Sunday, November 20, 2011

Top 10 movies shot in Montreal

Coolopolis, as you know, surpasses comparable sites due to one secret weapon. We own a swaggerin' simian with swappable brain implants. As long as Chimples avoids moving his head too quickly the result can be spectacular. So we harnessed that super-computer brain to um deconstruct uh logorhythms to get us a definitive list of the best 10 films shot in Montreal. There is no disputing this list but you are free to try in the comments section.
1-300 (2005) THIS...IS.. SPARTA!!
2-Wait Until Dark (1967) Blind Hepburn smashes light bulbs with her cane.
3-Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
4-Montreal Main (1974) "Y'from this district? You from NDG-way, Snowdon?"
5-The Score (2001) Brando, De Niro, Norton, celebs-a-plenty!
6-J'ai tué ma mère (2007) Cuz he's so ferny!
7-The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974) Yummy! Wilensky's Light Lunch
8-The Aviator (2004) Leo!
9-Catch me if you can (2002) More Leo Di Caprio goodness
10- Shattered Glass (2003) A movie about plagiarism! The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964) Porn for historical streetscape rubberneckers
  Honourable mentions: Deadbolt with Justine Bateman, The Trotsky, Blades of Glory,
   Didn't make the cut cuz Coolopolis found them annoying: Benjamin Button, Jesus de Montreal, Funkytown.


  1. Anonymous6:06 pm

    No " Battlefield Earth" on the list. You will now feel the wrath of the Scientology community.
    Jimmy Z.

  2. Def. There's another list of box-office disasters, Pluto Nash being the other fiasco that springs to mind.

  3. Peter Anthony Holder6:57 pm

    "Quintet" - Paul Newman

    "The Bone Collector" - Denzel Washington & Angelina Jolie

    "The Whole Nine Yards" Bruce Willis & Matthew Perry

    "The Jackal" Bruce Willis & Sidney Poitier

  4. Yeah I know 'em but none make the cut. Which was your favorite of those four?

  5. The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane---Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen

  6. "The Whole Nine Yards." Once you get past the intoxicating giddiness of the fact that they actually used your city in the movie, as opposed to hiding it, this wasn't a bad little comedy.

    It was certainly strong enough and successful enough to warrant making an absolutely horrid sequel to it.

  7. "The Whole Nine Yards." Once you got past the intoxicating giddiness of seeing your own city actually portraying itself on the screen (as opposed to filling in for some other location) it wasn't a bad little comedy.

    It was certainly well received and successful enough to warrant making an absolutely dreadful sequel several years later.

  8. I'm with Holder.

    300 above Jesus de Montreal?

    Nope, that can't be right.

    This would be helpful - a list of flicks that really show off the city, where the city's aesthetic sensibilities are highlighted, or, where the zeitgeist of the society living here is adequately captured. A lot of the flicks you mentioned were filmed at Mel's Cité-du-Cinéma, or otherwise only feature interiors.

    And what about Barney's Version or Duddy Kravitz?

  9. Anonymous1:31 am

    I'll add another movie with a bad reputation. But punisher war zone was shot in Montreal. The entrance to the pushier's hideout is at Lionel groulx. Same location used for the final confrontation between Bruce Willis & Richard Here in the jackal if I remember that film correctly

  10. Parts of "The Aviator", "Get Smart" and "Barney's Version" were all shot in a house across the street from my building on Dr Penfield. I once overheard the guy who owns that house telling someone that his regular rate is $10,000 a day to rent the house.

    It's not unusual for the production companies to be granted every parking space on both sides of the street for two blocks.

  11. A tiny scene of Funkytown was shot a few doors down from me in NDG. The club owner drops a woman off in his car and they talk for a few seconds. You would think that they were rebuilding the road for all of the kerfuffle required for these few seconds of cinematic glory.

    As for the guy charging $10,000, there's a very nice guy who inherited a house on the mountain and spends his time as a volunteer at the railroad museum, can't remember his name but he seems to make his money from renting out his big house somewhere up around The Boulevard, maybe it's the same guy.

  12. @Taylor, Jesus of Montreal wasn't a very good movie in my eyes, and the scene that really irked me was when the guy goes to the French hospital and it's way overcrowded and then goes to the English one and there's absolutely no line-up at all. That seemed like a mean-spirited and ideologically-based piece of misinformation by the director. And yeah I wasn't talking about movies showing off the city, I'm talking about the best movies. 300 employed tons of local actors, allof whom had to do a ton of push-ups just to get their roles.

  13. Barney's Version was pretty damn good as was The Jackal.

  14. I'm pretty sure that was CGI.

    I've thought about that scene quite a bit, consider this. My gut reaction as similar, but it would be completely out of step with the rest of the film. It seems to me that Arcand's critique is likely of French Canadians and Quebecois society (which would be more in line with the rest of the movie) w/r/t to the recurring theme of societal refusal to question or critique its own institutions and commonly held beliefs (and thus the un-named community hospital, replete with hold-over Catholic iconography, is loaded to the gills and staffed by people who've lost all interest in their jobs, whereas the 'Jewish' is modern, efficient, and most of all, compassionate). The scene also demonstrates a latent contradiction in modern Quebec society - that of a society wanting to distinguish itself as unique, yet unwilling to band together to effect real change for their community. This paradoxical aesthetic is repeated several times in the scene, such as juxtaposing the image of the over-crowded French hospital as cold, impersonal and Babel-esque with the sleek modernism, effortless bilingualism and comforting nurses of the English hospital.

