It took a lot of talented people and not very much New York City to make one of the least memorable teen comedies of the century.
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.
We’re not even going to ask if you remember 2000’s Loser, because there’s no way you could. Not unless you were traumatized by Jason Biggs’s horrorshow of a haircut. It’s to be expected the darned thing takes place in New York City but was shot here, but what makes it so depressing is that they seem to have actually tried to make it good. Biggs was coming right off American Pie, and Mena Suvari played a role in the Best Picture-winning American Beauty. Greg Kinnear had recently broken out in As Good as it Gets. Director Amy Heckerling did one of the all-time great high school movies, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, not to mention Clueless. But if you’re going to call your movie Loser, try to, you know, make it a winner.
OK, you don’t care about that. You care about locations, right? Us too. So, obviously they shot some real stuff in New York. Like Times Square above and Bryant Park here.
When a movie is barely shot in Toronto and still has the temerity to open with boilerplate NYC skyline shots, it’s a good tip you’re in for a bumpy ride.
This convenience store looks New York enough, we guess.
But when we go outside, we’re on Bloor Street.
We even go past Lee’s Palace. So, whatever it was called in 2000, that convenience store then turns out to be the Annex Mart.
This one of those movies where we recognize lots of people who’ve done better things. Zak Orth went on to Wet Hot American Summer, for example. (Presumably those Rocky Horror people in the shots above are heading over to the Bloor Cinema?)
And they drag in pointless cameos. CanCon love with Dan Aykroyd, for example…
…and Aughts comedy great David Spade…
…and someone actually good, Steven Wright.
This may not be a cameo, per se, but Brian Backer played Mark “Rat” Ratner, one of the main characters in Fast Times. His appearance instantly makes you want to turn off this movie and watch that one.
Anyway, one thing everyone did back in 2000 was go to see Everclear play rock shows. Alternative rock shows.
As you can kinda recognize from these seats in the balcony…
…this is the Opera House.
Because we’ve got some university age peeps, we’ve got some school settings. This is Central Tech, for example.
There we find another Canadian comedy treasure, Andrea Martin.
These bookstore scenes…
…are at U of T’s Koffler Centre. They shot other school scenes over at George Brown.
There’s also some hanging out at Timothy’s, which, actually, one could do in New York…
…but this one has a Great Canadian Bagel across the street, and with all due respect, New York doesn’t need any of those. While the bagel shop is long gone, the Timothy’s is still around, at Carrot Common, on the Danforth.
Whether it’s When Harry Met Sally or Loser, any classic New York romantic comedy needs a visit to the art gallery.
This one is the AGO.
Apparently they also shot at Lower Bay but we we didn’t see it. Nonetheless, this is clearly a TTC subway train.
This is probably the most random bit of overt Canadiana in the movie (though, sure, cool Americans know Sloan too!). Why couldn’t they play the Opera House? If you haven’t spotted it yet it’s because you can’t pull your eyes away from that haircut. Just keep trying. And then look away and forget you ever saw any of it.