Purple Toast was his first movie. Budget: $40,000. Very, very strange music. Very strange movie. Hard to watch because it's disjointed, badly acted, clumsily directed and edited. And then there is the music.
Callum's character is Tom Struck, psychic PI.
The IMDB page: Purple Toast (1993)
According to IMDB the only movie Brent Spiess (director and writer) ever finished. Only credited actor is CKR. No plot synopsis, no message board topics, no links, quotes, release dates, anything.
Year: 1993 (according to the end credits 1992)
Runtime: 105 min
IMDB rating: none, not enough votes (which means less than 5 people bothered to vote)
From the now defunct Purple Toast website:
Starring Callum Keith Rennie and Karen Twa
with music by Huevos Rancheros, Enemy Mind Feel, Forbidden Dimension, and Harmonic Destruction,
(c) 1993 Jagged Edge Productions Ltd.
From the end credits:
1st Bad Guy
2nd Bad Guy
Callum Quotient: ~ 100 %
And a gif:
(Gunpornbasically by Mirylla)
- Tom: Ja, ja, Fräulein.
- Bodine's assistant: What kind of Detective are you anyway?
- Luna (? - random crazy person, standing in the middle of field and playing some kind of drum): You'll start looking behind your eyes instead of in front your eyes, you'll see her.
- Tom: I had a dream in the night. That I was this... fish. And it was nighttime in the ocean.
- Tom: What are you doing? I don't want my picture taken.
Tom: This isn't happening right now.
- Gas Attendant: You look like you come from some kind of weird dream.
- Ginna: Are you hungry?
Tom: Hm? Yeah. No. Yeah. Maybe just a little... somthing.
Tom: Hm. Hm. Yeah. Toast.
Ginna: How do you want it?
- CKRs first movie
- He was still drinking at that time.
- It's easy to see that he has a (badly fitting) fake tooth.
- No tattoo yet.
- The film was being made available by Brent Spiess especially for CKR fans (see articles)
- Gun porn (really), near the end.
- Writhing on the ground half-naked (really!)
- Some additional scenes during the end credits, bloopers, actors being silly, stuff like that
Do I want to show this to my parents/friends/co-workers?
quite good, really
not so bad, actually
Maybe a little?
Indeed, just as I like it.
A bit more than strictly necessary, me thinks.
Yes! It's so much fun!
Yeah, it's quite funny. Mostly.
Sometimes? A bit?
/o\ (I guess they thought it was funny?)
Yes yes. I mean, yes.
Hm. The usual? I guess? Isn't there always sexual content with Callum?
Not even a little bit. *sigh*
No. Well, maybe, just a little bit. With imagination. It's implied, I guess.
Yeah, I guess the gun porn counts.
Is there anything else in this movie?
So, Tom Struck? What's he like?
He's the hero! <3
He's a good guy!
He's... well. Sympathetic. Yes.
Um. He's a bit... *sigh* he's... acceptable? I guess?
Okay, how many people does he kill?
No one! At all!
Only one! Or, uh, two maybe. But maybe it wasn't him?
Um. I guess about five? Could be less though!
Do you really want to know? Okay... oh, you mean on-screen only? Ten?
So how crazy is he really?
He isn't! A bit weird maybe! But aren't we all?
Um. He's not, like, well-adjusted or so...
*cough*delusionalandviolent*cough* But he means well, really. I think.
I am so surprised, yeah. But is he hot? Hm?
Oh yes, of course he's hot. Tsk.
Well. Maybe not, like, the hottest ever, but, yeah.
Aww, he's cute.
Queer? I mean, how queer?
Ha ha, you're too cute. Of COURSE he's queer.
Well, I have seen queerer. Once or twice.
Yeah, well, you know, quite queer. Definitely bent.
I really couldn't tell. Honest.
Nope. Not even a little bit. Yes, I am sure.
Does he die?
