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culture

Reel Toronto: Sucky American Pie sequels

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.

Hey, look! It’s our old friends, the cast of American Pie! Except, no, this is the direct-to-video cast of a series of sequels that make the Revenge of the Nerds sequels look like variations on Citizen Kane.

But we seem to be caught in a wave of nostalgia stirred up by the return of the original American Pie team, so this is a good time to remember the horrors that series has wrought, both upon the cinema and upon Toronto.

(Warning: Borderline-NSFW screenshots ahead.)

Not one but two horrible American Pie sequels—The Naked Mile and Beta House—came up here to shoot and besmirch our academic institutions. They’re basically about Stifler’s brother, who has friends with names like “Coozeman.” (Guess his nickname, win a quarter!) Imagine watching The Hangover: Part VII, in which the main character is Zack Galifianakis’ third cousin (the film’s highlight is still the Mike Tyson cameo, natch). That’s kind of what this cinematic experience is like.

The narrative link between these various cinematic atrocities is Eugene Levy. Even though his son’s character is nowhere to be found, he keeps popping up as the voice of wisdom (or, the overseer of debauchery). As we’ve said before, we love Eugene Levy. He’s a bona fide comedic genius. But when he does stuff like this (or The Man, or New York Minute, or Cheaper by the Dozen 2), it makes it really hard to defend him. It’s fair to say he’s basically the best thing in all of these movies, but that’s not something to be proud of. Come on, Eugene!

We’re not going to waste your time describing the plots of these two movies, nor are we going to make a real effort at distinguishing between them, since the creative teams behind them didn’t either. The University of Toronto really drags itself through the mud here, with the entrance to King’s College Circle appearing bright and early in Beta House.

The kids try to pick up girls in front of Convocation Hall…

…and get dropped off in front of University College. Yes, that’s the usually cool Christopher McDonald (also from Billy Madison) as Stifler’s dad.

The UC quad hosts this obstacle course thing. It’s super-classy.

Don’t start feeling all superior, Vic alumni! Victoria University gets substantial screen time. Its quad is used for this heart-to-heart between Eugene Levy and Toronto actor John White, who plays Erik Stifler. He must have felt a bit like Robert De Niro getting called to play young Don Corleone.

In this scene, we pan across the quad…

…to find these guys on the balcony of the Burwash residence.

Even Old Vic herself gets in on the action. In what is arguably the low point in U of T’s history, cinematic or otherwise, the building’s exterior hosts the titular (no pun intended!) Naked Mile. Yes, starting with this classy butt shot…

…to this establishing shot…

…we soon find ourselves amid hundreds of breasts characters running around the quad area, sometimes in delicious, totally-non-misogynistic slow motion. Don’t worry, U of T, you’ll always have PCU to save your cinematic soul.

When we first see the campus in The Naked Mile, it’s actually outside McMaster’s University Hall, off King Street.

This scene, in which there is a pig-chasing contest…

…was also shot at Mac, around the old Arts Quad.

And this partay was shot at the Quarters lounge on campus. Share the shame, Mac! Share the shame!

Before we even get to college, the kids have to get out of high school. Enter Mississauga’s Port Credit S. S.

As we all know (and as these films remind us), college is entirely about nudity, sex, nudity, drinking, nudity, and beer. Thus, fraternities! The eponymous Beta House, which you can see here…

…and here, is actually Alpha Delta Chi, on Prince Arthur Avenue.

Because Beta House is both subversive and modern, it posits a world in which the geeks rule the campus. Ever heard of such a thing?! Their frat house is somewhat more substantial, shot in a mansion up in Thornhill.

We’re not sure, but we think it’s this one, in Thornhill’s Oakbank Pond area. It’s basically like a mini–Bridle Path, except with Anne Murray instead of Prince.

And because the characters are (filming) in Canada, they have gay marriages, with a Mountie present…

…drink a lot of Moosehead…

…and sometimes patronize the microbrews, too.

In one ribald scene, the characters hit a local peeler. IMDB says it’s the Brass Rail, but we’re going to go out on a limb and say it’s actually The Silver Dollar.

You even see it in this scene outside…

…and they show the sign, so that’s pretty conclusive, huh?

And if you’re a real masochist, you might survive the whole 88 minutes of Beta House and choose to sit all the way through the credits (writer takes moment to wipe tears from keyboard) and watch this tag scene, shot at the same location.

If you’re an American Pie completist or a fan of mammary glands whose day job with Sealtest just isn’t enough, these movies are for you. Otherwise, stay away. Especially you, Euguene Levy…

…no matter what you do, we’ll still love you.

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