|QT6 (09.09.05 - 09.17.05, 29 movies)|
|09.09.05||The Spy with My Face||John Newland||And so begins QT6: Quentin Tarantino's intimate gathering of hardcore film geeks to watch obscure, interesting, and/or badass movies. Tonight was Secret Agent night, showing two Robert Vaughn spy pictures.|
This was, according to Quentin, a 2-hour episode of the show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. beefed up with 10 more minutes and released as a film. Since it's TV, and 60s TV at that, the budget was miniscule enough to make this hilariously bad. Shots of Griffith observatory and Mulholland drive doubling for the swiss alps, awkward editing, and a cave matte painting so bad it looks like it belongs in a cartoon are stand-out memories. There's also the peculiar but awesome habit Robert Vaughn has of falling into a woman's bosom every time he's knocked out or faints. All very funny moments, supplemented by superb trailers courtesy of the Alamo beforehand and QT's masterful introduction.
|09.09.05||The Venetian Affair||Jerry Thorpe||This movie is the flip-side of the man from U.N.C.L.E. It's still a spy movie but instead of slick, dapper, and dashing, Vaughn plays borderline alcoholic, unkempt, and more than a dash inept. What's funny is that the movie was shot in Venice and looked so much more like a "real" movie than The Spy with My Face that it was out of the funny territory and into "decent." Boris Karloff has a small role, Ed Asner's thick neck makes numerous appearances, and damn if Robert Vaughn still doesn't have awesome game. All he has to do is ask a woman "are you sure you want to be alone tonight?" and he gets action.|
Also, they played a trailer for Putney Swope which has to be.... easily... one of the top five best trailers i have ever seen. easily. words can't even describe it... except to say that it's even MORE awesome if you've seen the actual movie.
|09.09.05||Tarzoon, The King of the Jungle||Picha, Boris Szulzinger||OK this one is just bizarre. Shown as a midnight gonzo movie after the Robert Vaughn secret agent double feature, QT gave a rundown of this movie: It's a french animated picture called Tarzoon that's basically a send-up of Tarzan. For the American version, National Lampoon and early SNL kingpin Michael O'Donoghue and Anne Beatts wrote the dialogue and got a bevvy of great comedians to supply voices, such as Bill Murray, Christopher Guest, and John Belushi as a beer-swilling kid who's enslaved a flock of seagulls to power his magic carpet, not to mention Johnny Weismuller Jr. to supply the broken english made famous by his father.|
So after it was all re-done and pretty much ready to release, the estate that controls the Tarzan property sued them so they had to rename the movie Shame of the Jungle. Rather than do any work however, they just blacked out any on-screen mention of "Tarzoon" in squiggling blobs of censorship and took any audio of the name being spoken and reversed it. So in the movie you get a lot of characters talking about "noozraT"... which made me chuckle every time.
Why did they sue? Well it could be that this movie is really really lewd and bizarre. Tarzoon's johnson hangs out for practically the entire movie. A monkey even hangs on it at one point. An evil bald Queen with 14 breasts sends a legion of cockmonsters out to kidnap Tarzoon's love June for her hair. Yes, i said cockmonster. Late in the film, there's a sequence where it shows how they come about. Little babies fall into jars on a conveyor belt where they are repeatedly smushed down. With each smushing, their bodies get smaller and their dorks get bigger until finally an axe swoops down and separates the deflated baby from its militaristically animated block and tackle. Somehow, the cockmonsters also have assholes though. Anyway, they walk and run around on their balls and shrink down inside to hide and jump into condoms when alarms are raised and shoot acidic... well... you get the idea. The whole movie is foul like this, with really racist depictions of black dudes getting eated by crocodiles, an elephant getting his ass drilled out, a monkey fiddling with Junes nipples, and tons of other stuff that i've already pushed out of my mind. Just plain crazy.
Along with QT, writer/directors Richard Linklater and Tim McCanlies were in the house tonight, as was actors Nicky Katt and Wiley Wiggins, Austin mainstay Louis Black, the entire AICN and AFS cadres, and the singer dude from Counting Crows, unless there's another guy with that haircut and that skin tone walking around town... which i guess there could be. I didn't want to go up and ask him if he was the Counting Crows dude just to say "cool" and walk away if i was right.
|09.10.05||Psycho II||Richard Franklin||QT 6 day 2, er... night 2: the 80s horror movie all-night marathon. Six movies that almost broke me in my hardcoredness. Let's just say thank god for R. Kelly, but more on that later.|
The evening started with Psycho 2, which I'd conscioussly avoided (along with Psycho 3 and Psycho 4) because I love the first one so much i don't want to see that universe sullied. So i had a wee bit of trepidation going into this, compounded when Tarantino spouted off on his non-love for Hitch and preference of any and all hitch-rips (except Truffaut (another gasp!) over the fat man himself. After hearing that, I truthfully had no clue how good or bad this night would go. Luckily, Psycho 2 is a really good film and I think it surprised everyone in the theater who hadn't seen it. The dude sitting next to me said he was just staying for the first movie and based on his surprised enjoyment ended up staying for 5 out of the 6 (although I'd say the last 2 don't count because he was PASSED all the way OUT).
The story is set 20 years after the first movie, with Norman Bates being released from the loonyin and Vera Miles makes him go crazy again. It's told really well though and Anthony Perkins does indeed deliver a really nuanced performance. Watching this made me think that even though I haven't seen everything he's been in, no matter how many movies he did he was still underutilized as an actor, especially after Psycho. He should have been a much bigger star i think.
QT pointed out perhaps his favorite line reading ever. Tony perkins gives it when he has to say "cutlery." Poor Norman, if only Vera Miles hadn't messed you back up. Dennis Franz was also quite good in this as a super sleezoid who gets drunk and dies. awesome.
|09.10.05||Funeral Home||Willian Fruet||Continuing the 80s horror movie marathon (it's gonna end with "Madman" so just assume everything between there and here is this same delerious night), QT brings out this Canadian flick about... a Funeral Home director who killed her husband and pretends he's still alive and also sort of a killer. What's funny is that QT announces this striking resemblance before frame 1 flickers... and he also says that once you realize that it's a Psycho knock, you can never really un-realize it... which is very true.Even the kitchen and the house is remarkably similar. Of course there's a "trainable" in this one though, complete with copious amounts of ear-hair and the stereotypical dullard Lenny voice. There's also an incredibly scary cat in this that is just the right amount of filthy and mangy. It freaked the hell out of QT and it freaked the hell out of all of us. As the end credits rolled, the cat's name (not "cat" as the ear-hairy retarded dude calls it) is actually "Mitten."|
Oh, there's also a really scary sequence where one of these old leathery women that are clearly not hot enough to fill the "hot girl" role but was as hot as the budget allowed displayed some camel toe which HAD to be painful. No way it was coincidental... even if she was parapilegic she would feel that itching at her neck, man. It also went like, too low... know what i mean? like the toe should not have been that long. Frightening.
