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As part of our film issue, we’re setting out to determine the best ever made-in-Vancouver film. Follow along on Twitter or Instagram.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) vs. 50/50 (2011)
We begin the drama side of the bracket with two films that… arguably don’t belong in the category.
Mccabe, the Robert Altman-directed Warren Beatty and Julie Christie vehicle about running a brothel in 1902, is probably most aptly described as a “Western.” And calling any Seth Rogen film a drama is probably something of a stretch, though this one does deal with cancer.
In any event, this is where we are. Deal with it. Let’s see how they stack up.
Rotten Tomatoes rating
McCabe & Mrs. Miller: 87 percent
50/50: 93 percent
Is it surprising that 50/50 bested one of the all-time great works from an acclaimed director? A little bit, but not when you dive into the numbers.
McCabe garnered an average rating of 8.7 on the site, while the immensely likeable 50/50 comes in at 7.65.
But that’s not to take anything away from lines like “I’m sorry I didn’t come to your opening, it’s just because I hate you so much.”
Worldwide box office (USD)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller: $31.5 million
50/50: $41 million
Neither of these movies seem like big earners in retrospect. But it’s worth noting that, in 1971, McCabe was one of the top 25 films at the box office. 50/50 was obviously not, and still stands as one of Rogen’s least financially successful endeavours—though it didn’t show in as many theatres as his regular fare.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller: 6/10
The frontier town of Presbyterian Church was entirely built for the film in West Vancouver, and though the town of Bearpaw is recognizably Squamish (the head of Howe Sound), it’s not overflowing with Vancouver landmarks.
50/50 takes pains to try and tell you that Vancouver is Seattle, even inserting the Space Needle into the background of a shot of the seawall (c’mon, Seth, that’s dirty). So while that kinda messes with the “Vancouver-ness” of the flick, there are still signs of our city everywhere, as both downtown’s Finch’s and Book Warehouse on Broadway make appearances.
We hate to let down one of Vancouver’s favourite sons (especially since we just let another one graduate to the next round), but McCabe has undoubtedly left a bigger impact on film than the 50/50. (Not that we didn’t also burn our ex’s paintings in our backyard.)
But what say you? Have your say on our Twitter and Instagram accounts linked above.