Canada’s Rip-Off (1971)
Rip-Off is the lighthearted tale of a bunch of Toronto teens struggling with the reality of finishing high school. They pull pranks, they play in a band and they chase girls as they try to come to terms with the existential angst of the future. It’s like a high minded PORKY’S that…
Wait a minute.
This film came out in 1971? That’s a full nine years before PORKY’S. You could say that RIP-OFF is indebted to the British sex comedies of the late 60’s, but there’s a a real sincere streak in the film that rolls over the silliness that you’d see in stuff like CONFESSIONS OF A WINDOW CLEANER. Director Donald Shebib (Goin’ Down the Road) and writer William Fruet (Funeral Home) give the kids in the film a real inner life without ever making them caricatures. These boys are pretty lame and immature, but they’re struggles are relatable and presented in a way that’s not only funny, but a little sad as well. Donald Shebib’s directorial effort is a little too earnest at times (a saccharine slow motion football game), but when the kids pull a WITHNAIL & I and try to live in the woods, it struck so close to home that I was taken aback. That’s how me and friends acted! We were those dumb goofballs that camped out and got sick because we didn’t think about feeding ourselves!
Rip-Off is a before it’s time film. It tells the story of teens with a lot of heart, but still makes time to have the kids accidentally stumble onto the set of a porno.
The weirdest thing about this film is that almost no one has ever heard of it.
It’s never gotten a VHS or DVD release. The only copy available is a crummy looking one on YouTube that was taped off SHOWTIME. It’s the second effort by the director by one of the most famous film in the CanCon cannon and it’s been forgotten completely to the sands of times.
What the hell is going on?
Also, Goin’ Down The Road has a monolithic status which leads to a lot of people o skip it by because it’s such a ‘classic’ (A.K.A That sounds like a slog), but it’s a really charming piece of art that’s even more surprising when you consider that it was made by a skeleton crew of three people with no experience.
Watch Rip Off:
Justin Decloux is a writer and filmmaker who lives in Toronto, Ontario. He loves long walks to the movie theater, staying in on rainy nights and watching movies, and sitting at his computer looking up new movies to watch. One day, he will have seen everything there is to see, and he will start all over again.