It starts with a casual remark to The Wife:
“‘Hookers in the desert’ is the new ‘Skeletons in the closet.’”
Then the ol’ train of thought pulls out of the station….
There are probably an awful lot of bodies out there…hookers, hustlers, mob folks, losers who couldn’t pay their debts…imagine if THEY ALL CAME BACK AS ZOMBIES AND CONVERGED ON THE CITY FROM WHENCE THEY DEPARTED.
So yes, zombies are played out. And Vegas got zombified in Resident Evil 3 But this would be different. This would be Bruce Campbell funny/creepy…stay with me here:
Bruce is a down on his luck small-time gambler, the sort who haunts what remains of the old, seedy Vegas. The places he goes are tacky, and not in a retro/cool way. He’s usually surrounded by Seniors with cups of nickels.
He’s up against it. He needs something – still working on what. Naturally, he meets the devil, and they agree to gamble for whatever it is he needs. You know, betting your soul and all that. Bruce, inspired by his desperation, manages to cheat the devil and win. The devil has to pay up, but boy is he angry about it. He decides to make sure Bruce can never enjoy his winnings. So he reanimates all the corpses in the Vegas desert, and they attack this run-down casino full of losers and Senior Citizens. (Naturally, this includes a just-past-her-prime cocktail waitress with a heart of gold…)
Of course, whatever it is Bruce has won from the devil becomes crucial to the group’s eventual survival.
The American Shaun of the Dead…
The NYT is not overly impressed with Zack and Miri Make a Porno:
“Mr. Smith tries, with mixed results, both to rub our faces in the tawdriness and to erase it altogether. The movie wants to insist that pornography is a jolly, innocuous pursuit, but also to take refuge in a sincere, romantic traditionalism that is antithetical to the cynical, often playful sexual ethos of pornography. Mr. Smith is intent on making a love story, which is almost by definition the opposite of the kind of movie Zack and Miri set out to produce.”
Ah, the often playful sexual ethos of pornography… Still:
“The gauzy sweetness that envelops the end of the movie is not unwelcome, but not very convincing either. The ‘porno’ remains unfinished, and so does ‘Zack and Miri,’ having — like most pornography, interestingly enough — thrown away an imaginative premise to get down to predictable, mechanical business. It’s as if Mr. Smith were a plumber who knocked at your door and then, against all reasonable expectations, insisted on fixing the sink.”
Godsbody suspects that Apatow would have found a way to have the couple repudiate their porny ways – “Dammit, why does it feel like this jolly, innocuous pursuit is supposed to mean something?” – but without giving up the funny. It rather sounds like Smith is trying to have his cake and eat it too.
A woman named Alice was born
To make Peter feel less forlorn
By sharing her cake
And letting him rake
The rows of her barley and corn.
It happens that I have in my possession a little book called Evidence of Satan in the Modern World, written by the French(?) priest Leon Cristiani in 1961. He spends a good deal of time on accounts of exorcisms, and on the diabolical characteristics of both capitalism and communism. But the very best bit comes on p. 171:
“It is therefore without any particular satisfaction, but without diffidence, that one may declare that there are certain undeniable proofs of the presence of Satan in our contemporary ‘civilisation,’ proofs which few can refuse to admit:
1. The mediocrity of our great media of communication such as the wireless, cinema, and television: not mediocrity in technique or in propaganda, but in the beauty and nobility of their influence on people’s minds;
2. The erotic atmosphere exuded by our novels and plays, in popular songs, in all that can be summed up as ‘show business’;
3. The degradation of modern art, which seems to have lost all feeling for beauty, and to be concerned only with ugliness and obscurity.”
Outstanding. What is the proof of Satan’s presence? Bad art.