Reviewed on 2007 April 13
Pssssssst! Hey, you! Yeah, you! Reading this! Wanna see a ’70s style movie? Wanna see something you may not have gotten to see the first time around? Something you didn’t get a chance to sneak out to, something you may have been a little kid and missed initially? Have I got something for you!
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez decided to make an homage to the grade-Z grindhouse movies they watched growing up, and the sick little puppies gave us two pieces: Planet Terror and Death Proof.
Rodriguez helmed Planet Terror, music and all, and gave us the tale of Cherry (Rose McGowan), a go-go dancer who aspired to be a doctor and now wants to try her hand as a stand-up comic. Five minutes into this thing you realize that Cherry is tough enough to do whatever she wants. Fortunately for the world she likes kicking ass. Conveniently, near Cherry’s nightclub, a barbecue shack, and a really questionable hospital, the army just happens to be conducting experiments that go horribly wrong (well, they never go horribly right) and produce the most disgusting zombies that I’d ever seen, and I watch a lot of zombie films. Rodriguez goes… well, he goes there. Many times. Skip the popcorn. Just when it goes too far, though, Rodriguez makes you laugh before you throw up. I have no idea how McGowan made this with a straight face but she was perfect in it. Add some cartoony army characters, faux-grainy film and “missing reels”, and some soap-opera subtexts and you have VelveetaVision™.
After a string of fake previews for coming attractions that made me glad I didn’t have a soft drink to squirt out my nose (excepting the really disgusting bit from Eli Roth), we move onto Death Proof, Tarantino’s offering. This one started very slowly, focusing on a group of cliquish women in a Texas bar (Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Vanessa Ferlito, and Jordan Ladd) and an outsider, Pam (McGowan again, wearing hippie duds and a blonde wig). Pam never cared for Julia (Poitier), who seemed like an “it” girl in high school and is still popular as radio DJ and beautiful person “Jungle Julia”, but that’s okay — she made a friend with Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell). This one starts slowly and I was honestly getting impatient with it, but once it got going it really got going. The slow beginning also made sense once I saw the third act.
Three chocolate morsels, and one of those Day-Glo ’70s drinks with the umbrellas and fruit picks and things hanging off the glass.