- By SFCult
- 21 November, 2014
- Comments Off on LOST CANUCK COMEDY: JOHN PAIZS’S CRIME WAVE
9:15PM DECEMBER 5th AT THE ROXIE
Presented by the Roxie Theater and SFCult:
A rare 16MM screening from the director’s own print
Never released on DVD or Blu-Ray, barely released in theaters and only picking up its cult reputation in America after a recent showing at the Toronto International Film Fest, CRIME WAVE is perhaps the great lost comedy. Crafted by Winnipeg filmmaker John Paizs, CRIME WAVE went on to launch his career in film and television (including direction of many of the best segments on The Kids in the Hall) as well as a new wave of Winnipeg filmmakers, including Guy Maddin (THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD). Sadly, after home video rights battles and after confusion with the Coen Brothers’ CRIMEWAVE – both were released in 1985 – Paizs’s CRIME WAVE was relegated to the lost VHS rental shelves of yesteryear, rarely noticed.
Hilarious, unpredictable and deeply postmodern, CRIME WAVE follows writer Stephen Penny (Paizs) as a quiet man who spends his evenings struggling to write “color crime pictures”. These color noir scripts – modernized with the stories of small-time grifters like self-help gurus and Amway salespeople – don’t quite congeal. Penny can write the beginnings and ends, but the middles never come. When Kim (Eva Kovacs), his young neighbor, begins reading and collecting his discarded scripts, she decides to launch him on a journey to America to meet Dr. Jolly (Neil Lawrie), a mysterious man who promises to school Penny on the intricacies of second-act twists.
CRIME WAVE has a unique, wonderful and surreal comic sensibility, shifting deftly between the outrageous antics of Penny’s scripts, a light-hearted send-up of children’s television of the era, and a satirical look the idiosyncrasies and doldrums of life in ’80s Winnipeg. Never dull, the film uses every comic device at its disposal to entertain.
“One of the greatest and yet most perversely overlooked debuts in English Canadian movie history, writer-director John Paizs’s Crime Wave announced the birth of a new genre in Canuck cinema: what cultural critic Geoff Pevere dubbed “prairie postmodernism.” – TIFF
“Aside from being one the most original, unique and unpredictable films I have ever seen, it is also one of the most undeservedly obscure films I know of. I can’t help but think that if this film had gotten proper distribution, it would be a well known cult classic by now, putting it’s filmmaker, John Paizs (pronounced “Pays”) on the map of cool and inspirational indie-filmmakers.” – Skuzz Cyzyk, Cashiers du Cinemart
Please join us on December 5th at the Roxie (click for showtime and ticketing information) for a rare chance to see this lost comic masterpiece.
Still not convinced? Watch the first 5 minutes of CRIME WAVE and you just might be: