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Rock, Paper, Scissors: The Way of the Tosser (2007)

by on 2011/04/11

“I saw your great-grandmother riding a giant praying mantis.”

* *

Many years ago, I was invited to a house party. I didn’t know the hosts very well, but I agreed to go. I had decided that I needed to be more adventurous and open to invitations.

The place was in a bad area. The cramped rooms smelled like cat and feet. Every last inch of the lumpy, musty seating was covered in afghans.

Everyone seemed to know one another and indicated this – loudly. Very loudly. Weird screamy, jumpy games were played.

My face froze in a constricted smile. For hours. It hurt.

I was too polite – too very, very Canadian – to leave.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: The Way of the Tosser helped me to relive that evening exactly.

This 2007 Canadian mockumentary captures the life and times of fictional losers Holly Brewer, Gary Brewer (“no relation …yet”) and their roommate/mascot Trevor Morehouse (Ryan Tilley) during the days leading up to the 2006 Rock, Paper, Scissors Championships in Toronto.

I’ve had some personal exposure to the raging trend of rock, paper, scissors (RPS) as a serious “sporting” event. I’ve played a mean game or two in my life. (Rock’s my power toss. Rocks are cool). My super genius beautiful sister was even a key public relations contact for some of the big tournaments in Toronto.

Rock, Paper, Scissors is box office, baby. Like car racing, boxing and dodgeball. And this film proves it. Weirdly. Loudly. Uncomfortably.

Directed and starring Tim Doiron and April Miller, this movie also captures the pure, distilled essence of “fringe.” Fringe cinema, fringe living. Maybe fringe isn’t going far enough, perhaps this is a work of “outsider art.”

Their characters – Gary and Holly – have one and only passion/vocation – tossing RPS. (Yet they somehow own a house and can buy food …in Toronto). They are also very much in love.

Gary is an unblinking, occasionally violent sensei of a Karateosse (a mix of karate and RPS) dojo. Every last detail of Gary and Holly’s characters are carefully (and disconcertingly) conceived.

From their morning routines – hand exercises, drinking coffee creamers, eating chocolate pretzels – to their evening spiritual mediations where they listen to music from the “Paranormal Society of Ontario” and commune with the angry spirit of their dead dog Rufus – the attention to detail in their character construction is almost unhealthy.

We also meet their roommate Trevor, an amnesiac man-child they found in a ditch wearing a tin-foil Viking helmet. He compulsively takes instant photos of Gary, Holly and his Barbie collection with his pink Polaroid camera.

Gary and Holly’s neighbours Lloyd and Linda Ludlow are infertile. They fill the void by hosting karaoke parties on Wednesday nights.

Gary tries to kill Lloyd with an electrical cord.

Gary refuses to throw paper out of respect for his dog. Gary’s nemesis is Baxter Pound (Peter Pasyk). He is described by Gary as “a person who embodies the chump factor to the chumpth degree …like chumpth thousand and 20…”

Pound also eats a lot of hot dogs.

Holly is irrationally afraid of scissors. She prays to baby Jesus.

Gary’s coach and mentor is RPS champion, Finnegan O’Reilly. Gary met him when he fell on O’Reilly who was sleeping in the bushes during a tire fire.

O’Reilly is an angry drunk.

Gary does a lot of high kicks in jean cut offs so we become very familiar with his crotch. Very.

Gary sees “bleeding cubes in the sky” when he is in the RPS “zone.” Trevor, Holly and Gary sacrifice Barbies to a bonfire in the backyard for luck.

Had enough?

I’m tired now so I should probably stop anyway.

To conclude, I’ll say what I said to my loud, strange hosts as I was leaving their house party: “Thank you, this was all very …interesting.”

I never saw them again.

* *

82 minutes

PG for high kicks in jean shorts

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  1. Month in Review: April 2011 « Geek vs Goth

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