April 2021


Makin’ Porn

One of my few American weaknesses that I’ve managed to retain in Germany is my subscription to Rolling Stone.

Not that it’s easy—I have a $99 lifetime subscription that is valid only in the States, so I must rely upon a friend to receive the magazine and then to forward it to me a few times a year. It doesn’t really matter to me, I still devour it and love reading it. It must have been in one of the more recent issues of Rolling Stone where I read a review of a movie and decided I wanted to see it—something about making a porno.

So last night, when I ended up at a nearby movie theater complex with no idea what I wanted to see, the name “Zach and Miri Make a Porno” struck a bell. We were really lucky in that we arrived at the movie theater at 5:23 for a movie that started at 5:20—meaning that we could buy our tickets, visit the restrooms, and then make our way into the theater and miss most of the advertisement. I have to admit that I was really stunned when I realized that tickets were only $5 on Mondays, so it was pretty darned cheap!

Now here’s the thing, from the review I loosely remembered the plot: a couple of roommates run short of cash, can’t pay the bills, and decide to make a porno. It’s a film that perfectly echoes the hard economic times that we are currently experiencing.

Seriously, this morning I had the TV on for a tiny bit and on CBS there was a report about a woman who now is paying for everything with cash while also trying to pay off their $20,000 in credit card debt. After that story they went to commercial and I switched to ABC which featuring a woman holding a garage sale in order to make her next mortgage payment. She made $200 during her sale, and told us that it wasn’t enough—if she’d sold her $650 rocking chair, she could make her mortgage payment.

Given what I remembered about the film, I settled into my chair and as the opening titles started, I thought to myself, “Geesh, that looks a lot like the area around Pittsburgh, but it can’t be!” Then the camera came down and we saw a car driving away from us, license plate in view, and I thought to myself, “Geesh, that’s a Pennsylvania license plate!”

Sure enough, it is actually set right here in Pittsburgh.

This is not the first time I’ve had one of these random coincidental movie happenings. In February 2006, I was winging my way across the ocean when I decided to watch a movie I’d never heard of, Elizabethtown, only to discover that not only was it set in Louisville, where I was headed, but it featured the hotel I was staying in, the Brown.

The film was quite charming and memorable—although some of the memories emblazoned in my mind are a bit disturbing—in particular a scene where… errr… since I didn’t label this as NSFW… never mind.

I have to say that the story is fairly well constructed from start to finish, with appropriate foreshadowing (although I missed one obvious foreshadowing) and well thought out plot. This is one that I want to own on DVD when it finally makes it there. I bet the extras on the DVD will be well worth it.

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