07 October 2009

Bells of Innocence

I had to buy all of these Norris movies when I was journeying through The Many Circles of Norris Hell, but I've since disposed of most of them so I got this cover image from Amazon.

2003 – United States
Director – Ali Bijan
Good Times Video, DVD, 2004
Run time – 1 hour, 50 minutes

Two members of a Texas church, Oren and Conrad are headed to Mexico with a planeload of bibles for the peasants. "They couldn't ask for a better gift" one guy says. I'm thinking that they probably could ask you to keep your misguided gringo imperialism to yourself, or at the very least to deliver bibles in Spanish. Anyway, Oren and Conrad are joined by a third, troubled quasi-suicidal alcoholic, Jux (Mike Norris, yes, the offspring) who, after a bender the night before, is their acting "pilot".

On the way to Mexico they are forced to land in a field. A field surrounded by infinite sand dunes up every one of which Oren whines his big fat mouth. Just as I am about to press eject, they stumble upon a small prop "old west" town inhabited by stiff awkward extras (read members of the church that funded this movie). The town is evil, the mayor is even a minor demon or something, all this obviated by the fact that there is no municipal or economic infrastructure to speak of. God bless commerce, and the people walking back and forth across screen repeatedly clearly aren’t doing business, or anything else.

But, our three intrepid heroes are stuck there, so mongoloid Oren staggers around town, loud fat and cringingly friendly. Jux fawns over a little girl who reminds him of his deceased daughter. Conrad, I don't know what that loony fucker is up to, I think he's trying to seem smart and really "together," like the moral anchor to Oren’s charisma ball & chain. The town invites the three amigos to a harvest festival (read “Halloween is evil”) where they are given boozy tropical punch, and the children start playing satanic chanting games. Clearly, you’re either with us or you’re openly worshipping the devil in the streets.

Our three "faith based" heroes escape the demonic rituals to the home of Michael; Michael the archangel; Michael the Archangel played by stringy old homeless Chuck Norris. With the help of some banal faithy hard-rock theme music Michael mumbles something about the three of them being sent to Ceres to save it.

There is a stereotype of crass American tourists in which, unwilling to learn even some of the most basic local language, they yell English in people’s faces. The less the natives understand the slower and louder the Americans yell. Evangelists have embraced this principle because redeeming Satanists requires a similar narcissistic arrogance. The eviler folks are the louder and simpler you need to yell about the love of Jesus to make any progress. Actually, I hear that all foreigners are evil, so it follows.

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