Just Keep Swimming

Celebrating Canada Day With Some Personal Favourites

Today is Canada Day, a day when all Canadians can wave their flags and dress in red and white.  I am very proud of my nationality, and decided that the best way to celebrate today would be to list three of my favourite Canadian television shows and movies.  People may say that some of my picks don't necessarily show the depth of what we produce, but I say 'humbug' to that.  These are all works of art that touch me personally that I have spent a lot of time with.


SCTV - A sketch comedy about a fictional television studio, and was full of its various programs.  Starring Canada's best comedians such as Eugene Levy, Harold Ramis, John Candy, Catherine O'Hara (one of the funniest people in the world), Dave Thomas and others, I was hooked from the very first episode I saw.  The brand of humour was perfect for my developing brain and constantly brought the laughter.  I will never forget The Battle of the PBS Stars, a boxing match between Julia Child and Fred Rogers.

The Kids in the Hall - Another sketch comedy, The Kids in the Hall started airing when I was nearing the end of elementary school.  It quickly became the show to watch, and the playground during recess was full of us kids talking about the most recent episode.  The comedy was edgy and not afraid of any topic.  There were a lot of skits about homosexuality, and I feel that their attention to that helped normalized this very controversial topic.  With troupe member Scott Thompson being openly gay, they used humour to destigmatize it.  On top of that, the show was just pure hilarity, and I'm very thankful for Amazon Prime bringing the group back together for a new season.  There are many memorable sketches, but my favourites are probably The King as well as the Trappers.

Schitt's Creek - Not only is this my favourite Canadian television show, it may be my favourite show of all time.  It sees Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara reuniting after performing together in SCTV, as well as numerous films like Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind.  The show follows the Rose family, an exceedingly wealthy crew who lose their fortunes overnight and have to relocate to a small town called Schitt's Creek, which the father purchased for his son as a joke birthday gift. 

While at first it was not a well known show, over the seasons it became more popular.  It's fifth season saw it get nominated for Emmy's for the first time, and the sixth and final season had the show sweeping the acting awards for Comedy Series, as well as winning Outstanding Comedy Series.

I became a fan during the very first season, and I actually got emotional when I first heard of the Emmy nominations.  I have always believed that this sleepy little show from Canada was incredible, and it was so wonderful to see it get recognition from the industry.  Schitt's Creek became a show where those who knew about it loved it, and tried to spread the good word to others.  As funny as it was, it also had some of the best written characters I have ever seen, and the growth through the six seasons was well thought out and touching.  Schitt's Creek is a show that can touch a lot of hearts, and I hope that more and more people get to experience the joy for themselves.

My wife and I quote this show all of the time, and we have seen every episode multiple times.  A few of my favourite scenes are when the family meets Jake, Moira's wine commercial, the contract slap, the pregnancy test, The Crows Have Eyes movie trailer, and when David's store gets robbed.


Cube - Is this the best movie ever made?  Nope.  It is not.  However, it has a concept that is very interesting, and the execution of the premise is done well.  People wake up to find themselves in cube-shaped rooms and have to try and figure out where they are and how to get out.  There are a number of deadly traps, and the film brings a claustrophobic feel as well as playing off of mistrust of others.  When I saw it, I really enjoyed the originality.  This independent Canadian film has also inspired other filmmakers, who have taken the concept and run in different directions with it.

Strange Brew - Once again, this is another Canadian project that has a connection to SCTV.  Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas played the McKenzie Brothers, characters they created on SCTV.  Evil Brewmeister Smith is messing with their beer of choice, and the brothers enjoy nothing more than their brew.  There is an innocence about this film, and it is a fun time if you are looking for something silly and lighthearted.  There are a lot of cynical or mean films out there, and having something that is kind hearted and enjoyable to watch can cleanse the palate in the best of ways.

Fubar - This cult classic, a mockumentary about two headbangers in Alberta has a lot of great improv, guerrilla film making, and a surprisingly touching story.  After months of anticipation, I finally got to see Fubar with two great friends, and it is one of the most commonly quoted films among the three of us.  Movies are best when they bring with them great memories, and I can't think of a film that I remember so fondly as Fubar.  

There is no counting how many times I watched it, and I recall efforts by myself and friends to get others to view it.  It was a hard sell, but what else do you expect when you try and convince people who loved Bubble Boy that this story is actually thoughtful and sweet.  The film experience is both what you would expect from the trailer as well as taking you in directions that you would not have assumed.  It also has one of the most brilliant special features I've ever seen on a DVD, as the two characters give their own commentary on the film.  This ends up almost being like another complete movie, and for fans it is the perfect accompaniment to the experience.