Saturday, April 07, 2007


Last night I had the pleasure of witnessing what was perhaps the most enjoyable three-plus hours in a movie theatre I have had in a long time. "Grindhouse" isn't a good movie in the normal sense. In fact, it's a couple of pretty bad movie that transcends bad into awesome.

It's no secret that I dig both Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarentino on a number of levels and their films don't disappoint on any level of their ability. Rodriguez' "Planet Terror" offers extra helpings of preposterously great action sequences, amazing gross out moments, off the wall characters, laughs aplenty and more heart than one would expect from an exploitative zombie-picture. Tarentino's "Death Proof" offers all of the standard Tarentino-isms that one would expect: snappy dialogue, hot girls, gore you wouldn't believe and the resurgence of a star from day's gone by who should now be highly sought after once more.

Both films had their strengths and weaknesses and I realize that most people seem to be calling out "Death Proof" as their favorite of the two, but I wouldn't rush to make such a distinction. In fact, I did a lot of thinking about which of the two I liked more, but I couldn't decide. "Planet Terror" felt, to me, more like one of those bad horror films you'd see on the bottom shelf of Blockbuster that you'd rent to have a good laugh with buddies over beers, but ten steps better. "Death Proof" was certainly a more...realistic? maybe that's the wrong word...acceptable to a mainstream audience? I guess that's what I'm looking for. "Death Proof" was a more reasonable film, but it was too good for a Grindhouse picture. In fact moments of "Death Proof" seriously freaked me out.

The car accident. Jesus Christ.

Anyhow, I really, really liked this movie. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to spend three hours in a movie-theatre having a really good time.

My only gripe with the film was that I had to see it in a standard, 16-screen multi-plex. I wanted to be able to see it in some dilapidated old fleapit of a movie-palace from days gone by instead of some corporate theatre that checked my ID (seriously) twice, once by the guy who ripped the tickets and again at the door.

It was actually pretty obnoxious.

And the fake trailers were awesome, by the way. Every one of them. "Thanksgiving" was probably the most disturbing, though. By far. Man....that trampoline shit...

Anyhow: Go see Grindhouse, it's two horrible, gory, exploitation pictures that everyone can enjoy. Fun for the whole family, really.

And this is the kind of reinvention of cinema movements (no matter how tasteless) that I think filmmakers should be bringing back to the theatres. I think it's the same with shorts before movies, intermissions, overtures, double features, etc. Make going to the movies an event.

Hats off to Rodriguez and Tarentino for making the first step and let's hear it for a whole flock of Grindhouse sequels with different directors pairing up for double features.


Joshua said...

I heartily agree with your assessments. I think I was more excited to see Death Proof because I like a good stunt man movie, but the film disappointed a little and was much closer to Vanishing Point then Hooper. My main disappointment was that I was REALLY looking forward to the movie that was set-up in the first 20 minutes. I think I was expecting DePalma’s Blow Out with topless cheerleaders. It didn’t pay off. I know that was the idea and I found the bait-and-switch clever, but I still like that first twenty minutes a whole hell of a lot.

Tarantino wussed out a little bit on the whole Grindhouse thing. Rodriguez went for broke. I think I wish that Planet Terror had been a little bit less schlocky and Death Proof had been a little more. The group I watched the flicks with was split. Richard Dutcher was there and he said he didn’t like the long-take coffee shop scene in Death Proof. His vote was for Planet Terror. The DP of New York Doll was there. He liked Death Proof for the car-related cinematography. For everyone else, including myself, it was a toss-up. I liked them both and was glad for the experience as a whole, save one thing, and to that one thing I say: FUCK ELI ROTH!

Anonymous said...

I bet Elias will love Stuntman Mikes first appearance in the movie. Munch Munch Slurp Munch.


NME Maverick said...

It was surprising how I sat for three and a half hours, hypnotised by the absurdity of it all, and loving every moment of it.

After the movie was over, i realized that i had just watched two really bad movies.

I loved grindhouse,I am not sure why though...