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Chad Rubel
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In a land of quirky independent films from Canada, waydowntown deserves its own chapter. The film takes place in downtown Calgary yet you won’t find a single horse or oil well. You barely even see the outside in downtown Calgary but that is part of the challenge. The film starts in the middle of a bet with 4 young people where they bet a month’s salary on how long they can stay inside. Downtown Calgary has Plus 15, a series of indoor skywalks between buildings so covering downtown without stepping outside is rather easy. The film takes place in one day, one seemingly long lunch hour on Day 28. Fab Filippo as Tom is our protagonist. Tom doesn’t like his job in the big law firm where the contestants work. Marya Delver as Sandra West is a good friend, though you aren’t quite sure if Sandra and Tom were/are an item. There is chemistry of some kind. While in some films, I care about such details but here I settle easily for what appears to be sexual tension. Gordon Currie as Curt Schwin is Tom's rival and kind of a jerk. Tobias Godson as Randy is Tom’s best friend. Continue reading
Posted 7 hours ago at Canadian Crossing
Hope you are enjoying the first long weekend of the summer of Canada's sesquicentennial. Victoria Day is celebrated on the penultimate Monday in May, having to fall before May 25, the queen's actual birthday. The day symbolically starts summer in Canada and is also known in cottage country as the time to clean up the winter's damage to the cottage. Quebec being Quebec celebrates National Patriots Day on the same day. 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs scoreboard We have a Canadian team still going in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs chase. The Ottawa Senators have been fading fast after going up 2-1 over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sens gave up 3 early goals in Game 4 and a 7-0 lashing yesterday in Game 5. Ottawa is now facing elimination in Game 6 on Tuesday in Ottawa. Game 7 is Thursday, if needed. Maclean's has a nice story on how Canadian the Ottawa Senators really are. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Canadian Crossing
The story of Canada in the 2017 U.S. television upfronts is light on new shows. The most buzz comes from a 12-episode return of Will & Grace starring Eric McCormack. NBC is placing the show in a familiar Thursday at 8 pm Eastern timeslot. Jessica Paré is back on U.S. television as a CIA analyst in SEAL Team starring David Boreanaz. Besides her extensive film career, Paré is familiar to U.S. TV viewers from Seasons 4-7 of Mad Men. Sandrine Holt is English and Canadian and has been rather busy on U.S. television of late. Holt was in the updated version of MacGyver on CBS. Now Holt is the female lead in The Crossing on ABC. The show is refugees seeking asylum in an American town but the refugees are American and the war is far away in the future. This is looking to run midseason. Bruce Greenwood plays a 4-star general in Four Stars on CBS but the program still hasn't aired. In the meantime, Greenwood is in the cast as a senior resident on The Resident coming to Fox. He is also in the Dirty Dancing remake on ABC. Norm Macdonald will voice Yaphit, a "gelatinous creature" on Seth MacFarlane's live action show The Orville on Fox. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Canadian Crossing
The Ottawa Senators have been winning but not by much. 8 of the first 10 wins were by a single goal, 6 of them in overtime. The clincher over the New York Rangers was by a 2-goal margin thanks to an empty-net goal. The Senators had 4 goals in the 1st period, 3 of them within a span of 2:18, a new franchise playoff record. Ottawa now has 10 wins, 6 of them in overtime for a 6-1 OT mark. The 1993 Montréal Canadiens had 10 OT wins on their way to the Stanley Cup. Carolina in 2002 and Anaheim in 2003 had 7 wins. Jean-Gabriel Pageau has 8 goals in 15 playoff games. Daniel Alfredsson has the most goals in an Ottawa postseason with 14 goals in 20 games in 2007. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Canadian Crossing
Farmers markets and television don’t mix too well. So when the Cooking Channel came out with Farmers’ Market Flip, I had hope that the two finally found an ideal mix. The network launched the show a few weeks ago, but aired a pilot episode last year. So we actually have a pair of versions. We’ll illustrate the best and worst of each version then we’ll present a more ideal version of the concept. Each show has 2 teams of 2 chefs and they compete for $5000. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Balance of Food
A tradition of 36 years isn't a long tradition, but in the world of politics, traditions aren't always appreciated. The trend has been that the first trip on foreign soil for a U.S. president is Canada. George W. Bush thumbed his nose at that tradition and had a very anti-Canada view. Donald Trump is jumping off the grid and going to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican starting Friday along with a NATO summit in Brussels on May 25 and a G7 summit in Sicily on May 26. Donald Trump coverage In his first 100 days, former President Barack Obama visited 9 foreign countries, including Canada. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Canadian Crossing
