Monday, April 23, 2007

I'd like to be cool, but I'm not - here's proof

Over the weekend - before H left for Oregon - I saw GRINDHOUSE. And then, last night, I saw 300.

I went to GRINDHOUSE hoping to find some mindless, but fun, fun. The old EL MARIACHI and PULP FICTION thrill. You know, a good sense of violence, a snappy story and some tense, terse, hip dialog.

The spoof trailer certainly seemed to be going in the right diretion. It was full of phrases like, "When you hire him to take out the bad guy you better be sure the bad guy isn't you." Etc.

Then the Rodriguez thing started and I was looking forward to following the story of Rose McGowan and her machine gun leg. But from the top I started having trouble. The Go-Go dance she did took forever. Then the dialog felt slipshod and uneven. The gore that followed didn't help at all. And, finally, the story was so fractured and shattered I just couldn't be bothered (at first I hoped to be exhilarated with finding out how/what was happening, but I gave up about 20 minutes in since there was so much going on besides Rose McGowan). I could see they'd done a good job crossing their t's and dotting their i's with regard to genre, but such slavishness to form lead to the same dead end the genre leads to: So fucking what?

Probably the best thing that happened is that I started thinking about my wife and her pregnancy. I wasn't interested in exposing this crap to her - or even to my yet unborn child. Perhaps absurd, but still.

Heather did her best to convince me to stay - she thought I might enjoy it without her. I knew she was wrong. We got up and left.

I'll never forget the faces of the people watching us leave in the dark. "You are not cool" they all said.

We're not.

The other movie I was hoping would be more fun was 300. The horrible review in the Times gave me hope that the show would fantastic. Certainly, it's a visual stunner. But it's so humorlessly racist, homophobic and misogynistic I developed a sore sitting through it.

Plus, the bombastic tone is so thorough, it's completely boring. (I actually thought it was the kidn of movie George Bush and Dick Cheney would like us to believe is the script for Iraq - but that's a whole 'nother tangent.)

It reminded me of Paul Verhoeven's STARSHIP TROOPERS in which a world of perfect people with Nazi-like tendencies is justified by an invasion of inhuman insects. Except less interesting.

Again, I guess I am just not cool.


frank's wild lunch said...

I'm not cool either, because I thought 300 was garbage and I refuse to see Grindhouse.

Malachy Walsh said...

Not cool people of the world UNITE!

Or whatever.

Anonymous said...

starship troopers was intended as satire....(and it's brilliant.. any film with beautiful people and bugs where you start rooting for the bugs gets my vote..)

Jeff Shattuck said...

Damn, bummer of a review. I'm going to go see GH this week. Hope I can make it thtough.

Dave Tutin said...

This is the problem I have with the generally accepted definition of cool. If a director or actor is deemed to be 'cool' then you're suddenly un-cool if you don't like something they do. That's just ridiculous. Probably one of the coolest guys ever is Bob Dylan - and as you know, I'm one of his greatest admirers. But I can also say he has produced some absolute garbage in his career. Some times intentionally, trying to 'kill' the myth of himself and sometimes unintentionally when trying too hard to reinvent himself. For what it's worth I thought both these movies were crap too. And I particularly dislike 300 for looking so good.
Most people will only see how 'cool' it looks and will be satisfied with that - while the almost evil intent of the content is free to do its work. You are the coolest, in my opinion, for having the balls to lead your family out of there!

Malachy Walsh said...

Mr. Tutin, as Johnny Carson's side-kick would say, you are correct, sir. And - as I said in a previous response - I'm glad someone feels the 300 wasn't worth much.

Dylan - yeah, waht a mother fucker. Listened to BRING IT ALL BACK HOME this last weekend. Still fucking mindblowing for me.

To anon, yeah, I know. I've been told by lots of people I respect that STAR TROOPERS is supposed ot be a satire, but for life of me I can't figure out what it's a satire of.... I mean, it's kinda ironic, but kinda serious. And then, what vice or human folly is it exposing, deriding, scorning?

I'm not trying to pick a fight - and hey, bugs versus beautiful people sounds like it should be hilarious, but... well, it wasn't. For me, anyway.