Canadian Movies You Need To See That Don’t Suck — Ginger Snaps

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Bif Naked: Canadian
“I Love Myself Today”; ‘Purge‘ (2001)

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NonSucking Canadian Movies You Need To See…

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Ginger Snaps (Horror — 2000)…
the most realistic movie ever made aboot two suicidal-emo girls and a werewolf.

There’s a very distinct hierarchy in Hollywood… when it comes to allowing casting people to star in their movies, and it goes something like this: 1) White male; 2) White Female; 3) Black male; 4) Animals; 5) Black female; 6) Openly gay men, and so on… of course there are also several sub-groups like 2-1a) Hot white women or 3-1a) Funny black men, but this is more aboot the general list.

If you need proof, look at Joan Allen’s career. She is easily one of the great actors of the past thirty years, but her last two lead roles were in 2000 — as the title character in “The Contender”, where she’s listed after Gary Oldman on the bill, and; “The Upside Of Anger”, a 2005 movie aboot trying to revive Kevin Costner’s career. Now she has been relegated to alternating her intense stare between a phone and a computer screen in the Matt Damon “Jason Bourne” franchise.

In Hollywood women do not have characters, in the majority of movies their only role is to provide an excuse for the lead male to act heroically. Halle Barry won an Oscar for allowing Billy Bob Thornton a chance at redemption. Reese Witherspoon won for standing near Joaquim Pheonix as he pretended to be some random dude with the same name as Johnny Cash. If you’re a woman in Hollywood, and you want to act or have a career like Reese, Halle, Hillary Swank, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman or Julia Roberts, you’ve got to do nudity… and usually completely unnecessary nudity because, of that list, only Julia Roberts has always kept her clothes on in all of her films.

Actually, the only Best Actress Oscar winner since 1990 never to have done a nude scene is Julia Roberts, she won for Erin Brockovich in 2000. The only movie in which she’s been allowed to use her acting ability since then was in 2004 in the Natalie Portman, Clive Owen vehicle “Closer”. Jessica Tandy won in 1989. So of the sixteen possible winners, fifteen did nudity at least once in their careers. On the men’s side there were three winners who did “full frontal” and another two — Jamie Foxx’s and Denzel Washington — who exposed their ass in at least one film.

It’s been the rule for a hundred years: no movie has ever needed to hinge its plot on nudity, but if a young woman wants to act in a serious Hollywood movie she has to take her clothes off, flash the camera and — later on at the press junket — tell everyone how integral their tits were to the plot. Ask Nicole Kidman, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter and Helen Mirren. Or you can ask Angela Bassett how impossible it is for black women to find real acting roles. All of which is why Ginger Snaps was such an important and interesting film.

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“Ginger Snaps” most definitely does not… suck. They broke The Rule by having two, young, female leads in an aggressive werewolf horror movie based on a screenplay written by a woman, produced by two women and a woman as executive producer. Not only that, but the movie broke the Primary Rule of Horror Films… it was marketed directly at young women: “They Don’t Call It The Curse For Nothing”. There is no nudity in Ginger Snaps. They decided to make the movie interesting instead.

The primary characters are high school age sisters — title character, Ginger, and her younger sister Brigitte — living with their suburban parents. The girls are outsider suicide-emo chicks — they take photos of each other in various death poses including hanging, stabbing and being run over with a lawn mower… I had a friend who did stuff like that, last time I heard she was doing movie makeup in Toronto. Anyway. They also have a suicide pact with each other, if they’re not dead by sixteen from “other causes” they’d do it by the suicide route.

As much as that might sound like a parody — the level of photographic and makeup talent is a little much — it plays very true. There is the right level of animosity at school, the home life is recognizable, the parents don’t disappear from the script just “because”. And people die. There are buckets of blood in this movie, which is fine, there being buckets of blood in the human body and all. Blood is actually an important plot tool in Ginger Snaps. As much as puberty in boys being aboot growth and urges, blood is the primary sign of puberty in girls so it makes sense that Ginger should be bitten by a werewolf on the same night she gets her first period.

For the budget of this ‘kind-of-independent’ movie, a half decent CDN$5Million, the special effects are a little… off, as a result the actual “werewolf” part of the movie is kept to a minimum, but I don’t remember many werewolf movies where the beast was onscreen for large periods of time. Horror films are a genre that haven’t really been accepted or used by Canadian filmmakers, David Cronenberg notwithstanding. While this movie was being made What’s His Name and the Other Guy shot up Columbine High School, so there were editorials written demanding Telefilm Canada — an arms length government agency — stop funding a “teen slasher” film. Thankfully not as many people read the Toronto Star as they’d like to think.

