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JulyDiaz

Episode 206 - Little Italy

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Toronto: the only city that a movie can be set in, without referring to it by name </3

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I was just remembering Hayden Christensen's old tv series that used to be on YTV all the time. It felt like that show was on for years but it turns out it was only 22 episodes repeated endlessly. It was called Higher Ground, and apart from pre-Star Wars Hayden C. it featured Jewel Staite from Firefly as a troubled goth girl and Benita Ha from Street Cents. I don't really have a point here. I guess I was just thinking of his career versus that of, say, Ryan Gosling or even Tyler Labine from Breaker High.

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On 2/1/2019 at 9:13 AM, pscudese said:

Regarding the Marijuana prank, I'd like to understand what the rival shop owner did to get so many customers to show up? Up until that point, both shops were struggling for business and it's not like the owner promoted the prank... "Hey go to this resturant for there's free pot in the pizza."

Some people could argue that a few people showed up and the rest was word of mouth. My counter to that, is that everyone in the restaurant reacts at the same time to the results of the pot. So that means everyone essentially showed up like a flash mob.

So again, if one owner is able to get so many patrons to show up for this prank... why isn't he doing that same leg work for his own business and sell legit pizza? 

I think that the pizza place is filled with all the old ladies from the retirement home - who showed up because they liked the Indian delivery guy.

 

Marijuana is legal in Canada,  and it is up to each province to govern how pot is sold. Provincial governments do the same for alcohol. Currently in Ontario (the province Toronto is in) you can only buy legal government weed online www.ocs.ca. The provincial government has created a lottery system for permits to sell marijuana at store level. Perhaps they should apply for a permit. Or maybe - this movie takes place in the future, and they received one such permit?

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On 2/1/2019 at 10:08 PM, Cakebug Tranch said:

Okay, so I have a lot to say about this movie, much of which comes down to the bizarro geography all over Toronto.  To answer June and Paul's incredulity: yes, Little Italy is a real place in Toronto, and while it's not as famous as the New York version, arguably the wide streets and family neighbourhoods you can get here in Toronto would potentially make for a charming local story. Potentially, I said, since this movie is a hot mess.  Toronto is a city made up of little cultural neighbourhoods, and along with our three separate Chinatowns, we have a Polish district on Roncesvalles, a thriving Greektown on the Danforth, a wonderful Indian Bazaar on Gerrard (which features in the movie, briefly), amongst many others.

 ldPjXkr.png

There is even a one-block long Maltese District: Toronto has been called for good reason the most multicultural city in the world.  The problem is, NONE of this movie was actually shot in Little Italy.  The feuding pizza shops are actually east of Little Italy, nearer to Kensington Market (at College and Robert), in a couple of abandoned storefronts.

ADW5Ix0.png

The 'Taste of Little Italy' festival (which is a real festival on College Street each year) is actually shot in the Distillery District in the east side of the city, which is distinctive for its cobblestoned streets.  The banner that reads 'Welcome to Little Italy':

gquLJWs.png

Yeah, that doesn't exist.  In fact, that's not Toronto at all. That's the Little Italy street sign FROM Mulberry Street, NEW YORK CITY. No wonder June was confused! WHY would you show the New York sign while setting up Toronto? WHY?

This, however, IS our Little Italy. Enjoy!

 

I also live in Toronto - the only place I recognize right away from Little Italy is the Starbucks, which is no longer there. I saw them filming the movie around Toronto summer 2017, on College street around Kensington market. I think the interior of Luigi's is The Silver Dollar, which was also used in Suicide Squad? The bar was torn down a while ago - a sad loss for the city.  

B14_520_CONCEPT_27.jpg

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20 hours ago, MariahN said:

ok, I'm watching the movie this very moment and planning to listen to the show on my way to work but I hope to GOD someone mentions Emma Roberts dipping her finger in the sauce, LICKING that finger and then doing it again.  I screamed at the tv "DONT DO THAT!" She's a trained chef and has no problem with CONTAMINATION?!?!!?!  That is the only thing to wake me up from this bland ass movie.

 

did anyone notice when Alyssa Milano was filing her nails at the pizza shop right by the food???