You really want to know? Are you sure? Okay then. (highlight to read)
::Yup, at the end of the movie. I think. I am really not sure, okay? It's a weird film.::
This first feature film by Brent Spiess, follows a rugged and unorthodox detective in his search for a missing woman named Ramona. This search brings him face to face with mystical and disturbing characters who seem like signposts on a profound journey that will change his life. Vision, memory and dreams drag him through the depths of his soul as he valiantly comes face to face with the forces of darkness. This is a post-modern detective yarn with no conventional beginning, middle or end and was made for a meager $40,000. Callum Keith Rennie transforms the central character of Tom Struck into a prairie grunge Sam Spade who oozes with sexy hipness never before seen on the big screen nor the small screen. This is a unique film full of Callum Keith Rennie, stunning cinematography and outlaw punk music. You can’t miss it.
Taken from the now defunct Purple Toast website. Thank you to neu111 for the heads up!
The feature-length film "PURPLE TOAST" is now commercially available for purchase in NTSC video format at www.purpletoast.com.
Shot in 16mm in the Edmonton and Badlands areas of Alberta, Canada, and its running time is 97 minutes. It is a nonlinear, esoteric detective story in which the unconventional detective (Rennie) sets out to find a missing young woman and instead finds himself on a vision quest. It is a Jagged Edge Productions film.
This is the earliest available film look at the raw young Callum who is on the screen almost continuously for the entire length of the film. It is also the earliest known film appearance by the talented Karen Twa (now professionally known as Kate Twa).
A poster was created for the film by Renata Liwska for the premiere screening in Calgary. It is available for purchase through the website. There are no photographs on it. It is a modern art piece of Callum's profile (in sunglasses and cowboy hat) with the Badlands in the background and an esoteric eye above. The major film credits are listed.
This film is being made available after producer/director/writer Brent Spiess heeded the pleas of some Rennie fans. Please bear in mind that Jagged Edge Productions is not a large corporation with deep pockets but two men who have dug into their own pockets to make a film available to fans that otherwise would never have been seen.
Taken from The Callum Keith Rennie Experience website. Thank you to neu111 for the link.
Calgary Herald, 22 July 1993
Search for vision: Calgary film-maker takes a $40,000 journey that is distinctly non-Hollywood.
Purple Toast, the first feature film by Calgary's Brent Spiess, follows an Edmonton detective in his search for a missing woman, but it's no private- eye thriller.
"It's a film-maker's journey in search of his own voice or vision, that's true to the society he lives in," says Spiess, who made the picture on a rock-bottom budget of $40,000.
Featuring assertive soundtrack music by Calgary bands Enemy Mind Feel, Huevos Rancheros, Forbidden Dimension and Harmonic Destruction and with a cast of young, mostly Edmonton-based actors, Purple Toast is a conscious effort at truly indigenous Alberta cinema.
"For me, Purple Toast was a way of expressing some deeply held beliefs about art, society and provocative film-making," Spiess said.
"It's an auteur-driven film, and it goes beyond the literalness and superficiality of market-driven films."
The lead character Tom Struck (pronounced Strook), played by Callum Rennie, may be a detective but, more to the point, he's a man who - as the film's press notes have it - is "in search of something, he doesn't know what, until one day a beautiful woman walks into his psyche."
Struck's search takes him on a journey that leads to encounters with many strange characters. Purple Toast is a road movie, but it contains no conventional story with a beginning, middle and end.
Spiess, who edited the film himself, followed what he terms a "non-linear" premise because, in his view, our sense of reality - build on dreams, memories and visions - does not follow any kind of line, straight or curved.
"We consciously tried to be unsophisticated," he said.
"Something needed to be presented to jar people back to a different sensibility. The ultimate feeling we want to leave you with is that something has happened to you - something spiritual. We wanted to touch the audience on a different level."
Spiess, who was born in Hinton, studied anthropology at York University and followed up with Canadian studies at the University of Alberta before enrolling in the film program at SAIT.
Since then, he has directed corporate and music videos and short documentaries on native people in Alberta and cable TV in Canada, but Purple Toast - made possible by a Canada Council grant - represents his first "total involvement" in film-making.
The pictures that have most inspired him are Wim Wenders' 1987 Wings of Desire and Toronto film-maker Bruce McDonald's 1989 "rock'n'road movie" Roadkill, which proved to Spiess that it was possible to make a really inventive English-Canadian film.
"Quebec film-makers have been able to make more indigenous films and have been more successful with them," he said. "We've been more conservative, and after the 1940s, much of Western Canadian culture was lost."
