Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Zack and Miri Make a Pruno

Seth 'Zack' Rogen Hi! I’m Seth Rogen.

Elizabeth 'Miri' Banks And I’m Elizabeth Banks.

Seth 'Zack' Rogen And we’re here to tell you about making pruno. Not really about making pruno, but about making a movie about making pruno. And then getting that movie past the thickskulled, out-of-touch zombies at the Motion Picture Association of America. The movie is called Zack and Miri Make a Pruno, and it’s directed by that paragon of good, clean cinematic fun, Kevin Smith.

Elizabeth 'Miri' Banks Seth sounds bitter, but it’s been a struggle. As Seth has said: “It’s really crazy to me that a movie like Shiv is fine, with people gouging their eyes out with homemade spoons and shit like that … But you can’t show two people making pruno—that’s too much.”

Seth 'Zack' Rogen Way too much. You can show someone bending over for a bar of soap in the shower, but you can’t show a one-second shot of an apple being chopped up and mixed with ketchup.

Elizabeth 'Miri' Banks Seth is right, the system is totally out of control. And that is why we are here today: to protest the absurdity of the system. A system so out of kilter that it gives an NC-17 rating to a depiction of a process that any 13-year-old can dial up on his MacBook and view to his heart’s content. Or even make a batch himself.

Seth 'Zack' Rogen Elizabeth is saying: How many 13-year-olds don’t have access to a few apples, oranges, fruit cocktail, ketchup, sugar, and bread? Or if those ingredients are lacking, sauerkraut and orange juice?

Elizabeth 'Miri' Banks It’s totally Kafkaesque is what Seth is saying. And as you all know, Kevin Smith submitted three cuts to the M.P.A.A. and each one came back with the fatal, revenue-crushing NC-17. But we are through kowtowing to the M.P.A.A.

Seth 'Zack' Rogen Absolutely, Elizabeth. So today, in protest, and knowing full well the likely consequences of our actions, we are going to make pruno.

Elizabeth 'Miri' Banks And not just make pruno. We are going to make pruno in the person of our characters, Zack and Miri, while honoring Jarvis Jay Masters, the famous alleged murderer on death row at San Quentin, whose poem, “Recipe for Prison Pruno,” has been memorialized on the website of PEN, the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. We’ll whip up a batch of pruno while reciting a slightly condensed version of that poem that remains to true to its rhetorical strategy of alternating lines of recipe with lines of grievance against injustice. Ready, “Zack”?

Seth 'Zack' Rogen Ready as ever, “Miri.”

Miri Makes a Pruno “Take ten peeled oranges—
Zack Makes a Pruno“Kevin Smith, it is the judgment and sentence of this Association—
Miri Makes a Pruno —one 8 oz. bowl of fruit cocktail,—
Zack Makes a Pruno—that the opinion of the Association has not been in the least bit swayed,—
Miri Makes a Pruno —squeeze the fruit into a small plastic bag, add 16 oz. of water and seal the bag tightly,—
Zack Makes a Pruno—and the Association having rejected your first feeble attempt to trim offensive material from the lewd excuse for a work of comedic art that you initially submitted for our evaluation,—
Miri Makes a Pruno —place the bag in your sink and heat it with hot running water for 15 minutes,—
Zack Makes a Pruno —as well as a subsequent bid that amounted to laughing in the face of the M.P.A.A.,—
Miri Makes a Pruno —wrap towels around the bag to keep it warm for fermentation—
Zack Makes a Pruno —and a third token effort that could justly be called sophomoric brinksmanship,—
Miri Makes a Pruno —add 40–60 cubes of white sugar and six teaspoons of ketchup,—
Zack Makes a Pruno —it is by order of this Association that you shall suffer the kiss of death,—
Miri Makes a Pruno —after 72 hours, skim off the mash,—
Zack Makes a Pruno—a kiss of death even if you were lucky enough to be starring George Clooney.
Miri Makes a Pruno —pour the remaining portion into two 18 oz. cups.”
Zack Makes a PrunoAnd may God have mercy on your soul.”

Seth 'Zack' Rogen And there you have it: pruno. Of course, if it were real pruno, we’d stick around for 72 hours and then skim off the mash. But the point is that all we’ve done here today is to concoct a weakly intoxicating beverage from exactly the same ingredients that any 13-year-old could boost from his local Safeway. Harmless mischief that the M.P.A.A. is taking a brutal approach to that is analogous to using an R.P.G. to demolish a crane fly.

Elizabeth 'Miri' Banks Well said, Zack—oops, I mean Seth. But while this batch of pruno is fermenting, we’ll wrap things up by passing around a batch that we started, in true cooking-show style, 72 hours earlier. Seth, why don’t you take the first sip?

Seth 'Zack' Rogen We all know that in making pruno, flavor is not the primary objective. And so, Elizabeth, given that caveat, my comment is: yummy!

Fortunato Salazar lives in Los Angeles and has work that was, is, or will soon be in thieves jargon, Johnny America, Monkeybicycle, and other journals.

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