Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Am I the Only One Who Loves Grindhouse?

Because I can't be the only one. Yet I always find bad reviews and complaints about this movie. And I really can't agree with them.


You know? I never understood why Grind House flopped. I don't know, maybe it was just me but I didn't think it was the pile of self indulgent pretentious crap every movie nerd and critic on the interwebs says it was.
Wait, I take half that statement back. I DO think it was self indulgent. But that was half the fun for me. Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez made the film because they could. And I'm glad they did. They did a rather loving homage to the cheesy awesome Grindhouse movies and also happened to have one hell of a budget to do it with. With that they created one insanely fun movie. Now I'm not a Tarantino acolyte. I don't think all his films are the end all be all of cinema. I also think he's kind of hideous and not that great of an actor so his usual roles in his films tend to bug me. But one thing he DOES know is how to make an entertaining movie.
His films are obviously labors of love and you just don't see that too often in any genre, let alone horror. And Robert Rodriguez needs to do more horror films. I know he has kids and I understand that when you have kids you want to make movies geared towards them. But dude, Robert, over the top wacky horror is your niche. Do MORE.

When I talk to people about Grindhouse I always tell them "Its not really a movie. Its an experience". And for me, it was a great experience. I went with my husband and three of my closest friends about a week after it opened. We were in a theater that was full of people who really didn't seem to know what they were in store for. And neither was I. I did my research on the film. I knew it was a double feature and that there would be mock trailers through out the movie. I knew about the missing reels. I knew about the original movies that they were attributing. So I thought I was prepared. When the movie started, it began one of the most memorable, exciting experiences in a theater I ever had as an adult.

Once the first trailer 'Machete" played, everyone in that theater knew that what we were going to see was not a typical action/horror movie. What started as a rather mild mannered audience turned into a bunch of rowdy nerds, whooping, laughing, and cheering the entire film. Usually I'm not into rowdy movie crowds but the five of us sitting together found ourselves shouting along with them. I remember my good girlfriend Ty and myself turning into the loudest of the bunch with our laughing, cheering, and throwing popcorn at the screen. It was contagious. You know when you're a kid and you go to see an event film for the first time alone without your parents? You're sitting in the front row with your pals. You're excited and bouncing in your chair. You've been waiting so long to see that movie and you're young enough to not try to contain that excitement because you don't care what people think of you. And once the lights go down you just explode in cheers and claps. That excitement, that thrill of the theater experience was captured in Grindhouse.

One of the main reasons I loved Grindhouse so much was the fact that the women characters were so strong and memorable. Yeah, I know, here goes Cins back on her soap box. But come on, How can you not fall in love with Cherry and her machine gun leg, Dr. Dakota Block, The Crazy Babysitter Twins, and my favorite, the three bad ass chicks from Death Proof. All of these women were great characters.


I really have to give props to Tarantino for his women in Death Proof. You know, not all us ladies are all Sex in the City types. He created a chick flick for us chicks who don't always discuss clothes and how our next relationship will define our lives (Okay so I'm blasting Sex in the City but GOD I hate that show). The girl talk in Death Proof was more akin to conversations I've had with my gal pals than ANY chick flick I've seen in the last five years. I remember looking at Ty during the film and saying "THAT is us. Holy Crap!". Women curse, women talk about sex casually, women drink beers from bottles, and women can get very VERY angry. Death Proof give us less refined women our version of Sex in the City. The satisfaction I get when Kim, Abernathy, and Zoe decide to chase after Stunt Man Mike and beat the ever loving crap out of him knows no bounds. Maybe its my deep seeded need to seek justice against men who are douche bags.
Not that Stunt Man Mike wasn't a great character. It was great to see Kurt Russel play a bad ass again. And Stunt Man Mike was one of the best movie villains ever. He was charming, deadly, and sniffling all at once. You hated to love him and you loved to hate him.

Not to forget the women in Planet Terror. The movie was much more of a melodrama than Death Proof so everyone was an over the top character with some sort of extreme drama in their back story. But Cherry was a great character for the ladies who were never sure where they're supposed to be in life. She had her insecurities, and she had her issues but when the chips were down, you did NOT want to mess with her. Cherry and her gun leg became the iconic image from the film and lets face it, who wouldn't want to see a movie that has a woman with a machine gun for a leg? I know I was sold the moment I saw the poster. Mostly because I wanted to know how the hell she got it. And while Dr. Dakota was a weaker female character, she was so hilariously soap operatic that you couldn't help but love her over the top drama. She was not the typical throw away whiny female in a film but a very strong supporting character that was never annoying and always entertaining.


