A strange little film about strange young American named Christy who wanders into a dusty store in the middle of nowhere, Saskatchewan, after fleeing his home in Montana, and promptly starts telling anyone who'll listen about how he's on the lam for murdering his father. Quirky, needy, and impulsive, Christy gets involved with a restless local girl (Molly Parker), and rapidly becomes the best thing the not-quite town has for a celebrity. Callum plays Christy, and is pinch his cheeks and shake your head in despair adorable.
The IMDB page: Paris or Somewhere (1994)
Based on John Millington Synge's 1907 play The Playboy of the Western World, which is set in Ireland and does not feature television news, reliable or otherwise.
Directed by Brad Turner, who's gone on to direct episodes of many, many fan-beloved TV shows, including the deliciously Leoben-centric "Flesh and Bone" episode of Battlestar Galactica.
Soundtrack by Jay Sempko, better known for his work on due South.
Screenplay by Lee Gowan, a Canadian novelist. It is, to date, his only screenplay.
Co-stars the delicious Molly Parker, who later appeared with CKR in Little Criminals; The Ranger, the Cook, and a Hole in the Sky; Falling From the Sky: Flight 174; Hard Core Logo (kind of); Twitch City; and Suspicious River.
Sharon Bakker (Mrs. Fleigel) appeared the next year in Murder Seen with CKR, and later in Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas story with Paul Gross.
Chris Owens (Shawn) had 13 episodes on the X-Files as Special Agent Jeffrey Spender.
I don't see any nifty trivia for Charlene Fernetz (Gwen), but she's just really darn cool. And she was on Diagnosis Murder AND Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. So, um. There's that.
Cast / Characters:
Callum Keith Rennie
Runtime: 84 minutes according to IMDB, really 94
IMDB rating: 7/10 (36 votes)
Genre: Ummm... Weird Canadian humorous drama
Keywords: Independent Film
Peter F. Woeste won a Blizzard for Best Cinematography - Dramatic in 1997 (why 1997 is a mystery to me).
It was nominated for three Geminis in 1996: Brad Turner for Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series, Molly Parker for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series, and Lee Gowan for Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series.
It has two (2) user comments on IMDB.
i loved this film! it's a low budget attempt at a feel-good film along the lines of boy kills father, boy meets girl, boy wins girls heart. it contains an excellent performance from Rennie as the mild-mannered American who wins over the whole community of a small town in Canada. it has a real 'homely' feel, with subtle, understated camera work which complements the naivety and innocence of the two main characters, and their dreams and ambitions
You can find all the comments here.
Callum Quotient: 90% or a bit less
- Christy: Cancer. Radios, televisions, computers, phones, microwave ovens. All day long, those waves they flow right through you, they slow cook you from the inside out. They're not natural.
Christy: You probably don't have to worry up here, you don't have as many waves.
- Christy: What makes you think I have a gun?
Peg: You're American.
- Peg: You have beautiful hands.
- Peg: When I feel like being alone I go driving. Sometimes I feel like I could drive right off the edge of the world. But I never get there. I never get anywhere.
- Girl: You're my first killer!
- Peg, on Vancouver: It's not a normal city! I mean, have you seen pictures? It looks like Paris or somewhere.
- Peg: You're a strange one, Christy Mahon.
Christy: I'm not strange, I just spent too much time alone.
- German title is Der Vatermörder (Parricide, or the father murderer)
- Filmed in Saskatchewan
- $1.4m budget
- Molly Parker and Callum's first time co-starring in a film.
- The opening shot: slow-mo up Christy's long legs, lingering over his very impressive belt buckle.
- Christy greeting the Canadians with "bonjour."
- Christy's TV fantasy.
- Gwen's seductive rope tricks.
- One key character calls Christy "Christopher."
- Any time Christy whistles. Or smiles.
Do I want to show this to my parents / friends / co-workers?
Does it suck?
It's made of love and puppies and yay.
It's made of love and puppies and yay and WTF.
It's okay, kind of yay, kind of WTF.
Yeah, mostly WTF.
No, really. What the fuck is up with that movie?
Is it violent?
A little bit of violence. But it's not *scary*.
They're boys! They tussle! With potato forks! And guns!
It's pretty violent. And maybe a little scary.
Christy is *celebrated* for patricide.
Is it funny?
Is there sexing?
There is sexing!
Kinda tame, off-screen sexing.
But, dude, BELT BUCKLE.
Christy is in his sexual prime and so am I. NOT ENOUGH SEXING.
Is there sexual violence?
Oh thank god no.
Oh thank god not so much.
That early sequence with the red bandana had some overtones.
All sex is violence in our capitalist, sexist society.
