On the evening of September 14th 2010, I was out in the cold and windy Toronto air waiting for the possibility of getting a ticket to the premiere of the movie “Good Neighbours”, which starred Jay Baruchel, at the Toronto International Film Festival.
I feel the need to explain my appreciation for Baruchel at this point because it’s not as obvious on this blog as, say, Paul Giamatti😉 That being said, I was familiar with Baruchel’s work for several years, but never really took interest in his ubiquitous American films. A couple of months prior to TIFF, I had the pleasure of viewing “The Trotsky”, a cleverly written comedy about a Montreal teenager (Baruchel) who thinks he’s the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary. I fell under Baruchel’s charm, but was also pleasantly surprised by his acting skills. Up until then, I was used to his “awkward geek” roles in American films such as “Knocked Up”, “Tropic Thunder” and “Million Dollar Baby”. Not that he wasn’t good in those roles, I just didn’t see much range; he always seemed to play the same part. But “The Trotsky” changed my perception: Baruchel was pitch perfect, awkwardly geeky at times, but with impeccable coming timing and a screen presence and believability that left everyone else in the dust. Researching his filmography, I realised that Baruchel had a healthy, albeit eclectic, presence in contemporary Canadian cinema. I particularly enjoyed his performance as a stoned gambling addict in the little seen Canadian film “Real Time”. That being said, I was hoping to snatch a ticket for “Good Neighbours because I was a Baruchel fan, yet didn’t want to get my hopes up.
If you haven’t seen this movie, you should! Baruchel’s best performance to date!
When a TIFF film is sold out, as was the case with “Good Neighbours”, a Rush Line is instituted where people can wait in the hopes of getting a last minute ticket. Ticket holders can sell their tickets in person to those waiting in the Rush Line. I arrived over two hours before the screening, and there were already a dozen people ahead of me. As I said, I wasn’t expecting anything and even less so at that point, but I figured I had nothing to lose, this was my only chance to see “Good Neighbours” so I waited… and waited… and wished I had brought a book with me (silly goose!)… and waited… and about 45 minutes before the screening, people started to arrive at the “Rush Line” to sell their tickets! Hurrah!
Naturally, being twelfth in line, I had far from a premium chance of getting a ticket, plus everyone who came had pairs of tickets and I was solo. But about 20 minutes before the screening, a miracle happened: a woman arrived with a single ticket to give away. Nobody else in line ahead of me was solo, so I GOT THE TICKET! And the woman didn’t even want me to pay for it, she didn’t want it to go to waste so she made a point to come to the theatre to give it to someone! INCREDIBLE! I was so excited! I profusely thanked the Miracle Woman for her ticket and I start blabbering about how I was from Montreal, that this is my first TIFF… and that her ticket MADE MY TRIP! I was soon going to find out that it was going to make my trip even more than I would’ve ever imagined.
I made my way to another lineup, this one for ticket holders. The line was extremely long and moving rapidly towards the theatre. I made a quick call to my husband to give him the good news and sent a few excited text messages to some friends. Finally, I arrived at the theatre where the screening would be held. There were so many people coming and going, standing and sitting, that it was hard to figure out where I could sit. I had to think strategically, so I quickly went for a right side aisle seat, mid-theatre. It felt like the right move. As I sat down, I started taking in my surroundings and what did I see?
To my left, IN THE SAME ROW AS ME, were reservation papers with the names of all the actors in the movie, including a certain Jay Baruchel! “Are you fucking kidding me?” was the first phrase that popped into my head as a huge grin spread over my face😉 That’s when I realised that Jay Baruchel would be present! I WOULD SEE HIM! I then went into Productivity Mode,taking pictures of everything while keeping an eye to the back of the theatre, waiting impatiently for Jay to come in.
Fifth name from the left: Jay Baruchel!
AND THEN I SAW HIM and immediately became a teenager all over again! “Oh my God!” said I out loud as my heart sank😉 My Productivity Mode intensified, as you see by the pictures attached to this post. I couldn’t believe it, I was literally going to watch a movie WITH Jay Baruchel. (Yes, him sitting in the same row as me, though quite a few seats away, qualified!)
And Jay again!
“Good Neighbours” starts but my mind is distracted during the first 20 minutes by Jay’s hearty laughter whenever there was a joke! When the screening ended, there was a Q&A period and I had the PERFECT QUESTION (according to me). When I had initially heard of “Good Neighbours” being filmed, I read that it was based on Chrytine Brouillet’s first novel “Chère voisine”, so I made a point of reading it. The book takes place in Quebec City in the early 80s, but the film takes place in Montreal, more specifically in the neighbourhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, during the 1995 referendum. I wanted to ask director Jacob Tierney why the location and time had changed. But before that, I made a point of congratulating Tierney for making films that take place in Montreal which truly represent its spirit without having to show the Olympic Stadium (a staple in American films taking place in Montreal…) to which Jay nodded and smiled at me! My heart sank even more at that point, I was giddy but managed to ask my question coherently. Phew! I didn’t look like a fool… and got to have a “moment” with Jay🙂
Q & A period: director Jacob Tierney on the left and Jay Baruchel, with his arm in the air, next to him.