I’m back with the second part of my double-feature BergView…
Okay, so having seen both films again i wanted to get a few more things off my mind. Off my mind and onto EG. It’s really quite therapeutic.
First, let me respond directly to some of the stuff Bake just said…
On the order of things in the opening, i agree. This didn’t bother me that much…but i see Bake’s point and would have thought his order more appropriate. That, or not having a “Grindhouse” title at all. We know we’re AT the Grindhouse. But we should walk in, see Machete, see the Rated X spot and then go right into Planet Terror from there.
“…..those old films (and you know I’ve seen a ton) never would have had the budget to have a helicopter mow down zombies with its blade.Ã‚ Ã‚ Or Rose McGowen leap over a wall shooting rockets from a grenade launcher”
I agree – but i’m happy that stuff is there. And i’m glad Bake is too after thinking more about it. It’s as though Rodriguez amped up everything we love about this particular kind of film and gave us stuff we WISHED could have been in them back then. Besides those two examples, there’s really nothing TOO elaborate going on here…which is fantastic…it’s great to see Robert actually shoot in real locations and sets again…it’s been a while. Although, at the same time – Bake’s idea on a cheesy process shot of Mexico at the end would have been mint!
I must disagree strongly with Snaker’s critique on the music. He does the John Carpentery repetitive synth musical motifs better than anyone since JC did it himself back then. In fact, he beats Carpenter at his own game….P.T.’s score blows away Carpenter’s later efforts like Vampires, when he basically ran out of three or four-note melodies to hook us. I just got the score for P.T. (sold separately from the Death Proof soundtrack) and i can’t stop listening to it. For my money, it’s Rodriguez’s best score to date.
On the issue of cell phones…. this was my main problem with both films. QT & RR have repeatedly said how they wanted these films to feel like films that were made back then that were recently discovered. And this is executed very well…until we see characters use modern technology to send text messages and the like. This took me out of it for those brief moments. It actually confuses the issue. So…what are we to believe? That these are not films made back then? That they’re recently made films that are just bad prints? Wouldn’t it have been funnier to have them use a funny looking retro-futuristic device to do something as simple as sending a text message. The use of these devices is the worst creative decision in the three hours spent at the Grindhouse.
Needless to say, Michael Biehn and Tom Savini are both awesome. And Freddy Rodriguez is surprisingly effective as the mysterious El Wray. And as much as i enjoyed this character, i couldn’t help but think how awesome it would be if Kurt Russell played El Wray. Think about it…it would be Russell back in the kind of role we really want him back in! And it would have added another demension to the story to have a girl half his age have a past with this older guy. Think about how fantastic the love scene would have been. And it would have given Rose’s line about him being old enough to be her father in Death Proof a big laugh.
Last criticism is the nudity factor. It is unacceptable that the only nudity we see is in the trailers. Both features have no full-on nudity? It’s really just wrong. It makes it all the less authentic. This is the problem with hiring name actresses. We all know that any actress in these sorts pictures would have been made to go nude. Fully nude, I’m sorry, but the close ups of Fergie leaning over and the fleeting nudity we get of Rose before the film melts doesn’t cut it. We should freeze and melt on the most awkward shot of her badly lit fully naked body imaginable. But fine, i get it – the nudity is in the “lost reel” that the “projectionist” might have spliced out and kept for himself. Fine. If QT & RR are as cool as we know they are, they shot footage like that and will include it on the fable “restored” editions that they’re talking about for the DVD releases.
That all said – i loved Planet Terror more the second time and need to go back for a third this week. There’s a cool little moment when Fergie turns off the car radio while the DJ morns the loss of Jungle Jane. I love it.
Death Proof, on the other hand…
I actually think i liked it even LESS the second time. In fact, once we get past the quadruple crash cut…i had to exit the Grindhouse. I just couldn’t deal with those other four girls again. Especially when i’m not all that fond of how things wind up for Stuntman Mike. I really, really wish Eros’ vision was up there on the screen….where, at the last minute, when you think they’re about to do Mike in, somehow he wipes out all three of them and walks off into the sunset. It would be the biggest crowdpleasing moment of the film if we as an audience got the satisfaction of seeing the most annoying characters in cinema history wiped out by one of the coolest. It would have even given merit to WHY these girls are so annoying..WHY you are made to DESPISE them the way that you do…all a build up to their eventual destruction. Oh well.
I still love all the Kurt moments in the first half of this. Speaking of, The infamous “The Alathal” has called into the EG offices to tip us off that Jack Burton’s t-shirt can be seen hanging behind the bar in this first half of Death Proof. And speaking of that bar – why is Quentin in this? He worked in Planet Terror for me – but here he is just unnecessary and annoying. The only more annoying aspect to this first half (besides the aforementioned girls) is having to see Eli Roth talk about getting laid..which goes fucking nowhere. Ya know, in Kill Bill, we fall in love with Uma and are right there by her side rooting for her to get revenge. It is clear that Quentin has fallen in love with all his leading ladies again…putting them on a pedestal throughout…except this time we can’t share the sentiment. So the whole damn film comes off like hearing one of your friends girlfriends whom you dislike whine for an hour and a half. Kudos to QT though for the ambitious real-life car chase…but, just as awesome visual effects don’t make a movie, neither does an awesome 70’s real-life car chase. And it’s as though this entire film exists just for this purpose. So unless you really enjoy looking at lots of gnarly bare feet or endless shots of records flipping inside a jukebox, Planet Terror is the way to go. Thank god it comes first!
Oh, and I really will never understand how Eli got to where he has as long as i live. Please do not think i am biased. I didn’t care for Todd P. that much but i still was able to really enjoy Road Trip. Eli, man…he must be giving Quentin some really amazingly good coke-lined blow jobs.
I sort of disagree with Bake Snaker on Eli’s trailer. While it IS the best thing he’s ever done..he still manages to fuck things up in the short time span of three minutes. After a pitch perfect beginning…he lets this potential masterpiece slip into lowest common denominator territory by going for easy gags. I wish this trailer ended right after the parade scenes and before you see his rapidly-aging mug as he gets a blown from his real-life lady friend.
I also disagree with Bake about DON’T! I feel this does NOT feel like parody and feels the MOST like a film that could have actually existed. I was never a fan of Edgar Wright, but this trailer makes me want to see Hot Fuzz.
I also didn’t mind Sheri Zombie…which is a first for me as i hated her in his two films. Her crazy psycho expressions work better in this trailer than they ever have before.
And, of course, Machete is as amazing as we knew it would be. Although this film will most likely suffer the SoaP effect at the B.O…..i hope it makes enough to justify those guys doing more of these. Rodriguez has said he’s thinking about doing the Machete feature and Quentin wants to do a blaxplotation film for his next Grindhouse film.
Finally, Marley Shelton rocks in Planet Terror as Dakota…”one hot mama who really knows the score.” I know what Bake means about her 80’s eyes. They steal the whole double feature.
Here’s a cool Rodriguez on Tarentino Q&A from MySpace’s “artist on artist” page.
And take a look at THIS article to read about the scandal on the set!
K. I’m gonna go grab a bite to eat at Acuna Brothers and play with my “Dakota” action figure while i blast the soundtrack!
See you at the Grindhouse!
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