After Seeing Amores Perros, I Only Want to Go to the “Fake” Mexico

When I was a kid my family and I would rent a condo in Puerto Vallarta and go to the beach for a couple of weeks every other year or so. It was great, and we’d just hang out and go to the beach and explore around. We did a booze cruise too, but since I was 7 at the time it didn’t mean very much to me, but at least we got to go on a big boat.

And the people of the area were very nice and we always had a great time there. It was fun.

So fast-forward many years later. To a month or so ago.

I had seen the preview for Amores Perros at the Inwood Theater many years ago and remembered at the time that it had been said that it was a sort-of Mexican Pulp Fiction, so when I saw it was going to be on IFC a couple of weeks ago I set up the Tivo to tape it. It sat there for awhile, waiting for us, and we finally watched it.

Oh boy.

If you don’t know about the movie, Amores Perros follows several groups of people in Mexico City in a non-linear story. There is Octavio, who is in love with his brother’s wife and wants to help her leave him, so he starts putting his pet Rottweiler into dog fights. There’s also a guy who is cheating on his wife with a soap opera star and her dog falls down in this hole in the floor and then she falls into the hole and requires some sort of surgery and she can’t walk anymore. And there’s a homeless guy who’s a gun for hire, killing people for money, but all he really wants is to see his daughter again and tell her that he loves her, so he double-crosses two business partners and steals their money and then….

But that would give away the ending, which, like mostly everything in Amores Perros, is heart-wrenching and sad.

And what you see of Mexico City is horrifying. It’s actually worse than Man on Fire, which was also a film about a guy who’s seeking revenge for a kidnapped little girl in Mexico City. The only thing that Man on Fire has that Amores Perros doesn’t have is a guy gets his fingers chopped off. Or Denzel Washington. He’s in Man on Fire, which makes the cool quotient of Man on Fire rise dramatically.

But still, Amores Perros is terrifying. And I’m also glad I never paid to see it, unlike Trainspotting. I will never go to Mexico City after seeing this film. Do I want to fear for my life, or that I might be kidnapped, or a family member might be kidnapped and then held for ransom? What if I paid and that family member was killed by the kidnappers? Or caught in a car chase where someone is racing an injured dog to the hospital? Then again, the dog is a Rottweiler, so I wouldn’t feel too bad about it dying, but still, what if I was hit by those guys while driving? And then a crazy homeless hitman stole my wallet while he was pretending to help me? And what if a crazy homeless hitman killed me while I was there? How much would someone in Mexico City pay to have me killed if the Peso is so low to the dollar?

It boggles the mind. Give me a fake dreamy Mexico where the people are friendly and wonderful and no one will kill me if I decided to travel there. I’ll take Mexico in the late 1970’s for $1000, Alex.

What were some of Glenn Vance’s happiest memories of traveling as a child?

You know the answer.

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