Tag Archives: Spotlight on Canada

SOC: Michael J. Fox

“Ehhhh….sore-ry, Malary. Maybe tom-more-ow.”

This week’s Spotlight on Canada focuses on Michael J. Fox, proud Canadian, American icon. Many of us can recall a simpler time where Alex P. Keaton’s feelings about Nixon and money were entertainment and Malary’s boyfriend Nick was the biggest problem of the week. These days we have to worry about Iraq and North Korea and fossil fuels and cancer.

But in the 80s, Michael J. Fox was an entertainment mogule. Let’s examine…

Aside from Family Ties, a wholesome, witty, family oriented comedy where the right thing always won, Fox parlayed his success into a fantastic movie career that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Back to the Future is a trilogy on par, some might say, with Star Wars and Indiana Jones. I certainly find it scientifically interesting. The character is sympathetic, and Fox does a great job of portraying the classic Marty McFly. Fox also starred in the brilliant The Secret To My Success, a seemingly wholesome film in which a farm boy scoots into the city and takes the NY business world by storm all while banging his aunt. And who could forget the 80’s staple Teen Wolf, where Fox delivers the now historic line “Give me…a keg…of beer.”

I can’t list Fox’s whole career here, between Stuart Little, The Frighteners, and Life with Mikey among many others, but one film that deserves mention is The American President. One of Fox’s dramatic roles, Fox portays Lewis, the young president speechwriter who stands up to the President at a moment of intensity in the movie. At that moment, I felt Fox was a picture perfect portrayal of the character.

As Fox, who is quite unfortunately stricken with the devastating Parkinson’s Disease, ages, the number of acting roles he accepts will doubtlessly continue to wane. It’s truly a loss, as Fox is most definitely an A list actor, and, in some ways, like a brother to many of us born in the 70’s.

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SOC: John Candy

Starting immediately, the firsttube.com weblog will feature a new weekly post, the Spotlight on Canada, or “SOC.” Why a Spotlight on Canada? Because, as almost everyone I know knows, Canada is funny. It’s funny just because. Anyway, this week’s honor goes to the late John Candy, comedian extraordinaire. I will focus on just one entry in the vast repetiore of Candy’s work, Uncle Buck.

Uncle Buck is a fantastic illustration of John Candy’s talent. While clearly a comedy, and a hysterical comedy at that, it’s also got a rich emotional drama beneath it. While this is mostly a credit to the writers, Mr. Candy’s is masterful. Candy portrays the eternally irresponsible black sheep Buck, an estranged gambling, blue-collar low-life. When asked to watch his nieces and nephew (all masterfully played by Jean Louisa Kelly, Gaby Hoffmann and Macaulay Culkin), Buck must learn not only to forge a relationship with them, but to become a responsible adult in the process. All this is done over the backdrop of Buck’s fizzling relationship with his 8 year girlfriend Chanice. Candy is a believable scumbag – there are major laughs at times, like when he packs up the kids in their winter coats for a field trip to the dog track or when Buck shows niece Tia’s boyfriend Bug his hatchet. His emotional journey, though not in your face, is convincing.

Candy starred in a number of films now considered stape comedy classics, such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Who’s Harry Crumb?, Stripes, and Vacation. He got around in Hollywood, appearing in Splash with Tom Hanks, Home Alone as the Polka King, and even a cameo in the Ghostbusters video.

Few people know that John Candy refused a number of offers to join the cast of Saturday Night Live. A true Canadian, Candy felt as though refusing the offers showed his loyalty to SCTV, the Second City comedy troupe of Canada. Candy was a co-owner of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, and was part of the group Northern Lights who sang the song “Tears Are Not Enough” which was on the USA for Africa “We Are The World” album. Though Candy’s work is primarily comedy, but his brief appearance in the movie JFK as Dean Andrews proves his range.

Had he not succumbed to a heart attack in March of 1994 while filming Wagons East, who knows what sort of transformations we might have seen? Perhaps he would have followed in the footsteps of men like Robin Williams and pursued more meaningful drama, perhaps he would’ve matured into an immortal comedian in his lifetime. It’s truly a shame we lost a man like Candy.

Big ups to Canada for John Candy.

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Our Home and Native Land, ey, buddy?

Well, I think I’m about ready to tell people about this thing. It really didn’t take very long to build, and so far, I’m digging it. I also added a “Canada” category so I can shoot out random information on Canada. I’m also going to make a concerted effort to say “aboot” more.

Hey, a few weeks ago I convinced some girl I was from Vancouver. I told her Americans couldn’t name the Canadian provinces but that I could name all the state capitols. She got upset and said America could bomb Canada, and I told her I was going to get a moose to poop on her lawn. She was pissed, but I laughed like a kindergartner. This is just one more in a long line of tales that somehow have Canada as the butt of my jokes.

God, Canada rules.

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