Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jason watches "Grindhouse"--again

At the Parkway, drinking beer and eating pizza, like God intended. Congratulations to "Grindhouse" on being the first movie I've watched twice this year.

In other news, I've heard that test screenings of a split-up "Grindhouse" completely bombed over the weekend. So it's staying on as one movie. Hooray! On the other hand, it's been a commercial disappointment. Booooo! But here's my thoughts, for what it's worth. There's no reason that should've cost $50M+. Don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant and worth ever penny, and $50M is not much for a Hollywood movie. But they could've gone for even more of a low-budget gritty cheesiness (or cheesy grittiness) and brought it in under $10M, and that could've been even more in keeping with the grindhouse aesthetic. So for the sequels, don't even worry about being the #1 movie or getting it into 4,000 screens. Go for the cult appeal, and just go all-out, low-budget, sleazy insanity. Who cares if the herd doesn't like it, pander to the sickos like me!

Other thoughts on seeing the movie again: How did I forget to mention that Tom Savini tears it up in a brilliant role as the deputy in "Planet Terror"? I loved the Quentin Tarantino cameos in both movies, but it's weird that when he's on screen, it immediately becomes his movie. That's fine in "Death Proof", which is his movie, but it's kind of unsettling in "Planet Terror". Mainly because he feels like more of a Tarantino character than a Rodriguez character. Understandable, but I think Rodriguez let Tarantino be a little self-indulgent in his cameo (still, gotta love "rapist #1"). And finally, the Parkway had a genuine intermission between the movies, which was awesome (for people who had drunk lots of beer and really needed to pee). More kudos to the Parkway for totally getting it!

And finally, a guy at Sleazy Sundays suggested to me that in "Death Proof", the first half is a movie within a movie and the second half is real. That is, Kurt Russel is playing an actor playing a character named Stuntman Mike. The first half is the movie within the movie, then in the second half he goes a little nuts and believes himself to be that character, but totally fails at it, getting his ass kicked by a bunch of girls. Perhaps he believes his lines about the car being death proof and thinks he's invincible. It would explain why he suddenly becomes such a whiny little wimp after getting shot. But then again, getting shot would explain that, too. Ultimately, it's an interesting theory, and I can't reject it outright, but I don't really buy it. But come to think of it, does his scar disappear in the second half? I don't recall. Damn, now I'll have to see it a third time!


baceman007 said...

This is one of the only movies I've actually seen with the critic himself. Unless Night of the Lepus was reviewed. Which by the way I'm totally going to see Black Sheep. It looks so bad it's bound to be good.
Anyway, I really enjoyed "Planet Terror" a lot more than "Death Proof" for a lot of simple reasons. First the pacing was a lot better in "Planet Terror". Second the movie did not spend any time on sex directly which I really hate in action movies. Third, the story was a lot more to my personal liking.
Now on to "Death Proof".
This movie just sucked outright. The pacing was awful and that's the first thing that will make me want to take a dump on the screen. I understand that this was supposed to be a reproduction of that style of movie, but it really wouldn't have hurt to learn from the past and cut some of the cinematic dead time out of it. I mean really, who wants to see some corrupt radio show bitch wait to meet her end? Honestly who care that her boyfriend won't call her back. I've got a newsflash, you're a fucking bitch. Guys are going to grab some ass and run. I really did like the tougher girls in the second half and I'm glad that Stuntman Mike got what was coming to him but it was tough to care about the radio show host and her gang. I did feel bad for the others in the car with her, but since it was just a movie, and really felt like a movie since it was a perfect mock up of a bad movie, I was always painfully aware that it was a movie. Not just common sense aware.
Now on to the half of the movie that almost didn't suck. Hooray for Zoie (Zoey?) As the British would say Hazaah's are in order. They did rely a bit too much on Vanishing Point and referenced it way too often and of course argued over stupid shit, like penises and cars, way too much. There are two problems with that. One, the Challenger was, and always has been, a cool car. Dodge has a nack of making cars that blow so seeing a nice Chrysler is always a treat. Well cars kind of suck, and are an unacceptably dangerous form of transit in general, but that aside....
I have to admit that since Grindhouse came out requests from my friends for my copy of Vanishing Point have skyrocketed. Still Vanishing Point was a good movie on it's own, with much better pacing. Anyway, I'm glad that I went to see this, and I know that splitting it up is against the theme of the movie, but I really would not want to sit through "Death Proof" again. I would totally be up for splitting this up into 2 movies if there would be a reduction in price. Yeah I know that it's against the theme, but "Death Proof" was not really worth sitting through even though Stunt Man Mike gets what he deserves in the end, this was a poorly done car chase movie at best, and no car would have withstood what we watched on screen. I really hate it when Hollywood pushes realism way too far in a movie that's based partially on present day machines. Here's a little secret that you probably already know. It took 8 Challengers to film Vanishing Point, and that was mostly because the desert scenes kept burning them up. This makes "Death Proof" totally unbelieveable and let's be honest both of those guys were awful drivers. Besides a reinforced Chevy versuses a Challenger. Sorry, but those cars were known for being fast, not safe. A reinforced anyting versuses a Challenger would have tore it to pieces in a few seconds. What they really needed were giant robots to fight with.

puppymeat said...

Wow, baceman, awesome rant. You know, the first time I saw it I would agree that Death Proof is a slower, more tedious movie. The second time, I saw more in Death Proof while Planet Terror remained pretty much the same. Maybe it just works better with pizza and a pitcher of beer. But ultimately, while Rodriguez created a balls-out crazy movie, Tarantino tried a much more ambitious task of bringing grindhouse to the arthouse. As much as I liked Planet Terror, and I'll defend it as art, it's not an arthouse movie. Death Proof is (and it'll be interesting to see how it plays on its own at Cannes), and as such all that talking and mixing of styles won't be for everyone. Planet Terror is much better at pandering to its audience.

As for Zoe Bell, you should see her in "Double Dare". And as for fighting robots, you should check out "Robot Jox"!

baceman007 said...

I don't see commentary on Spider Man 3 yet on your blog. Anyway, I'm trying out podcasts as a method to distribute some of my commentaries. I have my Spider Man 3 podcast up. It's at
This is the RSS feed. You can subscribe to my podcasts here by clicking on the subscribe link in the lower right hand corner of the same page.

puppymeat said...

There's no review for Spider-man 3 yet because...I haven't seen it yet. I just finished SFIFF last night (and have 3 movies left to write from that) and first on my list of general release movies to watch is "Black Book" and then probably "Spiderman 3".

I did listen to your review, and I'll try not to let it influence me.