Chronicles of Lameness Department

I just read the following, from someone’s pitch to write and edit press releases on a freelance basis: "I have am an experienced writer and editor who has completed a number of similar projects in the past."


Note: if you can’t find at least two lame errors in the above paragraph then don’t quit your day job for a career in editing.


I just saw the oddest little movie on the lame movie channel, aka MoviePix. It’s called Canvas, from 1992, and stars Gary Busey and Vittorio Rossi. Rossi, as we all know, is a local boy, an acclaimed playwright who earns a buck being urban and gritty in the occasional TV show and movie.

This was a very Montreal movie, but oddly so. At no point in the film was the city named, nor was there even a single word of French spoken or seen. Yet, the film makers were obviously Montrealophiles. Check out these oblique Montreal cues and references that only Montrealais would notice:

  • Just after the openning credits there is a sweeping vista of the Montreal downtown cityscape, from the air. Not Montreal posing as generic city or some other place–it was unmistakeably and unabashedly Montreal.
  • At the protagonist’s art show, the beer bucket was full of St. Ambroise and Belle Guelle beers.
  • Any time anyone drank a beer in the film it was a St. Ambroise (oddly, in green bottles).
  • There were only two other beer references–the sign behind the bartender at the strip bar was a neon "Lite" sign (very American), but one scene had the protagonist cleaning up after a party, carrying a box of Molson Ex empties.
  • Gary Busey plays the owner of an art gallery "on Mountain Street".
  • An art theft occurs at a residence "near Hudson".
  • A character says "I’m going back to Greece–I hate the winters here".
  • There’s a hockey game playing in the background during one scene–and it’s the audio you hear, not just a background image. (Generally speaking, audio backgrounds are more or a concious "plant" by the film maker than small visual references.)

My favorite oblique Montreal reference was this: the artist guy shows up to do an art theft that he has been forced to participate in. He’s wearing a black leather car coat, a black beret, black pants, black t-shirt, and black boots. (Come to think of it, that’s exactly what I wear two or three days a week.) Anyway, the Greek guy says to him "hey you’re dressed like a thief". The guy in black shrugs and says "What? Everyone I know dresses like this".  (Obviously, the scriptwriter has spent a lot of time on the Plateau.)

All in all, it was a so-so movie. Actually, it was better than that. Not bad–on the level of a pretty good TV show. Gritty and urban, hip, etc., but spoiled by some weak supporting actors. Still, I find it amusing that there were conflicting attempts to both keep the location generic, yet be so very "of Montreal". And of course, only people "of Montreal" would even notice those references.


For lunch today I had one of those instant microwave meals you see in the freezer section at the grocery store. It looked pretty appetizing–Asian Noodle Stir Fry. I knew it was vaguely healthy, in that it was an "Amy’s" product, which are usually in the health food section. I bought it mostly because I like things that sound like Asian Noodle Stir Fry.

I keep a few things like that in the freezer for days like today when I don’t have the time or suitable leftovers to bring for lunch and don’t want to spend any bux in the food court downstairs.

Anyway, as I was preparing to cook my Asian Noodle Stir Fry I took a closer look at the box. It contains no dairy, no cholesterol, no wheat, and no gluten.  …and it’s vegan. OK, I’ll spare you the jokes about no flavor and no food.

In the end it wasn’t bad. But not great. If fact, it left me still a bit hungry. I think I’ll pop down to the food court for an order of fries