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Wynonna Earp hosts a literal dinner party from Hell

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Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. E.T. on Space. Photo courtesy Bell Media
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. E.T. on Space. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Spoilers follow for Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 8, “Waiting Forever for You.”

Last week, we were treated to some much-needed Wynhaught adventures while Mama said adios to the clan in hopes of finding her angelic baby daddy. We were also given the Earpiest of Earp gut punches with Wynonna’s official rescinding of Vamp Doc privileges. This week provides some rather appealing discoveries that only work to further your hunger for more from the Ghost River Triangle.

Wynonna Earp has never been one to shy away from reversing the gender stereotypical norms we all know and have become sick of. “Waiting Forever With You” starts out at Shorty’s, with Wynonna assisting Jeremy with his pool stick handling skills. This is, of course, a scenario traditionally used to showcase a male’s ability to teach a woman how to play – rather than, I don’t know, not getting all up in her in order to teach her how to get a ball in a hole. She effectively utilizes birthing language to get her pointers across (since she certainly has an intimate relationship with that pool table) all while wearing a “Lasagna Del Rey” T-shirt, because we obviously need more reasons to adore Wynonna Earp.

While discussing Jeremy’s love life, Wynonna continually busts out Vamp Doc innuendos that could fill up Charlie Fire Services’ apparent big ol’ hose he has in his possession. Wynonna reveals she has been ignoring his texts which, of course, causes Jeremy to immediately call Charlie over as he and his biceps wander into the bar. As they awkwardly yet adorably decide to make dinner plans, Bulshar continues his reign of despair by resurrecting his barbecued ex with a hair of gold, Constance Clootie.

Countessa attempts to soothe over Vamp Doc’s newfound vamp woes by bringing him a fresh human being to feast on. That notion does not go over well for the man who literally chops down his own Christmas tree. Doc decides he must go hunting in the woods, because he is Doc Holliday, which causes him to attack Park Ranger Christopher Robin as he’s discussing Party Of Five spoilers with Jeremy over the phone. Now, normally when a friend lunges toward your love interest in an attempt to gorge on their flesh, you could rightly construe that as a negative development. But mid-feed, Doc realizes there’s something wrong with Robin, whose blood tastes of molding Earth. We’ve all been there.

Jeremy interrupts the delightful dinner date between Wynonna and Charlie (which featured promises of chicken balls, eggs Benedict and a great wall of spaghetti and meatballs?!) to warn her about Vamp Doc’s attack on Robin. She enlists the help of Charlie (who is apparently okay with turning away a heaping helpful of dough at Purgatory’s finest restaurant) to hold Doc back at Shorty’s, as Wynonna discusses the effects of blood-sucking on moustache upkeep with Countessa. The two share a warm whiskey as Countessa recounts the history between her and Doc Holliday, claiming that he was, in fact, the one who (figuratively) turned her. We later learn she took on the mantle of blood-sucker because Constance cursed him with the gift of immortality.

If there’s one thing Wynonna Earp excels in, it’s in the treatment of its antagonistic figures. Regardless of how ridiculous a name Bobo del Rey is, his insistence of calling Waverly an angel was not necessarily because he was a super creep (though he certainly has his moments), it was because this name has ultimately shown to have some merit to it. Countessa isn’t the most honest being to step into Purgatory, but because of how compellingly these characters are written, we’re well aware that Doc is certainly not the town’s beacon of morality either. The viewer is effectively given the option of feeling torn between whether they 100 per cent root for their favourite character or not. 

On the flip side, Constance Clootie busts onto the scene at Shorty’s, where Doc/Charlie briefly team up to stall the salty witch on a mission to fetch something of grand importance for Bulshar. They ultimately take the charred-up mother of Norman Bates, intending to throw her down the well Doc and Bobo once called home. She manages to commandeer Doc’s beloved Charlene (because they parked it a full football field away) and hysterically flips off the two men as she drives off, leaving them alone and in the cold. She interrupts Countessa and Wynonna’s big tiny sword stand-off but refrains from harming them, because she’s still on the prowl for that special something. 

