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Monday September 16th 2019

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World | 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World  location: Casa Loma, Toronto
Scott Pilgrim vs The World location: Casa Loma, Toronto

Bags of energy and style, but there’s not enough variation to overcome the repetitiveness of the format in Edgar Wright’s whizzbang adaptation of the graphic stories, with geeky Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) having to overcome seven evil-exes before he can date Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

Author Bryan Lee O’Malley used real Toronto locations as a basis for the drawings and, where possible, the film keeps to the specified locations. Toronto actually playing itself – now there’s a rarity.

The basement apartment Scott shares with Wallace (Kieran Culkin) is 65 Alberta Avenue, at Tyrrel Avenue in Regal Heights, northwest Toronto. There’s not really an apartment there – that’s a fake door added to the basement rubbish collection area. Shame, it looked good.

Interiors, including the endlessly extending front room for the opening credits, were created in the studio.

A little to the northeast, Scott meets his new high-school girlfriend Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) outside her school, St Michael’s College School, 1515 Bathurst Street where the existing trees were simplified digitally to match the style of O’Malley’s drawings.

It’s north a few miles to to Markham to find the arcade in which Scott and Knives play Ninja Ninja Revolution. This was built for the film in inside the Markville Shopping Centre, 5000 Highway 7 East, at McCowan Road.

The pizza place is Pizza Pizza, 558 Bloor Street West at the corner of Bathurst Street, opposite the landmark Honest Ed’s discount store.

Scott and Knives pass by, and briefly pop into, the Goodwill Store, which you might assume is alongside Pizza Pizza. Watch again. There’s a crafty cut. The Goodwill Store is 585 St Clair Avenue, west of Bathurst Street, more than a mile to the north. Nevertheless, they are soon back inside Sonic Boom record store, where the CD of Clash At Demonhead stirs up painful memories for Scott. The (real) record store, which stood at 512 Bloor Street West, was temporarily restored to the way it looked in the comic book. In 2011, the store moved to new premises – inside Honest Ed’s, which itself closed in 2016.

The coffee shop, where Scott’s sister works, was the branch of Second Cup at 535 Queen Street West, on the corner of Augusta Avenue (though it’s also since closed).

The library in which Scott first sees pink-haired Ramona is the Wychwood branch of Toronto Public Library, 1431 Bathurst Street at St Clair Avenue West, close to Knives’s school.

Besotted, Scott makes his first fruitless move on Ramona at a party (with the strangely inaccessible light switch) in the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity House of the University of Toronto, 131 Lowther Avenue at Huron Street.

They spend a chaste night together at Ramona’s house, 294 Carlton Street, just west of Sackville Street in the Cabbagetown district.

Scott invites Ramona to see him perform with his band Sex Bob-omb at the ‘Rockit Club’, and it’s here he finds himself facing her first evil ex, Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha). The Rockit was a real punk venue (though, again, the interior was recreated in the studio) which closed around 2005. The venue’s undergone a bit of a change and is now Club 120, 120 Church Street at Richmond Street.

The second evil ex, movie star Lucas Lee (Chris Evans), is making Talk To The Fist at much-used location Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace at Spadina Road, overlooking northern Toronto. This Gothic folly has proved a real boon to the city’s film industry, featuring in countless productions, most famously as Professor Xavier’s Academy in Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie, as well as Eighties Tom Cruise vehicle Cocktail, David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, Keanu Reeves sci-fi Johnny Mnemonic, and Oscar-winning musical Chicago.

The exterior of Lee’s Palace, the venue where Scott faces vegan with psychic powers Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh) is real – though it’s since been rented to become Big Fat Burrito 529 Bloor Street West, and Lee’s entrance has been moved to the side of the club. The club was convincingly recreated in the studio – along with the alley alongside.

Scott faces the fourth ex, Roxy (Mae Whitman), at the after-party, held in the Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street, Wychwood – a former streetcar repair barn, just to the east of Scott and Wallace’s Regal Heights apartment.

Finally, Gideon’s (Jason Schwartzman) ‘Chaos Theatre’ club is another set, built in the Cinespace Studio. The exterior was constructed on Front Street East and Cherry Street, and it’s alongside another well-used location, the Canary Grill. This much used crossroads was also the site of ‘Safe house B’ in Matthew Vaughn’s film of Kick-Ass.