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Grindhouse Review!

Published March 31, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Dimension Films.
Grindhouse Poster Grindhouse
Okay, Grindhouse is the most outrageous, most totally awesome movie ever made. The awesome per minute ratio is 200%. The only way it could be cooler is if Rose McGowan actually gave you a lap dance while you watched the movie. Needless to say, it's sickly brilliant and twistedly clever.

Movie Review: Grindhouse


What makes this double feature so genius is that it is gratuitous for the sake of topping itself, but it's all done with a knowing manipulation of the cinematic medium. These guys deliver massive entertainment with an artful approach.

Right away, Rodriguez borders on blasphemy by having a priest join Danny Trejo in an ass kicking trailer. He even lights their faces with crosses. As soon as Planet Terror starts, it relishes in gore so gross it's funny like Evil Dead 2.

Since it was previewed so early, I was wondering how anything else in the film could top the gun leg. By the time the film actually gets to that, you've already seen so much more crazy stuff. They still use the gun for a big payoff, but I was more in awe of Marley Shelton's hands.

There is enough crazy, gory action to fill several films, but Rodriguez packs his with even more depth. Tangential characters become scene stealing plot points, backstories are elaborately soap operatic and the inter-relationships between the characters pay off.

The cast acts different levels of ham. There's wide-eyed Marley Shelton, badass Freddy Rodriguez, ignorantly authoritative Michael Beihn, tragically sexy Rose McGowan and pure A-hole Josh Brolin. Each style serves its purpose in this retro reference perfectly.

After Planet Terror when the intermission card comes on, please, don't be an idiot and get up to leave. No modern movie really has an intermission. Come on, people. I missed half of a fake trailer because some guy couldn't decide whether to walk out or sit back down.



Death Proof slows things way down from the barrage of Planet Terror. It's all Quentin Tarantino dialogue. It may be slow, but it's all mood. It gets going good with one of the screen's most interesting stalkers and most visceral mass murder.

It's Tarantino's idea of girl talk, vulgar sex stories and such, but I wouldn't presume that women don't talk that way. Of course everyone speaks more extremely in Tarantino's world. There's some pop culture reference too, and a well thought out self defense talk. It may seem like old hat, but it turns out he's just making you think it's the same old thing. Really, he's got a big payoff in store, way bigger than the stupid exploding palm on Bill.

Death Proof may only have one extended action scene (after the first kill shot), but it is so outrageous it may even erase the memories of Planet Terror. Every time you think you know where it's going, where one of those other movies would go, it keeps pushing. There are points where you may say they could just stop the car, but don't even worry about that. It's not going to end how you think.

The fake film scratches work for artistic effect. They minimize in parts of the film so you're not looking at warped footage constantly. Then they get more and more F'ed up in key places, with intentionally odd cuts. You just know they're going to pull a film rip at some point, but Rodriguez actually works it into the story. You can feel him giggling and pulling the ultimate prank on his audience, one that we'll love him even more for. Interestingly though, Tarantino's portion is far less grunged up. Hmmm.

This is easily Robert Rodriguez's masterwork. All of his creativity has culminated to epic proportions. Tarantino has never looked this joyfully over the top. F*** it, this is the best movie ever made. I may regret saying that next time I watch Toy Story 2, but actually, since it's two movies, even if each one is only four out of five stars, that still adds up to eight which is more than any single movie can have!

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Dimension Films.
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