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The girlfriend and I went to see Grindhouse tonight. We got to the theater early just in case it would be busy. There honestly weren’t a whole lot of people at the theater and when we got there we realized that the showing we picked was going to be shown in the big auditorium. Now, Fireweed Theater in Anchorage, the Theater we went to, has plenty of short comings. First, like pretty much every movie theater, there are a bunch of fucking teenagers there all the time. Second, everything costs too damn much. Third, it’s not the cleanest place in town, and fourth the seats are crappy and at least 5 or 6 of them are broken in every auditorium (not necessarily in a way that you couldn’t sit in them, but broken nonetheless). Oh, did I mention the  teenagers? I hate teenagers with  a burning urination type of passion. Still, Fireweed Theater in Anchorage has one thing that trumps all of the shitty items listed: the largest auditorium and biggest screen in the state. Mind you, this isn’t as big as y’all lesser 48 folks’ IMAX screens, but it’s still pretty big. So, when we found out that we’d be watching the new Robert Rodriguez and Tarantino flicks on that screen, well, we were pretty gosh darn golly gee whiz motherfuckin’ excited.

Standing in line, I noticed a little printout posted in the box office, some text over a short of something from Grindhouse, with the movie’s logo across the top. At first I figured it was the typical “this movie contains a lot of sex and violence and is Rated R, so don’t take your kid to see it” stuff that Fireweed will post from time to time. Standing behind two dumbass teens who were taking forever I took a moment to actually read the printout. It was not a warning about the sex and violence. It was an explanation of the film. It basically said that the movie was in fact two films with fake trailers and commercials at the beginning and in the middle, and that any scratches, “missing reels,” burnouts, or other weird crap that happen are actually a part of the film. Before I saw this I was pretty excited to see the film. After I saw this I could not wait for the film to begin. You see, I am too young to have had the movie watching experience some film buffs rave about. Grindhouses, drive-ins, hell even double features just aren’t part of my set of movie experiences. I missed the era. An era I probably could’ve gotten into.

Heavy sigh.

So, the theater itself is pretty empty, which isn’t unusual, the auditorium is huge and it is pretty rarely anywhere close to full. After about 10 minutes the real commercials and trailers start. For some reason the commercials before the move start are always really loud. I’m not sure if it’s just a perception thing because it’s comparatively quiet before they come on, or if  they make them louder to force you to notice them. The only trailer I remember off the top of my  head is the one for Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween. I will be seeing that movie when it hits in August (why they aren’t releasing it around Halloween or at least October is beyond me). Then, the movie finally starts and now that I’ve made you wait this long I will give you my short version of my thoughts on Grindhouse: It was great.

Now, the long version:

The movie opens with  some of what I understand to be classic “Coming Attractions” intros, then a fake trailer for Machete a movie in which Danny Trejo kills a whole hell of a lot of people. This is followed by more intros telling us that the Feature Presentation is upon us and that it is restricted. About the Feature Presentation intros, they are pretty much what we saw with Tarantino’s Kill Bill, which isn’t bad but I feel like it might’ve been a bit more fun to see some different ones. The clips giving the films’ ratings were cute and different and I was pretty damn keen on them. Overall, in terms of setting the mood these were great devices. I was primed. Ready for Rodriguez’ Planet Terror, and it did not disappoint.

A B-movie zombie horror action flick Planet Terror introduces us to Cherry Darling and El Wray, two former lovers thrown back together by chance and that everyone in the little town they’re in gets infected with some kind of bizarre plague that effectively turns all but a few of them into really really really gross zombie things. Planet Terror is filled with humor, extremely over the top gore, Rose McGowan looking sexy with an automatic rifle for a leg, and a lot of intensely disgusting moments. Did I mention that the movie gets gross? Because it gets really fucking gross. Still, I couldn’t look away while Quentin Tarantino’s penis dripped big gooey gobs of what I can only assume was pus and blood all over the floor. I was captivated throughout the entire thing and charmed by the intentional scratching, odd cutting, and “missing” reel with the sex scene. The funny thing that happened during Planet Terror was the movie actually did stop and the lights came up for about two minutes. I suspect this was probably on purpose, but even if it wasn’t it added to the experience for me.

After Planet Terror concluded there were more fake trailers, the one that really stuck out was Rob Zombie’s  Werewolf Women of the SS. Hot half-naked women, Nazis, werewolves, and Udo Kier. What is not to love about that concept? Also, why the fuck isn’t that being made into an actual movie right now? If there is a Grindhouse 2, I want Werewolf Women of the SS in there goddammit!

Tarantino’s Death Proof was a whole hell of a lot of fun to watch. I like Kurt Russell, generally I’m not that keen on the movies he’s in half the time, but I always like him in the movies.  He’s fun to watch and when he plays a bastard it’s even better. He plays quite the bastard in Death Proof as Stuntman Mike. Stuntman Mike kills women with his “death proof” stunt car. Why does Stuntman Mike kill women with his “death proof” stunt car, you ask? It’s not really explained. In fact, overall, Death Proof is light on what one might call plot, but that really doesn’t matter, because the movie isn’t about that. The movie is about cars, car chases, and really cool cars. Now, I don’t know much about cars, but I do know when I see a beautiful car, and they were smashing up some really beautiful classic cars in this movie. It takes a little while for the movie to workup to the car chases and the excitement, but Tarantino does a great job of building tension in the movie and the car chase scenes are really exciting. The movie also does the scratches and the “missing” reel, this time for what we can only assume was a very sexy lap dance. Please someone tell me where I can see more of Zoe Bell. She is, according to the 2 minutes I spent reading up on her on Wikipedia, a stuntwoman who did Lucy Lawless’ stunts for Xena for awhile and Uma Thurman’s for Kill Bill vols 1 and 2. She was a delight to watch on screen and, hopefully, she can play characters other than herself (in death proof Zoe Bell is listed as playing herself).

Grindhouse is a great experience. Rodriguez and Tarantino really did an excellent job of setting the mood for their movies and they followed through exactly how I hoped they would. Initially, I was concerned they would kind of short us with the movies, make them only and hour long or something like that or that they might feel like episodes of an anthology TV show like Tales From the Crypt or The Outer Limits, but that was not the case. These were definitely full movies. They felt like full movies. When it says double feature, you really are getting a double feature, and then some.


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