Roadkill Bruce McDonald

Roadkill Bruce McDonald
"It's hard not to be romantic when you go to Sudbury," rhapsodises writer/actor Don McKellar in the audio commentary for the long-awaited DVD release of Roadkill, director Bruce McDonald's first full-length feature. After 15 years, a certain affection towards this picture is guaranteed, considering it pioneered Canadian indie film, kick-started numerous careers, inspired countless road trips and, most importantly, brought Joey Ramone out of CBGB and into the backwoods of Northern Ontario. McKellar and Producer Colin Brunton relish the nostalgia of simpler days, giving lessons on how to create a pre-Tarantino cult hit with extremely little money: cast all your buddies and potential girlfriends, shoot on empty dirt roads and abandoned gas stations instead of paying for permits, climb up a ladder to simulate a crane shot, hold on to odd day jobs (cinematographer Miroslaw Baszak allegedly worked at a retirement home giving enemas), throw in every interesting stranger you meet and get the soundtrack on the charts by sneaking copies off record store shelves. Roadkill's storyline is enjoyably minimal — Ramona (Valerie Buhagiar), a concert promoter's lackey, goes north to save a deadbeat band's failed tour. An extra treat now though, because of the time lapse, is appreciating what a rocking good time the cast and crew had during filming. Like watching long-lost childhood movies, this purity and unadulterated joy is what eludes productions with multi-million dollar budgets. In lieu of Bruce McDonald's participation in the special features (a featurette, for once, would have been welcomed), we get two of his short films, including the nine-minute gem Elimination Dance. A quirky dance marathon crossed with a game of "I Never," where participants are kicked out by fessing up to their naughty secrets, such as ruined knees from performing sexual acts in an elevator. Plus: Photo gallery, more. (VSC)