Today Thu Fri
It is forecast to be Chance of Rain at 11:00 PM EDT on October 01, 2014
Chance of Rain
21°/14°
It is forecast to be Partly Cloudy at 11:00 PM EDT on October 02, 2014
Partly Cloudy
22°/15°
It is forecast to be Chance of Rain at 11:00 PM EDT on October 03, 2014
Chance of Rain
23°/11°

Real City Matters

Join us for a series of panel discussions about the state of our city, and how we can have more honest, constructive conversations about its future.

2 Comments

culture

Reel Toronto: Harrison Bergeron

Sean Astin and Howie Mandel take on Kurt Vonnegut. Really.

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.

bergeron (640x429)

Lately we’ve been profiling a lot of quality productions—even if they’re not great movies or TV shows, at least they’re well made. But it’s important to remember that our true cinematic heritage is about cheesy, low-fi productions from the 1980s and 1990s, and oh boy, does Harrison Bergeron fit the bill.

Just check out this nutty cast! It’s led by post-Rudy, pre-Lord of the Rings Sean Astin and is almost certainly the only movie that stars Christopher Plummer and Howie Mandel and Andrea Martin and young soon-to-be stars Hayden Christensen and Emmanuelle Chriqui. So much talent! Such a mediocre movie! It’s basically an anti-socialist allegory, set in a dystopian future (albeit one with a David Lynch-esque 1950s vibe) where the talented are intellectually hobbled so no one excels, and everyone is equally unhappy, or some such thing. And it’s based (loosely, Wikipedia notes) on a Kurt Vonnegut short story of all things. My gosh, what a gold mine!

2014 07 08utsc3 (640x438)

Did someone say “dystopian”? Then by all means, let’s get some cameras set up amid the horrible, brutalist concrete structures at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus.

2014 07 08utsc1 (640x431)

We’ve seen them provide equally inhospitable backdrops for things such as Enemy and Total Recall

2014 07 08utsc (640x433)

…and a movie like this makes us wonder how people can stomach going there for four years. No offence, Scarborough students, but your school does have a kind of look to it, if you know what we mean.

2014 07 08utsc lecture (640x434)

Indeed, this lecture hall looks like the same one in which Jake Gyllenhaal teaches in Enemy

2014 07 08levy lectureroom (640x434)

…but he didn’t get to FaceTime with Euguene Levy!

2014 07 08danforthtech (640x436)

Speaking of schools, young master Harrison goes to high school here…

2014 07 08class1 (640x430)

…at Danforth Tech.

2014 07 08chriqui (640x438)

Hey, sitting behind him is Sloan, telling herself that one day this will lead to a decent role on HBO!

2014 07 08christensen (640x436)

Hey, there on the right, it’s Anakin Skywalker padding his résumé!

2014 07 08buckhenry (640x433)

And now it’s early-SNL mainstay Buck Henry (who, among other things, wrote the screenplays for The Graduate and To Die For)! Can this possibly be topped?

monette (640x430)

OMG, and it’s former Stratford director Richard Monette? Who put this thing together? Can we get them inducted into the Order of Canada? Can Sam Gamgee be an honorary member?

2014 07 08diner ext (640x438)

But people don’t just go to school and live in horrible concrete bunkers in the future—they also eat!

2014 07 08lakeview2 (640x428)

Despite that fake exterior, this familiar interior…

2014 07 08diner lakeview (640x432)

…is actually the Lakeview!

2014 07 08house (640x423)

Harrison lives out in the burbs, and we confess that we are not quite sure where this house is.

2014 07 08culdesac (640x436)

Do you recognize this cul-de-sac?

Lest you think, based on our snarky comments and these terrible screencaps, that this is a bad movie, know this: it received four Gemini nominations. (Although it looks as if Due South won everything that year. Hmph!)

So maybe we’re not giving it a fair shake. After all, Vonnegut himself liked it for some reason. He seemed to think it looked “expensive” and “majestic.” Maybe you will too?

Comments