Thursday, April 05, 2007

grinding (part 3): double bill

chopping it up

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are fans of the ‘ballyhoo’ that was once associated with the movie-going experience. And they are showmen... and pretty savvy ‘salesmen.’
It helps explain why they can repeat answers for the same questions related to the release of ‘Grindhouse’ and, even though I’ve read these answers before, they are still pretty entertaining.
I got to hear a few of these ‘riffs’ last Friday when the New York Times TimesTalks series presented a ‘double bill’ with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez bringing the ‘ballyhoo’ for ‘Grindhouse.’ Here are a few things I had not heard or read before.

- It seems that Rodriguez, like most other human beings, was less familiar with the grindhouse genres than Tarantino was. Rodriguez describes his first viewing of ‘Sleepaway Camp’ that, I would confirm, is consistent with everyone’s first viewing. He said most of the movie was totally boring… until the last shot. That last frame is so insanely over-the-top and shocking that it makes the set-up (basically the entire movie) worthwhile. Note: If you jump ahead just for the last shot you will forever know that you didn’t earn the shock.

- In the formulation of ‘Grindhouse’ the duo decided Rodriguez would tackle the ‘horror flick’ and Tarantino would do the ‘terror flick.’ I never heard the term ‘terror flick.’ Horror means “That couldn’t really happen!” ‘Terror’ means “That could actually happen!”

- Quentin describes his directorial take on the necessary elements of genre films, such as ‘Reservoir Dogs’ (the heist flick) and ‘Death Proof’ (the slasher flick): “They may not be YOUR version of ‘The Goods’… but they WILL be delivered!!”

- The Weinstein’s want Rodriguez to do 'The Stevie Ray Vaughn Story,' an idea they discussed back in the days of ‘El Mariachi’

- In the recent Esquire Magazine interview Tarantino refers to his connection to the “Black-male thing“ (pause) and during this interview he refers to the ‘From Dusk ‘til Dawn’-inspired tattoos of “3-10 Mafia”

- Before ‘El Mariachi’ Rodriguez earned money as a subject for drug testing. Interviewer Lynn Hirschberg asked him which drugs he tested. The writer/director/camerman/editor/composer/… said there was one drug that was supposed to improve ‘multi-tasking.’ He was straight-faced… but kidding. The truth is almost as crazy. He recalled when he earned two-thousand bucks for a seven day test of a ‘healing serum.’ To test a ‘healing serum’ the scientists, of course, had to ‘wound’ the test subjects. This was accomplished by taking out two chunks of flesh, one from the back of each shoulder. Then they applied the serum to one wound and a placebo to the other. When a wound had healed, they then had to take out the healed chunks of flesh comprising the whole test area. It would be a shame if this doesn’t inspire some horrific scene in one of his future projects.

- ‘Inglorious Bastards,’ the film that Tarantino has discussed before as his ‘next movie,’ WILL actually be his new project. The description of the film seems to be an obvious homage to ‘Dirty Dozen’ / ‘Great Escape’ type films (I’m thinking ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ and ‘Where Eagles Dare,’ as well…). In true Tarantino form, he says it will actually be his homage to Spaghetti Westerns… but will use World War II iconography. Recent buzz about a trilogy reinforces the Spaghetti Western idea. You can easily see QT injecting the ‘Django’ and ‘Hero Without a Name’ pacing and brutality onto GI grunts, officers and Nazis. He already envisions the tagline to be “Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France…”