Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Glory of Grindhouse

Last weekend, Becca and I went to see Grindhouse. I had been looking forward to it for weeks but hadn't yet had a chance to get out and see it. Becca wasn't crazy about seeing it at first, so I was flirting with the idea of just catching it on video when it comes out. But then, after talking to Kristin about it, I decided that I just had to see it in the theater. I mean, the whole thing is based on the theater experience, it's a throwback.

And oh, am I glad that I did! I've never been a big Robert Rodriguez fan (except, strangely, for The Faculty) but he seems to be on a bit of a roll after Sin City. Planet Terror is a fantastic film. It reminded me so much of the stuff that my buddy Phil and I used to show on our TV show in college, "Tuesday Night Terror." Phil was a huge horror movie buff, and he had a huge library of these absolutely dreadful movies: zombies, serial killers, and terribly fake monsters galore. So we decided to create a show where we would go onto the Vanderbilt TV station and show these movies with little "commercial breaks" thrown in where we would comment on the film and take calls. It was a blast, and best of all, I feel like it gave me the cultural vocabulary necessary to really appreciate a movie like Planet Terror.

Planet Terror is a zombie movie. And a love story. And an anti-military film. And a Texas movie. Above all, it's an action movie, and it doesn't stop the whole way through. It weaves its character development into the film in such a way that you begin to care about every character in the film without even really knowing anything about them.

Death Proof is a little harder to like, but I think that it will stand the test of time better than Planet Terror. It's the story of a psychotic stuntman who sets his sights on two different groups of women, with very different results. The film is almost two films, so much so that when Becca and I were talking about it afterwards we kept referring to things in it as being from two different movies. Tarantino manages to take himself out of the movie almost completely, avoiding for the large part his daring camera movements and overlong silences. He structures both segments of the movie with a very slow, very rich buildup that culminates in a chaotic and explosive ending. And, as always, he chooses his music impeccably. He unearths a killer version of "Baby It's You" by Smith, and he does for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich's "Hold Tight" what he did for "Misirlou" more than a decade ago.

If you're on the fence about seeing Grindhouse, do yourself a favor and block off three and a half hours for it. It's pure fun.


Blogger Kristin said...

Man! Now I want to see Grindhouse again! So awesome.

I agree with about your Death Proof assessment. It didn't offer the same instant gratification as Planet Terror, but I've been thinking about Death Proof much more.

12:03 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home