In Which I Review Grindhouse

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At the beginning of Commando a group of hitmen take out all of the former Special Forces teammates of John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzeneggar), one guy runs down to take the trash out before the garbage guys leave. “Thought you were gonna miss me.” Says the ex-commando, “We won’t” says Bill Duke, and then bill Duke kills him. Bill Duke looks at purchasing a car and runs over ex-commando/car salesman.

Quentin always says the beginning conversation in Pulp Fiction from Royale With Cheese to Foot Massages is his answer to this type of scene. He starts his script with Vincent and Jules shooting the kids, just like Commando, and then subverts that old saw. What about the ride in the Garabage truck to the ex-Commando’s house?

My point is this, I get a big big feeling that nobody really wants to go see Grindhouse because they don’t think they’re in on the “joke” or won’t get the “parody.” Forget that, do not miss one of the most unique experiences you’ll have at the theatres, and you need to see it in the theatres because it really really really really won’t be the same on video, hell why even put it on video, what’s the point? When you watched Pulp Fiction did you feel lost because you weren’t familiar with Commando? or the dozens of other movies cited? Did you enjoy The Royal Tenenbaums with no familiarity of Paris, Texas or The Magnificent Ambersons or Les Enfants Terrible? Of course you did. So put that aside. What Grindhouse is the most fun I’ve had in the theatres in a long time. I didn’t realize how badly movies aren’t allowed to just be balls out crazy fun, Fantastic Four must have a love triangle, War Of The Worlds must stop for twenty minutes so Tim Robbins can give it “weight.” These movies, somehow, aren’t allowed to be just fun and crazy and wild. What Tarantino and Rodriguez have bought themselves with this concept that scares a lot of people is a license to be bound by no rules that other films have to abide by…

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At the beginning of Commando a group of hitmen take out all of the former Special Forces teammates of John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzeneggar), one guy runs down to take the trash out before the garbage guys leave. “Thought you were gonna miss me.” Says the ex-commando, “We won’t” says Bill Duke, and then bill Duke kills him. Bill Duke looks at purchasing a car and runs over ex-commando/car salesman.

Quentin always says the beginning conversation in Pulp Fiction from Royale With Cheese to Foot Massages is his answer to this type of scene. He starts his script with Vincent and Jules shooting the kids, just like Commando, and then subverts that old saw. What about the ride in the Garabage truck to the ex-Commando’s house?

My point is this, I get a big big feeling that nobody really wants to go see Grindhouse because they don’t think they’re in on the “joke” or won’t get the “parody.” Forget that, do not miss one of the most unique experiences you’ll have at the theatres, and you need to see it in the theatres because it really really really really won’t be the same on video, hell why even put it on video, what’s the point? When you watched Pulp Fiction did you feel lost because you weren’t familiar with Commando? or the dozens of other movies cited? Did you enjoy The Royal Tenenbaums with no familiarity of Paris, Texas or The Magnificent Ambersons or Les Enfants Terrible? Of course you did. So put that aside. What Grindhouse is the most fun I’ve had in the theatres in a long time. I didn’t realize how badly movies aren’t allowed to just be balls out crazy fun, Fantastic Four must have a love triangle, War Of The Worlds must stop for twenty minutes so Tim Robbins can give it “weight.” These movies, somehow, aren’t allowed to be just fun and crazy and wild. What Tarantino and Rodriguez have bought themselves with this concept that scares a lot of people is a license to be bound by no rules that other films have to abide by…

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Planet Terror is absolutely fucking crazy. So much happens in 87 minutes you can’t even believe it, and it’s REALLY WELL WRITTEN?!? which I didn’t expect. There’s a lot of circular repeating dialogue which gives it a really measured feel in an otherwise bat-shit crazy film. I mean, for shit’s sake a woman with a machine gun for a leg is the poster? Why would you not go see that?

These films are not extended jokes, they’re movies. Complete movies with an unbridled spirit that nobody else is allowed to get away with.

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Now, getting back to Commando. Quentin’s film Death Proof is much slower with an amazing payoff (…just amazing…) and it’s an exercise in subverting expectations. Every Friday The 13th movie, and Halloween, and Evil Dead begins with four kids driving somewhere where they’re going to die. You can usually tell by the time they get where they’re going what order they’ll be killed in. The subversion here is that these girls are like…people. You actually buy into them unlike the above mentioned movies (well Halloween’s girls were actually quite believeable and entertaining), and then they get into trouble (not your standard Friday the 13th trouble) and we Actually care whether they die or not. And when the manly man gets shot, he turns into a big pussy. All kinds of subversion like that which can be enjoyed by film geek and non film geek alike, like Vincent and Jules or Butch’s story (the fighter that throws the fight)

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Having been to the Grindhouse the numerous nights before, I definitely enjoyed it more than most. But I really beg you to see this in the theatre. Look, you’ve spent three hours in a theatre, it was called Titanic or almost any movie released in the last year (it feels like to me.) Wasn’t Miami Vice three hours? Alexander or Beautiful Mind or Superserious: The Movie or Superman Returns anybody? Or would you rather watch Quentin and Robert on speed at 87 minutes a piece with some hilarious fake trailers in-between? See you at the Grindhouse.

OH, and Michael Biehn from The Terminator‘s in it. Michael Biehn and Kurt Russell, Reese and Snake Plisskin, are you kidding? Best movie ever.

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