April 11, 2007

Grindhouse: A Sort Of Review

Grindhouse came and went this weekend, with an opening take of just $11.6 million, to which I answer "what did you expect?" Anyone with half a brain could predict that a 191 minute, r-rated tribute to exploitation films wasn't going to open big on Easter weekend. A panicked Harvey Weinstein is already talking about splitting up the two films that make up Grindhouse, Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror, and Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, in order to make more money. I caught the film on opening day, and I don't really feel like saying to much about it anymore, but I will say this:

Planet Terror

Grindhouse isn't perfect, but it is the most fun I have had in a movie theater in a long, long time. I don't consider it a film as much as I consider it an experience that is made up of two films and a couple of fake trailers. It is as unique a filmic experience as we are likely to get in this day and age. Trust me when I say that if you put yourself in a "retro" mindset (specifically 1970's) and go with the intention of having fun, you won't be disappointed. If you weren't born in the 1970's (like me), then just watch a couple of films from the decade, or youtube a handful of 70's film clips, music videos, tv shows, etc... just to put yourself in that frame of mind.

I urge you to go out and see it as soon as you can, because if and when Harvey Weinstein decides to split Grindhouse in two, he will essentially be destroying the experience that Rodriguez and Tarantino have created. On their own, I'm sure Planet Terror and Death Proof will play just fine, but that is beside the point. These films communicate with each other and enrich each other. They were meant to play together.

Kurt Russell in Death Proof

Oh, and here are my quick takes on the films and fake trailers that comprise Grindhouse:

Planet Terror
suffers a bit from what I call "From Dusk Till Dawn Syndrome" meaning the action gets a bit repetitive, but it is still an incredibly fun time.

Death Proof
is the better of the two films in just about every aspect. It requires a bit more patience, some of the dialogue is too self-conscious and unrealistic, and it isn't nearly as action packed as the previous film. On the other hand, Death Proof isn't the homage/spoof of grindhouse flicks that Planet Terror is, but rather, an attempt to expand the cinematic language of exploitation cinema. Oh, and what little action there is, is incredible!

As for the fake trailers, here is how I would rank them:
1) Eli Roth's Thanksgiving - I want to see this as a full length film!
2) Edgar Wright's Don't
) Rob Zombie's Werewolf Women of the SS
Rodriguez's Machete

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