Preface… What follows is not really a review. I thought, in my particular case, it would be more interesting to detail the experience of viewing Watchmen as opposed to just running through my critical view of the film. In a way, this serves as a bonus side-chapter to my Days Of Llojeta series. Like… If that were Watchmen, this would be its Tales of the Black Freighter. And it’s appropriate, as that series details my frustrations and experiences living in La Paz, Bolivia. Because the epic you are about to read comes as a direct result of that experience.

Basically, Watchmen is being distributed internationally by Paramount Pictures. So that means that it’s being distributed internationally by UIP. This company no longer has official representation in Bolivia because a man named Luis Salles had no idea how to run a business and eventually ran his film distribution company into the ground. Nice man… But he fucked his business is what I’m saying. Okay… It doesn’t help that UIP covers only Paramount, DreamWorks and Universal. And that’s all he had. Whereas, the other big Bolivian distributor, Manfer Films, gets Warner Brothers, Fox, MGM/UA, Disney and Columbia (Sony Pictures) and has a monopoly on most Bolivian theaters. Okay… So maybe it wasn’t really his fault.

But anyway… All UIP releases have since been brought over here by the Peruvian distributor. Now, in the case of, say Transformers or Hulk or Indy 4, there’s no problem because the commercial viability of those products is proven. Not so with Watchmen. So, the Peruvian distributor didn’t order all that many copies… They’ll let it make the rounds throughout Peru and bounce it over here in May.

What that means is that, in Bolivia, Watchmen will open head to head with Wolverine, Terminator 4, Angels & Demons and Star Trek.

So much for Watchmen.

Now… I don’t particularly care about the commercial success of this film. Though, it would be nice to see it do well. But there was no way I was going to wait 2 months to see this movie. (But Erik… You’ve been waiting 15 years. What’s 2 more months? Fuck you. It’s my favorite comic of all time, I’m seeing it opening weekend!)

As luck would have it, there is a small town in Chile called Iquique. Go ahead… Click on that link and read about it. It’s a town known as being a trade port where you can get tax-free merchandise and is the port of entry for contraband into Bolivia. It also has a multiplex mall that happens to be playing Watchmen… So, basically, in order to see this film I had to travel to another country. What follows is a journal of that experience. I would have done it in the style of Rorschach but, frankly, I’m just not that cool.

So… Here we go.


11:45am – I arrive to the La Paz bus terminal. It’s an interesting place… Designed by the same guy who designed all the train stations in Europe. So, steppping up to it you kind of feel like if you’re in a Jason Bourne movie directed by Robert Rodriguez.

Before gettiing on the bus, I purchase a tube of jalapeño-flavored Pringles (a decision I will be very glad for later), some cherry-flavored mineral water and a drug called Gravol – to help with motion sickness… Essential for the 16-hour bus ride that awaits me.

12:30pm – I board the bus. … It’s not quite the palatial experience (Almost like a jumbo jet!) I was promised by friends and family who had taken a bus to Chile before… Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I chose Bolivian company Nuevo Continente (cheaper) as opposed to the more celebrated ChileBus. This bus looks like a regular Bolivian bus. Like one used for a 3hr ride to the countryside.

And I have a window seat, which is fantastic.

But my companion on the aisle seat has legs the size of tree trunks and a torso bigger than God. I will be here for the next 16 hours… I’m praying this movie is fucking good.

12:44pm -The bus leaves the terminal. I switch on my Aimee Mann playlist (All her work in chronological order, beginning with the ‘Til Tuesday albums.) Here we go… Love in a Vacuum.

Couldn’t embed Love in a Vacuum… But here’s the signature track from the Voices Carry album. The 5th track on the disc. The one you’ve probably actually heard before in your life.

– Riding through the El Alto sector of La Paz, leaving the city, we drive past this thing I didn’t know about called Campo Ferial. It’s like El Alto’s own little version of Coney Island’s Astro Park. (RIP, by the way) It’s a piece of shit, but at least it exists.

(At this point, my seating companion is eyeing my tube of Pringles as if it were Manna directly from Heaven – I don’t have the heart to tell him I plan on making it my “dinner.” Maybe I’ll give him 1 or 2 chips this evening.)

1:20pm – We arrive to a mini terminal in El Alto to pick up more passengers. My seating companion (I think I’ll call him George) gets up to stretch his legs. I thank the blessed Lord that this happens. A street preacher promptly hops on the bus and starts yapping something about “food for the soul” – I take that as an odd “you’re welcome” from the man upstairs. But, as George comes back not 3 minutes later, I realize it doesn’t matter.

The bus starts moving again and Jimmy Swaggart over there won’t shut the fuck up and please leave…

This movie better be fucking good!

1:40pm – “Lunch” is served. George is pleased. When I see that it consists of a piece of steak, a fried egg, some plaintains, rice and tomato – all cold, by the way – I realize that I will be eating Pringles for lunch.

“Dessert” is included in the plastic tray and consists of two candies – one coffee, the other cola flavored – which I pocket. I offer George a second helping, promising that I “haven’t touched my food.” He says, surprisingly, “no thank you.” I return my lunch tray to the stewardess. (Bus Attendant? I’ll have to look it up, I guess.)

2:15pm – Time for the in-bus entertainment. And this afternoon’s first selection (there will be more) is – wait for it – FINAL DESTINATION… I thank the stars I am not riding Nuevo Continente Airlines and decide I have no interest in watching Final Destination dubbed into Spanish on a 13-inch Daewoo television hanging from the ceiling. I pop my earphones back in, turn on Within Temptation (thanks again, by the way – I owe you one) and divert my attention to the window once again… I doze off halfway through Stand My Ground

4:45pm – The rat bastard, douchebag, motherfucker sitting in front of me, who I hope has a heart attack and dies as soon as we arrive to Chile, decides to recline his seat farther back… It slams into my knees, startling me awake with a yelp of pain. He cranes his neck to look at me with a dickhead expression on his face but says nothing. Once again I wish death upon him. Then return to the Aimee Mann playlist where I left off. Halfway through ‘Til Tuesday’s Welcome Home album.

This movie better be really fucking good!

5:15pm – Customs. I have nothing to declare, except I’m coming all the way into your lovely country just to see a fucking movie. Can we hurry this up?

At least while waiting for all the customs rigmarole to be over and done with, I have an opportunity to stretch my legs. The man on the left side is Douchey McDouche – AKA: Asshole who broke my legs and woke me up about an hour ago.

8:45pm – We arrive to a Chilean province called Parmacota – to a kind of rest stop to get food and some such. I realize that I have no Chilean currency and can therefore purchase nothing. I guess it’s time to gobble up the rest of those Pringles.

11:00pm – We arrive to Arica, Chile. Il Douche and like 2 or 3 others leave the bus. I realize that all hope of George leaving me to enjoy the rest of this journey in comfort is lost. I attempt to go back to sleep. This is made difficult by the sounds of The Incredible Hulk – starring Edward Norton, now playing on the 13-inch television. Earlier today they played 50 First Dates and National Treasure (the first one – the one people actually liked). Neither one played through to the end. But, this time, it’s playing through to the end… And beyond. Because when it gets to the end, the DVD loops back and starts playing again from the beginning. And it takes the slumbering bus attendant 45 minutes to realize this and shut the fucking thing off…

The sounds of Sarah Brightman help me in my attempts to slumber.

This movie better be fucking fantastic!

The adventure continues… In PART 2.