Thursday, December 14, 2006

Canadian Bacon: Grade A


Canadian Bacon

John Candy, Alan Alda, Rhea Perlman, Kevin Pollack, Rip Torn. Writer, Producer, Director= Michael Moore.

This is an old DVD (1995) but I only just discovered it. A U.S. president with sinking poll numbers (Alda) manufactures a new “cold war” with Canada to boost his stature. Candy is a patriotic Niagra Falls Sheriff who takes his team into enemy territory for sabotage (littering a beach- Canadians hate that). The movie is filled with satirical jokes about Canadian and American stereotypes and Americans’ shameful ignorance of Canada. It is laugh a minute enjoyment. It has the pace and form of a Leslie Nielsen comedy, with some allusions to Dr. Strangelove, with an overarching political theme. In an article in The Nation, Moore said he was appalled when GW Bush manufactured an “axis of evil,” sold it to the people, then started military actions. Events since then make the movie’s ridicule of American foreign policy look prescient. Moore also noted in his article that distributor Polygram (owned by Dutch company, Phillips) thought the movie was “too political” and released it only to a few dozen theaters then put out only a handful of DVDs, so the movie would not get seen. However, it has become popular by word of mouth, for good reason. Wag the Dog, which came two years later, told the same story without humor, and enjoyed wide theatrical release, so maybe there is more to the Polygram incident than Moore reveals.

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