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POUR TOUJOURS LES CANADIENS – Movie Review

17 décembre, 2009

How do you call a movie where the Canadians win the Stanley Cup? A science-fiction movie. HAHAHAHA!Profile Visitor Map - Click to view visits

One year ago, if you stumbled on a loud Montreal Canaidans hockey fan, chances are he sounded like: “Duuude! You know who’s gonna win the Stanley Cup next year? It’s gonna be the Canadians, man, and you know why? I’ll tell ya: it’s because of the freakkin’ 100th anniversairy, man! And one hundred is, like, a lucky number, like… like, shit, I don’t know. But dude, we’ve got the team man! We’ve got Koivu, Kovalev, Latendresse, Price that awesome goaler, and they’re all trained by fuckin’ Carboneau! I mean, there’s no way we can possibly screw this up! Exceleeeent!”

Yeah, that didn’t go out well in the end, didn’t it? And now, we have a completely new, young, inexperienced in our hands. Oh, I could jump in the bandwagon of saying it was their fault, but I think we also must blame you. Yes, you, the loud, dumb hockey fan who can change his opinion of a team in the matter of hours, who can never shut up, who take this sport way too seriously in action and who can can have total disrespect of the opposite team or even their own players – especially in this occasion. I always had a problem with those kinds of fans, so much so that I can find myself laughing at how ridiculous the atmosphere can be. But back at our subject matter; in order to save a part of the honor of the team, Pour toujours les Canadiens has been released in theaters as a simple, feel-good movie about our hockey team… or, well, our hockey team from one year ago.

William a young hockey player who looks strangely like Sidney Crosby (coincidence!) and is having problems with his team because he doesn’t help his teammates, scoring goals without helps. His dad is working on a documentary on the history of the Montreal Canadians (coincidence #2!), and his mom is a nurse at the Sainte-Justine Hospital, which is also celebrating his 100th anniversary (coincidence #3!), and one of her patients is a sick boy, Daniel, who is also a great fan of the Canadians (coincidence #4!) and his favorite player is Saku Koivu, who, if you remember, got cancer a few years back (coincidence #5!). And so, with the help of the Zamboni driver of the Bell Center (coincidence #6!), William will learn about teamwork and become a better player for his team.

You may think that all the interventions in this resume show that I was already biased when I step into the theater – and to be fair, my expectations were low, but that is because it is impossible to avoid the giant holes and the laziness of the script. I know such a movie doesn’t need a dramatic story, with deep characters and all to succeed, but what it needs is a simple, yet good script. The only way I can talk about the scenario is by pointing out several scenes or plotlines that just didn’t make sense. For example, I love the fact that Daniel’s companion of chamber doesn’t look sick at all and seem perfectly able to do skateboard in the hospital’s corridors. I love the fact that the kids think Patrick Roy is ancient times, and yet know about Maurice Richard. I love the fact that the Montreal Canadians are never shown in a match outside of their city. I also love the fact the Zamoni driver – played by Jean Lapointe – has a giant museum in his basement! But in the end, I love those moment because of how ridiculous they are and because they show how rushed the story was. But again, I wasn’t expecting much from it. I was expecting this film to be dumb, kinda weak, but I didn’t expect it to be surprisingly boring.

Because yes, Pour toujours les Canadiens is boring. But not for the reasons you may think… sort of. What I didn’t tell you is that part of the film consists of the documentary William’s father is working on. So we get small videos talking about a player in general, with plenty of old footage from the old days. But this is not what really brings down the experience. The real problem is that you never really care about any of the characters, and I blame that on their introduction to the story, which came out really fast and awkward. The only exception to this rule is William, but for the worse; the movie spends a lot of time establishing how unlikable he is at the starts, by stealing from his parents, not caring about the trainings, and by listening to music brought by the producers. He becomes a true douchebag for forty percent of the film. The rest of the time… well you just don’t care. In fact, if you watch the documentary series about the hockey history made by CBC, you will be much more entertained than by watching this rushed half-movie, half-doc.

The actors are doing an honest job here; they seem to know this is not such a good story, but damnit, they’ve got to act in it. None of them are really notable except for two examples. First off, we have Daniel parents – one of them being played by Réal Bossé, who must cry in every scene they’re in. I know their son is sick and they don’t know what to do with it, but we established that the first time we saw you. You don’t need to pull the same trick two other times. Second, we have, surprise, William, played by Dhanné Audet-Beaulieu. He is, without a doubt, the worst actor in the movie. One of the scenes that get to my head right now is when his parents are angry about him for stealing his father, and he reacts basically like a teenage girl, saying nonsense like “You don’t even know anything about hockey!”. And then, when he becomes a good guy, he’s really gentle with kids and he learns from the driver. He basically feels like Michael Jackson.

“Hey kids, do you wanna see hockey cards?”

The last very I wanna mention, and I absolutely need to, is how they approach the awesomeness of the Canadians. I already mentioned the museum in the basement, but they are other small examples of this. They’re not in depth but they are still here. Mostly, I love the fact that everything brilliant in the film shines way, way too much. Like when Jean Lapointe shows William the banner of the players in the center, the numbers look like they are covered with body glitter. And when Daniel finally sees the Stanley Cup, it’s this magical, massive symbol that shines light into a dark room… oh wait, yeah, they win the Stanley Cup. You didn’t see that coming didn’t you. And Daniel meets Koivu when the team visits the Sainte-Justine Hospital, and he talks in French because that’s just so beautiful. But this also brings something problematic, because now, the film is already outdated. A lot of the players you see in this movie have now left the team, and the small jokes they bring out in the mix do not work anymore… not to say that they could’ve worked, I’m just saying…

There are a lot of hockey fans who want to forget the current season of the Montreal Canadians, and honestly I don’t think it will be hard to forget such a movie. I sorry to tell you this but I found nothing good about Pour toujours les Canadiens. I don’t want to use the term “cash-in” to describe this; in fact, I understand why they made this movie. Problem is they didn’t know what to make for the occasion. So they did a fast, unconvincing script for a feel-good movie and they rushed everything else too. Theirs is truly nothing worthy about it. Then again, I found nothing remarkable about De père en flic beside the formula “Louis-José Houde + Michel Côté = PROFIT”, but if I got into that, this would be review of not a movie, but the entire industry in Quebec. And this doesn’t belong in a review like this.

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