This week our Fabulous Times Film contributor Jonny takes us on a glittering cinematic journey to you guessed it, Las Vegas, Nevada!
Like many people that have never been to Las Vegas, my impressions of the city are largely made up of scenes from films and TV series. The lights of the Strip, the kitsch, themed hotel resorts, the casinos and endless camp Celine Dion shows; all present and correct, and completely second-hand images. So what is it about this place that still makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA, nay the world?
Dreams can come true: In Steven Soderbergh’s revamped Ocean’s Eleven, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) hatches a plan to rob not one but THREE high-end Vegas casinos, and simultaneously bring his ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts) back over to his side. The film spotlights the rich and shiny life unattainable to many…but that could be won in Vegas. When the heist is over, the men of Ocean’s Eleven still make time to stop and watch the fountain show outside the Bellagio hotel. Does this put them on a level with us commoners, or is it merely a tongue-in-cheek reference to the artificial wonderment of Las Vegas? Either way, in a film full of effortlessly cool characters, it’s quite a touching moment. They set out to achieve the unachievable, stealing from a nasty, intelligent man with too much money – and won. Everyone loves the underdogs.
And let us not forget that at the beginning of Sister Act 2, we know Delores (Whoopi Goldberg) has made it as a singer because she has her own Las Vegas show. According to the films, it seems in Vegas dreams really can come true.
Sweet as sin: Since the legalisation of gambling in 1931 Las Vegas has been a casino hot-spot and as one vice often attracts another, drink, drugs and the sex trade also have roles to play in the genetic make-up of the city, both in films and real life. Many a hen and stag party will confirm that the main attraction of Las Vegas is the supposed freedom to dabble in said vices. And as Nicholas Cage shows us in Leaving Las Vegas, where else would one go to drink oneself to death?
Anyone planning an excessive trip down the Strip should remember Hunter S. Thompson as played by Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. If ever there was a cinematic advert for sobriety, it would be this…
Rock ‘n’ Roll: Immortalised by Elvis in Viva Las Vegas, the city has always had a musical connection. The revival of 1950’s aesthetics, style, music and dancing has been gaining pace and today is a way of life for many people, as evidenced on this blog!
One film that portrays the younger generation’s love of the vintage way is Swingers, in which two “money” guys get into the LA rockabilly scene, drink, meet girls and of course take a road trip to Vegas…
Vegas, baby Vegas!
Jonny The Fabulous Times Film Contributor