Being Canadian (2015)
What does it actually mean to be Canadian? This humorous documentary, featuring interviews with a who's-who of famous Canadians, hopes to find the answer.
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After playing with our expectations, this turns out to be a very different sort of film.
All of these films share one commonality, that being a kind of emotional center that humanizes a cast of monsters.
The story, direction, characters, and writing/dialogue is akin to taking a tranquilizer shot to the neck, but everything else was so well done.
"Being Canadian" is an okayish documentary but that is how far my praise goes. It is just okayish. Mildly entertaining, at times, and certainly not funny in the slightest. Now before I start I am English so I won't be approaching this from a Canadian perspective as I am an outsider. I do love visiting Canada though which is the main reason I watched this.I have visited the great white north and it is a great place to go look around. Saying that, this documentary does miss a few provinces on its trip around Canada and it seems stupid to me that it misses the Yukon Territory, which is a stunning wilderness, and Prince Edward Island which is a gorgeous place. The journey they take in this film is so rushed that it doesn't feel complete and I can't help but think if they allowed more time to explore properly they would have made a better film. The general question Robert Cohen asks is "what is it that makes Canada and its citizens great?" This is a pretty ambiguous question and one that is answered very poorly by Cohen. He comes to a pretty weak conclusion and to get there just simply mentions clichés about Canada and poses them to famous Canadians. While it is quant to go "holy sh*t Mike Myers is Canadian!!" the amusement wears off very quickly and you start to think what the actual point of him being there is. Most of the famous Canadians don't really shed any light on national history, they just cop out going for the boring questions that people think of to ask a Canadian. Cohen does ask the help of some Canadian history experts but they have about 3 minutes of screen time .that's it! I would have preferred a bit more about Canadian history, as an outsider looking in. The only thing that is really said is that "it is not taught in American schools" which is a bit of a stupid thing to say really. In English schools we aren't taught about Scottish history or Irish history. Just because two countries are attached doesn't give an obligation to teach each other's history. The comedy in this falls so flat at times that it is actually destroying the tone of the documentary. I do understand that some documentaries can be funny as well as educational but in this film it just fails so hard it makes the people look dumb when they say something profound about Canada. For instance there is this stupid bit where Cohen is interviewing Dave Foley in bed with both of them half naked FOR NO REASON!??! It is such a crap joke and has no real context in anything.I wish they had done better with this film as there are some things that were interesting and some interesting facts were presented in a fun way which was very entertaining. I did like the way it shouts Canada's achievements and it did, in places, make me think of the important contributions Canada has made to the world. However most of the documentary was taken up with rehashing Canadian clichés and the input from all of the stars left me a bit underwhelmed. This documentary did not feel like a labour of love done by people who really loved the subject they were talking about. It is just a star studded mess. Sorry EH!
Stereotype everything, skip over half the provinces, and don't even mention the Territories. Being Canadian was pretty terrible. The humour was lowbrow and all he ended up doing was glorifying every typical Canadian stereotype instead of dispelling them.Why bother mentioning that you're making a cross Canada trip when all you show is Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, & BC. You very briefly mention Saskatchewan and Manitoba and completely skip PEI, Newfoundland, and the Territories. As a Canadian, this movie about Canadians was embarrassing. Not well made or presented at all.
I never ever took the time to write a review on a movie, but this movie, I could not help myself. This movie is a documentary exclusively thinking about English Canada. The author rode through Quebec asking about maple syrup and an underage little girl presenting a whole culture. We clearly see how English Canada does NOT understand Quebec. If the author would have been serious about presenting Canada, he should have thought about the following items presenting the second most important culture of the country: Humour: Just for Laughs Festival created by Gilbert Rozon, Andre Phillipe Gagnon (which went on the Tonight Show in the 80s). Jean- René Dufort, Infoman. Sports: Curling? Seriously: Basketball was invented in Montreal at McGill College. Baseball, we had Jackie Robinson. Beat that Toronto. By the way, we have the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada, one of the biggest events on planet earth every year. Hockey? What about the Montreal Canadien, the team that won the Stanley Cup most often in history, and how this team defined our emancipation as a people thanks to Maurice Richard? Music: What about Celine Dion, Arcade Fire, Murray Head? Celebrities: By the way, William Shatner is from Montreal. You could have asked him his thought when you talked about Quebec. Television: What about La Petite Vie, Biggest ratings ever in Quebec. Movies: Patrick Huard with Colm Feore (Bon Cop Bad Cop) = Biggest movie box office EVER in Canada. EVER, as in this movie producer can never expect to get to the level of what a Quebec movie did in ratings in all of Canada. This movie confirms the Canadian solitudes of French Canadian versus English Canadian. Not even talking about the fact that independence has been in the thoughts of more than 35% of the people for the last 40 years is quite insulting to saying that this is a documentary about Being Canadian. Also, bypassing any Native Amerindian reserve is also an insult to the whole of Canada. Definitely a movie thought to make Stephen Harper and political conservatives happy, with Western Canada thought process, not taking in consideration the duality and coexistence of two separate and truly distinctive societies living together. Don't expect to see the full picture of Canada thanks to this movie.
Let me first say that I am proud to be Canadian and I believe that am a funny guy who loves comedies and documentaries. I wanted to love this movie! Hell, I would have settled for 'liking' it! But this was a huge let down. The director and writer 'Robert Cohen' seem to phone this one in. I read his IMDb bio and he seems to have co-written a few episodes of TV shows that I like. So I believed that this movie would be informality funny! It was NOT! Robert Cohen seems to love hearing himself talk and seems to think that he is pretty funny, but is not. At least not in this movie. It did have a lot of interviews with famous Canadians, but each being brief and non-memorable. Sure parts of the interviews made me chuckle a little, but I'm not even sure if most of them were with the director. I believe he just salvaged them from the archives. Robert Cohen (director and writer) narrates through the entire movie with his droning on and on. It's like he was trying to be a funny Michael Moore, but failed miserably. There was very little actual content in this movie. I didn't learn anything new, didn't really laugh, and found myself wanting to turn it off, but stuck with it to be loyal and was hoping it would get better. Sadly it never did. I'm guessing the only reason why this movie became a reality is that it was funded partially or in full by the government or was given huge tax breaks because we require legally to produce and air a certain percentage of Canadian content. There are other movies and documentaries about Canada which are funny. This one is not and didn't need to be made. I am actually wanting to apologize to any non-Canadians who were forced to watch this. Robert Cohen reminds me of a high school chemistry teacher who tries to be funny so the kids will think that chemistry is cool and not boring.