Week 2 Reviews – Servitude, The Chocolate Farmer & Millions
It’s midpoint in my merry challenge with six movies under the belt which also includes my favourite so far. How often do you start a Monday morning watching a R rated comedy at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in the company of legend Ivan Reitman? This time last week I was doing just that after seeing an invite pop up on the Facebook fan page for Servitude – a new Canadian comedy set in the world of waiting tables. I’d first heard about the movie last year when a contest was running to win a cameo in the project, where the best video confessional about working as a server could rescue your from dish delivering duties & land you on the big screen in a meta movie moment. Servitude is the story of Josh the star waiter at the Ranch Steakhouse as he tries to quit his job & head back to school. With a rodeo for the theme of the restaurant it’s more than the mechanical bucking bronco in the waiting area that he & his colleagues have to tame in a weekend from hell, full of hungry patronizing patrons. About to hand in his server’s bib, Josh is called on for one last favour from manager Godfrey (Dave Foley) as the Ranch has an inspection from a new German owner. If you’ve ever worked in the industry of filling ungrateful bellies you’ll get an extra kick out of seeing the exaggerated characters that really are out there. Serving up dirty potatoes & “cuppies” on the team are Tommy – a pretty boy with more mature taste for the ladies, Barb – a frazzled working mum who’s patience clocked out before her shift even started, Krissy – a gum chewing by the book cowgirl who uses mostly text message/internet speak abbreviations rather than syllables & Simon – the wannabe actor who gives his best performances in the washroom. As if balancing these personalities & plates wasn’t enough alone cue a ravenous rabble of customers and the restaurateur version of the Third Reich threatening to deplete more than a 15% tip at the end of the meal. Staging a mini revolution Josh & cohorts decide to start giving as good as they get & stop biting their lips when they discover their jobs are for the chop. Speaking of lips Margo Kidders are plumped & pouting as the martini gargling table for one lady that steals the show in every scene.
It’ll probably get a lot of comparisons to American Pie but this maple flavoured tart is a full course serving of funny rather than a just desserts, gross out gag routine audiences have come to expect. The wait time to be seated for Servitude is a little while away, February/March 2012 is what we were told in the screening. Be sure to Like & Follow the movie to be kept up to date.
Second up was a more serious situation at the NFB Mediatheque for the last of this year’s Green Screens. The Chocolate Farmer was quite apt for December considering we’re all about to stuff ourselves full of the stuff during the festival season. A moment on the lips & a lifetime on the hips but how much time between those two are you spending on thinking where this sweet treat came from? Eladio Pop works the land in southern Belize, recognising that he isn’t cash rich on a monetary level but the land sustains him and his fifteen children and wife. The documentary follows his machete swipes through the jungle foliage as he farms cocoa beans. These were once the gold for his Mayan people and now in present day are traded for modern currency. Two of his son’s, a female cultural activist & a co-op owner are also introduced in to the story of the community being changed by globalization. After the screening a presentation by ChocoSol Traders gave some added insight to the processes & the responsible trading & interactions with these communities.
Last up in the week that was, I called the NFB Mediathque home again for a sneak peek of Millions, a kickstarter webisode/TV based project about twenty-something Asian-Canadians living in Toronto who decide to reignite a high school pact & become millionaires by the age of 30. The 15 min teaser introduced a few characters on the road to establishing this quest as we learn about their unfulfilled lives working the 9 to 5. The cliff hanger ending of the pilot left me wanting to find out more, which luckily the website expands upon & relieves some of the frustration left as such a short running time.
Six movies left in my festive quest, any recommendations of other Canadian films screening in the weeks ahead? What did you see over the weekend?