• By: Karen Temple

Hot Knives, A Slackers Odyssey

Stan is most definitely a slacker, but odyssey? Well maybe, but not in the sense of a Greek tragedy. The search for Tootsie, the four-legged furry companion to luscious Luba, protagonist Stan’s buxomly neighbour, takes him on a quest through Ottawa and awakens a sense of purpose in his otherwise rudderless life.

Directed by Ottawa filmmaker Peter Monet, Hot Knives, A Slackers Odyssey is an independent film made in Ottawa by Ottawan’s that looks nothing like what the average capital dweller ever imagines when they picture the idyllic, post card-perfect, bureaucratic utopia we all call home.

Although Stan’s drug and alcohol-induced haze seems very “un-Ottawa”, the film is unquestionably about the Capital. The cast and crew are all natives and the eleven bands that lend their talents to the soundtrack are also all from our fair city, including Tim Devries from The Hammerheads who also has a cameo as the ‘Blinker’.

Monet wanted to make a fun Ottawa film that features the city without any of the stereotypical Ottawa landmarks. “So many films shot here disguise the fact they are in Ottawa”, says Monet. And he’s right; it’s about the real grit that exists beyond the celebrated Rideau Canal, Chateau Laurier and Parliament; landmarks which have come to symbolize our city.

In fact, the only time you ever see any reference to the Peace Tower is toward the end in a line-drawn map on the wall of Stan’s kitchen.

Monet is a veteran of Ottawa newsrooms and previously produced documentaries to help the plight of island countries suffering under the brutal Indonesia regime but this is his first foray into feature film.

The production started five years ago with a SAW short film grant and ended with a City of Ottawa Arts Council grant that helped cover some post-production costs. Everything in between was a true labour of love.

The film looks like it was fun to make and apparently it was as friends and colleagues played all the film’s characters. This familiarity between cast members created an improvisational dynamic that remains one of Monet’s favourite aspects of filming.

From the opening scene with Stan waking up on his sofa wearing a wig and casually flicking his long locks back in order to light his bong, to the end when he uses his hot knives as a weapon to help him beat a hasty retreat, the flick is filled with laugh-inducing over exaggerations.

The getting high scenes are also overemphasized for effect. At the heart of it, it’s a stoner flick but Monet assures that no real drugs were consumed in the making of this movie. Although he laughs, “the beer was real”.

There are twists and turns but if you want to see if the hero Stan — although not the superman saving Lois Lane saving type of hero —finds Tootsie and wins the affection of lovely Luba you have another chance to catch the second premier this Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 9:15 p.m. at the Mayfair Theatre.

I’m not sure what our Mayor Jim Watson thinks about this hipster flick but I know Cheech and Chong would be proud.

Hot Knives, A Slackers Odyssey

Produced and Directed by Peter Monet

Written by Peter Monet, Phil Caracas and Brendan McNally