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12 hours ago, IRONicmerMAN said:

Maybe it's just me, but for me, this is one of the best episodes in a while.  I enjoy guests and live shows, but this one with just the three hosts was a real treat.  This movie initiated some good discussion!

I had to look up how the film fared on ratings sites.

--On IMDB, it has a 5.7 from nearly 5000 ratings.  They're worth glancing at if you have time to kill.  Not super high, but much higher than the film deserves.  One of my favorite reviews:

7/10* It's OK

Onetrack9713 January 2019

Accents all over the place. Alyssa's been eating lots of pizza! She's pretty annoying.

--On Rotten Tomatoes, it's at 21% from 14 critic reviews.  71% from over 200 reviews.  Interestingly enough, one critic giving the film 8.5/10 had this to say about the film:

"Little Italy is a millennial's Romeo & Juliet."

Also, I found another stereotype in the film.  I present to you...the Canadian tuxedo.

CanadianTuxedo.jpg

Another Canadian stereotype that I will accept is that everyone knows everyone... my friends Dad lives on a farm beside Hayden Christensen's farm! It's not in Little Italy.

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On 2/3/2019 at 9:47 PM, grudlian. said:

Were they trying to see which pizza was most authentic Neapolitan Margherita pizza? Or just the best tasting pizza? I genuinely don't remember.

There is a genuine association for judging if a pizza is authentic enough and I assume the judges here aren't members.

I assumed the team responsible for this film wasn't entirely concerned with authenticity. 

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21 hours ago, taylorannephoto said:

Wait noted where??? I looked through this whole thing to see if this had already been mentioned (swear I'm not trying to be one of those people).

The picture shows up in the end of the trailer. It really is Danny Aiello's IMDB picture! 

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30 minutes ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

The picture shows up in the end of the trailer. It really is Danny Aiello's IMDB picture! 

I'm not doubting that lol, but CakeBug said that it had already been mentioned in this thread so I swore I wasn't trying to be one of those people that tried to steal someone else's C&O! But I think that the amount of times we've seen this photo now has deceived us all lol.

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On 2/4/2019 at 10:09 AM, Daventhal said:

So confused at why they bothered to set this in Canada. I mean, obviously a lot of the people involved are from Toronto (writers, etc.), but I don't think they even mention Toronto by name, do they?

The Canadian government has a culture fund (perhaps real Canadians can explain better than I can?) that will fund movies that promote the country. There are I believe different amounts they will give you, depending on what percent of your cast and crew are Canadian, but it has to be set in Canada. 

That being said, between Jane Seymour telling ER she had to go back to Canada and Lei-O showing up in his Blue Jays jacket, I got at least through Denial and Anger in the stages of grief. Not sure I ever moved past anger though....

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On 2/1/2019 at 12:25 PM, taylorannephoto said:

So not being Italian, nor Indian, I didn't have a great barometer for what was really just beyond the line of stereotype (obviously I can still see the stink of problematic characterizations from a mile away lol), but as a queer girl I was heavily bothered by the fact that once Luigi meets the one other gay man in this whole movie, who's also just flamboyant af, they immediately fall in love. Because apparently no other gay, bi, or pan men exist in this entire area so Luigi just hears his voice and is like OMG A GAY DUDE and that's it they're both kissing at that wedding in the final scene.

Cool cool cool cool cool cool cool no doubt no doubt.

I believe they did the same thing at the end of Sweet Home Alabama. Because apparently being out in Toronto in 2018 is still as much of a novelty as it was in the deep south in 2002.

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I was trying to figure out why the actor who played Anthony (the foot guy) looked so familiar - he played Jason in Mean Girls, the High school Student who asked Lindsay Lohan if she likes her 'muffin buttered'  - Mean Girls was filmed in the Toronto area, so this maybe this is a continuation of that character? Also, i found a BlogTO article about the movie I thought might be of interest. https://www.blogto.com/film/2018/08/little-italy-movie-toronto/ 

7befcdbc-e6b0-41ed-b04b-d6ef4b0120ff_screenshot.jpg

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20 hours ago, Tuffnail said:

I think that the pizza place is filled with all the old ladies from the retirement home - who showed up because they liked the Indian delivery guy.

