Enter Mr. Depp

by wjw on June 29, 2013

Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman are making one of them post-holocaust flicks in my neighborhood.  Parts of downtown Belen have been grimed and gritted up to look suitably battered by time and ill fortune— not that some parts of the downtown didn’t look like that to begin with.

When photography begins on Monday, it’s going to be hard to travel in that area.

Here we see a building partly into its conversion.  Belen’s old railroad hotel is getting a new porch.  (The hotel, by the way, is owned, or at any rate occupied, by artist Judy Chicago, who uses it to store her huge installations.  Chicago could no longer afford Chicago prices.)

While grunging up some perfectly serviceable buildings, and setting up false fronts, the movie crew also dumped large amounts of dirt and sand on the streets, presumably so that, once the fans start blowing, Depp & Company can walk the streets through suitably dramatic clouds of dust.  (Today was windy, and I got thoroughly dusted without having anyone having to switch on any fans.)

Post-holocaust movies are popular, I reckon, for the same reason zombie movies are popular— because they’re cheap to make, and because nobody involved in them has to do much thought.   Civilization’s gone down, you don’t have to explain why or how.  There’s just enough technology left to provide whatever the screenwriter needs in the way of interest or excitement or contrast— people forget how to make radios or electricity, but there’s a tank or a jet plane when you need one.

It’s a Western, pretty much.  Except if you called it a Western, it would be old-fashioned and un-hip, so it’s science fiction instead– or, if not science fiction, it’s “visionary.”  (“Visionary” generally means there’s even less thought given to the scenario.)

Now if only they’d have the world premiere in Belen.  But no, they can’t, the only theater closed years ago, along with a large percentage of the downtown businesses.  (I already live post-holocaust, it seems.)

And hey, do you think Johnny Depp will wear full makeup for this one?  What are the odds?

Kathy June 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Arnold Schwarzenegger made a movie in this location less than two years ago. Belen, land of vacant storefronts.

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