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 8 – Waiting Forever for You. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 8 – Waiting Forever for You. Photo courtesy Bell Media

As the supernatural continues to reign supreme against those four, Wayhaught treats Jeremy and Robin to a BGD (Big Gay Dinner) and honestly, we would all be lucky to share a big gay anything with one of the finest fictional couples in television history. Jeremy is understandably shaken up by the whole Doc-is-a-forever-living-vampire-who-bit-my-boyfriend thing and he tries to convey his horror to Haught, who is in a constant state of bemusement with everything he says. Robin asks Waverly if she ever wonders how a potato feels when it’s in the ground, a question apparently not as frequently pondered as I initially thought. Waverly is so distraught at the prospect of a man simply licking a washed potato (shout-out to this now-iconic Wynonna Earp moment!) that she storms into the room where Jeremy and Haught find Bulshar’s ring delicately placed in a biscuit. This despite the fact that he stowed it away in BBD’s finest vault towards the beginning of the episode. Bulshar’s ring is clearly hot for Haught.

The crew find a shirtless Robin in the barn, pleading that they must keep fertilizing the soil because his green thumb takes precedence over anyone else’s sensitive nose. A disheveled Constance continues the theme of interrupting in this episode, as she makes her way into the Earp barn. Waverly pulls a Waverly and surprises us all by Falcon-punching Constance using the power of Bulshar’s ring (and somehow managing to not have her finger burned off). As it turns out, the “thing” Constance has been in search of was a tarot card Bulshar (previously known as Sheriff Clootie) so desperately needs. When she returns the card to him as he’s hanging out in the woods by himself, the most horrifying moment of Wynonna Earp comes in the form of Bulshar laughing joyously at the top of his lungs. What a monster.

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 8 – Waiting Forever for You. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 8 – Waiting Forever for You. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Through a series of linked tarot card readings and utterances of the phrase “Bulshar’s Wang,” the crew deduces that he is on the lookout for the Garden of Eden, to which Robin ominously declares that he already found. Wynonna and Vamp Doc have a heart-to-heart in the barn where evidently the magic literally happens, because just a mere few hours ago, a resurrected “bitch kabob” was Wilhelm-screamed out of her mind. Just as Wynonna reveals Bulshar’s plan for paradise, the crazed demon suddenly appears and blows what I’m certain are evil dandelion remnants at the former couple. Ah, yet another glorious day in Purgatory!

“Waiting Forever With You” turns the Bulshar narrative up to 11. With just a few episodes remaining this season, episode eight provides a number of major callbacks to seasons past that all worked toward this Bulshar summoning. Whether it was with the resurrection of Constance Clootie, the importance of the “Lovers” tarot card that appeared at the end of episode three or the reminder of Juan Carlo stating GRT was a sanctuary, I have a sneaking suspicion the remaining four episodes are going to be a thrill ride I am more than prepared to buckle up for.

My 3 Favourite W’s of the Episode

I would now like to turn your attention to my 3 Favourite W’s for this episode of Wynonna Earp. These consist of favourite Wynonna Insult, Wayhaught Moment and Waverly Expression – the three pillars of any Wynonna Earp episode.

Wynonna Insult: “You’re not gonna talk me out of shooting you with your fortune-tellery adjective… ad-verbs… nouns…”

Wayhaught Moment: I will never not love an accidental proposal. If and when we finally witness the exquisite Wayhaught proposal, I truly hope Haught provides a princess cut for Waverly.

Waverly Expression: Five words, everyone: “Robin just licked a potato!”

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 8 – Waiting Forever for You. Photo courtesy Bell Media

Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 8 – Waiting Forever for You. Photo courtesy Bell Media

What did you think of “Waiting Forever With You”? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Ghezal Amiri on Twitter.