 

Marijuana is legal in Canada,  and it is up to each province to govern how pot is sold. Provincial governments do the same for alcohol. Currently in Ontario (the province Toronto is in) you can only buy legal government weed online www.ocs.ca. The provincial government has created a lottery system for permits to sell marijuana at store level. Perhaps they should apply for a permit. Or maybe - this movie takes place in the future, and they received one such permit?

I hear ya and not trying to be competitive... but marijuana wasn't legalize in Ontario till Oct 2018, before this film was in production. 

And as far as assuming the old ladies where already there because of the delivery men... well the screen shot shows a lot of other demographics:

4YrRYWt.png

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On 2/4/2019 at 6:44 PM, sycasey 2.0 said:

Yeah, but what's the temperature these days?

Freaking freezing, but it’s February. 

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On 2/4/2019 at 9:28 AM, BertramCooper said:

So glad that after all we've been through these past couple years, we can once again find humor in police officers committing sexual assault. Turns out those P.C. snowflakes didn't ruin it for us after all! What a relief. (Just imagine how that scene would have read had the genders of the two characters been reversed.)

I found nothing humorous about that scene. It was unfunny, uncomfortable to watch and gross. Leo didn’t want to be touched by that police officer. Someone in a position of authority feeling up someone and making sexual comments - so gross. That actor should be ashamed for taking that part.

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6 hours ago, joshg said:

I believe they did the same thing at the end of Sweet Home Alabama. Because apparently being out in Toronto in 2018 is still as much of a novelty as it was in the deep south in 2002.

100% agreed on this and @taylorannephoto said! I also thought it was so disappointingly dated that Lay-o said something like, "What? You think I wouldn't like you just because you like guys?" That felt sooooo much like the Seinfeld, "not that there's anything wrong with that" episode. 

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This is the official banner of Toronto, adorned with its official motto, "Diversity Our Strength," which is one of the many reasons why I love both Canada and its most populous city:
8f98-coat-of-arms-diversity-350x87.jpg

So this makes Little Italy's Italian buffoonery and lack of use of ACTUAL Toronto spaces even more egregiously stupid. Fuck this movie.

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9 minutes ago, Quasar Sniffer said:

The official banner of Toronto, adorned with its official motto, which is one of the many reasons why I love both Canada and its most populous city:
8f98-coat-of-arms-diversity-350x87.jpg

So this makes Little Italy's Italian buffoonery and lack or use of ACTUAL Toronto spaces even more egregiously stupid. Fuck this movie.

Don't forget the happy bear, monster beaver, stuffed eagle and super subtle T that makes our coat of arms all the crazier...

u6z5ZYE.jpg

At least it's an upgrade on our old coat of arms which featured jolly native Canadian, Mera from Aquaman, attack beaver and surprisingly cocky old slogan...

okM5QUb.jpg

 

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5 minutes ago, Cakebug Tranch said:

Don't forget the happy bear, monster beaver, stuffed eagle and super subtle T that makes our coat of arms all the crazier...

u6z5ZYE.jpg

 

I do love Canada's love of Beavers!

In any case, I thought the two kids in the film's prologue were really cute, and far more charismatic than the actual leads they would grow up into. So this movie should have been ALL flashback to their childhoods, maybe adjusting the actual time the movie takes place back a few years/decades to make the lack of technology and presence of so many antiquated Italian tropes somewhat more applicable. The plot of the film could have been the kids PREVENTING the feud from even forming, making the dads realize how fucking stupid their feud is and how only together does their pizza become the Best in Canada. They could conspire during the Toronto Little Italy Pizza Festival to combine their respective shops' elements (sauce, crust, etc.), only to reveal their deeds afterwards. The movie could end with an epilogue about how "I [Nikki] would eventually go to Europe to learn to make food OTHER than pizza" "and I [Leo] would stay in Toronto to run the pizza shop, but I wouldn't stay in Toronto forever..." and then maybe one last shot in a cosmopolitan European city in which Leo is opening his own pizza shop and, on opening day, Nikki walks in, they lock eyes and smile. Roll credits. No decades of bitterness. No bullshit soccer in the rain. Just madcap kids making pizza and fighting their parents' petty bullshit to preserve adult friendship via the power of childhood optimism and goodness.

