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PCR #369  (Vol. 8, No. 16) This edition is for the week of April 16--22, 2007.

The Tampa Film Review for April  by Nolan Canova, Terence Nuzum, and Chris Woods
"Vacancy"  by Mike Smith
"Grindhouse" - What Happened?  by Andy Lalino
Today I'm a Hokie....Revulsed....Speaking Of....Forget the Ides of March....Let's Not Forget....Movie Notes....Whatever Happened To...? Chapter 16: Gary Busey  by Mike Smith
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Oddservations by Andy Lalino

"Grindhouse" - What Happened?

The "poor" box-office performance of Dimension Films' Grindhouse left many cult movie fans scratching their heads as to why this critically acclaimed film , which certainly did not deserve the fiscal fate it suffered, was not more well-received. Certainly, it was not due to the horror/cult fans, who though suspicious of Tarantino, were wildly enthusiastic about the prospect of returning to the days of '70s grindhouse cinema, if not for a fleeting three hours. I'd say from a genuine grindhouse aesthetic, the overall project was decently satisfying.

As stated in last week's edition of Oddservations, I did not think that Tarantino and Rodriguez were necessarily the best choices as directors. Grindhouse cinema's not in their blood. Tarantino's too enraptured in his own dialogue prowess (or lack thereof), which was never a mainstay of Grindhouse cinema. Rodriguez can't seem to corral his garage-full of pixel wizards to pull off a genuine effort. And I think that reality shock showed in the work. "Planet Terror" was too flashy, "Death Proof", too talky. Their plot was to "cover up" the excesses of big studio budgets with audio pings, cigarette burns, color jumps, continuity errors, and synthesized film grain - but you can't disguise the truth.

"Grindhouse" was more successful in the trailer department. Though tongue-in-cheek (it would have been good to see this material treated with an iota of seriousness, as fans take it soberly), it 'twas the trailer directors (Roth, Zombie, Wright) who should have helmed "Grindhouse" to begin with, though that would have meant overcoming the empire-state egos of Tarantino and Rodriguez, which is to dream the impossible dream. If "Grindhouse" does spawn a sequel or series, which we're all hoping it will, then those are the point people to helm it next round.

Undoubtedly the Dimension Films' marketing dept. has to accept some responsibility. I've talked to no less than three people (all females, my wife among them) who didn't even know it was out! With as much TV as the wife watches, I find that a statistical impossibility, yet it actually occurred (I'm calling Ripley's).

And let's face reality, gents: Grindhouse cinema is not women's territory. I'd like a head count from 1973 just how many femaliens attended grindhouse showings on 42nd Street - probably few, if any. Not exactly the best place to pick up "normal" guys, I'd imagine, so I expect they went elsewhere and I don't blame them. Perhaps it was the title "Grindhouse" that spooked the ladies into staying home and watching "The Gilmore Girls", or the lore itself, if they knew what it was all about. Perhaps they thought it "pornographic". Sure, as time marches on I've noticed more and more women getting into what was traditionally guys' domain (scary), such as horror, role-playing games, comics, etc. The downside to that, however, is things have become watered down with PC as not to antagonize femailia.

Or was it the challenge of "educating" Amerilemmings about just what Grindhouse cinema is, in addition to clarifying that the lucky consumer is getting two features for the price of one? I, for one, liked the neo-retro look of the "Grindhouse" movie poster, and it was very obvious (and enticing) to me that this was a double-feature. Whether that translated into convincing those who typically are entertained by tapdancing penguins and ice-skating goofballs is another quizzer.

Perhaps Robert Rodriguez dug the project's grave by uttering a statement which I can't quote verbatim, but will encapsulate: "We [with Tarantino] directed Grindhouse movies that lived up the promise of the posters, which is something the old movies could never do". To me, that statement is not only an insult to those original Grindhouse films, and is exactly why "Grindhouse" did not perform: It was even better than the real thing, and that's not what a romp in the Grindhouse is or ever strove to be.

"Oddservations" is ©2007 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.