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Honey Bee is a revealing look at human trafficking in Canada

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Honey Bee, directed by Rama Rau, stars Julia Sarah Stone as an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival.
Honey Bee, directed by Rama Rau, stars Julia Sarah Stone as an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival. Photo courtesy A71 Entertainment

Honey Bee director Rama Rau may be known to Canadian audiences mostly due to her acclaimed work in documentary, including League of Exotique Dancers (2015) and No Place to Hide (2015) – the former profiling aging burlesque dancers and the latter taking a focus on the world of cyberbullying.

But though Honey Bee marks Rau’s narrative feature debut, her instincts honed in documentary filmmaking remain essential, as much of the film is shot as though it were a documentary feature.

“I think that was key in telling the story, for me,” Rau said. “The actors were never acting – they were always in that state.”

Much of the film’s dramatic power is supplied by lead actress Julia Sarah Stone, who plays Natalie, an underage truck stop sex-worker on a journey of survival.

“She was literally the crux of the film. She was everything,” Rau said. “When I saw her audition, and I looked at a lot of auditions, I really wanted her to be in my film.”

Rau spoke with The Mutt about Stone, transitioning from documentary filmmaking and the too-infrequently discussed prevalence of human trafficking in Canada. This interview has been edited and condensed for length.

THE MUTT: So tell me about Honey Bee.

RAMA RAU: It’s about a girl groomed from the foster home system and put into a human trafficking ring. She thinks the person grooming her is her boyfriend. That’s how they get young girls from the foster care system in Canada. Then, she’s caught in a police raid and sent to a farm and the movie really begins there, her coming to terms with what has happened. A lot of it is her finding herself.

TM: What were your first thoughts when you initially read the script?

RR: I was a bit shocked, to be honest. I was stunned that these things happen in Canada. I wondered if I wanted this to be my debut feature. But it’s never frightened me to go into the underbelly of society. But films have the power to open up areas that we don’t normally talk about. I also said as a woman director I can bring a certain perspective to it. And I found my way into the story, and said, “This is how I’m going to do it, and if you’re OK with it, I’m happy to work on this film.”

TM: What were those specific elements you wanted to bring to the film?

RR: I knew I wanted it to be totally told from the perspective of Natalie, from her POV. I knew I wanted it to be a very personal film. In documentary, we use handheld cameras a lot. We literally run behind our characters. I wanted that sense of urgency in this film. We kind of blurred the lines between fiction and fact. I wanted to go so deep into the story, so the audience never knows, “Is this a real story, or is this a person acting? Does this really happen in Canada?”  [There was a scene where] and we ran behind [Natalie] like we were a camera crew.

TM: This film is obviously so based on character and Natalie’s experience. Do you think approaching things with that documentary mentality, did that help you capture small character moments?

RR: Yes, absolutely. I think that was key in telling the story. For me, the actors were never acting, they were always in that state. I encouraged them to be that way for as long as we were filming. I think they really took that to heart. They really lived their characters, and that was so rewarding for the camera because the camera picked up every little twitch of the cheek and movement of the eyebrow. I think that really lent to the authenticity. I even told Ryan (Steven Love), I want you to not talk too much to the women and I want them to hate you by the end of the film. So it’s really beyond method acting, it’s really living and being that character for that period of time.

TM: Having someone capable in the lead is obviously very important, because you need someone who is able to deliver that authenticity. How important was it having Stone in that role?

RR: Oh my god, she was literally the crux of the film. She was everything. I know she did so much research. I think she really carries the film on her shoulders. That’s why I had to choose such a strong actor like Martha to offset Julia’s stunning performance. I got so lucky in getting such great actors. God knows what I would have done if Julia wouldn’t have been able to deliver, because the film is totally based on every nuance of her face.

TM: Why would you recommend people check out the film?

