John Paizs's  Crime Wave by Jonathan BallJohn Paizs's  Crime Wave by Jonathan Ball

John Paizs's Crime Wave

byJonathan Ball

Paperback | January 17, 2014

Pricing and Purchase Info

$19.95 online 
$21.95 list price save 9%
Earn 100 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


John Paizs's 'Crime Wave' examines the Winnipeg filmmaker's 1985 cult film as an important example of early postmodern cinema and as a significant precursor to subsequent postmodern blockbusters, including the much later Hollywood film Adaptation. Crime Wave's comic plot is simple: aspiring screenwriter Steven Penny, played by Paizs, finds himself able to write only the beginnings and endings of his scripts, but never (as he puts it) "the stuff in-between." Penny is the classic writer suffering from writer's block, but the viewer sees him as the (anti)hero in a film told through stylistic parody of 1940s and 50s B-movies, TV sitcoms, and educational films.

In John Paizs's 'Crime Wave,' writer and filmmaker Jonathan Ball offers the first book-length study of this curious Canadian film, which self-consciously establishes itself simultaneously as following, but standing apart from, American cinematic and television conventions. Paizs's own story mirrors that of Steven Penny: both find themselves at once drawn to American culture and wanting to subvert its dominance. Exploring Paizs's postmodern aesthetic and his use of pastiche as a cinematic technique, Ball establishes Crime Wave as an overlooked but important cult classic.

Jonathan Ball teaches courses in literature, film, and writing at the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg.
Title:John Paizs's Crime WaveFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 7.39 × 5.3 × 0.56 inPublished:January 17, 2014Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing DivisionLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442616172

ISBN - 13:9781442616172

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents


1 The Top! Few Films Made It!

2 Beginnings and Endings

3 The Greatest Color Crime Movie Never Made

4 The Stuff In-Between

5 Twists!

6 The Gap Exposing the Real

7 An Alternate Universe

8 From the North

Production Credits

Further Viewing


Selected Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

"Since his incredible 1980s spree of creativity no one has made films like John Paizs. He somehow captured in his magic crime-coloured bottle the anarchy of Frank Tashlin, the rancid hilarity of George Kuchar, and the warm heart of early Disney, and in doing so, evoking, with his empowering low budgets, the polish and perfectionism of Golden Age Hollywood while secretly holding hands under the table with sleazier film histories. And his plot twists per minute average cannot be topped! Jonathan Ball's thorough and beautifully written study of Paizs's lone feature-length outing is a gift to film history. Read this book and watch the movie!" - Guy Maddin, filmmaker