Oh, Canada.

Like a lot of my progressive bretheren here in the US, I’ve got a crush on my neighbor to the north. At times, it’s a full-blown case of Canada envy. A growing economy, progressive social policy, functional health care, a positive international reputation… it’s enough to make a liberal look longingly at that 49th parallel.

My wife and I have been indulging our Canadophilia via media, especially the strange, quirky, funny television shows like Slings and Arrows and Trailer Park Boys. Throw in a little televised curling, and I’m set for the seven months of winter, thank you very much.

So you can imagine how pleased I was to discover that Air Canada’s beautiful new Embraer 190s have seatback video systems that include a wide selection of Canadian and Franco-Canadian films for your viewing pleasure. Flying home from Toronto last night, I sampled Shaolin Delivery Boy, a charming short about a Sino-Canadian actor who can only find work by assuming a fake Chinese accent and learning the martial arts, before digging into Weirdsville as a main course.

It’s this second film that made me realize I wasn’t on a US carrier. The first ten minutes feature a dead rat in a toilet bowl, heroin use, loan sharking, prostitution and ice-skating down a street in bare feet. As we were landing in Boston, the film’s protaganists were being beaten with a curling stone and broom. Needless to say, this film is now on top of my Netflix queue. And I’m trying to imagine just how much of the film would remain uncensored if it were to be shown on American television, never mind in the main cabin of an American airliner. Perhaps the closing credits.

Oh Canada, that frigid, yet funky land. You have ever so much to teach us.

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