RR: I think human trafficking in Ontario is not talked about enough. I think people watching this film will find a way into thinking about it. It’s not a news item. It’s more of a story of a girl who has been through the sex trade and has been bartered like a piece of furniture. I think we need to give these girls a voice. Since documentaries on these subjects can’t be made because it brings a lot of danger to their lives, these sort of films based on social issues is what opens up peoples’ minds to these sorts of issues. That’s why I think this film is crucial for people to watch if we have to tackle things like human trafficking in Ontario.

Honey Bee opened in select theatres on Sept. 20 and will be available on Video on Demand on Dec. 10.

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Director Rob Grant on the tension (and dark comedy) of HARPOON

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From director Rob Grant (Mon Ami, Fake Blood), Harpoon will make its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival. Photo courtesy CUFF
From director Rob Grant (Mon Ami, Fake Blood), Harpoon will make its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival April 28. Photo courtesy CUFF

Adrift on the seas on a luxury yacht, three friends find themselves stranded without food or supplies and quickly realize their survival is less than assured. An official selection at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019, Harpoon made its Canadian premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) April 28. The film will release on VOD in Canada on October 15.

The Mutt spoke with director Rob Grant prior to the film’s screening at CUFF 2019. This interview has been edited and condensed for length.

THE MUTT: Can you tell me a bit about the genesis of Harpoon?

ROB GRANT: I had a great relationship with my producers (Knuckleball director Michael Peterson and Kurtis Harder) from a film called Fake Blood. I pitched Mr. Peterson on this idea that was a mix between Polanski’s Knife on the Water but by way of Seinfeld characters on the boat. I grew up in Vancouver, and the original idea was, “Well, I spent a lot of time on a boat, we could go take a boat out to the ocean and try to isolate ourselves out there.” Once a budget came into play and the idea grew, suddenly we were shooting the interiors of the boat in a set in the middle of freezing winter in Calgary, and shooting the exteriors on a boat in tropical Belize down south.

TM: Was it difficult for you to balance those comedic elements and still find a way to ratchet up the tension?

RG: It was very difficult, and there were a lot of discussions about that. When you have to give the elevator pitch, you have to say: “This is the genre and this is what it means.” But I subscribe to the logic that in life you can feel in one moment that you’re in a love story and the next minute in a horror movie, and that’s the way real life actually works. But it seems a little more rigid in movies. We were aware of potentially disrupting viewers’ experiences of watching the movie. (We thought) a movie could, or should, be multiple things at once. We’re willing to accept that there’s going to be some audience members that are going to reject that as a movie experience, but we wanted to try it.

Harpoon director Rob Grant said premiering the film at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 was a very validating experience. Photo courtesy CUFF

Harpoon director Rob Grant said premiering the film at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2019 was a very validating experience. Photo courtesy CUFF

TM: Can you tell me more about those influences you mentioned? I’m curious about how you mixed something like Seinfeld with more traditional thriller elements.

RG: Hitchcock’s Lifeboat was definitely in there, as well as Polanski’s Knife in the Water. But I had to still find the dark humour in it, and Seinfeld came up specifically because as much as we all find the Seinfeld characters enduring, they’re very much in it for themselves. They’re worried about their own outcomes. So I tried to use a lot of that. As much as these people like to say they’re looking out for each other, the second it becomes a survival story they’re all kind of in it for themselves. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia was another one, not only for mixing drama and humour, but definitely because the narration was less focused. It sets up what’s going to happen without speaking to much on the nose about what you’re about to see.

TM: I understand there’s some great gore and effects in Harpoon. What was your approach to that, and what effect do you think that has? 

RG: I’ve explored the effects of violence in cinema with Fake Blood, and this was an extension of that. The entire movie, these people speak very casually and aloof about the things that potentially will need to be done without actually considering what that entails until suddenly when it happens. I felt like it would be a good idea to make sure that was extremely violent and horrible, not only because we’ve been teasing up to this moment, but I do believe there’s a certain element that people do not consider the actual realities of having to do something like that. So it’s very shocking, very brutal, it’s like, “ha ha ha this was all funny to discuss” and now that it’s happened it sucks the wind out of you. That was a very intentional decision.

