at the bums in LoDo Denver, the once scummy area around a derelict
train depot. I laughed because they did such a good job making
it a scary hell hole that the money suits couldn't resist buying
it up and selling it to the yuppies. The city scrubbed off the
brick facades, strung some twinkling lights in the trees on
Larimer, started calling the minor league team a major and,
most important, renamed the crummy old apartments "lofts." I
laughed because the people who buy their music at Starbucks
and think personality come in hair care bottles bought it hook,
line and sinker. They moved in like ants on a rotting apple,
and paid a shitload of money for the same places the bums used
to squat in with a can of beans, a bottle of Mad Dog and some
tinfoil for smoking crack. Those poor bums got priced out of
the neighborhood they built through their own tender loving
disinterest about where they shit, what they vandalize and who
the whole gentrification thing was pretty damn funny until it
started happening to me. I don't want to say I get all the credit
for making Olde Town Arvada so fucking filthy that it stopped
being gross and started being hip. But let's face it: I've done
more for the pride of Arvada than anyone else.
has the "Water Tower" project with row houses and, yes, "lofts."
We've got a jazz bar, wine stores, some shithead bar that actually
wants to serve those fucking phony Sunday Harley riders. The
slot car track was replaced by a silk flower shop. The junk
shops have become purveyors of collectibles. And the skate punks
in the town square were swapped out for carolers, easter eggs,
scarecrows and other seasonal horeshit.
worried about our apartment becoming some snooty loft. It's
in the basement. But, who the fuck knows? Those yuppies might
decide that living by the BNS&F tracks and having to put non-skid
adhesive on the bottom of their dishes so they don't rattle
off the shelves is even cooler than buying oversized SUVs. Anyway,
even if we keep our pad, all this dandifying is screwing up
my life. For Christ's sake, now there's all sorts of strangers
touring the Tavern every night.
Up in the
old ghost town turned gambling hall Central City, there is a
bar where some old crazy guy once painted a beloved lady's face
on the floor. People come from all over to look at "The Face
on the Floor" and buy T-shirts to let people know they did.
Now, people have caught wind of the Tavern's legendary "Lady
on the Floor." This was something we kept to ourselves and never
dreamed would be of interest to nomadic yuppies. Sure, it's
only the Harelip, and she doesn't land there until after four
p.m. most days. But that the outside world has taken interest
means that we can no longer take a shit in the alley out back
without being considered "local color." Sometimes you just want
to take a shit with a flash. Except for Worm. I think he likes
it better now.
these newcomers start strutting around like they own the place,
acting like the people who have been there forever have no rights.
They want this removed, they want all mailboxes painted this
color, and you can't make noise after eight p.m. They love Arvada
and moved here because it's so picaresque, but they'd like it
better if it were just like every other fucking suburb. To hell
with that. We liked things better when nobody gave a shit. But
everyone caves in to the newcomers who don't have the common
decency to be apathetic.
It was The
Amityville Horror, a pretty bad remake of a pretty hoaky
70s movie, that got me thinking about gentrification and solipsistic
yuppies because, if it is about anything, this is it. Some upward
aspiring yawners moving in to a new place and then expect all
the people to change for them. Maybe not people, more like ghosts,
but still. Why the fuck can't the carpetbaggers just move in
and take the good with the bad? I've never complained to our
landlord about the lump in the hallway shag that weeps blood
when you step on it. It's part of the charm of Casa de Filth.
Amityville Horror, Ryan Reynolds, a contractor who never,
ever has to interrupt his day with a job, and his wife (Melissa
George) buy a massive fixer-upper lake house. They know a man
murdered his family in it a year earlier. They got such a great
deal, though, how could they resist? Man, I know the feeling.
I once got an awesome deal on a Craftmatic adjustable bed because
it had electrocuted its previous two owners. I sleep in a wetsuit
and no problems.
and George don't know (besides that Justin Guarini probably
turned this piece of shit down before they said yes) is that
the house is haunted by the ghosts of Indians tortured long
ago by a nutty religious leader. And those ghosts drove the
previous resident to kill his family. As is typical with bad
horror movies, the surprise of the dead Indians is supposed
to make us forget that it makes no sense as a motivation, and
doesn't at all explain why the Indians are still around or wanting
the current residents dead.
Reynolds hears the voices and sees ghosts. Actually, everyone
sees the ghosts. I think if Reynolds were a more interesting
or talented actor, we would see his gradual descent into insanity.
He's not, though, so we mostly see a really shitty hack flaring
his nostrils and showing off his Bowflex abs. Congrats to him
for the nostrils, though. He may look like he's never taken
an acting class, but those nostrils surely studied under Strasberg.
Baker Hall makes an embarrassing cameo as a local priest who
is a big fat pussy, and based on no real priest or research.
He tries to do an exorcism on the house with that Holy Water
that always sizzles in the movies. You know, the first director
to use that trick must have been a jackass, but every one since
must be the sort of lazy prick who'd rather rip off a jackass
than be creative.
The Amityville Horror is an unimaginative bore. Sure,
the acting is terrible, with Reynolds showing us his boogers
instead of emoting, and George mostly screeching and yowling
like a cat with its tail caught in a woodchipper (she has dazzling
breasts, though, and nice sweaters). But what lowers this thing
into the crapper is how lame and contrived the scares are. Every
single one is simply a scurrying shadow or quick image of a
ghost accompanied by a loud whomp of scare noise from the orchestra.
Scott Kosar is either a shut in or deaf because he has no ear
for dialog. It's all on the nose with no grace of personality.
He actually has several characters say "What are you trying
to tell me?" and "I don't understand what you're saying," as
though he needs to grant himself permission to unspool long-ass
threads of exposition. That's fucking lazy.
I think about it some more, I'm going to guess he's a shut in
because he also has little concept of reality. The lead characters
go out to a romantic dinner shortly after saying they have to
make major sacrifices in order to buy the new house. Reynolds
has a huge sign for his business on the side of his truck, but
never once goes to work, or even tries to fix up the house they
bought. And they happily leave the kids with a babysitter who
dresses slightly less modestly than the 2 A.M. dancers at Larry's
Villa in Las Vegas.
a bad, dreary horror movie. It could have more to say about
yuppies aspiring to turn shitholes into paradises, but it's
too busy sucking. Two Fingers for The Amityville Horror.
Would somebody put out a good movie?