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July 19, 2011

Episode 20: Crime Wave (1985)

Special Guests: Eva Kovacs, Neil Lawrie & Greg Klymkiw

Then, from the north, came John Paizs's wonderful, quirky comedy from 1985, Crime Wave. Mike and Mondo Justin are joined this week by Skizz Cyzyk in discussing the Canadian classic about frustrated screenwriter Steven Penny (Paizs) who struggles to complete the "best colour crime movie" while living above the garage of Kim (Eva Kovacs). He can come up with great beginnings and endings but it's the middles that challenge him. Leave that up to the advice of Dr. Jolly (Neil Lawrie).

Watch Crime Wave on Amazon Prime
Buy Jonathan Ball's Crime Wave book
Read Greg Klymkiw's article about Crime Wave at TIFF 2014
Buy John Paizs's Invasion! on DVD
Buy Crime Wave on VHS
Visit Frank Norman's .
Visit the Winnipeg Cinemateque

Listen/Download Now:

Bonus Interview with Jonathan Ball:



  1. Great podcast on one of the most important, yet least known, films ever made in Canada.

  2. The Foreign ViewerOct 11, 2014, 2:16:00 PM

    This movie had the tremendous misfortune of coming out the same year as his much (much) better known (and crappier) namesake. The fact that it doesn't even have a trailer and that it's next to impossible to find creates a deadly trifecta that additionally pushes this film into total obscurity (outside Winnipeg).

    I, like many others, never heard of this flick and after Mike's constant appraisal of this movie throughout his shows, I caved in and tracked the movie down (don't ask how).

    And was it worth it? Well, yeah, kind of. The movie feels like an amalgamation of Lynch (if Eraserhead was a dream of an adventurous young impresionable child who loves cartoons and movies), PBS children show, Hot Shots and Citizen Kane (that new ending works like a charm). It really is a wonderfully crazy tribute to the screenwriting process (and movies in general). Every list about movies that celebrate the craft should have this movie next to Ed Wood and Barton Fink.

    The cast is freaking spot on and the out of nowhere villain is one of the most memorable sadistic serial criminals in movie history.

    Even if the movie's intentional silliness becomes annoying after a while, the shear fact that anything can happen next and still make sense keeps you interested.

    This is exactly the kind of movie that needs spotlighting because NO ONE knows about it, but everyone who get to see it will definitely be left with an impression.

    As for this PJ episode, not much to add really. Great job as usual, Mike, although you should've explained slightly better the tone and organized anarchy of this movie, since it's impossible to prepare someone for what he or she are about to see, but that fact should still be stressed.

    The later special episode Special Report: Jonathan Ball on Crime Wave
    is a fantastic addendum, because it talks about the influence that the movie left on people who saw it.

    And that story about the publishing issues is freaking heartwrenching. Fate just hates this movie, apparently, but PJ has its back and that's gotta count for something.

    Good work, Mike.

  3. The Foreign ViewerOct 11, 2014, 2:27:00 PM

    Of course, if one were to nitpick this movie, two obvious targets would be 1) the fact the writer has no visible income, yet lives in a rented house, eats and has money for work-related supplies and 2) the slightly uncomfortable undertones of the writer's and main character's odd budding relationship. But why ruin the mood? It's cartoon logic and let leave it at that.

  4. Mike and Justin take a look back at the sub-cult, sub-classic Crime Wave. No, not the 1985 Sam Raimi or the 1954 Andre de Toth films of the same name. This is the strange and inventive, obscure Canadian comedy from 1986 directed by John Paizs (who weirdly, they couldn't get for this episode!)

    I was introduced to this lovely little flick when Mike White himself breezed into town to screen it at the now defunct Toronto Underground Cinema during his Impossibly Funky book tour (with director Paizs in attendance.)

    If you can get your hands on it, it's well worth a viddy.