Have I stood on my female character soap box long enough? I'm sure I did.

Sometimes I feel like I'm one of the very few people who truly loved Grindhouse. I'm still extremely miffed it hasn't been released as the full movie on DVD yet. My hope for Grindhouse is that it will eventually become a cult classic that you can catch at midnight showings at your local art house theater. You really need to see it in a theater to truly appreciate it. Until then, I will hold seeing Grindhouse as one of the best movie experiences I've had in my adult life.

7 comments:

Johnny said...

In complete agreement. Grindhouse is fucking awesome and seeing it in the theatre was probably the best theatrical experience I have ever had. It was such a good time that will sadly never be replicated by watching the films in the comfort of my own home (which isn't helped by the fact that they weren't released in one DVD!). Still, they are both awesome movies individually and i've watched them both over again countless times.

I think the reason the movie didn't do well at the box office is the same reason why a lot of people have bashed it ; they just don't get it. They're not fans of the films it was homaging and lets face it, it wasn't made for those people. I don't think Rodriguez or Tarantino quite frankly care that it didn't do well because it certaintly entertained the people it was supposed to entertain and will continue to do so in the years to come. In terms of pure entertainment, it doesn't get much better than Grindhouse!

dragonmanes said...

I didnt 'get' it on the first watch through, and I still find Deathproof to be completely pretentious, but I consider Planet Terror to be an indulgent guilty pleasure now. My biggest problems with the films are that they try to force a sense of nostalgia but never truly pull it off, and they call themselves Grindhouse, but the cast and budget are both HUGE, which is completely contradictory. The films dont deserve the ridiculous Top Ten Horror of all time theyre given on IMDB, but they are good.

Stac said...

I LOVED this movie. Loved. It. I had so much fun with this, and I think that's what most of the pretentious douche rags who slam don't get-- it was a popcorn movie. That's all. There's no deeper message here, it's just movies that wanted to show shit like a go-go dancer with a machine gun for a leg, and three chicks in a Dodge Charger turning the table on a serial killer. As far as I'm concerned, both movies gave me exactly what they promised.

I had to drag Bevin and Zanne to see it-- neither wanted to, didn't know what it was about, yadda yadda. I made them go, and we all walked out cackling like loons because it was so much fun. Fuckers better LISTEN next time (hi Bevin!)!

I have my Grind House poster up in my hallway, and had a Cherry Darling key chain that sadly broke-- I really need to invest in a soldering iron.

I also still love to ominously boom out "They FUCKED with the WRONG Mexican!" If I ever meet Danny Trejo I'm seriously gonna get his autograph. He be awesome.

Roy said...

I thought these films were a wonderful loving tribute to the really bad films that they were referring to.

Nojh said...

I have to split them into too. Its been awhile since I've seen either as I saw them in theaters but I remember my opinions of them. Death Proof took too long to get to the action and I found it rather boring. None of the characters were interesting to me, nor the right amount of attractive to keep my eyes on 'em.

Planet Terror, on the other hand, was more than a little awesome. And each time I see it I think 'I should go buy that DVD'. I mean really, girl with gun for a leg? Come on! Pure gold!

That being said, I'd never seen a "Grindhouse" movie prior to watch these films. There was no nostalgia for me to pull on. And my theater didn't get into the riotous yelling at the screen or throwing popcorn. But I still enjoyed Planet Terror on its own merits.

thebonebreaker said...

I LOVE Grindhouse. . .

I want them to make more. . .

I am also waiting for them to be released on one complete DVD TOGETHER w/faux trailers, etc. . .

I am also waiting for a Machete and Thanksgiving movie. . .

Death Proof was my favorite of the two. . .

Jason Takes Portland said...

I saw Grindhouse at my beloved 2nd run theatre built in the 70s. The whole experience was very much going into a time machine. I thought the last action scene of Deathproof was one of the most intense sequences I have seen in a long time. Planet terror had some fun gore. The problem with both of them was that they dragged on a bit. If they had made the flims tighter into hour long segments it would have gone down much better. The comercials might have been the best part because they were clever and ended before the gag got old.