A Quebecois Elvis impersonator is disillusioned to find a Chinaman participating in an Elvis contest. He later takes his wife on vacation to the island of Santa Banana.Written by
Thomas McWilliams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This low-budget Quebec cult classic is actually an amalgamation of 3 half-hour shorts made in 1981, '83 and '85. It's about the life of Bob (Elvis) Gratton, who's sort of the Babbitt of Brossard: a crass, far-right-wing small-business owner who lives in an unimaginably ugly house in an even uglier Montreal suburb and puts meaning into his life by impersonating Elvis on a local TV show (even though his command of English is tenuous at best). He's in love with all aspects of American culture and is unambiguously federalist - in fact, the film was director Pierre Falardeau's reaction to the Quebec referendum of 1980. The film is meant to give a very negative picture of francophone federalists, but also to show that there's a little bit of Elvis Gratton in everyone (that's the very subtle message of the final scene in the first short).
In many ways this is a very bad movie: subzero production values, embarrassingly puerile slapstick scenes which drag on far too long, etc. But that's all part of its charm, and it's not hard to see how it became a cult classic. Parts of it are very funny, the language is extremely colourful (although those not familiar with Quebec French may need to use subtitles) and it perfectly captures the essence of the kind of petty-bourgeois dullards who are prevalent not just on Montreal's South Shore, but throughout the world, and to a certain extent in all of us. Julien Poulin is wonderful in the title role, but Pierre Falardeau himself is not very good in his cameos, particularly as the American televangelist (his English isn't very good). Definitely recommended. And skip the sequel at all costs.
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