Anyway, I guess Mike Judge was in the house the previous night along with all the other celebs, but i missed him. I did catch Greg Nicotero talking to the AICN crew behind me tonight though. They were talking about a gag used in Eli Roth's upcoming Hostel (QT had a Cabin Fever shirt on, it was awesome) involving a whole arm filled with blood actually pouring out after it's chopped off. One of the great things about sitting close to Harry and the other AICN guys is that when QT or other special guests make their way down to talk to them, i get to overhear their conversations without being that shameless nerd geekboy that walks up to the crowd of people he doesn't know and just stands there smiling. This way i get to stare and smile but I get to do it from the comfort of my own seat, which is nice.
|09.10.05||Silent Night, Deadly Night||Charles E. Sellier, Jr.||Many cool things about this one. First: it's awesome. Second: QT told us about how, after he'd finally discovered this movie and talked to Robert Rodriguez about how cool it is, Rodriguez came back with a fully-memorized in-character rendition of the beginning monologue. Understandably so because this beginning scene is so awesome... i mean it's SO awesome that i shouldn't even really write about it. The whole movie is great actually but it all starts with this one scene that i really wish Rodriguez was there so he could do it for us after the show. Maybe he'll put it on a DVD sometime or something.|
Another really cool thing about this movie is at one point the main character, who's been horribly scarred against Santa Claus since the aforementioned first scene, gets a job in a toy store. This movie was like 1984 so there's the Jabba the Hut toy there, there's Castle Greyskull in the background, there's Mouse Trap, there's a Krull boardgame, there's the 80s "Monster Make-Up Kit" there in the background, all these great toys that i remember drooling over in Toys R Us when i was little. It was really cool to see those again for sure.
and then he starts killing people.
There are a few puns here and there but mostly this kid just says "NAUGHTY" and "PUNISH" over and over again and really, that's all he needs to say. The sick and twisted nature of this whole movie says it all for him. A real classic.
|09.10.05||Beyond Evil||Herb Freed||This sounds pretty horrible but... i could really go for an ass massage right about now. Since I only had time to sleep for 4 hours between the marathon and Day 3, I've spent so much time sitting in that damn theater seat this weekend to give me a real ache.|
anyway, the next movie (QT: "This is about the time where people can start moving seats" the crowd had thinned somewhat) was not a slasher but rather a possession flick starring John Saxon of... John Saxon fame. I always thought that dude was a bit too buff for his head. It doesn't help that every dude in this picture is wearing vein-defining tight pants and nipple-enhanced tight shirts... but anyway, some ghost witch possesses Saxon's wife (Lynda Day George) and weird stuff happens until the end when they fix her or whatever. The only part I really remember in this is a sequence where the wife's ring finger swells up to awesome proportions because of something to do with the wedding ring and love and blah blah blah. Oh yeah, QT also said that the role of the husband in movies like this is typically a "soft cock role." I like that phrase.
By the end, i was feelin it. It was now almost 5 am. My notes include the phrase "hope the next two are peppy."
I think this is about the time i thought i had come up with an awesome and amazing idea for a horror movie. I quickly spilled out a whole page of notes on it and, thinking back after only four hours of sleep, i now realize that there isn't actually an idea in this page of notes at all.
|09.10.05||Mausoleum||Michael Dugan||So after Beyond Evil pretty much sapped me of all my energy and logic, i was looking to Mausoleum to re-energize me. QT got up on stage and basically said that Mausoleum was the exact same as Beyond Evil but without the good acting.|
Now, back in July when Lars and Harry put on an all-nighter horror-thon, the tantalizing unknown of which film they were going to show next kept me going, especially since Harry mentioned that the title of the last film was so amazingly perfect that it had to be great (the title was "Devil Fetus" and indeed, in a certain sense of the word, it was great). Tonight though... knowing i was going to have to be back here at 5pm to start Australian Night, and confronted with basically watching a worse version of the slow-moving movie i'd just sat through... well, I'd be lying if i said my fortitude wasn't tested. I started thinking about my bed with its memory foam, started thinking about that feeling i still get when i wake up to my alarm just to turn it off and go back to sleep. All this stuff started bubbling up as Mausoleum, which had even less of a plot than Beyond Evil, started playing.
Luckily, there was nudity.
Not only is there nudity but there were monstrous snapping breasts that ate a guy's pecs.
When QT, a guy who seems to love something about even the worst movies, says that he didn't give a shit what happened until the last 15 minutes of this movie... well, thoughts of McDonald's breakfast and being able to stretch my ass muscles out and get out of the damn seat started pulling my eyelids down.
There was one great scene in this movie though. There's a black housemaid that has to go up into the haunted-esque room and her lines are so awesome. something akin to "I ain't been this nervous since I been black", "There's some strange shit going on in this house","No more grievin, I'm leavin", and "I got religion."
Now... I did not fall asleep. I didn't. Not once. During the last fifteen minutes though, I was nodding and dazing pretty hardcore. These were the dark times of the night... the times when i thought my hardcoredness would fail me and i betray my love and fall asleep during a movie. Luckily, the movie ended and they were selling Redbull.
Looking back, there seems to be some pretty great elements to this movie... maybe if it was shown instead of Beyond Evil I would've responded more to it, but as it was i was a bit too tired to enjoy it.
|09.10.05||Madman||Joe Giannone||As i was gulping the redbull down and walking back into the theater, some music was coming through the heavy door. Opening it, I walked into blasting R.Kelly music. I mean BLASTING!! feel-the-bass-on-the-floor-and-in-your-chest-blasting. I sat down and saw to my far right that Tim League, Lars, and a few other Alamo high-ups had shit-eating grins on their faces, their eyes shining with what was on the screen. They were running R.Kelly's five-part song/narrative video and let me tell you something. it was HILARIOUS. It completely woke me up and energized the inrush of caffeine to my system. That thing would not end, it just kept getting better and better. I couldn't believe it. it was like a 100% pickmeup at like 7:30 in the morning.|
After that ended, QT hopped up and gave us the dirt on Madman (AKA Madman Marz), about how it was basically born too late and therefore missed the slasher craze and fell into obscurity, about how it was a really solid, fun flick involving many of the classical elements of the genre (There's a group of camp counselers, there's a campfire story, there's a creepy old house, etc.), about how the guy with the cool initials-only name wasn't something traditional like TJ or PJ or AJ or JJ but rather it was TP, about how not only was this douchebag of a character (QT: he's actually an asswipe, so it's perfect!) named TP, but he also had a HUGE belt-buckle that said "TP" on it. Man, after the redbull and the R.Kelly and this talk-up, i was SO ready to see Madman.
I have to say, this movie delivered. It was a great classical telling of the woods slasher story, had cool deaths, wonderfully idiotic characters, some decent screaming-and-running shots, the whole package. It was a really really great way to end the night. I am SO glad I stayed and didn't wuss out after the one-two punch of Beyond Evil and Mausoleum. The last two hours of this marathon were total delerious bliss.
Roughly 6 hours later...
|09.11.05||BMX Bandits||Brian Trenchard-Smith||...I'm waiting in line to see Sunday's programming: Australian Night. I know pretty much nothing about the films being shown tonight so I have a pretty blank slate as far as expectations are concerned. I DO notice a haggard quality to those of us who like to get there early and wait in line though... clearly the marathon has taken its toll. Still though, getting there super early gives you a spot on the stairs where you can sit instead of stand and also lets you feel the AC instead of the wet humidity of the day outside. I also like watching the Alamo staff wander in one-by-one in their street clothes. This place is so cool.|
The first film of the day, which QT explains would've been the kiddy-feature if he'd pre-planned enough to give AFS enough time to advertise, is BMX Bandits, which he describes as a Goonies-equivalent for those that grew up in Sydney (he doesn't like Goonies either... Quentin, we hardly knew ye). It stars a super young Nicole Kidman (QT: after The Others this is actually my favorite performance of hers. she's quite charming) along with other Aussies who deliver the ironic and quick-witted dialogue with those cool accents. They are all BMX-ers who sort of steal a bunch of super-walkie-talkies that can magically listen in on the police band and a couple bumbling bank robbers chase after them for about an hour too long.
