April 2, 2012

Monday's (Recycled) Movie Review: Grindhouse (Spoilers)

I have never done this before. I do not recycle my previous posts, as I always thought of it as "cheating" to increase post numbers, but tomorrow is a big day of celebration around here, and I'm feeling a little sentimental.

Below you will see my first movie review on this site, which was my first movie review period, with zero changes. I won't lie: it ain't pretty, folks. But, you know what? Though I could easily make it more subdued, eloquent and spoiler-free, I wouldn't change a thing. This review launched me into the world of online movie blogging five years ago and I hold it as a badge of honor...a tattered, faded badge, but mine all the same.


Well, last night Brad, Garrett and I went to see Grindhouse. I must admit I hadn't gotten really excited about this one until about a week ago when Garrett said he could get us tickets for a sneak peek showing. That's when I started researching it and finding out about grindhouse theatres and exploitation flicks, which I'm pretty sure I'd never seen one before. For more info without a boring explanation, here's a Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grindhouse.

Before I begin, I must first mention what a huge Tarantino geek I am. I've seen Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction countless times. Jackie Brown and Reservoir Dogs are both amazing. Of course, none of this takes away from how awesome Rodriguez is too. Having seen a majority of his work (sans the Spy Kids trilogy and Sharkboy and Lavagirl), I'm convinced he is one of the gods of action flicks today.

So these two geniuses got together to pay homage to old exploitation films from the days of yore. The result? A damn good time! If you know their intentions were to make two bad movies, if you can suspend all logical thinking and if you can endure the sights and sounds of extreme gore and violence for 3 hours, then you should enjoy Grindhouse just as much as we all did.

Rodriguez starts off the party with the first faux trailer of the night, Machete, which was quickly followed by his zombie horror fest, Planet Terror. In PT, a small Texas town is being overrun with, well, zombies. And man are they ugly zombies. Big hideous boils all over their bodies, which are also decaying (just wait for Tarantino's scene in this one to see all kinds of stuff rotting off), and they love to just rip right into a fresh body, just ask Rose McGowan's Cherry Darling who loses her leg as a zombie midnight snack.

Of course, the few uninfected must fight to stay alive (surprise!) and that's not an easy task. Yeah, you guessed it, no plot to this at all, but PT serves its purpose: it completely grosses you out and never leaves you bored! There's really no point in going into character development, since there is none. The acting is supposed to be ridiculous, but man, I'll be damned if Freddy Rodriguez and Rose McGowan don't make one awesome zombie ass kicking team. And of course, watch out for those little moments when Rodriguez pays homage to himself and his previous flicks.

Intermission: but wait! Don't you dare go pee out that 60 oz Diet Coke you purchased before this double feature started. Or you'll miss more faux trailers! About 10 minutes of awesomeness from Eli Roth, Rob Zombie and Edgar Wright. I won't go into any details about these so you'll have to sit and watch them and see for yourself, but my absolute favorite was Wright's Don't Scream. Oh, and one more thing: DON'T be like the stupid little goth girl sitting in front of us who thought this was the time to talk...loudly. Yes, Elvira, this is still part of the movie going experience.

For the second half of your viewing pleasure, we have QT's Death Proof. Unlike, Planet Terror, DP does slow down the pace for the first 30 minutes or so, pointlessly introducing us to a group of obnoxious girlfriends that will meet their doom at the hands of Kurt Russell's Stuntman Mike and his death proof car. Then we quickly switch to the next group of friends Stuntman aims to kill, being Rosario Dawson & Co. and we spend a significant amount of time getting to know them, as well. Though up to this point there hasn't been much going on in the way of action, except for the first girls' graphic deaths, QT's brilliant dialogue moves things along quite nicely.

But soon the chase is on. Daredevil Zoe (played by Uma Thurman's stunt double in Kill Bill) decides to pull a stunt (just for fun) on the hood of speeding car. Stuntman Mike decides to take it to the next level, without checking with Zoe first. After nearly killing Zoe and her friends, Mike takes off in his weapon of choice, only to be chased down by the very same 3 hostile bitches. They've come for revenge and, eventually, deliver it ten-fold. (Once again, lookout for QT to pat himself on the back with references to his earlier works too. Hey, Rodriguez had to learn it somewhere!)

As you probably guessed, Death Proof has a bit more plot (not a lot, just a bit) than Planet Terror, but we don't know why Stuntman Mike does what he does, though he won't be doing it anymore. And as before, discussing character development and acting ability would be an exercise in futility.

My best advice: the only proper way to watch Grindhouse is to check your brain at the door for the next 3 hours. You'll be quite happy you did. Oh and FYI, yes the film itself is supposed to look that grainy, aged and crappy (Rodriguez & QT have their reasons), there are supposed to be "missing reels" so we don't know what happened for a small amount of time, and surprisingly there's very little sex and nudity, compared to what I was expecting anyway. Enjoy!


And I watched the film again this weekend (thanks for my Blu-ray copy, Nick!) and still heart it this much.

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  1. So fun! Pretty sure I never saw this. Very cool.