How can Canada’s film industry make up for missing out on the maple syrup heist movie?

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew

Canada has been celebrated in recent years for its burgeoning film industry and, so soon after the end of another successful Toronto International Film Festival, much if not all of that credit is well deserved.

Yet a pressing question has recently arisen surrounding the quality and judgment of those at the helm: How did Canada miss out on the Quebec maple syrup heist biopic?

Sony Pictures announced this week that they were making a Hollywood film based on the 2012 theft of millions of dollars worth of maple syrup reserves in Quebec. Jason Segel is attached to star in the comedy-drama, with Seth Gordon (Identity Thief) and Chris Sheridan (Family Guy) set to direct and write the script.

This all makes so much sense that filmmakers north of the border must be chopping down maple trees in anger, having not jumped on the idea themselves.

As Barry Hertz writes in Maclean's, it would serve us right if the film ends up being shot in the U.S. and perhaps even based in Vermont or another syrup-loving state.

[ Related: Quebec maple syrup heist set for Hollywood film ]

Well, it may be too late for a Canadian maple syrup heist movie, but let this be our wakeup call. Canadian screenwriters and movie producers should be ripping through newspapers in search of made-at-home ideas for the next great Canadian biopic.

As a public service, here are a few recent Canadian news stories that could make the grade:

The Luka Magnotta Story

I don’t like it either, but the bizarre death of Montreal student Jun Lin and the international manhunt that ended in the arrest of Luka Magnotta is, sadly, too bizarre, macabre and unbelievable to not be made into a movie at some point. The Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka story was made into a movie, and Russell Williams was the feature of a Lifetime film. Both were received poorly, so that perhaps lends hope that a Magnotta movie will not be made.

The Great Canadian Penny Recall

As the Canadian Mint attempts to remove millions of pennies from circulation, a ragtag group of coin collectors race against time to find a rare copper piece that has been eluding them for years. Think It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World meets Major League, but with pennies.

[ More Brew: Toronto City Hall just bought 30 chairs for $75,000 ]

The Adventures of Darwin the Monkey

It’s not every day that a well-dressed monkey is found gallivanting around an Ikea furniture outlet store. And it is even less common to have that story evolve into a heartwarming legal battle between the monkey’s loving “human mother” and a primate sanctuary. Come on, Canada. Convince Sarah Polley to play the mother, let her give a gut-wrenching soliloquy in which she says goodbye to Darwin and watch whatever passes for Oscars in Canada roll in.

The Rob Ford Movie

Yes, of course Rob Ford’s tumultuous time as Toronto Mayor should be made into a movie. He could be portrayed as a bumbling oaf with a heart of gold who goes up against the slick political machine, or a darker character surrounded by a gang-like collection of lackeys and goons. Slapstick comedy or dark crime thriller, you decide. In fact, mores the better. Like asteroid or volcano movies: Let’s make two movies and release them around the same time.

Drunk Guy Swims Across Border

Hey, they can’t all be heavy dramatic pieces or otherwise mainstream options. Some of them have to be character-driven indie films. Let’s get our best people on filling out the back story of John Morillo, the Windsor, Ont., resident who got drunk and swam to Detroit because his friend’s didn’t think he could make it. Are you telling me you wouldn’t watch that movie?

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