|Index||4 reviews in total|
An excellent movie for boys (or girls) and their Fathers to see together. Filmed in Sainte Rose du Nord, Quebec. I saw it again recently, for reasons of nostalgia, for the first time since I was a boy. (I grew up in a similar community in Quebec - Sainte Catherine de Hatley - and it made quite a powerful impression then.) I was deeply pleased, however, to find it just as thrilling and enjoyable through adult eyes! Good old fashioned courage, honor, respect for elders and the great outdoors, a little romantic crush, and even a dose of life-lesson sadness are the general themes of the piece, and they are delivered without contrivance through an exciting and often humorous plot. The film moves at a distinctly human pace, and this too I found refreshing. In an age of mile-a-minute roller coaster family movies, Toby McTeague delivers a blast of fresh, cool air.
During its existence, the Canadian film company Filmline International made several attempts to make mainstream Canadian films, "Toby McTeague" being one of them. The movie doesn't seem to have received much of a release anywhere, and seeing it quickly explains why. Certainly, the movie looks surprisingly slick for a Canadian film - obviously some serious money was spent on this project. Also, it's the rare Canadian movie to clearly be set in Canada (though the Canadian references are few and kind of soft.) But the script is a mess. There's barely a plot, and long stretches of the movie unfold with little to nothing advancing the story. Also, most of the characters are surprisingly unappealing, the most guilty being the title figure, who is shown to be stupid and/or irresponsible on a number of occasions. And we're supposed to be rooting for him! It also doesn't help that the electronic music score is both strident and inappropriate for this kind of movie. Kids in the audience will be restless, and their parents will be annoyed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My friend's mother took my friend and I to see this movie when it first
out, when we were six, and it's about this boy whose family own these
gorgeous Huskies that they use for sled-racing...
Since I saw this movie almost 14 years ago, I can't remember TOO many details, (I couldn't even remember the title, although I knew that it had the word "Toby" in it, so I searched here and found it!) except that some funny things happened, like the boy sledding through the school in his underwear, but I do remember that the main character, Toby, is trying to prove to his father that he is responsible/able enough to race the dogs on his own, and he takes them out one day without his father's permission.
I'm not going to spoil the movie by telling you what happens, but one of the dogs (the best dog, incidentally) get hurt, and I used to cry myself to sleep at night because I was so upset about it. I can remember both of my parents sitting on my bed with me trying to convince me that it was only ketchup, that it wasn't really real.
Obviously, it was pretty realistic and a good enough movie for me to remember it almost fourteen years later! There were some pretty powerful scenes involving a lot of emotion - not only between the boy, his father, and the dogs, but also with Toby's love interest, a girl called Sara. Apparently the movie was based upon a book, and now that I know the title, I'm looking forward to locating it and renting it to see if it will still have the same impact on me, all these years later.
It is very easy to watch this movie and hate it simply because of how
dated it is. There are many haircuts which look as if they've been
ripped off from David Bowie, a computer program Toby uses to design his
sled looks like an early MS Paint, and the music sounds like some guy
just bought a synthesizer for the first time and thought it'd be a
really good idea to use it for the entire soundtrack.
To hate it for only these reasons would be silly, though, because there are much more legitimate reasons to hate this move.
First, the acting needed a lot of work. Particularly Toby's little brother who just got very annoying. Although, I credit that little kid for delivering his cheesy lines with a straight face; lines that mostly consisted of terrible insults such as "You're a turkey!" Which brings me to my second complaint, the dialog was abominable. When a competitor is talking to Toby before a race, for example, he tries to psych Toby out by delivering the forceful one-liner "I heard your dogs are ugly, but man, those dogs are ugly!" In addition, the plot is dull and predictable, and the characters are stereotypical (except for the "wise" Native American, Chief Wild Dog, who just seemed to be insane).
The only highlight comes when the camera pans on a childish painting of an almost alien-looking woman, who turns out to be their dead mother, and afterward Toby's little brother explains how Toby is very artistic but he couldn't get this painting "quite right." Sadly, I don't think this was supposed to be a joke.
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