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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

O Canada!

Director Michael Moore is known for films such as the thought-provoking Bowling for Columbine and the angry ranting of Fahrenheit 9/11. Before Fahrenheit and Bowling he made an award winning documentary called Roger and Me, then he made Canadian Bacon. I don’t mean the fatty greasy slabs of breakfast meat named after our neighbor to the North, I mean the John Candy comedy of the same name. Few people know of this film, and fewer still know that it was directed by Michael Moore. The first and only foray into fiction by the ragingly liberal documentarian is a viscious and hilarious farce of American government and common misconceptions of Canadian society. The president (played by Alan Alda) is facing extremely low approval ratings while the economy goes into the toilet. The secretary of defense (played by Rip Torn) has the idea that what the country needs is a war. However Russia is too drained from the last Cold War and far too busy trying to perfect universal indoor plumbing to go for another round; so they settle for Canada. That’s right folks, the president starts a Cold War with Canada. Enter John Candy as Bud Boomer, the drunken, bumbling sheriff of Niagara County, New York. Boomer decides to launch a preemptive sneak attack on Canada with his deputies. They do the worst thing imaginable to a Canadian – they litter in a park. Mounties interrupt them and they accidentally leave deputy Honey (Rhea Perlman) behind. At this point, the movie really takes off. The film acts as a commentary on American politics and ignorance. Using misconceptions about Canada as the basis for several jokes, like when a mounty tells Boomer (Candy) that Deputy Honey (Perlam) was taken to the capital Canada so he goes to Toronto. Another great scene is when Boomer is pulled over by the Canadian version of the state police (Dan Akroyd in an uncredited appearance) because the anti-Canadian graffiti on his truck is only in English, not English and French, the two official languages of Canada. Akroyd then fines him “1,000 Canadian dollars, or 10 American.” The movie does get clichéd near then end when the Canadians are given a device that controls all of America’s nuclear missiles (they believe it’s an advanced weather radar). The director does make a brief appearance in the film as a member of an army of rednecks going to invade Canada, making this the only movie he’s done in which he has less then five minutes of screen time. Other than some uninspired acting by some secondary characters the movie has very few problems. The anti-Canadian propaganda alone makes the movie worth watching (“their evil oozes across our borders like maple syrup”), along with the film’s countless one-liners (“there’s a time to think and a time to act, and this is no time to think.”). I recommend this movie to every political science major and John Candy fan, it is a prime example of our government at work. 4 1/2 stars out of 5.