"The difference between the right word and the almost right word...is the difference between lightning bug and lightning." Mark Twain said that, so let me clarify a few things about my previous entry 'Killjoys and Dog Shit". I was disappointed with the WORDS in the headline, "Gross's Passion No Porky's" in the October 21, 2008 print edition of the Globe and Mail. It seemed mean-spirited by design. Not the sort of stuff I expect nor desire from my choice of national newspaper that claims to be Canada's best...if by the best, we mean Central Canada.
Let's get one thing straight. I'm not blindly endorsing Paul Gross's "Passchendaele". I'm not saying anyone should not criticize a movie because it's Canadian. I'm not saying 'go to a Canadian movie because it's good for you, just like eating your veggies.' I DID state in my previous entry, that if a movie is crap, it's crap. My beef is with the article, it's wording and the pissy attitude at The Globe. By the end of James Adams's article, I was confused. Why? Because "Passchendaele" is not an 80's relic like Porky's? "Passchendaele" is not seeking the same audience as those who vend films for beer-swilling University boys who find sticking their dicks through holes in the shower wall as a source of amusement.
What have we learned from this article? That apples are not oranges? With logic like that, I look forward to The Globe's future article on why Canadian beef is not apple pie, and therefore fails to be worth eating.
If you'd like to see another opinion, go to Jim Henshaw'sblogpot.
Now, for the down-side. Money. "Passchendaele" will most certainly have huge problems making it's money back, and most likely will not. Not ever. That makes it a failure, something that should not be rewarded. Unfortunately, we keep rewarding film and television failure in this country. In Mr. Henshaw's blog, he blamesTelefilm for this veil of tears, and I'm inclined to agree.
He has four rules to improve Telefilm. Here they are, with my own two-bits to improve those rules:
Rule One: Anybody who wants to make a movie gets $100,000 from Telefilm. No track records. No rigid application dates. No binders of support material. You got an idea you get 100 grand and one year to make your movie. Telefilm keeps the same budget so when that many hundred grands are gone, the wicket is closed.
You'll need a script and a budget, to show where you are spending the money. No mystery 'juries' assessing a project's merits. If Telefilm wants to behave like a 'studio', then it must make decisions and stop trying to be everything to everyone. Also, if Telefilm continues to back failures, then we have a personnel problem, and people are let go...free to pursue other opportunities. This should not be run like a social safety-net.
Rule Two: You don't make your movie you have to pay the money back and you never get to apply for anything ever again.
Can't improve on that.
Rule Three: You make your movie but it can't get released or doesn't earn its money back, you get to put your name in the hat for a bonus draw of the final hundred grand envelope next year. Hey, it's showbiz, not everything is going to work, but we're also not here just to keep your doors open anymore.
A lottery may not be the best answer, but at least gets rid of the regional bickering and the same faces getting dough to put out another failure.
Rule Four: You make your movie and it makes money. You automatically get $500,000 to make another one. If that one makes money, you get a million the next time around and so on.
Sounds fair. Rewarding success. And that's what it should be about. "Passchendaele" has story problems. It was expensive to make. It's Paul Gross' second kick at the can and there shouldn't be any more if this movie does not make money. But kicking sand at it before it's done it's run, by a newspaper that already had it's chance at a review? That's bullshit.