Reel Toronto: Charlie Bartlett
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Reel Toronto: Charlie Bartlett

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.
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Wait, you’ve never heard of Charlie Bartlett? Yeah, okay, we hadn’t either. But then we saw the trailer and, our minds having been warped by this column, instantly realized it was shot in Toronto.
The 2007 film’s obscurity is a bit surprising given its pedigree, including a cast led by Anton Yelchin (Chekov, from Star Trek!), indie movie queen Hope Davis, and Robert Downey Jr., albeit pre–Iron Man, as well as up-and-comer Kat Dennings. Only in Toronto could these people produce something you never even heard of…


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Something we should get out of the way: this high school–set movie also weirdly serves as some kind of Degrassi reunion. Like, here’s the main dude lunching with both Lauren Collins and Jake Epstein.
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And this handsome fellow appears to have gone on to some measure of fame and fortune in the world of hip hop. How ’bout that?
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And, okay, he wasn’t on Degrassi, but another Toronto actor we’ve seen before is Mark Rendall, who played the lead in Victoria Day.
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You can’t make a high-school movie without a high school and, just like in Billy Madison, Western Tech served as the main base, both outside…
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…and in.
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The auditorium seen here was also the site of the big Billy Madison finale. Apparently some scenes were also shot at the nearby Ursula Franklin Academy.
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Charlie’s a rich kid and he lives at Parkwood Estate, which we also see from the front…
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…back…
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…and inside. Wouldn’t you know it, it was also in Billy Madison (and X-Men and 20 other movies we’ve profiled).
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Here, Charlie’s attending a nice shindig at the Opera House, which we see nearly as often as Parkwood, it seems.
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And here they are actually out in the city, on Dundas West. You can see Cornerstone Furniture across the street.
And that’s kind of it. Charlie Bartlett is far from the worst movie we’ve seen, and it’s possible you will go the rest of your life never hearing of Charlie Bartlett again. But if you do, in the distant future, find yourself writing a significant academic piece on the early works of Anton Yelchin, make sure you save a chapter for Toronto’s role.

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