Beyond Twitch City
Movie night last night and what a great choice we made, if I do say so myself. I was getting mighty tired of the formulaic dreck we've been seeing lately (*cough* Amityville Horror *cough*), so managed to grab one that we've been wanting to see for a while.
Childstar tells the story of a film being shot in Toronto that is the vehicle for an increasingly troublesome 12-year old megastar, who disappears shortly after his arrival in the company of a model/actress/sometime prostitute.
The wunderkind of Canadian cinema, Don McKellar, wrote, directed and stars in this film. He plays the part of an experimental film-maker who takes the job as driver for this childstar and his mother. I've been somewhat of a fan of Don McKellar since the days of Twitch City, the quirky and surprisingly compelling tv series about a recluse who spends his days and nights watching television in his apartment.
With Childstar, McKellar cements his claim as one of Canada's more interesting film-makers. He is like Atom Egoyan, but with a sense of humour. Because Childstar is very funny. It's a subtle humour, but we're all grown-ups, right? We don't need laugh tracks to tell us when something is funny.
Perhaps one of the most brilliant moves was casting Alan Thicke (Alan Thicke!) as the dad in the sitcom for which this kid is famous. Thicke is amazing as he channels William Shatner in this role. I don't know what it is about bad Canadian actors being so good at parodying themselves, but I applaud it and personally will never tire of it.
Another pleasant surprise was the subltety which Jennifer Jason Lee brings to the role of the manipulative, opportunistic, but oddly detached Hollywood mother. She could so easily have chewed up the scenery in this role, but she plays it very low-key, to great effect.
And Sloan even makes a cameo appearance! They were hilarious, even if Chris Murphy didn't do any scissor kicks.
Canada's film industry is miniscule compared to the bohemoths of Hollywood and Bollywood. We'll never compete when it comes to blockbusters or extravagansas, and I don't think that's where our strengths will ever lie. Let's stick with the little gems like Childstar that aren't being made anywhere else.