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A young director intent on making "the greatest color crime movie ever" can't seem to finish his script--he has a beginning and an end, but he can't quite figure out the middle. The daughter of his landlord, excited to have a real "movie person" living nearby, tries to help by putting him in touch with a man who wants to collaborate on a script--the strange "Dr. Jolly". Written by
There was often no more than three crew members on set, and sometimes only John Paizs himself. See more »
Next, Steven showed me a tape-recording of a speeding car that lost control and smashed a camera he borrowed from the National Film Board of Canada. He lost $2000, and when his movie came out almost nobody liked it.
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I think I've seen this movie about 30 times, all the way through.
If you haven't seen Paizs's film work before, you may or may not know that he later directed remote segments for The Kids in the Hall ("It's a Fact!" and "30 Helens Agree", etc). I saw Crime Wave shortly after it came out, and then I taped it off CBC, at which point I've shown it to everyone who's come to my place. 30 viewers agree, it's one of the funniest, darkest, quirkiest movies ever to come out of the Canadian prairies, Canada in general, or anywhere.
The plot points have already been covered in the other reviews, but there are a few other things I could mention. For instance, I figured that the colour and lighting were an homage to all those National Film Board shorts we watched in high school. I asked Paizs about this, and he confirmed it.
The dialogue is sharp, the satire is pointed, and the acting has an edge.
Some fun moments:
Steven and Dr Jolly's dead-of-night meeting in the cornfield outside Sayles, Kansas;
The masquerade party where Steven shows up shirtless, painted up with green camouflage markings, festooned with dynamite and holding a detonator -- his costume was of a guy who blew himself up in a bank;
Inside the traffic-counting booth, where Steven's friend has three buttons to push: left turn, right turn, and straight ahead. When he sees a car sitting at an intersection, Steven's friend has his finger poised and hovering over the buttons, waiting, waiting, waiting to see which button he should push, beads of perspiration forming on his upper lip. Then the car turns left and with relief he pushes the "left" button. Who knew counting cars was so stressful? Go figure;
Eva Kovacs's line delivery throughout the movie, but especially where she shows Steven a letter and says "Steven, Steven, read this! Don't ask why, don't ask how, just read it!";
Steven explaining the concept of "persistence of vision": Keep looking at the dot through two verses of "When the Saints Go Marching In" on the harmonica;
All the assorted movie beginnings and endings that he can't join together, all satires of various genres, and all of which contain the phrase "But from the NORTH!"
This movie is a cult classic and not to be missed!
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