I will say this though... the movie had strong resemblances for me to Gleaming the Cube (not so much Rad since I only saw that once and spent the entire movie disappointed that Peter Billingsly wasn't in it because i was in the video store and i saw him riding a motorcycle or something and asked the guy what movie that was playing and he said Rad so I rented it and it turned out that the tape had a trailer for The Dirt Bike Kid before it and that's what I saw in the store)... replacing cheesy late-80s skateboard stuff with early-80s BMX stuff. So i really can't rip on this too much because I liked Gleaming the Cube a lot when i was younger and watched it like 5 times.
The few things on note on this movie: There's an actor in here named Angelo D'Angleo. That's so cool. Also, Nicole Kidman's BMX double was a clearly-masculine dude with like... facial hair. It was about as obvious as Banderas' double in Mark of Zorro.
|09.11.05||Four Desperate Men||Harry Watt||So after BMX Bandits ended, we finally got to watch a "real" movie. Real, meaning awesome.|
It's a 1959 movie set in Australia (duh) starring Aldo Ray as a guy that springs out of jail to clear his name, as strange as that sounds. Aldo Ray, who QT went on quite a bit about, is awesome in this movie. QT mentioned he sees a lot of him in Bruce Willis, and went so far as to show Willis a few Ray films in preparing for Pulp Fiction, but I personally see Ray more as equal parts Bruce Willis and Michael Chiklis with just a dash of Harvey Keitel. That is some masculine fuckin witches brue though, man. It's great, when the movie starts off Aldo is in this cool form-fitting heavy shirt, but as the movie progresses he skimps down to a wife-beater and finally totally bare-chested showing off his near-wife-beater pattern of body hair and solid The Thing-like physique.
Oh yeah, the story. So after getting his brother to help him and these two other guys break out of prison so Aldo Ray can win over the public that he's innocent and get a retrial, their boat breaks or something and they have to dock on this little fort in the middle of Sydney Bay called Pinchgut. It's like a little fortress with old-style cannons there and also this really big gun. Anyway, things get mucked up and it becomes like a stand-off where snipers try to tag them from bridges and stuff but Ray holds the town hostage with this huge gun because there's a ship filled with explosives in the bay. In one of several scenes which clearly define this movie as great, several military men talk about the situation and what would happen if the ship exploded. Now, they're talking around this table where there's not just a map or a rudimentary mock-up of the city with staplers and erasers but a fully-realized scale diorama of the city and the bay down to the smallest detail. Even the ocean is painted with different hues to show waves and swells. Overhearing QT talking to Harry Knowles after the movie, this model is like straight out of Godzilla. So the one police guy asks the other one what it would mean if the ship exploded and this other guy just takes his hand and in a grand arc, swipes the town apart into a eave of destruction. It's something I've always wanted to do in every museum I've ever been to that has those cool diorama set ups filled with detail. Just take your paw mit of a hand and destroy, destroy, destroy!
oh man was that a great moment.
|09.11.05||Dark Age||Arch Nicholson||Technically, QT showed an episode of an old Australian TV show called Riptide in between Four Desperate Men and Dark Age, but since it was only an hour and a TV show, it doesn't get its own entry. It was cool though, and had a car chase, as does every Australian movie according to QT. He did a great near-stand-up bit about Australian filmmakers confused by a script that didn't include a car chase. It was really funny. What was interesting about the show though was that the lead is an American... so I guess the show was all about how badass this one American is in Australia. Kind of odd and somewhat correlitive with an aspect of Dark Age which...|
...RULED. First off, it's a giant Croc movie. Secondly, it's shot by Andrew Lesnie of Lord of the Rings fame.
QT's print of this movie was pristine. I swear i would believe this movie came out this year if only the fake croc was CG. Instead, it was made in 1987 which makes it really... sweet.
OK, the movie does parallel Jaws rather a lot, at least in the first half or so. Replace the shark with a croc and the stories become pretty similar. BUT, there's just a quality going on here that seeps out of the frame and into your head. It's the kind of subtle-but-consistent quality that's almost subliminal... you just at some point realize that this is a really good fun movie.
there's one scene though, where the antagonistic boss character tells the Steve Erwin character that all these croc-related deaths are making the Japanese businessmen nervous and there's a danger that they wont come down and build high-rises. Coupled with the American protagonist in Riptide, I wondered if there's a little brother type of need for outsiders to come in and be the hero rather than homegrown Australian pride... probably not but then again they ARE all criminals.
Now, the fake Croc, which is really huge... like 25 feet long... looks pretty good as long as it's in the water. There are some shots where it surfaces that are designed really well to emphasize the massive size of it relative to humans... how a human could basically park a chaise-lounge and sip a daquiri comfortably inside its belly, except for all that nasty digestion of course. However, once it gets on land, particularly in the end, it doesn't move enough and sort of breaks down into a big lump of plastic on screen. Most of the time though, I was really impressed with how they used it.
One thing which must be noted is a scene in which a kid gets eaten. There is a shot where you see the kids head inside the croc's mouth chomping away. It's so totally and utterly badass, no one in the theater could believe it. It's a real quick shot, but it's in there, man... and it's unspeakably cool.
So two really sweet movies to wrap up Australian night. So i guess RZA was at the horror-thon but I didn't see him. Since I sit so far up front and the VIP section is toward the back i miss most of the celebrity... on the first night i sort of made a decision to be here for the movies instead of the audience and sat where i wanted to sit rather than close to Quentin. In the same vein, I'm writing just my thoughts and reflections down here. A couple other sites are doing the more conventional reportage on the event but hooey to them. this is my journal and I'm writing what i want to.
|09.12.05||Cry of the Wild||Bill Mason||Documentary Night. This and tomorrow night are the only nights with less than three movies playing so it felt super brief and a complete waste of my awesome parking luck. It's ok though because both documentaries shown tonight were really great in different ways.|
The first is this, about wolves in Canada. It was made by this dude Bill Mason, who is one of these guys in the early 70s who seemed to have a physical love affair with freedom. Like he had a board of wood with a hole in it and "freedom" written at smooch level that he took to bed every saturday or something. This whole movie has a supremely explicit freedom bent to it... This guy gets dropped off in the middle of nowhere for months at a time with just himself and 80 pounds of survival and camera equipment and he walks around camping out next to dead caribou in hopes of capturing some wolf behavior. Now, I hope it doesn't sound like this is a bad thing. This dude is awesome. He sets up his second camera with a remote trigger to film himself filming the wolves, and there are occasional interjections where he explains exactly how he's shooting and where to let us all know that when we see a panning shot of him, it's actually during that fourth winter when he took a buddy along to get pick-up shots, not that the whole thing is fake.
