A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Grindhouse: Death Proof

March 7, 2011

Grindhouse: Deathproof

Tonight is a hard one. Part of the premise of our project here is that we’re going to watch every single movie we own, and this is probably the movie I’ve been looking forward to least. Before putting this movie in tonight I warned Amanda that it was unremittingly and irredeemably awful. I liked the concept of Grindhouse. That it was a strange kind of homage to the cheap movies of the seventies. I liked the scored up looking film, missing reels, the bad editing and out of sync sound. The idea that these movies were made to look like they were from the seventies but feature cell phones, SUVs and other modern day anachronisms tickles me. So why did Tarantino have to make such an awful movie?

This film is two movies, really. The first half is a horror slasher movie. Not a genre I’m interested in at all. We spend the first excruciating hour of the movie following an unappealing group of people as they slowly get shitfaced drunk. There’s a trio of girls (a local DJ and her friends.) There’s the ill-defined short haired girl who shows up eventually to sell weed to the trio. There’s the lonely girl who has been left at a bar in the rain and has no ride home. There are a couple of horrible slimy bastards who want to get the girls drunk so they can sleaze their way to a weekend getaway at a lake house. There’s an annoying bartender who forces them to do shots. (Our director ladies and gentlemen.) After all this time getting to know these characters as they carouse together – with plenty of trademark Tarantino pop culture inspired dialog – every one of the girls is brutally murdered by our villain. He’s a stuntman, see, with a car which he claims is “deathproof” because it is designed to be crashed. So he crashes it.

It’s a scene of horrifying brutality which defines the entire movie for me. The first time I watched the film I turned it off at that point – about two thirds of the way through – because I couldn’t stand to watch it any more. It’s supposed to establish how completely and unbelievably evil Stunt Man Mike is so that for the second portion of the movie – the girl power revenge portion – we can get a sense of justice. But what it does for me is establish how evil the whole movie is.

The sad part is that the latter half of the movie with its kick-ass girls and the fantastic performance by stunt woman Zoe Bell as a stunt woman named Zoe is actually pretty fun to watch. Once it becomes a movie about women hunting down a crazed maniac who tried to kill them I actually enjoy the film. Too bad that by then I’ve had to sit through so much nastiness and unpleasantness that it isn’t quite enough to redeem the film.

There are little glimmers of genus in this movie which make it so much more disappointing than if it had simply been consistently bad throughout. Kurt Russell as Mike delivers a powerful and disturbing performance. His character is probably one of the most frighteningly and apologetically evil beasts ever committed to film. Zoe Bell is charming and funny and impossible not to love. The whole strange grindhouse idea is quirky and fun.

In the end though I actively hate this movie. Amanda is right – it’s a movie that is intended to appeal to people who want awful things to happen to women. I much prefer Tarantino’s next movie – which is a movie intended to appeal to people who want awful things to happen to Nazis.

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March 7, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , ,

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