There can be only one. She stirred up quite a controversy when she snatched herself a Golden Globe as best new face on the the Hollywood scene in the mid-seventies. Little did we know that the Golden Globes was just a promotional junket for everything. She has bared it all in the trashiest of magazines. She married a billionaire and will be rich for the rest of her life. She climbed out of Z Lister status to full fledged Hollywood wife and gave a big "F U" to anyone who tried to throw shade. She sings (sorta), she dances (sorta), she acts (sorta), but there is no mistaking her. She is the great Miss Pia Zadora.
With just a handful of films in her repertoire, she proved that it is quality over quantity that will win out in the end. Luckily, her movies are so re-watchable that each time you watch one of her classics, you discover a little gem of a scene or a bit of dialogue that you missed before. One of her greatest films is FAKE OUT aka NEVADA HEAT.
The film starts of on a high note. Pia plays Bobbie Warren, but for the sake of all that is Zadora, we will just refer to her as Pia. She is a Vegas showgirl that has hit the big time. Her mob BF has gotten her a sweet gig as the opening act of some long dead comedian, but it really is her show. She launches into a full on song and dance number entitled "THOSE EYES". With some of the most amazing opening credits to grace a Zadora movie, you are instantly intrigued. She dances...well...she is moving. It is Pia dancing. Her outfit is a dream. Her entire wardrobe is designed by Bob Mackie and it is Mackie to the hilt! She does a "FAKE OUT" ending that you won't see coming and rushes into the handcuffs of the long arm of the law, played by Telly Savalas. Telly ain't in the mood.
So now she is in prison and the film turns from light hearted musical to trashy women's prison drama. Pia refuses to testify against her mob BF and spends most of her jail time decorating her cell and leading an aerobics class for the female criminals. The class turns into a very sexy sequence as the girls really get into their pelvis thrust and one woman cries, "HOT DAMN! Where's my man?" Another woman moans, "I wish I was wearing tighter underwear!" But the head of the bad girls, named WOOLEY is out for Pia and she interrupts the class with her bullying. Class ends and it's off the the showers. Everyone shows their tits and looks terrible. Pia gets raped by three women and has a massive freak out and spills everything she knows.
Now in the custody of Savalas and the offspring of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, all she wants is a hot bath (which somehow is a major plot point throughout the film) and she has completely recovered from her gang rape. Now it turns from light hearted musical to prison drama to now a crime comedy. They decide the best place to hide her until she can testify is in the heart of Vegas at the RIVERA! Pia knows that she must keep a low profile, but that doesn't stop her from saying "HI!" to everyone she sees in the casino and she really wants to play Keno! She claims lady luck is on her side, but she has to bum two dollars off of Desilu to play. She immediately loses.
She finally gets to her room, with Desilu in the adjoining one. There is some rom-com "cute" stuff, but then a sniper shoots through the window and almost kills them both. The two hit men have been hired by Pia's BF to take her out and they are zany! Not funny zany, just zany. So Pia takes a hot bath and Telly roams around the casino, barking at women and slapping their asses. Pia wraps herself in a Bob Mackie designed towel and wants to go shopping because all of her clothes smell like prison. Don't you just hate that! LOW PROFILE!
At least Pia and Desilu have chemistry. They seem to be having fun with each other and just when the plot starts to move forward Pia needs to take another hot bath. She tries to be "cute" with a bubble bath and pigtails, but she looks like a monchichi. Donning a dress that would resurface in The Lonely Lady, she is off to play more Keno. In the casino, a rather manish looking woman tells her that her BF wants to see her and she slips away from Desilu, not knowing that he wants her dead. Suddenly the film launches into hardcore crime drama as Pia learns the truth about her BF's plans and barely misses another sniper attack, but this time gets some poor joe's blood gets splattered all over her face. What is great about this scene, is that when the blood splatters on Pia's face it is done in SLOW FUCKING MOTION!! The blood hitting her face and her reaction. All in SLOW MOTION! Now wasn't this movie trying to be "cute" earlier? A car chase ensues around various back lot of Vegas. Did they have permits to film? It is all very on the down low looking.
And just when you didn't think the movie could go another level crazy, it does. Manish woman jumps behind the wheel of a very small car. Like a Yugo (no you go!) and proceeds to drive through the casino. Suddenly, FAKE OUT aka NEVADA HEAT has become a Herbie Goes Bananas rip off. I tell ya, I would have not seen that coming in a zillion years. Way to go FO aka NH.
We get a really good car crash into a big pool and the big wrap up happens on Lake Mead. It is a fact that Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. Now, I had no idea. Look at that! FAKE OUT aka NEVADA HEAT just made me smarter. I tell ya, I would have not seen that coming in a zillion years. Pia and Desilu are hiding out on a boat and of course, Pia needs a hot bath, but the boat doesn't have running water.....
Matt Climber, a true BadMovieArt auteur, created the lush production of Pia's earlier film BUTTERFLY. Oh, you know that movie where she plays a woman child who has sex with her dad. And it is set in the dust bowl era. Yeah, that one. Climber did it. He plays HIT MAN #2 in FO aka NH. I think he is the ugly one. I'm not sure. Telly Savalas just went right on doing what he was doing. Being a bad ass until he passed away in the early 90's. Desilu's career stalled, but he is so mega rich it doesn't matter. That leaves us with the talented and beautiful minx, Pia Zadora. She followed this classic up with the showstopper, THE LONELY LADY and went on to play her greatest role, HERSELF, in Troop Beverly Hills. She is currently a gazillionaire.