THE EXCITING EIGHTIES: Toby McTeague (1986)

Yes, when people were asked, “Who wants to write for our Mill Creek month?” the battle to see who would get to write about this 1986 Canadian Yannick Bisson vehicle was so brutal that I had to put my foot down and say, “For the good of the site and humanity, let me write about this dog sled movie.”

This review on IMDB proves to me. This movie is so Canadian that you have to don a toque and drink maple syrup while blasting a Helen Reddy/Rush mashup as you pour Molson all over your poutine as you apologize to everyone in earshot to get the full majesty of what this movie is about. To wit: “If you love the Forest Rangers or Rainbow Country, you’ll love this wonderful movie from 1986…Splendid, exciting story, fantastic, Canadian actors, including the young teen-age boy, who went to become Detective Murdoch in Murdoch Mysteries.”

So yeah. Toby hates school and his dad has a dog sled business that’s doing so poorly that he has to keep going outside and shooting the dogs. Somehow, this is a tender family tale, but I’m American and so I only understand when we use guns to shoot human beings.

This movie was nominated for a Genie Award for best cinematography and best song, which would be “Cold As Ice” by Peter Pringle and Kevin Hunter. Pringle would follow this honor by hosting Miss Teen Canada, performing a one-man theatrical tribute to  Noël Coward and becoming a theremin player. You know how Don King used to say, “Only In America?” Well, I don’t know who the Canadian Don King is and Don Cherry seems like too easy of a pick, but I would imagine that if there were a Canadian Don King, he’d say, “Who the fuck is Peter Pringle?”

People often say, “I bet you like watching movies all day.” Yes, I do, especially when they are the inverse side to Canuxploitation, that is movies that have no commercial viability whatsoever and have people battling to become provincial dog sled champions. This may be the only movie in that particular genre, which makes me an expert and someday, I’ll do the DVD commentary track for this movie.

Speaking of Canuxploitation, this was directed by Jean-Claude Lord, who also was behind Visiting HoursThe Vindicator and Covergirl. I bet the people around him were like, “You’re finally making a legitimate movie, Jean-Claude, eh?”

You can watch this on YouTube.

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