What's funny is that he doesn't actually have a lot of luck out there. Lots of aerial shots of wolves running but that's about it. He does build this igloo though, that was so badass to see it made me want to live in one, like a summer home or something. At one point he hears wolves outside but doesn't want to chance scaring them off by going outside to shoot so he just takes his little saw and cuts himself a window to point his camera out of. It was so friggin cool... i so want an igloo.
The film sort of shifts at one point to a pack that's being held in captivity, including two that are tame and as lovable as dogs. Here there's a segment about the reproductive cycle with the requisite sort-of-gross/sort-of-cute shots of the newborn cubs and seeing them grow up and play and whatnot.
And then, presumably because his mistriss wills it, he gets sad that these wolves have never lived in freedom, so he shoots them with tranq darts and hauls them 3000 miles to the frozen tundra and lets them loose and stops feeding them. So these poor wolves just hang out and starve, basically... probably complaining (if this was a cartoon) about what happened to the TV dinners. There's a great shot where Mason sets up that the Caribou have finally returned to this area and there's a whole group of them running away and we pan over to... the wolves just sitting there. Like actually working for their food is just not gonna happen. Then we see a shot of a few caribou looking into camera, no doubt thinking "what the hell is wrong with those wolves? this must be a trick or something."
So they take the wolves back to captivity, proving the point that not only are wild wolves terrified of humans, but they also need to be taught to hunt prey. and freedom is great.
|09.12.05||Blue Water, White Death||Peter Gimbel, James Lipscomb||In between the films, I spied Robert Rodriguez hanging out, talking to Harry. He is so buff now...|
It's starting to gel a little bit. Familiar faces seen on line and at previous nights... sort of unspoken familiarity... there are lots of head nods between people who still haven't spoken... and of course all of the people who are already friends. The AICN crew behind me was talking about some girl that one of them thought was hot... it involved an order sheet asking to bring strawberry shortcake instead of chocolate cake... i thought for a moment it might have been about one of the two or three Alamo girls who were already mine (in my head) so i, perhaps mistakenly, turned around and asked who they were talking about but alas... such things are not really subjects for total strangers i guess... i shouldn't let my (imaginary) jealousy get the better of me. (the note was never sent).
So the next movie, Blue Water, White Death, is really really really great. To complement the previous film, this one is about mindless killers that are scary and ancient and completely without hesitation or sympathy: the great white shark.
This was the movie that Spielberg saw when he was getting going with Jaws and it heavily influenced the stuff with the shark tank and in fact they even hired some of these guys to shoot second unit stuff before principle photography even started (the stuff with the shark attacking "Dreyfuss" in the cage).
This movie.... i have real doubts about its authenticity. It's like completely opposite from Cry of the Wild where meticulous attention is paid to how things were done. In this movie, they go all over the place, from South Africa to the Mozambique islands to "Dangerous Cove, South Australia" in search of the elusive Great White. the people on board set themselves us as complete buffoons so when they're put in danger you actually sort of laugh because they so deserve it. While in a cage surrounded by white tips and great blues, one of them punches a passing shark, remarking "they hate that sort of rough business." When on the Mozambique islands, one of them gets right up to a sleeping little baby seal and shocks it awake. The poor seal nearly embolizes as it hops to and fro trying to get away from the evil humans. Three of them have an absurd conversation about leaving the cages to swim with the sharks where any sort of doubt seems to wash away within seconds just by one of the guys saying "i've been watching them and know their pattern." Meanwhile, their whole idea is to follow whaling ships to dive after they've killed Sperm whales that attract sharks to feast on the floating carcass. Of course, inserting a quick shot of one of the guys saying "they're so intelligent and interesting. at this rate they'll all be extinct before we can really discover them." makes the copious amounts of floating dead sperm whale ok somehow...
There's also a folk singer on board, apparently only there to supply the crew with some tunes while he gets his hair cut.
So they do leave the cages and there is some AMAZING photography here, including this great 360, maybe even 720 (hard to tell when they're underwater) degree panning shot of the ocean teaming with sharks both off in the distance and right up against the camera. At one point a shark tries to eat this girl's hair, mistaking it for floating meat. At others, sharks ease their mouths right up to these guys' heads before they can push them back. And yet when the girl attacks one with the boomstick, it's sort of sad but also funny because the shark starts quickly swimming in circles just like that old joke about the guy who's hit in the head so he tries to get away but he just walks around and around instead.
In another sequence, one dude gets the bends.
When they finally do find some great whites (off "Dangerous Coast" no less), the bastards immediately start chomping on the cages. Again, absolutely stunning photography of these huge babies knocking into them, trying to bite, attacking tethered pieces of meat. At one point a shark gets entangled on one of the lines connecting a cage to the ship and utterly knocks the crap out of this thing with a guy inside. It's really fantastic footage coupled with snide remarks after they surface and little jokes cracking left to right. It really doesn't seem real to me, but that doesn't keep it from being 100% awesome.
oh, on a final note, I got to see Lars ask these two women to please not talk during the movie. It was so awesome... they shut right up. For a skinny little dude, Lars can be pretty intimidating. I think it's all the hair.
|09.13.05||Five for Hell||Gianfranco Parolini||Day Five: Italian World War II Epic Night. The fury of the line seems to be mellowing down a bit with most people only showing up a few minutes before the theater opens. I suspect that starting tomorrow the line insanity will start gearing up again as subjects like Italian Crime, Sexploitation, and Grindhouse seem to be the subjects everyone's most looking forward to. Today though, i was second in the badge line and there was only 4 or 5 people on standby when i showed up. This one girl had a "I heart Adam Durtiz" shirt on though and said she'd been waiting since like 3. I sort of would have liked to see what happened when she actually saw Duritz walk in but...felt like sitting down in the theater instead.|
I finally caught sight of RZA tonight... he looks kind of... REALLY out of place here. It's cool, though. I've also been keeping tabs on the three websites keeping day-by-day accounts of the fest and a clear trend seems to be emerging: Nicky Katt is one scary dude. Everybody's afraid to talk to him because we all feel like Adam Goldberg in Dazed and Confused. I saw him outside smoking when i left tonight and had an instant of being _the_ guy to break his death stare and shake his hand anyway but... he was talking to some woman and i had already started walking the wrong way before realizing that my car was the other so i felt foolish enough already. Perhaps tomorrow.
The first movie, Five for Hell, was pretty fun in a real absurd way. There's this pre-occupation with acrobatics that runs through the whole picture, even going so far as to include a small trampoline in the gear that this band of soldiers takes with them on their mission. Like, each guy sort of has his specialty: one's a safe-cracker, one's an explosives expert, one's really good at throwing a weighted baseball, etc. and then there's one that's just an acrobat. And they take pains to set up these situations where an acrobat soldier is needed... like there's two soldiers in a foxhole so clearly the best plan of action is for this guy to set up the trampoline, jump up to a tree, then jump and flip down into the hole. There's also the obligatory 20-foot-high electrified fence that they didn't anticipate. Hey! good thing we have an acrobat here! he'll jump right over that fence!
