The Grindhouse Experience Isn’t That Awesome I Guess

2007 April 20
by CajoleJuice

Chances are, if you had any interest in seeing this double-feature, you’ve already hit up the theater for it. And apparently, there weren’t too many of you. Grindhouse is truly one of the biggest, most surprising bombs in recent memory. It had the directorial names of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino behind it. Rose McGowan, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Willis were shown off in the trailers. It was an ultra-violent, action-packed movie coming out on the coattails of the massive box office hit 300, which was a pinnacle in testosterone-fueled filmmaking. It was a surefire hit. Right?

Maybe the concept didn’t tickle the fancy of many people. Maybe some were afraid it was going to be too ridiculous. Maybe some didn’t want to sit in the theater for three hours. For whatever collection of reasons, I think Tarantino isn’t going to be allowed to make one of his childhood dream movies again – unless he wants to fund it himself. The Weinstein Company is so disappointed that they’ve threatened to split up the two films. Tarantino should’ve stuck with the Kill Bill system.

Anyhow, I got around to seeing the double-feature last weekend and I have to say, while it was definitely an enjoyable experience overall, maybe separate releases wouldn’t have been a bad idea. On the other hand, the fake trailers (only made possible by the whole “grindhouse experience” concept) were the best part of the three-hour sitting. The trailer for Machete really got the theater in the mood for awesomeness, and Planet Terror managed to deliver for the most part. It had a good mix of action and comedy, even though it honestly got a bit too gross for my tastes — but I knew that was a given going in. Rose McGowan was smoking hot throughout and Freddie Rodriguez kicked ass in his hero role. I especially enjoyed Michael Biehn’s performance, as — in addition to him already being an underrated badass — he voiced his lines so damned seriously. PT just went on a bit too long for such a farce of a movie, and was almost too cheesy even for my tastes. But that was the whole intention, so I don’t know what else I can say. I do know that someone yelled, “FUCK! THIS! MOVIE!” at the end, and that someone on the other side of the theater yelled, “FUCK YOU!” back. This is something that would only happen in a 11:35 showing of a movie like Grindhouse, and that’s something I can appreciate.

At this point some people started walking out, either unaware that the movie wasn’t over, leaving to grab a snack, or not wanting to sit through Death Proof. It was their loss. As I said before, the fake trailers between the two features were undoubtedly the best part of Grindhouse. The guest appearance in Werewolf Women of the S.S. got the biggest laugh out of the crowd the entire time. It was so awesome. The Don’t trailer, made by the same guy behind Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright, was an amusing parody of trailers for British horror films back in the 70s. But the star of the intermission was the trailer for Thanksgiving. Completely fucked up and ridiculous, it has the best line out of the entire film, delivered by Michael Biehn. You’ll see.

Now this is really when a mess of people left. It did not make me hopeful for Death Proof. I had heard Tarantino had taken his pointless dialogue to a new level, and that the movie was sleep-inducing, but I never expected something that horrendously awful. An hour of girl talk punctuated by the awesomest car crash ever shown on film, topped off by a pretty cool car chase. Looking back it’s easy to say that it wasn’t that bad, but as I sat there, watching people leave the theater while others shouted at them that the movie would get better, I couldn’t help but wish Kurt Russell would just kill some more girls already. I’ve noticed many film buffs on the internet praise Death Proof as being a true “grindhouse” film, and maybe it is. I just know now why Grindhouse isn’t going to have any legs at the box office.

So if you have three hours to spare, you could probably waste it on something worse than Grindhouse, but you could watch something better too. If you wish, you can even save some time and check out shitty bootlegs of the fake trailers on YouTube.





Werewolf Women of the S.S.

Extra trailer shown in Canada, arguably the best one:  Hobo with a Shotgun.

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  • Desktopjunk

    Thanks, always good posts on your blog!

  • CajoleJuice

    I’m flattered. I had to make this one count since I haven’t been posting at all.