TM: What do you think Harpoon does in a unique way when compared to other similar films? What do you hope the audience walks away with?

RG: I hope when people leave the cinema that it wasn’t the movie they were expecting, that it was a little bit of a different take. I do think it’ll challenge them depending what their expectations are. I just hope they’re expecting something interesting in the genre, and that they’re along for the ride.

Harpoon will be released on VOD in Canada on October 15.

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There Are No Fakes is a shocking journey into the world of art fraud

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Directed by Jamie Kastner, There Are No Fakes is a shocking feature-length documentary that centres on the work of Norval Morrisseau. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions
Directed by Jamie Kastner, There Are No Fakes is a shocking feature-length documentary that centres on the work of Norval Morrisseau. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

Some of the best documentaries of the past two decades involve hard left turns – films that begin in one direction but end in another due to events that unfolded during production. There Are No Fakes, directed by Jamie Kastner, joins that select company of documentary as its comedic opening slowly morphs into something much darker.

There Are No Fakes centers on the work of Norval Morrisseau, the Indigenous Canadian artist of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation, sometimes referred to as the “Picasso of the North”. Morrisseau, who died in 2007, sought to remove forgeries of his art from the marketplace, establishing the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society in 2005.

After Kevin Hearn (of Barenaked Ladies fame) buys one of Morrisseau’s paintings, he starts to doubt its authenticity and discovers a bizarre feud consolidated around Morrisseau. It’s this conflict, and the dark secrets hidden beneath it, that form the backdrop of There Are No Fakes.

Kastner (The Secret Disco Revolution, Free Trade Is Killing My Mother), who was friends with Hearn in high school, learned through conversation about Hearn’s ongoing lawsuit surrounding the Morrisseau paintings. It became clear to Kastner that such a story would be perfect for his next project.

“It was almost unbelievable. There was so much crazy stuff in this story, I couldn’t quite believe it,” Kastner said. “I told him if I was going to proceed with it, though we were friends he would have no editorial control. As a journalist, I would be talking to both sides, and he agreed.

“I went off on my own doing my own kind of digging and research. Lo and behold, everything he told me and then some turned out to be the case.”

Norval Morrisseau of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation was sometimes referred to as the "Picasso of the North". Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

Norval Morrisseau of the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation was sometimes referred to as the “Picasso of the North”. Photo courtesy Cave 7 Productions

As the story unfolded and as Kastner continued to meet a succession of larger-than-life characters, he found himself shocked at what he uncovered. Bringing footage back to his editor provoked a similar reaction.

“He’d say, ‘Holy f***!’ Then I’d do another one, and he’s quite an even-keeled guy, and he’d say ‘holy f***,’” Kastner said. “So it was a series of ‘holy f***’ moments. I tried to recreate that experience for the audience.”

Documentaries can often unfold much as expected, with a known story dictating the outcome of the production. But given the fluid situation surrounding the events of There Are No Fakes, Kastner followed the story as it led him, knowing he had been handed an incredible gift.

“It’s definitely a privilege and a responsibility (to tell this story). You’re dealing with the legacy of one of our most important artists,” he said. “You wind up dealing with very serious issues of abuse of different kinds, so I felt a real responsibility.

“You have to handle it very carefully as a documentary filmmaker. It really is so unique and unusual and special and horrific and inspiring and a whole range of things that you don’t usually get in one film.”

There Are No Fakes made its world premiere at Hot Docs 2019, receiving highly positive reviews. Kastner said the film provided fascinating insight into the legacy of Morrisseau, touching on multiple problems still at play in Canada.

“It’s a very dramatic story. People can’t believe that they’re real people. They seem like characters out of some HBO series or something,” Kastner said. “I think it’s a very entertaining, edge of your seat, jaw-dropping type of story that happens to be a documentary.”

There Are No Fakes will screen at multiple locations throughout Canada in July 2019. For more information, click here.

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