Ginger Snaps was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, in 2000, where it won the Special Jury Citation Award. It went on to be one of the rare Canadian movies to actually make money here, in Europe and in America. But then people got greedy and quickly put out two more “Ginger” movies, a sequel and prequel, which both sucked horribly — although both lead actors consistently got excellent reviews. Emily Perkins, who played Brigitte, has mostly done television work since “Ginger”, although she did have a small part in “Prozac Nation”, 2001 movie which owes its entire existence to Christina Ricci’s willingness to have her breasts gratuitously filmed. Katharine Isabelle, who played Ginger, has also spent most of her acting career since “Ginger Snaps” playing smallish roles on television. She has said several times she refuses to do nude scenes in movies.

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Ginger Snaps: Canadian Movie


Ginger Snaps Trailer (2000)
Directed by John Fawcett
Starring Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche
and Mimi Rogers

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About Gabriel

I’ve lived in fifty-two places. I've been paid to pick stones out of fields, take backstage photos of Britney Spears, and report on Internet privacy issues. My photos have been published in several newspapers, and a couple of magazines.
This entry was posted in Canada, Canadian Movies, Canadian Politics, CSN:AFU Movies, Movies, Punk and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Canadian Movies You Need To See That Don’t Suck — Ginger Snaps

  1. puddlejumper says:

    I haven’t watched the film yet. Keep meaning to.
    But…

    Part of me resents the whole “red heads are all fiery bitches and PMT makes us eat men for breakfast” (my husband may concur though)

    By the way. Cheers very much for the J Smith Mammary gland comment. My stats are off the scale, all on that basis.

    Send them here

    http://www.jacquismithmp.labour.co.uk/

    And “whahhhhhh!”

    A real live author wants to look at my work. (He’s bloody good too)

    http://whatwasilookingfor.wordpress.com/2007/06/29/swinging/#comments

    What do I do?

  2. Nita says:

    Nicely written. I guess the world has a long way to go where portrayal of women are concerned!

  3. Aikaterine says:

    It’s true. Women characters in Hollywood are like platonic forms of (insert an emotion or physical characteristic here).

    But, in fairness, so are men. Men are either

    1. heroes (i.e. successful capitalists or macho world-savers)

    OR

    2. blubbering incompetent idiots that can only be saved by women who are simulacrum of their mothers.

  4. Gabriel says:

    The only professions I can think of where a prerequisite for a woman’s sucess is entirely based on her willingness to strip down are acting and prostitution… I’m not sure who to attribute that to, possibly Jerry Falwell.

    Puddle: I’ve been ill and I just found your comment tucked away in my “to be moderated file”… I hope Ms. Smith brought as much happiness to your stats page as she did mine. It’s still going on actually…

    If you’re going to show your work to anyone make sure there are copies timestamped and kept safe somewhere… if he’s been published you want to ask him aboot his editors and publishers. If he wants to be your contact into the industry, great, otherwise keep in mind that writers generally make bad editors so be careful.

  5. aikaterine says:

    I started a blog. My friends and family wanted a way to keep up with me without having to call. I don’t know if I should force myself to write every evening before I go to bed or just when I fee like it.

    Any suggestions?

  6. Gabriel says:

    If it’s a “recovery blog” be honest, don’t write to an audience, don’t expect it to be read everyday by everyone… find other things to write aboot to fill the space, don’t make it a journal of despair. Try to make a schedule that makes sense… I try to write aboot three posts a week here and five or six a month on Salted. The most important thing, in my opinion, is trying to keep focussed on the longer term. If it’s just aboot keeping in touch I’d suggest making your family call you, but if it’s aboot giving you something to do creatively or someplace to write aboot something specific, think aboot what you want it to look like a few years down the line. I could go on and on and on and on…

  7. Gabriel says:

    …oh yeah, create an easy-to-find place for people to comment “off-topic” and just work it slowly, I find a lot of people start off trying to do too much at once: the perfect reference quote, the perfect layout, the nicest font, the biggest revelations… don’t burn yourself out on the first draft. Think of this as another artistic project, don’t get locked into one “Theme” or one concept. Just as an example, CSN:AFU has changed “Themes” six times, names three times and concepts twice since I started it, while Salted has gone through three “Theme” changes and I’m currently changing the concept by aboot 40 degrees.

  8. aikaterine says:

    Thanks for the insight. I just wanted to do something without pictures. With just my text. I did link to some music and will update that page constantly as new things come along. Other than that, I just wanted a place where people could keep in touch. I do not answer the phone much, people worry.

    I linked to you. I hope that you don’t mind.

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