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The End of Days/ Re-Learning To Love South America

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Los Pasteles Verdes: Angelitos Negros, Reloj, Recuerdos De Una Noche and Te Amo Y No Soy Correspondido
Taken from the album Recuerdos De Una Noche on Gema (197?)

I don’t know how it happened. One minute I’m wilin’ out chez moi, eating luke warm lentil soup and ruminating on the finer things in life; next minute my homie Dave is on the phone: Yo, Willis…–Mumble, mumble–…to the movies…–Unitelligible–…my treat…–Ambulence Passing–…calypto…

“Sure thing!” I say. Like a fool, like a goddamn fool.

Here’s what’s wrong with Apocalypto: EVERYTHING. Plotless, pointless, exploitative, gimmicky, dull, trite, nauseating. Here’s an abbreviated list of sources that Melly Mel grossly misappropriates or outright marauds on the course of this dizzyingly uninspired warpath: The Last of The Mohicans, Midnight Cowboy (think Ratzo’s touching departure minus the touching part), Indian Jones and The Temple of Doom, The Exorcist/Shining/6th Sense (Come on, possessed children? Really?), The Princess Bride (My name is Inigo Montoya.. Jaguar Paw…whatever), Run Lola Run (minus the red-haired femme and pulsing techno–which is to say a lot of running), Night of The Living Dead (Zombie head squirts, anyone?) and Tintin in South America (No joke.)

Just. Plain. Awful. And sure, I might have guessed as much– but, as always, the hype machine worked wonders and a handful of beguiling critics tricked me into… well, hoping for the best.

All of this has a point (I think).

After the movie came to its merciful end, I returned home. Haggard. Angry. Depressed. (It’s a sorry state of global affairs, when a guy as effed-up as Mel Gibson can not only get a picture as bad as this one made, but actually trick people into buying into it.) The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I needed to find some respite. Some comforting bastion to reaffirm my faith in life, in love, in mankind… and, most importantly, in the magic of America Del Sur, as disassociated from Mel Gibson’s Hollywood taint.

(I used to dream about Mexico. And Chile, Peru, Venezuela. Idealized visions of great lands. The music, the culture, the language… Hell, I had been thinking about taking a trip down that way sometime in the near future… And now? Now what?)

A cold hollow of bitterness had descended into my heart. How could I regain that mystical connection to the faraway equatorial lands of my dreams, that now only conjured to my mind the disturbing image of a ghastly, soused bigot on a deserted stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway?

I’ll tell you how to regain it: the compressed vocals of a sympathetic balladeer delicately crooning in his native tongue; the gentle wah’s of psychaedelic guitar emanating from a dusty P.A. in Lima, Peru circa 1972; echo, reverb, and a loping snare. That’s how.

So I set the needle running on this disc and guess what? Peace. Utter, blissful, glassy-eyed peace.