What Would the Community Think


Sharing the Screening Room's documentary slot is the lighter-weight Angel's Ladies, Doug Lindeman's portrait of a mom-and-pop whorehouse in Beatty, Nevada, where prostitution has been legal for long enough to make the city planning commission declare it necessary for the economy and the health of its citizens.

When Mack Moore, a 70-year-old cemetery honcho, and Angel, his second wife, got tired of carrying the weight of their past lives, they relocated from rainy Oregon to sunny Nevada. There, they bought Fran's Star Ranch, a small brothel located between Death Valley and the Nuclear Weapons Testing Range, and renamed it Angel's Ladies. Religious fundamentalists, the Moores viewed their new business as not very different from their old one: Both enabled them "to service human needs."

Say uncle: Ruffalo and Culkin in You Can Count on Me.
photo: Paramount Classics
Say uncle: Ruffalo and Culkin in You Can Count on Me.

Details

You Can Count On Me
Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan
A Paramount Classics release
Opens November 10

Rebels With A Cause
Directed by Helen Garvy
A Zeitgeist release
Screening Room
November 10 through 16

Angel's Ladies
Directed by Doug Lindeman
A Picture This! release
Screening Room
November 10 through 16

With their Christian rationales, Mack and Angel seem a bit delusional. Not so the three prostitutes who work for them: ranch hand and nature girl Kevin, middle-class career woman Linda, and Melody, the most politically sophisticated, who's saving her money so she won't be "one man away from homelessness." There's more tell than show in the documentary, which eventually takes the form of an argument between labor and management. The prostitutes fault Mack for trying to "date" his own girls ("I didn't want to give the money to my competitors," he counters) and Angel for starting to turn tricks at age 55. But Angel believes she's merely "giving comfort" to the elderly and disabled who would otherwise be turned away by choosy "independent contractors."

Crosscutting between the two sides, Lindeman gives everyone equal time. But according to the head of the local health clinic, Angel's Ladies is doomed any way you look at it. With prostitution legalized, big corporations are eating the small-time operations alive.

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