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This week:
Shaun of the Dead

Filthy says:
"Send more paramedics.

Mrs. Filthy's on the warpath, looking to scalp a hubby. It seems like every six months she gets a burr up her ass about me getting a job. Don't get me wrong; I still love her like a zoo ape loves jerking off in front of the kids. That is, with both my hands. But I don't know what makes her decide she's sick of paying the bills alone every six months or so. It's not like I'm unmotivated. I think about getting a job all the time, and I even start the applications if they're right there on the placemat, and I have a pen handy, and there's no fat family fighting over the chicken tenders for my entertainment.

A couple weeks ago, I got a brilliant idea, so I collected a stack of applications from local businesses that have cool shit I can steal, like the Big O Tires, K-Mart, Martial Arts Warehouse, Paint Gun Supply, Hot Dog on a Stick and the Salvation Army. My idea was to fill them out at the Tavern because I always get supermotivated to do shit with my life after two pitchers of Bud and a pickled egg. Plus, I get really creative when I'm drunk. It's when I do my best dancing, singing and choose the most interesting things to defecate on. As an added bonus, I have a harder time remembering what's true and what's a lie about my own past, so I'm way more likely to write bullshit next to the questions about felonies and college educations and not worry about it. This one application, I swear, was developed specifically to exclude me because it had eight questions about personal hygiene. You know what? Urine is sterile, so I ain't washing my hands after pissing just to make a Whopper.

I settled into my booth the other night, rubbed it clean it with a rag, laid out my applications real neatly, set out two fresh Bic pens and cleared my mind. Then I puked because I ate that taco out of the dumpster. Or from sniffing Gorilla Glue. Whatever, I was pissed at first, and then not so pissed, because once I wiped away the chyme and bile it made the applications look sort of old-fashiony, like a treasure map or Dead Sea scroll. So long as whatever asshole reading them doesn't stick his nose up to them, I'm sitting pretty.

I gotta say, this was one of my greatest inspirations. Better than buttering that cat, for sure, and that started out as a pretty great idea. I took some good tips from Worm, like to misspell shit because tat tells them I got a lot of big fish on the line. I ignored suggestions from the Harelip because it almost always had to do with her vagina. I plowed through those applications like Candy Bottoms through frat boys in One Ton Fuck.

It's like after my blood was suitably diffused booze, the pen wrote all by itself. With every application my confidence grew. I told those store managers things about me I wouldn't even tell my wife when I'm drunk. Under "other skills" I let Arby's know that I was the man any time the job called for a Dirty Sanchez. The Big O now knows how I once tried to install my own tires and broke both arms when I trapped them between the rim and lip. Managers are really impressed with that self-motivation shit. "Look at me, I'm a God damn go-getter!" No, wait, I wrote that on the King Soopers application.

On a few I applied under awesome made-up names. How can the Volkswagen Parts and More not hire Johnny Farfrompuken?

Before my inspiration flagged, but after last call, I walked around the city and slipped my applications under the doors of the respective businesses. Except for the Salvation Army. Their door is flush with the ground, so I busted out a window and stuck it in there. How's that for problem solving skills? I'll let you know what happens next, but I'm feeling pretty good about my prospects. And when I feel good sober about a decision I made while drunk that's the God damn Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

It's funny, you know, that the same week I finally got so fucking serious about taking a job, I saw a zombie movie that lampoons the working class. Shaun of the Dead takes place in London and suggests that there ain't much difference between the living dead and the mindless shuffle of the average stiff who goes through his routine without much variation. It's a pretty damn good concept, and funny enough. It'd be even better if it didn't drag on so long.

Co-writer Simon Pegg plays Shaun, a soft, lazy layabout with no career goals and a girlfriend frustrated by his lack of motivation. He buys the same junk food for breakfast every morning, allows his fat, unemployed bum friend (Nick Frost) to live indefinitely on his couch, and gets drunk in the same dreary tavern every night. Slowly, and without him noticing, Pegg's neighborhood is overtaken by the walking dead. By the time he catches on, he's surrounded and endangered. He and Frost have to rise from their sofa to not only save their own asses but those of Pegg's mom and girlfriend. In this, Pegg goes from slacker to team leader and hero.

This movie is a companion piece to pretty much all other zombie movies. It doesn't add to what we've learned about zombies, and for that we are all no better off. These movies need to help us understand a little better how to fuck to win when zombies really do come. That's why people go to see movies. Like, how will I know when it's finally okay to chop the head off the Harelip? Sure, she's already got the pallid, wormy skin and sagging shape of the undead, but she still talks too fucking much to be dead. Shaun of the Dead doesn't mock zombie movie conventions; it plays by them, even using the slow-stumbling sort rather than the more recent "running" zombies. You can tell writer/director Edgar Wright and Pegg love zombies. I do too. Not in a "I want to fuck them" way, because, seriously, probably only ten percent of zombies are hot enough to bone. Only a sicko would want to hump more.

The movie makes its jokes at the expense of the ruts people get into, and jabs at its characters, which comprise the stereotypes: the reluctant hero, the slacker friend, the cocky prick who thinks he knows best, challenges the hero and gets his comeuppance, the sort of girlfriend who needs to be won back, etc. And of course, it's got some visual gags about beating the shit out of zombies.

That got me thinking. Even pussies can beat up zombies, but what if I can't? You know, like what if the world were overtaken by the undead and my friends all thought it'd be fun to go out with softball bats and knock the stuffing out of a few. Even the skinny girls do it, but I suck. I can't even knock off an arm or poke out an eye. Man, I hope zombies don't come because it's embarrassing enough for me getting my ass kicked by teenagers every couple of months.

The movie's got loads of charm. The characters are all nice, maybe too nice, and maybe too well liked by the writers. And the plot is as clever as any zombie movie. The problems with Shaun of the Dead are in the length and its talkiness. If ever a movie could benefit from a bit more brain bashing and a little less introspective yammering, this is it. By the end, I knew the characters well enough to move beyond liking them to being bored with them. They are too needy. Much time is spent holed up talking about feelings and expressing feelings. It is, after all, a zombie movie and the emphasis should be more on blood and guts than on a boyfriend getting back together with his girlfriend and showing his mom he loves her. I mean, that stuff's sweet in small doses, but in big doses it's as nauseating as Wienerschnitzel chili.

I dug that it started with the Specials' "Ghost Town" which is a pretty fucking great song. But I wasn't too crazy about the fact it ended on a happy note. Let the zombies win. Don't make the mistake of thinking we came to see people get what they want. Three Fingers for Shaun of a the Dead, a good flick, but not as good as the Dawn of the Dead from earlier this year.

Now, if you'll excuse me, the manager at Glee's Hallmark just called and asked for "Franklin Superstud." Sounds like there's gonna be a new sheriff in the Precious Moments aisle.

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Jim Svejda of KNX Radio

Ladder 49 is "One of the year's best filmns! Heroic, heart-wrenching and utterly inspiring!"

The Last Shot is "Wonderfully funny, delightfully off-kilter!"

Mr. 3000 is "Hilarious!"

Filthy's Reading
Dashell Hammett - Maltese Falcon

Listening to
Hot Snakes - Audit in Progress


Return of the Living Dead