i like movies

Someone made a movie about what it was like growing up in suburban Ontario in the 2000s

You can't really describe the culture in Ontario in the early 2000s, you just had to be there. From Oliver Jewellry Cashman commercials, to Friday night trips to the local Blockbuster, life was truly at its best. 

Chandler Levack's feature debut film, I Like Movies, hones in on the culture of the time for a hilarious, nostalgic and empathetic look into the life of a cinephile teenager living in Burlington, Ontario.

Lead character Lawrence Kweller, who is played by the talented Isaiah Lehtinen, is the "kind of guy who, when he buys a movie ticket, mentions the director's name just to show that he's there for the right reasons," reads the film's description.

Lawrence has larger-than-life dreams of going to NYU and being mentored by filmmaker Todd Solondz. However, in the meantime, he has to earn enough cash for his pricey tuiton by working part-time at his local video store, Sequels.

Although the trailer is still in the works, the first couple clips from the film are downright hilarious and give a sneak peek into life before streaming services took over.

Lawrence's resilient mother, played by Krista Bridges, asks him why other students in his class don't want to go to NYU, to which he groans, "I don't know, they're probably gonna go to like Guelph or something, they're idiots."

Levack told blogTO she spent her entire adolescence growing up in Burlington.

"I wanted to make Burlington feel beautiful, vivid and cinematic in all of its horrible beige waspiness," she explained. "It always bothers me when Canadian movies try to hide where they are from, so they will appeal to U.S. audiences."

Levack spent the last two years of high school working part-time at a Blockbuster location, which she credits for her first introduction to cinema.

"When you're a very emo teenager with a deep reservoir of longing, you have to learn how to build a mythology out of your surroundings and romanticize whatever is front of you, even when it's literally a parking lot," she said.

Levack told blogTO there's a lot of elements in the film that are hyper-specific to early 2000s Ontario culture, with a few songs off Big Shiny Tunes, the Cashman of course, and even an iconic cameo by Tanner Zipchen, former host of the Pre-Show by Cineplex.

She said many of her friends and family members graciously loaned their period-era cars, eMac computers and clothing.

"I think I made I Like Movies just so I could be back at Blockbuster again, and I can't wait to share it with the audience," Levack said.

I Like Movies will have its world premiere on Sept. 9 at 6:15 p.m. at Scotiabank Theatre. There's also several other dates when the film is playing, so make sure to grab your tickets for 99 minutes full of movie-loving, nostalgic Ontario magic.

Lead photo by

I Like Movies, VHS Forever Inc.

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