Where were you on September 23rd 2005? You don't remember do you? But really, why should you? I did an extensive (extensive in this case being 3 minutes) Google search on this date and there wasn't much going on. Sure, it was the world premiere date of the TV show "The Ghost Whisperer" starring one of my ex wives Jennifer Love Hewitt. Green Day ruled the charts with the aptly titled "Wake Me Up When September Ends", and we were all reeling from the devastating resignation of the Italian Minister of Economy Domenico Siniscalco (I wept for days because of this). Exciting times to be sure, but I remember this day not for being able to once again to see Jennifer Love Hewitt's boobs bounce on the small screen, but rather more for the world cinematic premiere of George A. Romero's return to zombie films..."Land of the Dead".
Now if you don't know anything about George Romero and zombie movies just know this... he set up all the rules on what we know about zombies today. They are dead, they crave human flesh, the only thing that can stop them is to destroy their brain, and if you get bitten by a zombie you will die and become one of them! That's all you really need to know. I've been a big fan of Mr. Romero since I saw his flick "Dawn of the Dead" on betamax in my basement in the early 1980's. I was instantly fascinated by the notion of a society destroyed by the shambling undead! This fascination never left even after Romero had made his last zombie film in 1984 and I still hoped beyond hope over the next 21 years he would make another one....and September 23rd 2005 he did!
What did I do? Well, I walked in to buy my ticket but all the automatic tellers are down that day so I stood there fumbling in my wallet to see if I had any cash to purchase my ticket to zombie goodness and snacks. As I stood there two teenage boys about 13-15 years of age approached me and asked me how I was doing. I said fine, as they looked around nervously, and then they asked me if I was alone. I started to think "Are these kids gonna roll me and take my movie money?". But before I could run away in fear they cut to the chase... they asked me to go up to the box office and get them into the latest George A. Romero masterpiece!
They went on to explain how they can't get into a movie rated 18A without a parent or guardian. I couldn't help but smile! How could I say no? It's not like I was buying them crack (Which I'm pretty sure an adult can't do either) or the latest issue of "Swank". But I also couldn't just help these kids into the film if they were only looking to get out of school, NO! I wanted them to like Romero's films just like me. So instead of simply getting them into the flick, I started to quiz them. I asked them what their fave movie was in the series, both answered "Dawn of the Dead".
"Remake or Original?"
"Original??" they nervously replied....
I eyed them up and down suspiciously, and thought for a second. Okay, I was in. Let's do this! They actually offered to pay for me, which was really cool, but I just took the money for their tickets and we walked up to the box office.
"Three for the 12:15 of 'Land of the Dead' please." I said in the most parental guardian voice I could muster.
"Are you bringing these kids in with you?" The barely 18 herself box office attendant asked.
"Yeah, they are my little brothers" forgetting entirely the kids were Asian.
"Shouldn't they be in School?"
"Well, we aren't from around here..."
"You know this move is Rated 18A?"
"Very aware" (I was starting to get nervous)
"Are they over 18?"
At this point I thought we were done, but she was annoying me with her endless questions and the horrible way she kept snapping her gum. She couldn't keep these kids from witnessing this great directors vision! She would NOT keep us from seeing how the fourth film would further the socio-political subtext that George A. Romero had worked so hard for myself and my younger Asian looking brothers to see!!!!! I was no longer nervous, I was angry...
"Look, 'Joe Friday' just sell us the damn tickets" I snapped
The girl stared blankly at me for thirty seconds, probably confused why I called her Joe Friday, sighed, and printed off the tickets.
YES!!! We did it! I was actually excited that we'd BEATEN THE MAN!!!!! I turned around ready to high five my new friends, talk about zombie flicks, and enjoy a great day of zombie heads being shot off! But as I turned I noticed the kids had quickly grabbed their tickets and left...
"Thanks" they said over their shoulder as they walked away. For a second I was disappointed that I had lost my two new Asian brothers and our day of zombie fun. But that disappointment quickly turned to pride as I watched these young men walk away...I knew these guys would always remember the day I broke the law for their cinematic freedom!!!!!!
Oh by the way, despite what many say... I LOVED George A. Romero's "Land of the Dead". Beautifully filmed, exciting, gory as hell, all topped off with an amazing subtext about many things political and social. If you get a chance to see it do so! And, if you need help getting in... just come see me!