Another reason why this film is so fun is Klaus Kinski who plays the most arrogant romantic cruel nazi ever. You don't have to see the Werner Herzog film "My Best Fiend" to know that Kinski was born to play this role. His game is truly unique... i would have to be five times the man to even try his methods of seduction... Unfortunately for the double agent however, he's just as quick to order a firing squad.
the movie is very rambunctious though - rousing even, and generally a good time is had by all. In the end we all cheered for the good guys that made it and wept an imaginary tear for those who fell. Also, Lars told another few people to shut the hell up. It was so sweet.
|09.13.05||From Hell To Victory||Umberto Lenzi||The second half of this double feature was a bit more on the epic side of the scale. Where Five for Hell was a small story of guys on a mission, From Hell To Victory is a large character tapestry that weaves them into WWII over a span of 5 years or so. We see 6 or maybe 7 characters from different countries (including one German) who are friends in the beginning of the film and follow each of them as they work their way through individual paths during the war. In this way, I was reminded of Starship Troopers and how we see the career growth of each of the characters in that movie, except of course this wasn't directed by a crazy Dutch dude and had no co-ed shower scenes.|
QT said that if this movie was made in 64 instead of79, it would have fit perfectly into that whole genre movement that was at its height back then and even would have had the same cast. I can say that George Hamilton makes an awesome Frenchman though, no matter what year it's made.
The plot was so intricate in this movie though, and there were so many characters, that i found myself a little overwhelmed in a few places. I feel like I'd understand it a lot better the second time around when I'm already familiar with all the characters. It's certainly not a bad movie though, and kept my attention easily.
|09.14.05||Death Rage||Antonio Margheriti||A night of Italian crime films of the 70s just HAS to be QT6.|
I'm keeping tabs on three sites running write-ups of this event and i swear all three of them have commented on how evil and forboding Nicky Katt is. He just sits there glaring at people. I bet under his breath he's saying "i've gotta knife... i'll cut you" over and over again.
Actually he's probably a very nice dude who just doesn't want to be hassled. I bet if someone said they were a fan he'd say back "thank" and then "I've got a knife, I'll cut you."
anyway, the first movie of the night was Death Rage, apparently a reference to this really odd visual "problem" that Yul Brenner has in the film, where he keeps seeing his brother get shot or something. That's basically the long and short of the entire movie. His name is Inigo Montoya, they killed his brother, now prepare to die.
Highlights definitely include the score. There was really awesome 70s funk scores to all three movies tonight and man is that stuff good. it all reminded me of how great the score in Hustle and Flow is, and how movie scores are rarely that quality anymore. After this festival, i think my idea of what kind of film i'd make if i was given that dream shot has drastically changed... it would now definitely have a fun score.
Another highlight was FINALLY getting to see what all the fuss was about regarding Barbara Bouchet. Like I've been telling everyone lately, i thought i had seen a lot of movies until i got to this town. Now I know that I haven't seen anything, man. There are entire worlds that I haven't even broken the surface of, and the wonderous sensuality of Barbara Bouchet is one of them. Indeed she is unratably gorgeous and was not afraid to bare it all so that makes her cool in my book. Plus acting like Yul Brenner is a human and not the robot cowboy from Westworld must have been tough, so double kudos to her.
Speaking of Yul, it's true he is a badass hitman in this movie... but for this being a hitman revenge movie, there are surprisingly few hits or revenges going on. As always, Yul strikes me as much too stiff and cold. I mean he's still badass in this movie, but a stiff cold kind of badass that somehow has to fall in love. In this angle, Yul kind of loses me.
Other than that, there's a young pipsqueek of a sidekick that wants to constantly help out by shooting horses with a BB gun or something. He looked a lot like an Italian version of Michael J. Fox, and the movie ends on a pretty solid note with him being "hired." ALl in all, this was a fun film but not nearly my favorite of the night.
|09.14.05||No Way Out||Duccio Tessari||OK, how fuckin cool is this movie? This movie is SO fucking cool... that i was COMPLETELY gut-punched by the last shot. Looking back, it's something that i should've seen coming from like, the first frame... but instead i was SO engrossed and SO with this story and its characters that the end actively made me mad. I couldn't help it, the entire audience groaned so I know they were with me too. |
Elaborating without giving much away (not sure this is available anywhere anyway), Alain Delon plays my exact idea of the archetypal badass hitman. He's not all flashy bald and robotic like Yul Brenner, he's a nondescript guy with a strong jaw that's very very good at his job. In the opening scene, he performs a hit and this other guy just happens to be in the room. There's the quickest look of sympathy on Delon's face ("sorry. wrong place, wrong time, buddy") and he shoots him dead and leaves. This movie is like what if there was no Natalie Portman character in The Professional and it was all just wicked hit after wicked hit for the whole movie. It's so great.
QT mentioned that aside from being a crime film and drawing influence from other areas of Italian cinema at the time, there's also a touch of giallo in here because the action pieces are set up and revolve around the death scenes and that the deaths are performed with the coreography and outright virtuosity of a giallo, which i found not only to be absolutely true but also completely awesome. It's like how Coppola says somewhere in the Godfather commentaries that he tried to give each death a unique note, like being shot through the glasses or the rag silencing the gun catching on fire, etc. the deaths in this movie are completely badass and all of them memorable. In one scene, Delon busts in on one dude in a train car and shoots him then shoots him again and we see blood splatter up across the window as the body falls back, cracking and breaking it out. Then the top half of this dude flops out and hangs outside the train as it goes through a tunnel, slapping into marker after marker and finally crashing through some wooden supports before Tessari finally cuts away and lets the poor man die. Watching it was sort of like seeing The Matrix for the first time... there are things done here that you've sort of subliminally always wanted to see done in a movie because they just feel the most effective and unique but for some reason no one ever does them (like when Agent Smith misses Neo with a punch and punches through a concrete column instead and plaster goes flying into the camera). As another example, there's a car chase in this movie that's so utterly badass and completely unique that I am surprised it's not more famous. I don't know what kind of car it was that Delon was driving but we'll call it a beamer and he's chasing these gunmen in a Peugot... and this other car pulls out in front of the beamer and Delon's laying on his horn as the slow car takes FOREVER to pass this truck and it cuts into the slow car with this woman saying something like "geez, stop honking," completely oblivious to the fact that she's taking forever. at another point Delon skirts across a separated highway to pass another traffic hold up and smashes nearly head-on into this VW bug. the bug is TOTALLED. Normally, this would be where the chase sequence ends right? drat! they got away! Not here. In a cacophony of squeeling tires and screeching rubber, the beamer backs up and swerves around the crumpled mass of metal that used to be a VW bug and continues on. Then there's actually insert shots of the motor and gears as he shifts up and gives chase... these shots are so incredibly cool to finally see in there... and then the beamer makes a move to cut off the peugot by going off-road, so there are these shots of the beamer BLASTING through these woods, driving on a bed of leaves mind you, skating back and forth to avoid hitting trees at like 60 mph... and finally, the car chase doesn't end with a big crash or an explosion or anything like that... the gunmen just stop their car and run into a building and the beamer pulls up and stops and Delon and his buddy get out and also walk into the building. It's such a realistic way to end a car chase that is just never done. And of course, we don't even see the actual murders because we know it'll happen. Killing them is not a challenge... the challenge was getting there.