    I really don't think it was meant as a slight against Anglophones, Jews, les Anglais etc. It was designed to provoke a moment of societal introspection at a moment in our history when the original spirit of the Quiet Revolution has lost ground to a more extremist nationalism.

  15. @Taylor, I thought the six-pack abs on the actors in 300 were painted on but I spoke to actor Marcel Jeannin about it and apparently they were not and the "making of" stuff on youtube confirms this.

    And yeah, I thought about The Whole Nine Yards, The Jackal, Bone Collector, Barney's Version and I sorta enjoyed them all but none blew me away. Even The Score was a bit boring but at least it had those big names in it. Did nobody mention Taking Lives with Ethan Hawke? That was sorta ok too.

  16. Anonymous5:48 pm

    Pinball Summer?


  17. Anonymous11:35 am

    You forgot Layolo Lazone, that Montreal movie imprinted itself in my heart and in my mind with such strength, I manage to mention it everytime I go to therapy!

  18. Martin11:18 pm

    Old film I saw a few years ago on tv - The Luck of Ginger Coffey starring Robert Shaw 1964 was filmed all over Montreal with alot of scenes done in the wintertime with Shaw wearing those old style winter boots with double zippers in the front (parachute boots ?)

  19. Chuck2:17 am

    "The Score" is my favorite, shows the city, various neighborhoods, jazz vibe, a great story, simply awesome. "300" could have been filmed anywhere, nothing to be proud of.

    You forgot "Gothika" with Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr. , Penelope Cruz. That movie was very well made, damn scary and its only after it ended that I checked on IMDB where on Earth that creepy prison/asylum was. Yep: dear ol' abandoned St-Vincent-de-Paul in Laval. The whole movie is shot in Quebec.

  20. Great suggestions.... Gothika sorta had me going for a while, love Halle Berry but it stumbled, as so many films shot here inexplicably do, I think they showed too many stills of the mansion or something. I can't stand scenes where people are walking up stairs, or ambling along elsewhere. I don't need to know how a character got somewhere.

    I admit that The Whole Nine Yards probably belongs on the list. Perhaps The Moderns as well, but Martin's suggestion of The Luck of Ginger Coffey was bang on and earned a revision. Those who haven't seen it will freak out trying to figure out what scene was shot where.

    I recall various and sundry other artsy movies most likely shot in Montreal that played late at night, for example one contains a scene where there's a teen couple who stays up late one night and does a smash and grab on some beautiful dress, it seemed impressive at the time. Anybody?

    There's a variety of recent crime biopics that I've seen that never fail to disappoint, including one sorta passable one about Mesrine, another really bad one about some local gangster involved in Cuba and I never saw the Richard Blass film.

    Someone should organize a brief film festival with the best-Mtl flicks with speakers to discuss the various elements.

  21. Griff Born3:35 pm

    Luck of Ginger Coffey is a favourite. Can't see anybody getting arrested today for peeing behind a building though. Don't know why he didn't go to the nearby comfort station that existed then on Dominion Square. Loved The Score though because of it's Griffintown locales. Laughed when Norton exits from what is really a blank wall on that dead end part of Dalhousie St. I wonder how many times they had to rehearse Deniro for his saying of "de la Montagne". Any anglo of his age would just have said Mountain Street or more likely McCord, but then they didn't have me as a technical advisor on the film. The most famous person of my day to come to Griffintown was "Rocket" Richard. He stayed 15 seconds at Griffintown club in order to drop a puck for a floor hockey game. We were disappointed he didn't have his uniform on....including skates.

  22. so you found that 300 was more of a masse-tear-piss than Jesus of Montreal hmm...

    wasn't Monica La Mitraille (Machine Gun Molly) also shot here?

  23. Yup. I don't have to explain why 300 was a great movie, it just was. And while it doesn't show Montreal, it has a ton of Montreal actors in it, all of whom did a ton of push-ups before shooting.

    And y'know I loved Arcand's Decline of the American Empire (not shot in Mtl) but his followup Jesus of Montreal seemed pretentious, boring, predictable and highly-unlikely. I saw it a very long time ago though.

    The Machine Gun Molly Movie was passable but forgettable, one of those movies where you get distracted wondering when Roy Dupuis is gonna show up. There's a buncha Kweebeckish retro-crime movies at this very same level, like the Mesrine movie which was okay, and the American Trap which really stunk, (found Joe Cobden particularly bad). Surely the Blass movie was similarly okayish too, but I didn't see it.

  24. you forgot GAS (1981)with Howie Mandel - such a silly movie, but very entertaining.. and no one on Amazon seems to like it.. booooo

  25. just remembered "Slapshot" too..

  26. Anonymous4:11 pm

    What about Sergio Leone's Once upon a time in America?

  27. Judging by your list, I don't think you'd agree, but I'm gonna add these suggestions:

    Agnes of God (Jane Fonda jaywalking by sticking her hand out to stop traffic captured the spirit of Montreal city dwellers like no other film).

    Leolo - Best Canadian movie ever.

    Decline of the American Empire - most intelligent movie ever!

  28. One of the better movies shot in Montreal was Street Smart, Christopher Reeve, Morgan Freeman, Kathy Baker, Freeman won an oscar for this, and when interviewed always maintained it was his favourite, all shot in Montreal, by the way 1988 release,


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