I saw a trailer for Patch Town and was intrigued. It looked like a strange take on Cabbage Patch Kids, a staple of my childhood. Backstory: I had a boy Cabbage Patch doll, which was strange for a little girl in the 1980s. It was a boy/girl twin set (two sides to every Schwartz); my sister got the girl, I got the boy, and I adored him. In the name of my beloved Lyle, I knew that I had to watch it, if only because Rob Ramsay’s hair (and yes, that’s his real hair) reminded me so much of my doll. I will warn you that this one is weird. If you’re looking for something out-there this weekend, here are five reasons to make Patch Town your date.
|So strange. So very strange.
#1 – It’s a very dark take on Cabbage Patch kids
It’s not just the origins of the dolls. It’s a look into the business of selling toys, from ingredients (organic!) to profit margins to activists. That it gets plunked into a type of Stalinist regime with black-clad secret police adds a whole dimension of what-the-fuck to it that boggles the mind.
#2 – You’ll recognize the cast
If you’ve watched anything from Canada, you’ll most likely recognize some of the actors. Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl). Julian Richings (The Red Violin, Orphan Black). And one of my favorites – Scott Thompson! I still see Queen Elizabeth when I look at that man. The moments of recognition add to the experience.
|It’s Lauren from Lost Girl!
#3 – Sibling rivalry gets the honest treatment
There’s a cold, hard truth out there that some parents don’t want to face: not all kids want siblings. You may want another child, but your kid might not share those feelings, and may never fully warm to the idea. For some, the more is not merrier. That’s one of those darker family dynamics that isn’t talked about. This one faces it head on, and does so with honesty.
#4 – The strangest fucking musical you’ve seen in a while
I’m not a musical person. I don’t like the random song-and-dance numbers. If you ever want to torture me, make me watch Grease! It takes something special to make me like a film with song and dance numbers. And I’ll be honest here: the singing in this film was not my cup of tea (you know that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the king tells his son not to sing? That’s me every time I’m subjected to a musical, mentally bellowing, “And NO singing!”). But like a good trainwreck, I couldn’t stop watching. If you like musicals, you very well may like this.
#5 – Adoption and abandonment issues
At its core, this one asks some tough questions about adoption and parental abandonment. The search for one’s mother, the pain at being abandoned, the desire for a family – this one takes a long look at some pieces of family dynamics that many proponents of adoption don’t want to face. It recognizes that adoption is not always the easy solution that most people want to believe it to be; it’s not cut-and-dry, and there are sometimes painful internal issues that everyone in the process faces long after the paperwork has been signed. Add to that the nice message about belonging and making your own family, and it leaves a good impression. I applaud its honesty.
|The cast really adds a lot to the themes too.
This one’s a streamer from Netflix and Hulu Plus if you’re interested. I will repeat, it’s an odd one, but you may find it entertaining.