Alain Delon is pitch perfect in this movie. He's quiet, stoic, moral, pissed the hell off about his wife and kid being blown up, but also not an animal. He's got one of the best lines in the film, after someone's just come up to him with this grand scheme of helping him out or some such thing, Delon just looks at him and says "Fuck Off." Now, in print that doesn't sound too impressive, but this is the first naughty word spoken in the film and we're maybe 20 or 30 minutes into it... and it's only said a few more times through the entire movie. So the tight control of it makes it more satisfying. I guess that could be said about the entire movie. It's very tightly controlled and perfectly orchestrated. Like I said, i was completely "got" by that last shot... and there aren't even any end credits or anything. it's like the film just punches you right in the gut then stops. whew...
|09.14.05||The Sell-Out||Peter Collinson||For the midnight movie, QT played a non-Italian sort-of crime, mostly-spy movie starring Oliver Reed and an old Richard Widmark. This movie was directed by the guy who did the original Italian Job as well as tons of others I haven't seen (yet). One of the special things about this screening is that QT is missing a reel of it. So like, 10 minutes are just not there. What's funny is that QT said he'd seen it so much like this that he not only doesn't miss it but also never really wants to see that missing reel even if he had the option because one of the great mysteries of the movies for him would be answered with that reel. Basically, Widmark is "retired" CIA and lives in Isreal with a hot wife. Oliver Reed, a former student of Widmark's has defected to Moscow but now, caught in the middle of some high-end tomfoolery on both sides, has basically the entire world wanting to kill him. So he shows up and Widmark has to take him in and figure it all out. The thing is, it's pretty blatant that Reed and the hot wife had been together before she was with Widmark and the movie starts, but what QT always wonders is that if Reed hooks back up with her in that missing reel. There's one scene in particular which would have two completely different tones and meanings depending on that fact... so he threw that out as something to think about while we watched.|
Personally, I didn't even realize a reel was missing. I guess it was reel 2 so it was pretty close to the beginning but there were certainly no HUGE logic or plot jumps so I really didn't think anything of it, but it is interesting that it gives us license to wonder back and forth. Beforehand, QT said that to show a film that's missing a reel and still charge for it must be taken as a sign that he still likes it the way it is, which i would agree with.
Personally, i like to think that they did get together... the hot wife part is such a femme fatale role that having her cheat on her man is just one more twist of that screw. Maybe she actually didn't but she definitely at least thought about it.
Again, there is awesome music going on, as there was in both Death Rage and No Way Out. Whenever that bass drum/hi-hat gets rolling, you know it's on.
There's also one stand-out sequence where they end up driving through a minefield. Some great shots of them almost blowing themselves up. Widmark, although old and ironically looking much more like a nice guy than he ever did when he was young, has a scene here and there where he shows that he can still slap around women or push grandmothers down stairs if need be, and Oliver Reed's performance is just... well, bizarre. His readings are soo strange, man. It makes it interesting but also pretty absurd. I bet he was on drugs.
In the end, it was a fun little movie but it couldn't hope to top my experience with No Way Out.
|09.15.05||Hay Country Swingers||Alois Brummer||Sexploitation Night at the QT fest! There's only one more night of new films after this, so so sad! But in other news I've finally been getting off my ass and talking with people in between the films. Aside from the whole AICN crew, I asked John Pierson what it took him to appear on The Real World and he completely agreed with me that that one dude needed to get punched. He also called the blonde slut hot, and said that Dave Grohl, whom he saw the other night, dedicated a whole song to her ("that blonde slut"). He also said he just did his time and got away from those idiots... great answer. I also asked him about "Direction Man," which sometimes plays at the Alamo in the pre-show... to describe it would sort of ruin it so i won't, but Pierson sort of introduces it with Kevin Smith on the Clerks set. He talked about how the clip actually has a real twist and gets much less benign. Great. now i have to find a copy.|
I also said hey to the guy who runs cinemastrikesback.com, which is running excellent blow-by-blow write-ups of the entire fest... so if you want to get a complete picture of this week instead of just my thoughts and perspective, head on over there (same goes for dumbdistraction.com and of course AICN) and a few others, generally sharing in our movie geekery where i am continually exposed to tons of stuff i never knew even existed. man i am such a small fish in this pond.
anyway, the first movie of the night, Hay Country Swingers, is a german flick about.... you know i really don't know what it was about. This girl ends up at a farmhouse... i guess you could call that a plot. anyway, before QT came up, Lars (yeah, Lars!) told us all about how he loves sexploitation films and has seen a bunch of em and in his opinion the countries that they are made have a correlation between the quality of their sexploitation films and the quality of their food. He cited France and Italy as having wonderfully hot and great flicks, then said German stuff was just beer & bratwurst, greasy shit. And then he said even within german sexploitation there are levels of quality and Quentin had decided to show a lederhosen film tonight, truly the lowest of the low. Lars then said to QT: you must have balls the size of volkswagons to show this, and I applaud you for it.
To which QT gets up and intros the film. It was very funny and i think all of the details have oozed out of my ear because I can't remember anything he said.
Anyway, the movie makes absolutely no sense. every guy is horny and tries to get with any living being in the scene, I don't think there's one scene in the entire film that doesn't end with softcore sex. I also don't think there's one scene where some rendition of Beethoven's Ode to Joy is played. The girls are all either cute or 70s-esque though and the whole movie is really quite funny. I was strongly reminded of all those trashy dubbed films they used to play on Cinemax Friday After Dark during my burgeoning youth. 2069 A Sex Odyssey, that one Emanuelle that was Japanese, maybe even a Jess Franco movie or two if i'm not mistaken.
One thing to mention about this film is one character, I really never knew which one... whether she was the wife of the owner or one of the lesbo farmhands or any of the seemingly random people that would just pop up to either have sex or try to have sex, introduced the main girl to a vibrator. Main girl: i've heard about these and always wanted to use one. it looks so complicated. random woman: it's easy, just use it like this. Then she procedes to titillate her titties, working it all over her upper torse and even down the side of her leg once or twice. I really hope no burgeoning youth women saw this and took it as educational...
There was also the dopey handimen who is sexually taunted by all the babes in heat. We last saw him in Funeral Home, where prodigious amounts of ear-hair kept him from getting any play from the tragically un-hot "hot girl." This time around, he gets to poke and prod and slobber all he wants until all the women harshly end things and he's left to his own devices. Poor dopey handiman.
One last thing. Right at the end of the movie, the main girl finally uses her vibrator and finally figures out another place to put it besides on her breasts, abdomen, legs, neck, and arms. The movie then cuts to this animated cuckoo clock where the arms of the clock are little phalluses and the ticker is a huge swinging pair of balls. The hour strikes and an animated cock jumps out and goes on this little adventure where first it roams free but then it runs from this really ugly woman with hard nipples. It pulls up it's foreskin to hide, it disguises itself as a cannon, it deflates until someone tickles it hard again, all kinds of crazy stuff just out of the blue. Cut back to the main girl finished with the vibe. I guess it was supposed to symbol some sort of internal masturbatory fantasy but... if so that is one CRAZY freak of a woman... hilarious? yes, erotic? nope.