Spiess is currently negotiating with the CBC to show Purple Toast in the Cinema Canada slot and has been talking with distributors in Britain, Europe and Japan.
"Purple Toast would appeal to Europeans because it's so Western Canadian," he said.
In the meantime, he has just finished writing a feature screenplay called Sweetgrass about a writer who meets a rootless European woman in a small Alberta town.
"It's a love story that has an existential feel to it," he said.
Apparently the car in the picture is a 1966 Mercedes-Benz 200 [W110].
And the one in this picture a 1985 Chevrolet Cavalier.
Both found at imcdb.org, the internet movie cars database, here.
And, better than anything else I found about that movie, here's what dayse has to say about it a while ago:
...but basically what I took away from it was this was The Great Adventures of Tom Struck, the Psychic Detective.
So Tom is hired by that lady to find that chick that went missing. He's obviously some kind of private detective because he doesn't show a badge or credentials at any point throughout the movie, and she gives him information regarding the girl that's missing in an informal sort of capacity. So, why hire Tom? She's heard about him in some way or another, and he's good at what he does. Probably tapping into The Force. More specifically, he's psychic and can tell where Ramona has been, who's she's talked to, and what she's experienced. To a certain degree, he can also tell what's coming in the future.
The rest of the movie involves Tom essentially going through what Ramona went through, doing what she did last, and talking to the people she met last. Tom's 'connection' to Ramona comes from knowing about where she's been and then physically going to do these places himself and reinacting what she's done. The people he encounters on this journey, although not consciously (I doubt), recognize to an extent his connection to her because they treat him with a certain amount of familiarity.
Tom's connection to Ramona can be seen not only in his knowing where's she's been - seemingly without investigation - and in his interaction with the other characters, but in certain things other characters say to him, too. The Kooky Lady in the Field tells him that he has to look behind his eyes, not in front of them, to find Ramona (thanks, Anna :D), indicating he has to look in HIMSELF to find out about her. You also see Tom drawing a picture on his girlfriend’s back that is later scene in the kitchen of the woman with the cat. There are also some points in the movie where he gets flashes of where to go next (and um, don’t remember specifically moments because yes xD).
Again, memory’s fuzzy here – but the scene with the tunnel implies running from someone, and rape (not TOM’S rape, but Ramona’s), and then Tom eventually dies probably the same way Ramona did. He is not able to save Ramona, Ramona’s dead, but his kinship with her leads to his own end. I also remember thinking Tom suspected he wouldn’t survive but felt compelled to continue anyway – but I can’t remember why.
There was a lot of other stuff, too, that I don’t remember. Especially when it comes to what the characters said and how they interacted, and um – a few scenes here or there because I’ll admit I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have (CKR is da pretty), but there you go. I could be completely wrong, but that’s what I took away from it.
The whole political underline there I don’t even want to get into because I remember shit all about it, but it was throughout the movie, too. Oh that crazy Purple Toast :D
Inglewood Film and Art School (Brent Spiess)
And about the soundtrack:
Enemy Mind Feel (The song Gangrenous Testicles was used in the soundtrack)
The Bugs Robert Wood's bio: In the early 90's Rob worked with local film-makers (many working under the auspices of the Film And Video Arts society in Alberta) developing soundscapes that focused on "subliminal narrative formats" to enhance the visuals... "so anyway, a bunch of time passes and for reasons i don't remember i decide i'm gonna write music for films... so i call up every film, video, music place in Edmonton and ask if they need anything writing... they musta thought i was nuts... eventually i run into brent spiess, who's making a film and wants music... three years later it's finally done... "
There is an interesting post about the paintings in the film by neu111.
All the above links provided by neu111 who also noticed that "Callum maybe had more than one occasion to play with his co-star Karen (Kate) Twa. But probably they weren't the only ones to leave Edmonton for Vancouver and go from Edmonton's Fringe Theatre to Vancouver US-Canadian TV series at the same time."
There's Purple Toast picspam here.
That's all I have for now. Please let me know if you have anything to add. I will edit the post to include new information. If you posted something interesting about the movie in your LJ or in some other community, essays, picspams, transcripts, theories... link please?
ETA: Reposted because I fucked up the poll. /c\