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culture

Reel Toronto: Dick

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.

Dick, for obvious reasons, was not the easiest movie to research using Google, but we’re happy to say that it is, at least, a rather delightlful little film, certainly by made-in-Toronto standards.

It’s actually hard to imagine how this movie—a comedy about two girls obsessed with Richard Nixon that also plays as a satire of All the President’s Men—even got greenlit by some Hollywood suit. But luckily for all of us, it did.

Since it involves Nixon, it’s obviously set in Washington, D.C. Even more obviously, it’s set in the White House. This Oval Office set, in Vaughan’s Cinespace studios, is the same one used by Murder at 1600 and a bunch of other flicks.

The two teen gals (Kirsten Dunst and future Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams) live in what seems to be D.C.’s tony Georgetown district. Here, they’re actually walking down Sackville Street, approaching Amelia Street, in Cabbagetown.

In this reverse shot, you can see this house on Amelia.

When they actually get close to home they’re not in Cabbagetown anymore, but rather Yorkville’s Hazelton Avenue.

Here’s the house, at number 100.

Of course, teenage girls go to school. No matter what that sign says, this one is Lawrence Park C.I.

This library they visit is U of T’s handsome Emmanuel College Library, which, by total coincidence, we also saw in a recent column.

Roller rinks weren’t exactly a dime a dozen, even circa 1999…

…so we’re pretty sure this is Scooter’s, out in Mississauga.

When Williams has a dream in which she cavorts with a chivalrous Nixon at the beach, it’s actually Woodbine Beach.

We know they shot at the provincial office buildings just east of Queen’s Park, known as the Frost Building and Whitney Block. We assume those faceless interiors were used for the Washington Post newsroom, seen here…

…and possibly this parking garage, too.

This department store, where they hear about Nixon’s resignation, is the downtown Bay, at Queen and Yonge.

In addition to Dan Hedaya (who apparently had a blast as Nixon), Dick also had an impressive roster of comic actors working their magic, starting with Toronto’s own Dave Foley, here with the awesome Harry Shearer.

You’ve also got Foley’s fellow Kid in the Hall, Bruce McCulloch, kicking ass and taking names alongide Will Ferrell. The two played Woodward and Bernstein.

And Henry Kissinger is played by another Canuck, Saul Rubinek, who we haven’t seen round these parts in at least two or three weeks.

And, okay, he’s not exactly a comic force (or even a reliable box office force) but surely the appearnce of proto-hunk Ryan Reynolds is worthy of mention.

Though there’s nothing to really see, they also shot some scenes at the Grand Hotel on Jarvis and the Town Inn on Church. It likely filled in for the Watergate Hotel.

A classic? Perhaps not. But we’re always happy to spend a little time alone with Dick.

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