Anyway, it was a fun romp absolutely fitting the title of tonight's theme, probably made better because it was so German and definitely saved by the bizarre animation at the end. Quentin mentioned that dopey handimen have become an emerging pattern this year but I'd contend that animated penises have also reared their ugly heads, so to speak.
|09.15.05||Teenage Hitchhikers||Gerri Sedley||QT: This movie actually has teenage hitchhikers in it. That's rare, don't get used to that shit.|
Quentin talked about this American flick being a good example of the kind of stuff they'd make for drive-ins in the early 70s, most usually as part of a triple feature with something like: Teenage Delinquents, Teenage Hitchhikers, and Teenage Prostitutes or whatever. Most of the time, the movies would actually have nothing to do with the title, they're just fit to the mold in order to get randy couples in the gates. QT mentioned being a kid and driving past the drive-ins and getting just the slightest glimpse of one of the scenes on the screen and being like, jazzed about it. It's a memory that's clearly fond and I have similar ones except mine all revolve around being able to climb into the back seat and see the other, better, movie playing while i waited for the second movie of the double feature (They'd always play some really super crappy movie first that I'd have to wait through just to get to the good stuff like Friday the 13th part 7 or whatever. Of course then my parents would fall asleep or maybe start staring at the other screen while i dug on the tinny screaming coming in through the audiobox. anyway...).
So this movie, being American, has way more violence in it than the other one. THe girls are also not nearly as cute, but at least they are hitchhikers. For some reason, the supporting cast of this movie is incredibly bizarre. There's a lingerie salesman who starts a scene incredibly hetero and ends it in complete drag coming on to a cop, there's the cop with the effeminite southern drawl is sort of threatening but not really, then in the best role and really the only reason that made this movie worth watching, this rapist who becomes incredibly hurt by one of the hitchhiker's accusations of small genitalia and poor sexual prowess.
This movie is one of those that you see the running time is 74 minutes and know that even so, it's gonna seem like three hours. There were a few good lines though (mostly toward the beginning) including "hey! we laid our music on you, that's worth something!", "if you want bread, go fuck a baker", and "I was afraid I'd catch something."
There's also a scene in here where they just talk. it begins with no sex and it ends with no sex. what the hell is a scene like that doing in a movie like this!? There must've been lost footage or something. All that dialogue in a row couldn't have been intentional.
So where Hay Country Swingers was at least enjoyable and completely saved by the last five minutes, Teenage Hitchhikers is slow enough to veer into "painful" territory. I was pretty glad when it ended.
|09.15.05||Hot Sumemr in the City||The Hare||For the midnight movie to end Sexploitation Night, QT picked something very special. Beforehand, Tim league finally took stage for an intro, and did a remarkably well-spoken explanation of how, since the AFS was putting on this event instead of the Alamo Drafthouse, the thin line between filth and art was teetering into the "art" category tonight. By use of a hand gesture demarcating the level of "art" that we've been at tonight so far (mostly boobies, a bit of fur), he raised his hand much higher and talked about the trailers we were about to see corresponding with the film we were about to see. Then he made all of us who might be bloggers or internet journalists (Tim: this means you redhead boy (everyone laughs at harry knowles)) to promise not to say the Alamo showed filth. I remember from a few other trips to see somewhat risque features that some law or regulation forbids the Alamo from showing hardcore porn, so that, along with common decency, dictates that I not explain too much about this movie that i just saw.|
I mean, not that anyone reads this... but if there was a mistake someday and someone actually did, i definitely don't want to get Tim and the Alamo in trouble... and they wouldn't... because they didn't do anything wrong... or show any filth... no filth at all.
I will say that I am probably a changed man because of it.
I will also say that the trailers were very graphic in their non-filthiness and made us all do that laugh/groan/clap thing more than once. There was lots of slow-motion non-filth, some really vivid underwater non-filth, and I particularly got a kick out of the trailer for Behind the Green Door drawing a reference/comparison to Visconti's The Damned. I guess blue cinema really was more highbrow back then.
In his intro, QT talked about how he really didn't like porn at all. He got a job at the Pussycat theater when he was 16 and was an usher there for some time not to mention his years at a video store putting him in constant contact with the stuff, but before Teenage Hitchhikers, when he was explaining what the difference between porn and sexploutation was for him (the girls have charm, not track marks and bullet holes), called porn anti-film. He said he was such a non-fan that he couldn't even remember the few he ever saw which he didn't think were bad, which is really saying something because over the course of the week we've heard him remember the name of pretty much every movie that's ever existed and become obscure. BUT, he says, the box art of Hot Summer in the City finally won him over one night and the movie quickly became his by-far favorite porn (not filth!!! it had a story, thus proved social import). Again, what was shown tonight was art, not filth, so I'm not gonne even describe the box art or the movie in any way except to say that the plot involved a gang of black dudes two days before a huge racial riot is started by "The Man" (whom we actually see) and an unfortunate teenaged white woman.
Anyway, one thing QT mentioned is that one of the guys has sort of a large head and droopy eyelids... and as the movie plays you start to think to yourself "is this guy retarded?" I mean his character is definitely retarded. They call him slow and do mean things to him and he ends up having to take care of himself in the corner and all, but what you start wondering about is the actor himself... because he plays retarded REALLY damn well... much better than all these other dudes play their characters... and the retard character's name is also the actor's first name... so it really becomes apparent as you watch that what's onscreen is really pretty wrong in ways that even the most DPDA/bukkake/donkey show stuff of today doesn't even do.
so yeah, it was a special moment between all of us in the theater. I'm sure we'll all remember it for some time.
|09.16.05||Crack House||Michael Fischa||Tonight's Grindhouse Triple Feature marked the end of new programming for QT6, unless any of the rumors/wishes about there being more than previously played films in the Encore night come true. That said, tonight sort of represented those forgotten genres that drew the short straws this year and didn't get a whole night of their own. First up is a semi-blaxploitation flick called Crack House.|
Before that though, the pre-show had this trailer with the line "He used a camera like most men use a woman." What does that even mean??? I don't know, but it's really cool.
Crack House: Even though this movie was released in 89, anyone that played GTA: San Andreas has basically seen this movie. There's stereotypically funny chicano gangs, OGs for life, sleazy characters, and a crack den that eventually gets busted up.
What's interesting about this movie is that it actually has sex slaves in it. I'm sure this isn't the first movie to have em, i mean the midnight feature last night was all about one, but I found it pretty entertaining to see the rather quick transformation from prosperous student to rockhead sex slave up close and personally. The actress actually pulls of the whole shakes & shivers act pretty well... but by the end of the movie she's only dressed in lingerie and cannot leave the house. awesome.
Other than that, Jim Brown plays a really... really sleazy guy in this with class act lines like "get this bitch a speedball" and "is this your bitch? Used to be." If this isn't somewhere on his reel, he needs to check himself for real.
Continuing in the tradition of TP in Madman, another pattern (along with retard handimen and animated penises) emerges with one of the slimeball characters here being named BT (stands for Big Time, by the way... because he's so... big time?).
I think the funniest character in the film has to be the highschool principle though, who ends up being one cold-hearted ruthless killer/drug supplier/pedophile... Richard Roundtree, who plays a cop, has a great line after he shoots the primciple down at the end of the film: "We need to start paying these teachers more money." There you go folks, a moral message. Now would somebody please get this bitch a speedball?
