Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.
“Remember when I was funny? Remember? Don’t look away! Laugh, I order you, LAUGH! LAUGH AT ME!”
Before getting to the heart of the matter, we hope you won’t mind if we take a little pride in letting you know that the Toronto Star reads Reel Toronto. How do we know? Well, last week they did a little feature [PDF] on horror movie film locales in Toronto, and they bolstered their own research with some little bits clearly derived from our recent columns, such as the ones on zombie movies, Resident Evil, and an old chestnut about American Psycho.
Speaking of horror…Oy. We wanted to like The Love Guru. We like Mike Myers, we like movies filmed in Toronto, we really like movies that actually take place in Toronto, and we enjoyed imagining what it might be like if the Leafs won the Stanley Cup…but we did not enjoy The Love Guru because, well, it’s not very good. There are a lot of bad jokes about poo poo and pee pee, a few funny jokes run into the ground (we’re looking at you, “Mariska Hargitay”), names that would be funny to eight-year-olds (like this and this), and enough mugging to fill three Starbucks outlets.
But quality is not what matters to Reel Toronto, so we watched it anyway.
Mikey loves Scarberia, and Scarberia loves Mikey.
You know the premise, right? This Guru guy comes over from India to help the Toronto Maple Leafs’ big star get back together with his wife. Then he can have his head in the game, and the team can win the Stanley Cup.
Since it takes place in Toronto there’s a lot of obvious 416 love, but there are also a few surprises. “India,” for example, is played by Scarborough. Guru Pitka’s humble village was actually built at the base of the bluffs. You can get a sense of it by looking at this video.
If you’re not gonna take the opportunity to bust out YYZ on the soundtrack, the least you can do is actually film at Pearson.
On the other hand, perhaps some airport aficionado can identify this terminal layout because this is not Pearson Airport. We guess the GTAA knew a dog when they saw one and steered clear.
You know it, you love it, you took your relatives there when they visited Toronto: it’s Casa Loma!
Pitka sets up a Toronto Ashram at Casa Loma. The unmistakable exterior is seen here…
As you can see, this historic hallway famously appeared in X-Men and….HEY, eyes on the hallway, buddy! The hallway!
….but the interiors were also used for the sitar jam and dinner date which take place in the conservatory.
Forget about the improbability of the Leafs winning a cup—when is that Union reno happening?
We’re including this Star front page not for the main headline (and not because they borrow our material) but for the second story. It’s an ingenious choice because it’s a great instance of how not to date a film—by using a headline that really could have run any time in the last fifteen years…or the next fifteen.
We wonder what they did to get those corporate jack-asses to actually sit in their platinum seats…
The Air Canada Centre is the most obvious location as it’s where all the hockey games take place. Again, both interiors and exteriors are used. Inside, you can spot local actors like Sean Cullen and Boyd Banks, as well as two elephants having sex at centre ice, if that’s your bag, baby.
We do give Myers credit for making the opposing team in the finals, the LA Kings, a tribute to those of us who remember the last time the Leafs looked they might actually have a chance…if only the refs and Gretzky hadn’t denied us.
“Kanye, I bet you thought anyone could never make you un-cool! Well, your pointless cameo in my horrible movie should about do it, eh?”
Why, you even get to see a Mike Myers cameo! Yes, the shame has no end. It’s bad enough they brought Ben Kingsley in to play a cross-eyed guru (named “Tugginmypudha,” no less. Get it?!). But when you factor in his Oscar win for Gandhi…well, it really takes things to that next level and shows how far everyone had to climb in the mud to make this thing.
Wow! Two characters with names that aren’t anything dumb like “Dick Pants?” Next stop: Shakespeare.
Is there no saving grace? Well, there are some good bits, including Stephen Colbert’s turn as a Hockey Night in Canada host who’s losing his marbles. In real life the hosts don’t do play-by-play, but we don’t want to be picky. At least the HNIC theme is forever preserved on celluloid as a CBC property…
Dream on. Dream on. Dream it ’til your dreams come true…
And this? Well, if there’s a notion more fantastic than the Toronto Maples Leafs being lead to the Stanley Cup by their African-American star, their hot 20-something female GM and Mini-Me as their coach…well, perhaps that’s as realistic a scenario as any.
Yeah, if you’re suffering through this season and can’t decide whether to start freebasing versus suffering through The Love Guru just so you can experience this singular moment………………………………….watch The Love Guru. Yeah, um…easy choice. Sorry for even hesitating there.