Ellen Page being interviewed on Letterman last night. Despite being obviously nervous and Letterman trying to paint her as a rube from some minor burg in Outer Canuckistan called 'Halifax', she nonetheless KICKED ASS! Funny as hell, and totally held her own.

They didn't spend a lot of time talking about 'Juno' (which I fully intend to see this weekend), but it was immensely entertaining to watch as she educated Dave about the collapse of the Maritime fisheries, the beauty of Newfoundland and the Halifax Explosion of 1917. And all the while her little movie has moved up to number five at the box office, with Oscar buzz galore.

I'm proud as a peacock because I, in fact, discovered Ellen Page.

No, no on X-Men. And not in 'Hard Candy' either, although I remain one of about a dozen people who actually own the DVD of that brilliant little film. No, it was three years ago on 'ReGenesis' where I first spotted our little Ellen, stealing every scene as Lilith Sandstrom. I knew right then that girl was going somewhere.

Ok, so maybe there a few die hards in the Maritimes who saw her in 'Marion Bridge', but hey - they get everything first. Even the sunrise. Still, in a few months when she steps up to accept her Oscar for Best Actress and all of Canada cheers for Our Girl from Halifax, I can confidently say, "She's mine. I found her."

(just so you know, I also discovered Robin Williams)

I mentioned 'Juno' to a customer at the video store recently, and I got what has become an annoyingly familiar response:

"Oh, that's that CANADIAN movie, isn't it? EW! I can't STAND Canadian movies!"

I'm pretty sure this is what got me into my arrangement with Murray.

I pointed out that Juno's status as a 'Canadian' movie is technically dodgy (Canadian everything but U.S. money = ?), then asked him if he had seen 'Eastern Promises'. He said he had and he liked it, but insisted that it could not possibly be a Canadian movie - presumably because he liked it. I actually got into an argument with him over which movie was more technically 'Canadian' (on paper, 'Eastern Promises' wins because it's a co-pro).

I really must stop arguing with the customers at work.

All of which leads me to ask, what the fuck is with this visceral reaction people seem to have against Canadian movies? Honestly, I don't get it. I could understand maybe 20 or 30 years ago when most Canadian movies were obviously low budget and of questionable entertainment value unless you were a horror fan or spoke French. But now? When "indie films" are the big thing and all Canadian films are about as "indie" as you can get?

If all you like are big blockbusters with explosions and gunfire and Will Smith or Matt Damon, then fine. Go for it. But if you like smaller, quirky, and (Gods forgive me) character-driven films, then Canadian movies are made for you. This year alone, 'Away From Her', 'Fido', 'Eastern Promises', and yes, 'Juno' (despite the American backing) are all movies we can be proud of, and the latter two have actually been making serious money at the box office despite pathetic promotion and distribution.

I've gotten to the point where I don't dare mention that a movie is Canadian until the customer brings it back and says that they liked it. Then I get smug.


  1. We watched "Eastern Promises" the other night and quite liked it. The last pairing of Cronenberg/Mortensen made me want to dig my brain out with a spoon (can't remember why now, just that I really, really didn't like it), so I was skeptical. I'm glad Fred talked me into it. "Juno" and "Fido" are also on the to-be-watched-list.

  2. No way, dude. I discovered Ellen Page in the adorable LOVE THAT BOY followed closely by MARION BRIDGE, at which point I called her as being as huge as she wants to be, career-wise — and I was living in Vancouver at the time not the Maritimes. Sorry.

    You can have Robin Williams though.

    How great was she on REGENESIS - she acted circles around everybody, even Outerbridge. it almost wasn't fair to the actors sharing the scenes with her.