Rape city, man. Wall to freaking wall.
What's Christy like?
He's sweet and loving and goofy and AWESOME.
He's immature and kind of nuts, but I love him.
He's all right. A little iffy on the morality thing.
He's immature and cuckoo and needy as can be. I don't find that attractive anymore.
His form of schoolyard bragging is about *murder*. Not cool.
How many people does Christy kill?
None, but not for lack of trying.
One, I think.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Everybody. It's very messy.
How crazy is Christy?
Sane as sane can be!
He's a little kooky.
He's nuts, but still a good guy.
He has serious problems with reality. And waves.
*whistles and circles finger around ear*
How hot is Christy?
Hot like burning. Hot like the sun. Hot like Callum Keith Rennie grinning and laughing.
Cute, very cute.
Spooky and young and the hair doesn't do it for me. Still. Crackers, bed, you know.
How queer is Christy?
Christy likes boys. *Likes* them, likes them.
Christy isn't into that whole binary thing. He loves who he loves.
Christy doesn't know what he wants, but he'd screw a greased knothole.
Christy likes girls. *Likes* them, likes them.
Christy wants to knock your block off for thinking about him that way.
Does he die?
You really want to know? Are you sure? Really sure? Well, then. (highlight to read)
::Christy does not die! Christy lives! I love Christy!::
PARIS OR SOMEWHERE * * setting: Sask.
(1995) Callum Keith Rennie, Molly Parker, Chris Owens, Charlene Fernetz, John Vernon.....An American (Rennie), on the run for killing his abusive father, arrives in a small Saskatchewan town where many of the folk glamourize him because of his crime. Sleepy serio-comic flick is notable for trying to be weird and off-beat, at least in execution, but the blending of quirky humour and drama is awkward and the film's point bewildering. And the themes (small town losers and dreamers, glorified American) can either be seen as quintessentially Canadian...or really cliched and it suffers from another very Canadian characteristic: characters that aren't especially appealing. Good-looking and decently acted, especially Rennie, Fernetz and Vernon. sc: Lee Gowan (based on the play "The Playboy of the Western World" by John M. Synge). dir: Brad Turner. 94 min.
From The Great Canadian Guide to the Movies & TV.
In spite of these odds, one of the strongest feature films to emerge from the prairies in recent years was a made-for-television drama, which succeeds where many have failed because of a well-written script: Paris or Somewhere (1993), directed by Brad Turner, produced by Credo Productions of Manitoba and Reel Eye Media (Gord McLennan and company) of Saskatchewan, is carefully construed and visually interesting. Unfortunately, the acting is uneven: Callum Keith Rennie and Molly Parker are sometimes captivating, but often over-the-top with their characterizations of Christie Mahon, a young drifter, and Peg Kennedy, a girl trying to manage an isolated prairie store owned by her lazy father (played by Francis Damberger). Swift Current, Saskatchewan writer Lee Gowan based the script on the Irish play Playboy of the Western World by John M. Synge. Synge's play is about a man who wins immediate respect when he tells people that he murdered his abusive father. Gowan's script succeeds in bringing Synge's mythic characters into the modern prairie landscape, although the use of television newscasts as the private monologue of the lead character's ego comes off as campy. Where Synge employed the cadence of Irish brogue, Gowan tries to utilize prairie vernacular, which is colourful, but lacks the old country charm that makes the Oedipal myth dramatically convincing.
The producers found an isolated coulee in the Qu'Appelle Valley system northeast of Regina as the setting for the farming community that embraces the young protagonist, then rejects him when his father turns out not to be dead, but merely injured, and comes looking for him. The producers are to be admired for attempting to bring a better quality of drama and poetry to the pablum format of made-for-TV movies. To be a successful stand-alone feature, however, the film would have to be re-edited to avoid looking like a TV program, with its use of fadeouts for commercial breaks, which are preceded by "stingers" -- plot points designed to bring the audience back after the commercial.
Thanks to its writer, Paris or Somewhere succeeds in celebrating the people and the discourse of prairie Canada. One interesting point is the contrast between Canadian and American prairie people, with the comic misconceptions each has of the other. The young protagonist hitchhikes to Saskatchewan from Montana, and when he tells the man who gives him a ride about his plan to try Canada, the driver says: "Kid, you wouldn't be heading up to the deep freeze. Of course, there's no murders in Canada. That's the only reason people live there. They only speak French." When he drops the kid off he says "There it is, the Big Empty."
