Friday Flicks: not-so-foreign films

In honor of BC Day, this week’s Friday Flicks highlights some excellent films that you may not have known were filmed in Canada. While our country is not known for its bustling metropolises and stunning skylines, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Quebec City have subbed in for big cities like New York and Chicago for a number of great films. 

Sit back, relax, and start celebrating this BC day early with a home-grown movie marathon (which pairs beautifully with our BC bud bundle featuring 2 signature strains from 2 local growers 😉). 

Good Will Hunting (1997) by Director Gus Van Sant

This movie follows the complicated life of a young genius, played expertly by Matt Damon. This twist on a coming-of-age story is chock-full of charm with heartbreak and hilarity to spare. We get to see Robin Williams play a more serious role and absolutely nail it. This is one of those movies where the direction, script, and acting come together perfectly to bring the absolute most out of a project. While the story takes place mostly at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both campuses are actually played by the University of Toronto! 

Chicago (2002) by Director Rob Marshall

This musical film follows the story of a 1920s Chicago housewife (Roxie Hart, played by Renée Zellweger) whose dreams of fame and glory on the stage lead her straight to prison where she meets a fellow murderess showgirl (Velma Kelly, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones) and begins a venomous rivalry. This film comes with the signature theatrics of the genre, resulting in a truly enjoyable film from start to end. The role of Roxie Hart could not have been more well-cast, with Renée Zellweger perfecting the scrawny, naive young talent with a dream that won’t quit. Catherine Zeta-Jones also delivers on Velma Kelly’s proud, seductive stage presence and enormous ego. With stunning supporting performances by Richard Gere and John C. Reilly as the sleazy lawyer and pitiful husband, this movie is a worthwhile watch even if you’re not big on musicals. While the story is obviously set in Chicago, this one was also filmed in Toronto, Ontario! The courthouse scenes were shot in Osgoode Hall. Other scenes were filmed at Queen’s Park, the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery, Casa Loma, the Elgin Theatre, Union Station, the Canada Life Building, the Danforth Music Hall, and at the Old City Hall.

Catch Me If You Can (2002) by Director Steven Spielberg

This movie is based on the true story of Frank Abagnale’s life as a con artist in Europe and the United States. Leonardo DiCaprio does such an incredible job as Frank in this film, you’ll find yourself hoping that the swindling fraudster never gets caught! It’s a fun and fast-paced ride made especially enjoyable by our charming anti-hero and his incredible supporting actors, Tom Hanks and Christopher Walken who play the FBI agent tracking him down and Frank Abagnale Senior. While this movie takes place in several cities across the USA and Europe, most of the scenes set in Europe were actually filmed in Canada. Montreal and Quebec City are famous for their European-esque architecture, making them the perfect discount filming location in place of actual Europe. 

Mean Girls (2004) by Director Mark Waters

This movie is an undeniable classic. It’s a raw, comedic take on the typical high school drama film, following the story of Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan), a teenage girl who quickly rises to high social status at her new high school upon the request of her outcast friends in an attempt to get revenge on the brutal adolescent dictator, Regina George (played by Rachel McAdams). The film sets itself apart from others in the genre thanks to the brilliantly witty script by Tina Fey. It would be hard to believe it wasn’t written by a real high school student if it wasn’t so sharp. It portrays high school with a comical hindsight that allows you to laugh at the brutal realities of teenage drama and the never-ending fight to fit in, making it truly enjoyable no matter how long ago you graduated. This movie is also set in Chicago and was also actually filmed in Toronto! Toronto’s Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre, the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall, Etobicoke Collegiate Institute, and Malvern Collegiate Institute, all played a part in this fantastic film. 

American Psycho (2000) by Director Mary Harron

This satirical film follows the fantasies and exploits of Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale), a Wall Street man who spends his days maintaining a perfect physical and social appearance, pursuing wealth and ego, and dreaming about violently murdering the people around him. It achieves its goal flawlessly, which is a complete and venomous undressing of the American 1%, the motivations behind that kind of wealth accumulation, and the limitless world they live in. With a very unique tone, somehow melding gruesome, violent rage with charm and humor, it’s no surprise this movie became an instant cult classic. While set in the wealthiest parts of New York City, this movie was actually filmed, you guessed it, in Toronto! The Toronto-Dominion Centre is used as Patrick’s Wall Street office, the dance club scenes were shot in the Phoenix Concert Theatre, and The Senator and the Omni King Edward Hotel’s Consort Bar double as one of the many restaurants that Patrick and his posse frequent.

We hope you enjoy our selection! Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram if any of our Friday Flicks made it into your movie night, and stay tuned for more recommendations every other Friday on our blog 😊

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