Last week I delivered the thrilling news that a movie is going to be shot right here in Bootleg City, and now I’m happy to announce that shooting begins next week!

The story line is top secret, but my sources in Hollywood tell me Vin Diesel is set to star as a bald, muscular, monotone type. You want more vague rumors? You got it! Vin’s character may or may not be a postapocalyptic bounty hunter assigned to track down Betty White’s sweet-natured yet salty-language-spouting grandmotherly type, who may or may not hold the key to the future of civilization in her bionic hip replacement.

Will sparks fly between the two? Does a large bucket of popcorn already contain as much saturated fat as six Big Macs before the partially hydrogenated soybean oil, or “butter,” is added on top?!

“Untitled Vin Diesel-Betty White Sci-Fi Romantic Action Thriller Comedy” is the film’s working title, but my sources have been calling it “The Goon and the Prune,” and word has it that “The Future Depends on Grandma” has been testing well with focus groups of 14-year-old boys, though less so with actual users of adult diapers.

Unfortunately, I do have some bad news — Mr. Diesel and Ms. White won’t be shooting any of their scenes here in Bootleg City.

Believe me, I feel your pain. I was genuinely looking forward to discussing head-shaving methods and accoutrements with the star of the Fast and the Furious franchise (well, half of it, anyway), and our city’s Minister of Fast Food and Entertainment, Matthew Boles, was working up the nerve to ask the white-hot star of The Golden Girls for her autograph and her hand in marriage, though “not necessarily in that order,” he confided.

As promised, when the “Goon + Prune” crew shoots the film’s big car chase in our downtown area, locals will be hired to play postapocalyptic zombies. Your “motivation,” in acting parlance, will be to stop Vin and Betty’s vehicle and eat their brains. However, since the producers want the action to look as real as possible without using special effects or stuntmen, your job is to get hit as realistically as possible by the vehicle (which will be driven by Vin’s stuntman). The producers request that you not “act” the head-on collision or ad-lib lines of dialogue such as “My body is colliding with two tons of steel, which is highly unpleasant.” Just let the car hit you and react accordingly. (Matt Wardlaw, if you’re reading this, you should know that you’d make a great extra!)

It would seem that the “Goon + Prune” producers have adopted the philosophy of the late southern preacher Bill Hicks while adapting it to meet the needs of Bootleg City’s unemployed masses. In 1992, with eerily prescient foresight into the Obama administration’s universal health care “death panels,” he stated, “I’m watching Terminator 2 [and] I’m thinking to myself, ‘You know what? There’s no way they’re ever gonna be able to top these stunts in a movie again.’ You cannot top this shit — unless they start using terminally ill people as stuntmen in pictures.”

He continued, “I know to some of you this may sound a little cruel. ‘Aw, Bill … Terminally ill stuntpeople? That’s cruel.’ You know what I think cruel is? Leaving your loved ones to die in some sterile hospital room surrounded by strangers. Fuck that. Put ’em in the movies! … You want your grandmother dying like a little bird in some hospital room, her translucent skin so thin you can see her last heartbeat work its way down her blue veins? Or do you want her to meet Chuck Norris?”

Any citizen of Bootleg City who’s hired as an extra for “The Goon and the Prune” will automatically qualify for unemployment benefits once he or she is laid off and/or laid up in the hospital. Your hospital bills won’t be paid by the production company, but you will receive a visit from Vin Diesel’s stuntman, who will promise to hit a home run if Diesel ever makes a baseball movie.

This week’s bootleg comes to us courtesy of Popdose’s resident filmmaker, Scott Malchus, who cries a lot while watching TV in his basement, according to my sources in L.A. He’s a big Journey fan, and this concert from September 6, 1981, at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin, took place right after the band’s album Escape knocked Stevie Nicks’s Bella Donna out of the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart.

“Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Who’s Crying Now,” “Any Way You Want It,” and my favorite, “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly in Love),” are all featured in this late-summer blowout, and Escape even spun off its own Atari 2600 video game. Will “The Goon and the Prune” be so lucky? Only time will tell!

Where Were You
Line of Fire
Don’t Stop Believin’
Stone in Love
Keep On Runnin’
Stay Awhile
Do You Recall
Lovin’ You Is Easy
[obligatory drum solo]
Too Far Gone
Too Late
Who’s Crying Now
The Party’s Over (Hopelessly in Love)
Wheel in the Sky
Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’
Any Way You Want It

About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners and collaborated on the series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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