|Moore's 'Bacon' Sizzles With Cold War Premise||1993 Copyright Hollywood Reporter|
|(AP)||December 28, 1993|
Deep in every
Canadian psyche lurks a tiny fear:
What if that giant Amencan friend
to the south wakes up one day and
actually starts to take an interest in
Canada, maybe even a real big
What if the Soviet Union crumbled removing the need for a powerful defense industry ? What if that eviscerated the U.S' economy? The president's popularity plummeted? What if the United States decided it needed a new enemy?
Why not Canada?
Why not indeed, says film director Michael Moore.
Moore is the fellow who won all those prizes with the 1989 satirical documentary "Roger and Me" about the devastation wrought on Flint, Mich.--Moore's hometown-- by General Motors' decision to close factories there.
Now Moore is shooting his first fiction feature, a comedy with a message called "Canadian Bacon."
"During the Persian Gulf War I was just amazed at how quickly the news media got on board," Moore said between bites on a hamburger during a break in filming a top Toronto's CN Tower. "It was like a war made for a TV miniseries," he said as actress Rhea Perlman -- famed as "Cheers" barmaid Carla Torcelli-- fires blanks from an M-16 rifle at a circling helicopter.
"As I remember, Saddam Hussein had recelved $4 billion in military aid from (the United States). He was an ally. And then, one day, he was the worst thing since Adolf Hitler. How did that happen?"
Moore started ruminating. What would be the most absurd example of a country with whom to start a new Cold War?
"How about Canada? It's right there, the longest unprotected border in the world, socialized medicine. The socialist NDP (New Democratic Party) ... We have a Red menace on the border.
"They refuse to have a whole lot of crime or murder up here," he said. "Anybody who is in favor of gun control has got to be a commie, right?"
Moore is very serious, however, when he talks about the gullibility of the American public, not to mention the press.
Canadians know very well about the American attacks on Montreal and Quebec in 1775, the invasion of Canada during the War of 1812, the voyage of the U.S. icebreaker Polar Sea in 1985 that challenged Canada's Arctic sovereignty. Americans can be decidedly unfriendly when it suits them.
"How will we behave as a nation, as the world's only superpower?" asks Moore, amply filling a large director's chair.
"Responsibly? Or needing always to have conflict? And the president? Will he need to prove himself before re-election time that he has the mettle to send the boys to battle?"
But, hey, remember this is a comedy.
"I think you're supposed to laugh through this movie," said Perlman, laughing. "It's sort of the absurdity of the political situation and how far it could get out of hand."
Alan Alda plays the president of the United States whose nosedive in the polls leads him to accept his advisers' plan to start a Cold War with Canada. He starts off by pumping up the American propaganda machine and lighting a fire under the American press.
Unfortunately, the sheriff of agara Falls, N.Y., played by Canadian comic John Candy, gets carried away with the propaganda. Incensed, he and a commando party of his deputies conduct a raid across the border to commit that most heinous of Canadian crimes --littering.
Surprised by Mounties, the sheriff retreats to the United States. But he's left deputy Perlman behind in Canada. He crosses the border again in a rescue effort, and this is the move that threatens to turn a potential Cold War into an actual hot one.
Ironically, the star of this movie about Americans whipping up war fever against Canada is a Canadian --Candy. For some reason, Candy will not grant interviews to talk about the film. His publicists cite artistic reasons. But one wonders . . . is he afraid of starting a war?
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