Canadians have waited 11 years for a reunion of Martin Ward and David Bouchard. We're not sure how long Americans will wait. Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 opened across Canada on Friday. Colm Feore (Ward) and Patrick Huard (Bouchard) are back together. In the original, the battle was between English and French. In the sequel, they are taking on a case in the United States. "So many times I've watched American shows making fun of Canadians," Huard, who wrote the script, told the National Post. "I said, 'I'm going to turn the tables.'" Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The CBC show Anne gets a name change to Anne with an 'E' for the Netflix release, which begins today. The content hasn't changed just the presentation as we've learned from Netflix. The other oddity had to do with the Netflix promotion dramatically changing Anne's appearance. Both are Amybeth McNulty as Anne Shirley. The freckles are gone, her teeth are adjusted to seem less buck tooth, her blue eyes look brighter, and she has developed quite a tan in the Prince Edward Island sun. Even with the title change and disappointing Photoshop moves, the show is the same just without commercials and CBC promos. Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The Ottawa Senators battled bruising teams in the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, but defeated both teams in 6 games in each series. This is the 3rd time the Sens have been to the conference final: Ottawa lost in 7 games to the New Jersey Devils in 2003 but won over the Buffalo Sabres in 5 games in 2007 on the way to the Stanley Cup. Ottawa beat Pittsburgh in the opening round in the 2007 playoffs on the way to the Stanley Cup final. Since then, the Senators lost in the first round in 2008 and 2010 and the second round in 2013. Ottawa only won 3 games in those last 3 series. Game 6 in New York City was the first time the Sens won by more than a single goal in the playoffs. The amount of time with the lead in Game 6 greatly surpassed the time with the lead in the other 5 games. If overtime is a theme against Pittsburgh, the Senators are 5-1 in OT during the playoffs. The Ottawa Senators will be on CBC especially since Edmonton is gone from the playoffs. Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson should come back to the Eastern final. We know the #1 NBC crew will cover the Sens series. Game 1 is Saturday in Pittsburgh. Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
British Columbia voters wanted change in last night's election but we still don't know what that change will look like. The Liberals currently have 43 seats, 1 seat short of a majority in Parliament. The New Democratic Party has 41 seats, 3 short of a majority. The Green Party, yes the Green Party has the power to sway the direction of the government at 3 seats. Christy Clark nor NDP leader John Horgan nor Green Party leader Andrew Weaver should do much celebrating or planning at this point. Absentee ballots will be counted on May 22-24. This doesn't count recounts, such as the Courtenay–Comox riding on Vancouver Island, where the NDP candidate won by 9 votes over the Liberals. Recounts are automatic when the results are within 0.2%. All 3 party leaders did give victory speeches of sorts rather late at night, even on the West Coast. Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The Liberals in Nova Scotia are calling for an early election even if that isn't so early. The Liberals under Premier Stephen McNeil are trying for a second-straight mandate after defeating the NDP in 2013. The Liberals currently has 34 seats (33 in the 2013 election) in the 51-seat legislature. The Progressive Conservative Association has 10 seats (11 in the 2013 election) with the New Democratic Party at 5 seats (7 seats in the 2013 election). The last parliament had an independent MLA and a vacant seat. Jamie Baillie is the Progressive Conservative party leader. Gary Burrill is in charge of the NDP. The chances of a second mandate would be high for the Liberals as Nova Scotia traditionally gives parties longer time to serve the province. When Darrell Dexter and the NDP lost in 2013, that was the first government in 131 years to only have a single term. Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The 2017 Toronto Raptors are done for the second year in a row thanks to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last year, the Raptors lost in 6 to the eventual NBA champions in the conference final. This year, Toronto was swept by Cleveland in the conference semifinals. Toronto finished the postseason 4-6. The Raptors defeated Milwaukee in 6 games, winning a postseason series in fewer than the maximum number of games for the first time in team history. The Raptors were struggling even before Kyle Lowry injured his ankle in Game 2 and missed the pair of contests in Toronto. Cleveland won by margins of 11, 22, 21, and 7. After last year's wonderful season, DeMar DeRozan eagerly re-signed with the Raptors. Now Lowry faces free agency. Will he quickly re-sign with Toronto or consider other options? Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
