Thursday, December 6, 2007


“Man, stop worrying. Your 20’s suck. Worst period of your life. You’re lonely, feel like your head’s being blowtorched from the inside. And you don’t even know what it is because we were never even, like, taught the words to describe it. So you feel like an idiot and a loser, and because everybody else is so young and beautiful, you think they’re having a great time. But the fact of the matter is, dude, they’re just as lonely and scared and f*cked up as you are.”

Douglas Coupland is perhaps best known as the author of novels like Generation X: Tales For An Accelerated Culture, Girlfriend In A Coma, Microserfs, and Microserfs’ spiritual sequel, jPod, but with Everything’s Gone Green, Coupland has, at long last, told a story specifically for the big screen.
Ryan (Paulo Costanzo, from TV’s Joey and the upcoming Splinter) is having a bad day, dumped and fired and thinking his family was this close to 4.3 Gs, all in the span of a few short hours.
But all that dreadfulness is about to change into a sprinkling of opportunities, thanks to a new job and a beached whale.

Director Paul Fox (The Dark Hours) does a bang-up job of giving us what is essentially an audio-visual Coupland novel. It’s all here, from the ruminations on modern life, to the quirky characters constantly finding themselves in off-the-wall situations, all the while making observations about where we are and what we’ve done to ourselves as a species.
Embodying those aforementioned quirky characters is a laid-back cast headed by Costanzo, and supported by War’s Steph Song (also appearing in the TV adaptation of Coupland’s jPod), JR Bourne (from Thir13en Ghosts and The Exorcism of Emily Rose), and Aidan Devine (who appeared in Fox’s The Dark Hours, as well as David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence).
But with all these capable performances on screen, it’s interesting to note that one of the most engaging characters in Everything’s Gone Green, is the city of Vancouver.

Vancouver, BC has long been the shooting destination of choice for American productions that want to keep their budgets on a leash; five of The X-Files’ 9 seasons were shot there, as were both Fantastic Four movies and the two latter X-Men films, while current Hollywood North television productions include Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, Reaper, Supernatural, and Bionic Woman. (Zack Snyder’s film adaptation of Alan Moore’s Watchmen is also currently filming there; see Afterthoughts (27).)
Serving as both setting and stand-in for the story’s characters and modern life as we know it, Vancouver is constantly something other than what it actually is. It dazzles and preoccupies with its surface glamour, while so much that is left unseen and unnoticed, goes on beneath the surface.

And while this theme is seen in all the other characters in Everything’s Gone Green, it is perhaps most evident in Ming (played by Song), who works as a set dresser, her job, to continually make Vancouver look like some other place.
At a certain point in the film, she moves in with her knife-wielding, Mandarin-speaking Granny (Chiu-Lin Tam, playing the film’s cutest and coolest character), cluttering up the place with random props—fake cacti, fake limbs, fake breasts—from her work.
It isn’t an accident that just as she’s decided to turn a new leaf, to “move forward” instead of back, she moves all of the props, all the inauthentic detritus that clutters her life, into the basement.

Like Coupland’s novels, there’s a lot going on in Everything’s Gone Green, but it isn’t blared out in obvious, overly melodramatic ways. At its core, the film is a funny look at life and what we make of it, and the oftentimes slippery slope that lies between being true to ourselves and going for the quick buck.
Set in Vancouver, a city of magical artifice readily set-dressed to be any other city in some distant corner of the world (sometimes, even galaxy), Everything’s Gone Green is about trying to get through, and get by, pushing to move forward, without cutting corners. It’s about discovering what truly makes you happy, no matter what that is.
And ultimately, it’s a small film that manages to be both beautiful and hopeful, which should make Ming very happy indeed.

“God, does anybody do anything real these days?”
“What do you mean?”
“Everyone’s in on a scam, or creating something that nobody really needs just to sell it to people who are too stupid to care or notice. Whatever happened to just being real? Why aren’t we content to just be middle class?”

Parting shot: Everything’s Gone Green won the award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival.
(Everything’s Gone Green OS courtesy of; DVD cover art [Unrated Version] courtesy of; images courtesy of

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