In the end the young drifter decides to stay in Canada, if not for the independence he feels when he escapes his domineering father, then for his love for Peg, the young girl who first gives him refuge. Paris or Somewhere received funding support from SaskFilm, Film Manitoba and Telefilm Canada. This funding was contingent upon broadcast licenses, which provided a portion of the budget. If the film is able to recoup its investment through international sales, it will prove that an indigenous story, set in the Canadian prairie region, is of interest to broadcasters outside of Canada.
bring Playboy to light
The director plays baseball during lunch. The coproducer's five-year-old daughter makes friends with actors on the set. And a stray mutt named Chico has won the hearts of cast and crew. It's the second to last day of shooting on the television movie tentatively titled Playboy of the Western World, and most people are smiling. The set, nestled in the hills of Saskatchewan's Qu'Appelle Valley, depicts a sleepy general store and a rustic baseball diamond common in any Prairie town. The shoot has gone smoothly, isolation creating a sense of community for the crew.
The Saskatchewan filmmakers have Winnipeg's Credo Group to thank for this project. It's part of the Prairie Initiative, six made-for-tv movies filmed entirely in the Prairie provinces for broadcast on the CanWest Global System. The coproductions will partner Credo with local talent, two features per province. Funding has been pooled from several sources. Credo's Derek Mazur pulled the political strings to join Telefilm Canada with the provincial film agencies in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Now, the Prairie Initiative is in full swing, focused primarily on development by providing writers, directors, producers, actors and technicians the opportunity to work on feature-length dramatic films.
According to Credo's coproducer, Kim Todd, Playboy of the Western World exemplifies the ideals of the Prairie Initiative on almost every front.
"This particular film is the essence of what the Prairie `six-pack' should be. We're using an original screenplay from a Saskatchewan writer. There's a crew of mixed experience and they're all working together. And while there may be some weak spots due to inexperience, the expectations on this set are high," she says.
Additionally, the Prairie Initiative will increase production in the Prairie provinces, with the six films viewed as supplementary to the projects currently in the works with Telefilm.
Each film has a target budget of $1.5 million; Playboy will come in at $1.4 million.
The set is 70 kilometers northeast of Regina, so crew and services are bussed in from the city. That traffic highlights another goal of the Prairie Initiative - increased awareness of the film industry for Prairie communities.
"Hopefully, we can show the provincial governments and the people who live here that our industry is a lucrative business for them," says Todd as she applies another coat of sunscreen to her arms. She's watching the actors as they dance with their umbrellas, waiting for the sun to go behind the clouds on the dry, hot set.
The simple set for Playboy belies the complex layers of Lee Gowan's screenplay. It's an adaptation of Irish playwright John Synge's turn-of-the-century stage play of the same name. And the quirky comedy by the first-time Saskatchewan screenwriter has drawn praise.
"It took a great deal of courage and audacity to adapt this particular play for film," says Todd. "For Lee, the Prairie Initiative worked for him, too."
Thanks to neu111 and c_regalis for lending their mighty research skills.
kelliem and aukestrel wrote a brilliant Paris or Somewhere/Getting Married in Buffalo Jump crossover, Wide Open Space.
omphale23 wrote a PoS drabble, Grit.
brigantine wrote a PoS snippet, Tidal Pull.
stormymouse's awesome cap site has lots of PoS caps here.
slidellra posted PoS picspam here.
Paris or Somewhere is not commercially available.
Aw, Christy. I dearly wish a crisp, clean copy of this film was available, because it's lovely, and the scenery, the cinematography, and lovely Callum and lovely Molly deserve better. Though the plot events are more disconcerting than rom-com reassuring, this is such a fun film, and Christy is such a puppy (TM scriggle).
For me it's best as a generous look at brash, stupid, headstrong, passionate youth, both what makes it awesome (Christy feels stuff, does stuff, makes things happen) and what makes it suck (Christy sucks at love, doesn't listen, is lonely, is a mess, really). What's most bewildering, if amusing, are the crime celebrity theme and Christy's tin-hat fears about the news and waves and reliability. To my ever-literal mind, it doesn't add up to a coherent conclusion or story arc, but Christy's messy, needy, insides-on-the-outside humanity is both wildly appealing and easy to identify with, and the film's acknowledgment of nearly every character's loneliness, frustration and the difficulty of making satisfying connections with others is just cool. Plus, the dialogue is chock full of reasons to grin (*ahem* Peg: There've been more cops on Brenda than on the Musical Ride).
Paris or Somewhere is also fascinating as such an early role for CKR. It was filmed in 1994, the first year he really worked in film and a year in which he worked his ass off. And he's flying on charm and good looks and raw energy and charisma and it's such a different role than anything we've seen in ages. I mean, he hadn't killed hardly anybody on screen yet. It makes me all wistful.