And I realize the reason this movie ISN'T a period film might be budget as much as anything, but I am just spitballing ideas here.

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12 minutes ago, Quasar Sniffer said:

I do love Canada's love of Beavers!

In any case, I thought the two kids in the film's prologue were really cute, and far more charismatic than the actual leads they would grow up into. So this movie should have been ALL flashback to their childhoods, maybe adjusting the actual time the movie takes place back a few years/decades to make the lack of technology and presence of so many antiquated Italian tropes somewhat more applicable. The plot of the film could have been the kids PREVENTING the feud from even forming, making the dads realize how fucking stupid their feud is and how only together does their pizza become the Best in Canada. They could conspire during the Toronto Little Italy Pizza Festival to combine their respective shops' elements (sauce, crust, etc.), only to reveal their deeds afterwards. The movie could end with an epilogue about how "I [Nikki] would eventually go to Europe to learn to make food OTHER than pizza" "and I [Leo] would stay in Toronto to run the pizza shop, but I wouldn't stay in Toronto forever..." and then maybe one last shot in a cosmopolitan European city in which Leo is opening his own pizza shop and, on opening day, Nikki walks in, they lock eyes and smile. Roll credits. No decades of bitterness. No bullshit soccer in the rain. Just madcap kids making pizza and fighting their parents' petty bullshit to preserve adult friendship via the power of childhood optimism and goodness.

And I realize the reason this movie ISN'T a period film might be budget as much as anything, but I am just spitballing ideas here.

The obliteration of Toronto 100% has to do with the producers feeling as though if people say 'Canada' or, worse, 'Toronto', that will turn off American viewers (and maybe overseas markets, I don't know), but honestly, if you've paid ten bucks to sit through this pile of shit, do you think it's going to be a reference to Toronto that's going to make you stand up and say 'what the hell? This isn't New York? I'm out!'? Add to that Lei-O's heavy-handed Toronto Blue Jays jacket with 'TORONTO' in giant letters on the back, and the establishing shots of the CN Tower, I don't think not mentioning Toronto unTorontofies this script. I fully agree with you that TO should have had more love in this, but I'd suggest that it almost certainly was more of a Toronto story in the first draft.  It's kind of like in 'Episodes', where 'Lyman's Boys' in England becomes 'Pucks!' in the US. Executives have a lot to answer for! I think your version of the film is much better. 

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I'm surprised you guys didn't bring up the weird weekly "fight night" at Luigi's Bar between the dads.  I had to go back and rewatch the first scene where it's mentioned and then the fight itself and I still don't understand what's going on.  The gloves drawn on the chalkboard make you think it's an actual boxing match (or maybe two grown men Jell-O wrestling because this movie is definitely not above showing us that) but it turns out it's an...insult battle?  According to Luigi, "the first one to stand up is the loser."  And this happens weekly on Monday nights?  And a crowd regularly shows up to watch it? We know they don't have cell phones and barely use computers but just how antiquated is this neighborhood that that's their greatest source of entertainment?

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I really hope that just like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Little Italy gets a sequel where the two dummies from the first film are now married and running a hugely successful joint restaurant in TO - so successful that they decide to expand to Montreal, perhaps taking over the former Club Super Sex location downtown. The twist: it puts them in the Bon Cop Bad Cop universe. I'm starting to see potential for a shared universe of Canadian films uniting those with Goin' Down the Road, Ginger Snaps, Going The Distance (the Shawn Roberts one, not Drew Barrymore), Goon, One Week, Men With Brooms, Les Boys, etc.

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So Paul and Jason mention that in the outtakes for this movie, Hayden Christensen and Emma Roberts are never seen having fun or goofing around, so that must mean that they didn't get along on set.  However, it seems like they really DID get on, off-set...

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/emma-roberts-blamed-hayden-christensen-rachel-bilsons-breakup

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4964194/Did-Emma-Roberts-come-Christensen-Bilson.html

https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/11/blame-emma-roberts-for-rachel-bilsons-split-from-hayden-christensen-reports-say/

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