Fantasia 2016: I saw Yoga Hosers and Kevin Smith and I’m very glad I did!

Harley Quinn Smith, left, and Lily-Rose Melody Depp give a decent rendition of O Canada during the closing credits of Kevin Smith's film Yoga Hosers. Depp even sings some of the French verses.

Harley Quinn Smith, left, and Lily-Rose Melody Depp give a decent rendition of O Canada during the closing credits of Kevin Smith’s film Yoga Hosers. Depp even sings some of the French verses.

I can’t imagine a better place to see Kevin Smith’s Yoga Hosers than at the Fantasia International Film Festival. The audience is famous for being warm, welcoming and enthusiastic. And to have Smith himself introduce his film and answer questions later. . .bonus!

I swear, he talked for ONE HOUR before the film even started. I was sitting down (he wasn’t!) and his talk was interesting, so I didn’t mind. After the film, almost everyone in the room stayed for the entire Q&A, even though the metro would close before he stopped talking. We’d figure out how to get home later.

If the critics who did not enjoy Yoga Hosers could have seen it with us…maybe they would have had a different reaction.

Smith told us that he had written the film with teenage girls in mind, after his wife had pointed out that he was taking their daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, to a lot of films about male superheroes. “BatMAN, SuperMAN, IronMAN, do you see a pattern here?” she had asked him. So he made a film about girls hanging out together, playing with their phones, and fighting evil.

Smith is famously fond of our country. Why is that? Well. . . His parents went to Niagara Falls, and then to Montreal, on their honeymoon, and after they had children, they took them to those cities, too. And then there’s hockey, and SCTV, and the DeGrassi TV series. Smith went to film school in Vancouver and met his good friend Scott A. Mosier there. This friendship was foretold by an Indian fakir, no less. (“You will meet someone with the initials S.A.M.”)

Smith said that when the Internet became available to one and all, he thought “Oh, good, now I can learn more about Canada!” He hopes to have dual citizenship one day. He would probably pass the exam easily enough! Daughter Harley came to the screening with him. She likes Montreal; he told her that’s good because “we might be moving here.” (You know, depending how the presidential elections go.)

What about the movie, Yoga Hosers? Of course it’s silly, but it was better than I expected. Harley Quinn Smith plays Colleen McKenzie, and her good friend Lily-Rose Melody Depp, the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, plays Colleen Collette. People call them Colleen M and Colleen C. (Or Colleen Squared.) I assume that the McKenzie name is a tribute to hoser brothers Bob and Doug McKenzie from SCTV. The two Colleens work in a Winnipeg convenience store (or dep, as we’d say here in Montreal) owned by Colleen C’s father.

The store has lots of maple syrup in stock, and even sells frozen poutine. As often as possible, the two Colleens head to the back to practice their singing. This inadvertently leads to the appearance of tiny men, made of bratwurst, wearing red jackets and Kaiser Wilhelm-type pointy helmets, who start killing people.

The two Colleens go to Terry Fox Preparatory School(!) Their history teacher, played by Vanessa Paradis, talks about Nazi sympathizers in Canada during World War II. Some U.S. or U.K. reviewers might not have grasped that that part of the story was not fictional at all. Sadly. (This might seem like a weird thing to mention, or even notice, in a film with bratwurst Nazis, but it seemed strange to me that Paradis, as the teacher, could wear skinny jeans at school while her students had to wear school uniforms. Also, we don’t do that junior, senior, sophomore stuff here in Canada. Whatever, though.)

Colleen M (Harley Quinn Smith) left, Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp) centre, and Colleen C are held prisoner in a secret, underground lair in Kevin Smith's film Yoga Hosers.

Colleen M (Harley Quinn Smith) left, Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp) centre, and Colleen C are held prisoner in a secret, underground lair in Kevin Smith’s film Yoga Hosers.

Johnny Depp plays a Montreal detective named Guy Lapointe. He’s got bushy eyebrows and wears a beret. (Depp told Smith that he could do a very good Québécois accent, because of the time that he’s spent here in Montreal, but if Smith preferred a bad one, he could do that, too. “Dial it down to stupid,” Smith told him.

The yoga part of Yoga Hosers? The girls take a yoga class with Yogi Bayer (Justin Long). The moves he teaches them come in very handy when they have to defend themselves from murderous satanists, not to mention the Goalie Golem!

Yoga Hosers and Kevin Smith got lots of applause and a standing ovation from the Fantasia crowd. The introduction, the film itself and the post-film Q&A, took about 3.5 hours. Time well spent; I have no regrets!

During the Q&A, there was a heart-warming moment when a man in the audience said that he had met Smith last year at Comic-Con and the encouragement he got from Smith then  had led him to write his first feature film.

Yoga Hosers, written and directed by Kevin Smith, starring Harley Quinn Smith, Lily-Rose Depp, Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis, Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Ralph Garman, Stan Lee.

Los Angeles stands in for Winnipeg.

Yoga Hosers was seen at a sold-out screening at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal on Friday, July 29, 2016.

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