Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jason says WADRFT to splitting up "Grindhouse"

For those confused by that title (I'm assuming that includes everyone), I'm attempting to coin my own internet acronym. It stands for "With All Due Respect, Fuck That!" Hopefully I'll make it a recurring feature of this blog. Actually, come to think of that, I'll using it when I'm annoyed, so hopefully I won't use it that often. But I digress.

Okay, this has been reported many places, but here's a quick recap. "Grindhouse" kinda tanked at the box office. It was always going to be released in Europe as two movies, not scratched up, without the "missing reels" gag. Fine, Europe never had a tradition of grindhouse theaters, so it makes more sense to them that way. Now there are reports that the Weinstein company will pull it from theaters and re-release it here in the European version (Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" first, followed months later by Robert Rodriguez's "Planet Terror"). Basically, instead of recreating the grindhouse experience (which is the whole freakin' point of the movie!), they're creating the experience of watching cheesy grindhouse movies in a sterile cineplex format. Furthermore (the rumors continue), the original double feature will never be released again, in theaters or DVD. So see it now (in the next two weeks), because this will be your only chance to see it the right way. Better yet, starting Friday it plays at the Parkway Theater in Oakland, so see it while drinking beer and eating pizza.

Okay, calming down a bit. It doesn't bug me that they'd release it as two movies, it bugs me that they'd remove every trace that it was once a single double feature (I know no news on what they'll do with the fake trailers between the movies). Hell, I was looking forward to seeing the "restored" versions on a special-edition DVD--alongside the original version (In fact, that's become part of grindhouse nostalgia--finally seeing cleaned up DVD versions of films you first saw all scratched up). Of course, I'm also still waiting for the single movie version of "Kill Bill" on DVD, so we'll see.

Look, I can respect the business side of this, and I understand the exhibitors who didn't like that they couldn't fit as many screenings in a day when it's 3+ hours long. And I understand that some people were confused and walked out after the first movie, and were given refunds (On a side note, I hate getting into bicoastal elitism, but rumor has it that it played well on the coasts but the Midwest audiences were confused). But destroying the original intent is ridiculous. Here's a suggestion: give the audiences a choice. Keep the double feature version out there, but include individual, "restored" versions. You could charge your regular $10 for the single version, or $15 for the double feature. Yeah, theater-hopping could be a problem--someone buys a ticket for a single show and sneaks into the double feature. But that's always a problem anyway. Theaters could post an extra ticket checker, or decide not to play it at all, or decide to charge regular price anyway. Better yet, how about you only play the double feature at single-screen theaters (we still have a few of those left in this country).

All I'm saying is they have a great movie here, something different and entertaining. They have many things they can do with it, and they've already widely released a version that I love. Do what you want with it to make as much money as you can, but as for taking away the version I love? WADRFT!

1 comment:

baceman007 said...

Please see my comentary on "Jason Watches Grindhouse Again."