Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why Is "Death Proof" so bad?

As you know, in the USA Grindhouse was a long film of two segments, one directed by Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof) and the other by Robert Rodriquez (Planet Terror). In Ireland, these were split into two separate films, and I mentioned seeing Planet Terror in a previous zine. Since then I saw Death Proof on DVD in a friend's place. It is a very problematic film, being mainly composed of long scenes of excruciating boredom interspersed with a couple of scenes of action excitement. Its one great saving grace is a killer Tarantino soundtrack.

More recently, they showed the American Grindhouse in the Irish Film Institute. I was there. Planet Terror is still a most excellent film, not obviously cut for the omnibus screening. (Death Proof was a bit less excruciating than when watched on DVD. There was less of it, for one thing, as many of the dullo scenes of people talking nonsense were cut from it. I suppose also that I knew better what to expect.

Without going into the details of (Death Proof's plot, it does feature a lot of scenes in which women sit around having dull conversations. I have two contradictory theories about why these scenes are so awful. One is the idea that Tarantino, as a nerd, is entirely unable to write convincing dialogue for women, and instead has given us his version of how women talk and what they talk about. My other theory is that the reason why the dialogue is so awful is that it is too true to the way people actually talk. I don't mean that as a criticism of women, as this approach to dialogue only appears to show women in a bad light because of the film's shortage of male characters. I suppose what I mean is this – next time you are out for a night with some friends, imagine your conversations were being secretly filmed and then became the basis for a feature film. Can you honestly say that it would not be the most boring film ever made?

The double bill also featured all the trailers for fictional trash films that were included with the US release. Werewolf Women of the SS, Don't, and Thanksgiving were all entertaining enough, but each of them seemed very much to be a direct parody of an actual existing film. The star trailer film remains Machete, the story of a Mexican illegal immigrant bounty hunter who is double-crossed and left for dead and is now out for vengeance ("They just fucked with the wrong Mexican"). Mere words cannot do justice to this thing of wonder, and I urge you to look it up on YouTube and view it away to your heart's content. I have heard that is going to be made into an actual film, but I think there may be a slight [Citation Needed] aspect to such reports. Oh well.

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1 comment:

Big Boss said...

I thank you for this. I hadn't realised where the "They call him Machete" DnB sample was from. Now I know. How very great that trailer is.