We did leave out a pair of fast food ads from the last NHL Center Ice free preview gathering of ads. The idea that 2 distinct fast food chains would run justification ads in the same time frame made running a story about them an absolute necessity. The Subway Canada ad comes on the heels of the backlash following the CBC Marketplace story where the chicken DNA of the Subway products fell far below the fast food competitors. The A&W Canada is more of a summary of what we've seen in numerous A&W Canada ads. We disagreed vehemently about Subway Canada suing CBC and the subsequent ad doesn't help things. Subway Canada could have learned a thing or two from Taco Bell in the United States after its taco filling scandal. The A&W Canada ad is surprisingly well-done even if the product is less healthy compared to Subway Canada. Expectations play their role but the wording is more straightforward and comes across as more sincere. Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The idea of Come From Away being on Broadway might have seemed a dream come true. That dream got a lot sweeter with 7 Tony nominations. The Broadway musical about the residents of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador in the days of and after the 9/11 attacks is up for Best Musical, Best Book of a musical, original score, choreography (Kelly Devine), lighting design (Howell Binkley), direction (Christopher Ashley), and Jenn Colella for Best Featured Actress in a musical. Creators David Hein and Irene Sankoff are nominated for Best Book of a musical and original score. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 lead the way with 12 nominations. The musical is one of 3 other competitors for Best Musical along with Dear Evan Hansen and Groundhog Day The Musical. Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
This is the story of two fast food chains in Canada. Each restaurant recently ran what I call a justification ad during the NHL Center Ice free preview in early April. One of these chains ran the ad mostly because of a recent scandal. One of these chains is known to be much healthier than the other one. But which ad was more meaningful? You might be surprised. Subway Canada chicken comes up short on chicken, according to CBC Marketplace Subway Canada ran a justification ad after a scandal where a CBC Marketplace investigation revealed that in a lab test, the chicken in the Oven Roasted Chicken Sandwich had an average chicken DNA of 53.6% and the chicken strips in the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki was 42.8% chicken DNA. Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2017 at Balance of Food
We have criticized NBC Universal for a lack of anthems. The Sunday night early start time meant the full festivities from Edmonton could air. Country music artist Brett Kissel set up to sing the U.S. anthem. The microphone wasn't working so Kissel led the capacity crowd in what turned out to be one of the loudest, most fervorous renditions of the Star Spangled Banner in recording history. A pure a cappella version to be remembered long after we know which team will hoist the Stanley Cup. Figure that Edmonton is the furthest from the U.S. border of any Canadian NHL city by far. Robert Clark followed with his tradition of singing O Canada from the seats high above Rogers Place. See, NBCU and NBCSN: good things can happen when you show the anthems. Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
The Toronto Raptors almost blew a 21-point lead in Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks but pulled off a tough road win in Wisconsin. The Raptors won their first ever playoff series that didn't go the maximum. The Raptors continued the tradition of losing Game 1. The 27-point loss in Game 3 (104-77) was a tough blow. But Toronto won the last 3 games and had a bit more rest than normal for the Raptors. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been resting for some time after sweeping the Indiana Pacers. Toronto and Cleveland matched up last spring (NBA) and fall (MLB): both times the U.S. team advanced to the final round. This year, the rematch is in the second round. Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
If we did have a contest to pick the most Canadian of Canadian companies, Canadian Tire would get a lot of votes. Yet we haven't featured them in our advertising segment. This ad shows the "testers" that check the quality of each product. You might remember Canadian Tire mentioned in the film One Week. The company is also known for its Canadian Tire money. Yes, the store has its own currency. I haven't been in too many Canadian Tire locations but when I do. I feel very Canadian. Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
In the second round, NBC Universal has no more local feeds and will produce its own telecasts, a significant improvement from the first round. However, one flaw in the NBCU system in the second round will confound people watching the Edmonton Oilers series. The Canadian networks are well-suited in case the early game goes to overtime. NBCU doesn't like to use CNBC or USA in the second round preferring to have as much hockey on NBCSN. For Games 1-2, Game 4, and likely Games 5 and 7 (depending on what teams are left), Edmonton will have conflicts on U.S. television if the early game goes to overtime. We expect this in the first round, but not the second round. The NHL Network should be the go-to outlet for U.S. viewers, as well as NBC Sports streaming. After 18 overtime first-round games, we hope the teams can settle the conflict in 60 minutes. If the Oilers start late, don't blame Rogers, blame NBCU. Montréal went 0-1 on NBC in Game 6 while the Ottawa Senators went 2-0 on NBC in the first round. The Senators will play their second home playoff game of 2017 on NBC Saturday afternoon. Game 5 in Ottawa could also be on NBC but that is Kentucky Derby day. If the game runs in the early afternoon, overtime might be shifted to NBCSN. That would remind viewers of the 2007 disaster with Ottawa clinching the Eastern Conference title in overtime and NBC pushing the overtime coverage to Versus so the OTA network could cover the Preakness Stakes pregame. By sheer coincidence, I was in Windsor watching the CBC feed. U.S. hockey fans were justifiably upset. Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Donald Trump went off on the Canadian dairy industry to a target audience of Wisconsin dairy farmers last week. The dairy farmers are upset because Canada is offering incentives to its producers to use local milk instead of the flood of cheap ultra-filtered milk from the United States. Canada responded because the United States was sneaking in the ultra-filtered milk, not subject to the up to 300% tariff on U.S. dairy products. The Trump rant may be a salvo that has little to do with cheese and more to do with softwood lumber. Trade between the 2 countries is much more complex than simplistic rants from someone living in the world of reality TV. Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2017 at Balance of Food
Looks like we have to slightly change the boy who cried "wolf" to the boy who cried "moo" for the moment. Donald Trump took some time last week to complain about Canada dairy practices to Wisconsin dairy farmers. The primary battle stems from ultra-filtered milk (think Fairline) a concentrated ingredient designed to increase protein in cheese and yogurt. The U.S. is flooding Canada with ultra-filtered milk since, unlike other U.S. dairy products, isn't subject to as much as a 300% tariff. The Canadian dairy producers were losing money on the cheaper milk product and introduced a policy giving incentives to Canadian processors to buy domestic milk. Part of the anguish on the U.S. side is that the U.S. has been overproducing milk and the sudden change leaves them high and not so dry. Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
We started with 5 Canadian teams in 5 different series. Hoping for 3 teams to advance, but will settle for 2. Every team but Calgary had a 2-1 edge in their series. To only get 2 of the 4 teams is disappointing. Ottawa and Edmonton went 2-1 after this point while Montréal and Toronto lost their last 3 games of their series. The first round produced a record 18 overtime games. The Canadian teams went 7-7. The breakdown went like this: Montréal 1-1; Ottawa 3-1; Toronto 2-3; Edmonton 1-1; Calgary 0-1. Playoff inexperience played a factor in some of the struggles. Edmonton and Toronto had very little experience but played stronger than Montréal. Ottawa might have had the toughest fight of them all and played virtually brilliant hockey. "Very upset. We had a great opportunity to do something this year. It feels like a wasted effort." — Max Pacioretty Montréal fans agree with Pacioretty's assessment. The Habs continued their unofficial tradition of not scoring in the playoffs. Then again, Pacioretty didn't have a single goal in the series. Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
There was an obvious visual in Game 3 and Game 4 in Toronto: a huge crowd of screaming fans in Maple Leaf Square. The NBA coverage in the States understands that with Jurassic Park, physically the same space. But like most pageantry, the NBC Group doesn't appreciate what hockey has to offer off the ice. Most anthems are blown off in coverage of the Eastern games. Most anthems weren't even streamed for the Western games. The NBC Group couldn't even figure out that the pageantry can stream without a single extra penny of cost, yet still refused to do so. The shot above isn't from the NBCSN feed of Game 4. This shot came from the CBC feed used by the NHL Network for highlights. Joe Micheletti was very good at pointing out how loud the Air Canada Centre was on the inside. The CBC (Rogers) knew showing the crowd after a goal would add to the TV experience. NBC still does not get that. Chris Cuthbert and Micheletti did a great job calling the game. NBC loved showing all the awkward local Washington promos thanks to this Frankenstein productions but struggles with showing relevant beautiful imagery germane to the coverage such as anthems and excited fans. Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
Canada's 150th anniversary, free admission to national parks, and a sense of needing to travel beyond the borders of Canada's southern neighbour leads to lots of planning for travel to Canada. The Washington Post travel section put together a nice collage of potential Canadian travel options, itineraries, and destinations. Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2017 at Canadian Crossing
In the past 3 years of National Canadian Film Day, we have focused on finding a Canadian film to watch. The joy of National Canadian Film Day is ideally to find a place where Canadian film is being celebrated in a group. Yes, you could search Netflix for Canadian films or ask your video store clerk where the Canadian films are in the store. For example, the Vancouver International Film Festival is celebrating a week of Canadian film, including screenings of The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica with director Atom Egoyan and actor Bruce Greenwood. Los Angeles even has its own celebration featuring Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve. Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at Canadian Crossing