Lake Tahoe's Existence Verified By Celluloid
Case in point: This morning she sent me a text message to tell me that she'd just seen an ad for a movie about a bunch of hit men trying to kill some sort of lounge lizard (Jeremy Piven, pictured below) at a Tahoe Casino. As you would expect in real life, this requires assembling a couple dozen hit-men with wildly contrasting wacky personalities, complete with outlandish costumes and overly-elaborate methods of assassination. I instantly knew the movie she was talking about since I'd seen a preview for it myself a few weeks ago. It's called Smokin' Aces, and it looks like one of those super-slick action movies from the mid-90's when every up-and-coming filmmaker wanted to be Quentin Tarantino. Whether this film turns out to be the next Snatch or (God help us) the next 3000 Miles To Graceland remains to be seen. But the thing I thought was interesting was that both my mom and I (as well as all the whispering people in the theater I saw it with) had the same thought when we saw the preview: "Hey, that's Lake Tahoe!"
Unless you live in a big photogenic city that's constantly appearing in such venues--i.e. New York, San Francisco, L.A. or Chicago--there's always a strange, giddy thrill attached to seeing your hometown or region of the country featured on TV or, better yet, in a movie. Even if it's in a context designed to make a mockery of you. In this media-soaked age of celebrity as an end unto itself, being the backdrop to a movie is almost the highest honor a community can receive. It's like the gods of consumer entertainment descending from the heavens just to bestow their blessing on you, and to let you know that yes, you count, you are worthy of being exposed to the mass consciousness. This is very important because if it never happens, how can you really be sure you exist at all?