John Paizs’s CRIME WAVE

We’re incredibly thrilled that John Paizs, writer/director/star of all-time staff favorite and masterpiece CRIME WAVE, made time to chat with us for Scarecrow’s upcoming Spring Livestream (May 14, 12-8PM PT via YouTube).

If you haven’t seen CRIME WAVE, we enthusiastically suggest checking it out. Here’s Scarecrow’s Kevin Clarke with more from his review:

“The Top!” a voice-over guy shouts excitedly over a shot of some kind of pyramid of cake with a cherry on top. “Few guys made it!” Hyper-dramatic music plays in the background as we are introduced to several rock n’ roll “tribute kings,” including Elvis impersonator Ronnie Boyles, who is “From the North!” and who “Had a dream!” Ronnie murders a booker who’s trying to shake him down for “five bucks!” and the film seems ready to settle in, but abruptly cuts away to a young girl in a classroom. “The ending went like this,” she says. Back to Ronnie being chased by cops, he runs over an old man, crashes his car, and his life ends face-first in a telephone pole. There’s more movie in the first five minutes of Crime Wave than in all the minutes of some other movies.

Crime Wave is not, as the title might suggest, a film noir B-movie about criminals on a killing spree (except for sometimes, when it is), but is instead a bizarre, deadpan comedy focused on their writer, a silent loner named Steven Penny (director John Paizs), who lives above a garage and can’t seem to finish any of his Colour Crime screenplays. Throughout the movie we are treated to scenes from a handful of said Colour Crime screenplays. He can get the beginnings and endings just fine, it’s those darn middles that seem to give him such a problem. The proceedings are narrated by Kim (Eva Kovacs), the young girl from earlier, who becomes fast friends with Steven.

Produced, written and directed by Canadian auteur John Paizs, and shot in bold, bright colors, in square, locked-down camera set-ups that make it seem like an educational film produced by aliens. The Colour Crime “beginnings” and “endings” play out like short sketch comedy films, so it’s no surprise that Paizs was sought out by The Kids in the Hall to direct segments for their show. The “real world” of the film takes place in an oddly disconnected sitcom universe, with Kim dryly explaining everything that transpires.

Crime Wave occupies the same left field as go-for-broke, genre-bending movies like Repo Man and The American Astronaut. Available on DVD, but originally released on VHS as The Big Crime Wave (so as not to be confused with Sam Raimi’s Crimewave from the same year), seek this out however you can!

“I really did mean to be good.” -Steven Penny

Take a look at a clip here:

   And here’s Kevin chatting about the film from VIVA PHYSICAL MEDIA episode 20:

And be sure to join us for our Livestream on Saturday, May 14 from 12-8PM PT! Follow us on YouTube for reminders and updates!

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