Take Off, Eh!? Celebrate The Greatest Canadian Hoser Cinema

Hoser (hōz ´әr): noun. 1. A clumsy, boorish person, especially an uncouth, beer-drinking man often clothed in a flannel lumberjack coat, Kodiak boots and a toque. 2. What you call your little brother when your mother isn't in the room. 3. A highly amusing subgenre of Canadian Cinema (i.e. Hoser Film) often containing a dark, yet poignant undertone.

The Cinema of the Great White North is casually ignored by citizens of its own country and more often than not, the rest of the world with only a few points given for occasionally getting embraced in France. Many of the films made here are just American studio productions looking for tax breaks where production designers dress up Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto to look like cities south of the border. There are, of course, a few celebrated auteurs steadfastly working in the Canadian system: Denys Arcand, Claude Jutra, David Cronenberg, Guy Maddin and Atom Egoyan. This article is not about them.

Rather it is about a very small subgenre of films that is unabashedly Canadian and has quietly and pleasantly persisted for decades: The Hoser Film. Movies of this sort feature the clueless loser (or buddy losers) who wanders through adult society oblivious to his buffoonery but certainly unwilling or unable to ever to grow up and join the norm.  These stories not so much fish out of water as the mouse in bottle of Molson Canadian. While Adam Sandler may do the stunted man-child shtick, the Canuck way of doing this has a bit more subtlety and a bit more style. Below are a few vintage (and a couple quite new) entries worth introducing yourself to, especially if you have in interest in broadening your cult cinema horizons (in a modest, maple-syrup and back bacon-fat fashion).