Oh yeah, one of the black gang members (the one who keps saying crazy awesome stuff like "OG for life!" and "OGs don't die, they multiply" had this awesome 80s shirt on that said "OG Jammer" and after the movie Tim made up a replica of the shirt... so cool. Not cool enough to buy one of course, but still...
|09.16.05||The Dirty Outlaws||Franco Rossetti||Next on the list was a spaghetti western named The Dirty Outlaws although QT thought the original title must be Desperado due to the really kickass theme son (which he then began to sing the chorus very loudly and just a second or two too long. the guy has real comedy chops, I'm telling you). Louis Black from the Austin Chronicle also gave him a poster of this film, which QT said he didn't have, and mentioned that Black himself got the poster from Jay Knowles (Harry's dad) a long time ago, getting it in trade for some comic books. Heh.|
QT also mentioned that this movie had his maybe favorite actress of all time in it: the girl who does the voice dubs of one of the female characters. He said that she's basically been in every movie you've ever seen, and she's so great but he doesn't know her name. I thought this was a really interesting facet to Tarantino's tastes... that his favorite actress is really just a voice... very cool.
The movie was OK. Some of the brawl photography was really great but a few sequences went on pretty long, and the main character, who basically starts off the movie as a horse thief and stumbles into this plan to steal a stash of gold from a blind dude, all of a sudden has a severe curse of the Morals when he takes down the people that beat him up and killed the blind dude that he was conning anyway. This makes the takedown scenes even longer as he continually has to give bad guys weapons, make sure they know who's killing them, let them run a bit before mowing them down, etc. After the badassosity of Yul Brenner and Alain Delon, this guy was borderline pansy by comparison. They left you for dead in a huge mudpatch! the least you can do is gut-shoot them then dig your muddy heal in the wound while they squirm there... Why play games?
The theme song is excellent though, really catchy and it's still in my head. DESPERADOOOOOO!
|09.16.05||Fistfull of Talons||Chung Sun||The night ended with a good-ol kung-fu flick, directed by (QT: he's like the Kubrick of the Shaw brothers stable) Chung Sun and starring Billy Chong. Before the movie started, Quentin mentioned (along with like 15 other things that I'm not mentioning (the same goes for every film I'm writing up here)) that the last shot, not the last scene but the last shot, might give Tobe Hooper's last shot in Texas Chainsaw Massacre a run for its money as the Best Last Shot of a Movie Ever. "It wouldn't win, but it would give it a run."|
I have to say he's right.
As far as the plot's concerned... some angry manchurians want to overthrow the republicans (HUGE cheer from the crowd), but there's this one soldier dude or something that stole the emporer's seal.. and he's hiding out next to where Billy Chong washes his horse. Fighting, training sequence, weird kinda-romance with chinese Cher-lookalike, and epic final battle set on a huge statue of a loungin Buddha ensues.
Some of the shot compositions during the fight scenes are really impressive, and the movie adheres to a strict ruleset of like... guys fight until they spit blood. Once they spit blood, they are out of it. The wire-enhanced mega kick- and punch-recoils were spare enough to make them look really cool and not get old, especially coupled with the spitting of blood previously mentioned. There were definitely some pretty effective sequences here... and then the last scene.
After a huge long final battle, the Cher-lookalike calls upon her mystical control over eagles and a few of them fly into the bad guy's face and start pecking/scratching away. Of course they use a real eagle for the shots of the dude tussling and rolling around, gripping this eagle so it won't fly away... but then this last shot:
The bad guy stands up and, gripping an eagle-leg in each arm, rips the bird apart at the seam... splitting it right the fuck in half. As this happens (in slow-mo), Billy Chong is flying through the air set to connect in the biggest jumpkick-to-back-of-head ever... then the film literally stops, becoming a still, and the credits role. End of fight right there, I guess... but then again after you split an eagle in half what more can you really do?
So there I have it. If tomorrow night's Encore Night is in fact made up of encore presentations, this concludes the new QT films of the fest. The week has absolutely flown by. Part of me really wishes this could go on forever, despite it being hot in the theater tonight and my ass just about being out of cushion, it's really really great to live the lifestyle of waking up, eating, going to the theater, coming home and writing it up, sleeping, and repeating. Of course i have all sorts of real-life stuff backed up for a week, but it has been so worth it. I learend tonight that 9-day badges sold out roughly at 8:30 am... i got mine at 8:20. I feel so lucky... and am already dreading the mad rush to get one next time... otherwise I will be waiting in standby with everyone else :(
|09.17.05||No Way Out||Duccio Tessari||Encore Night at QT6. Thanks to AFS accidentally printing the line-up of the 80s horror marathon and the mystery midnight movie for Sexploitation Night, tonight is really the biggest unknown in the whole festival. People have been rumouring and pondering for most of the week how exactly tonight would work. Would there be polls? an applause-o-meter to decide which films get played? would it be an all-nighter? how much it would suck if it WASN'T an all-nighter, would there be new films? Would we get to see Confessions of a Young American Housewife just because Quentin hadn't? Would Nicky Katt finally wear a new t-shirt? Encore night was like The Weather for everyone waiting in line: a perfect filler for any lulls in conversation.|
Speaking of waiting in line, I got there early enough to see the AICN folks walk in and straight into the theater. Thanks to Emily Hagen (a 12 year old girl who'd just gotten a state grant to make a zombie film) and her mother being in line behind me, i got an impromptu invite to check whatever it is that we watched out. Pretty sweet not having to wait in line for an hour.
So tonight was sort of off from the very beginning. The current rumor was two old films and two new, which made sense since we'd all calculated QT's timetable to make it to the Emmys the next day. Still, it would put us out of the theater at like 4:30... a horrible time as it's not early enough for breakfast but too late for a normal night's sleep (thankfully the McDonald's near my apartment has all-night drive-thru. mmm bacon, Egg & Cheese biscuit). Not only that, but Quentin wasn't there to intro the first film. Instead, Lars got up and talked about No Way Out's excellent score, awesome set design, and beautiful female lead that has like 3 scenes in the entire movie. According to Lars, Quentin was off doing volunteer work for hurricane Katrina. Lars, man.. you never know... I really thought it was a joke but then everyone started clapping. Lars then said "if you have a problem with that then you are a cold-blooded motherfucker." Later on, I talked to someone who asked if he was kidding and he wouldn't say a word. In any case, No Way Out didn't get as rambunctious a response this time, but for me personally, even though i wasn't as vocal about it, I still liked it just as much. In addition to all the stuff i went on about last time, I can't believe I forgot to mention the total superman lunging knifing that Delon does at one point when he runs out of bullets. It's just this grand sweeping leap up this flight of stairs to land with a knife right into this guy's back. So badass. I also forgot to mention another death where the bullet goes through the guy to break the fishtank behind him, leaving all these goldfish wiggling around on the table... as well as another death where he shoots a guy right between the eyes and his sunglasses break apart. Man, those deaths were sweet... it was a perfect mix of hitman cool and giallo style.
There were also several little bits and pieces of foreshadowing leading up to the final shot this time around... just little things that make the facial expressions in the last scene all the more resonant and important.
Later, Eric (AKA Quint) said there was a No Way Out one-sheet on eBay but someone else was bidding on it. He said he might have to get dirty and do some last-minute sniping to get it. I would love a No Way Out poster but have no doubt that his eBay powers are greater than mine.
|09.17.05||Tarzoon, The King of the Jungle||Picha, Boris Szulzinger||For the second film of the Night, Robert Rodriguez came up to thank the sponsors and intro QT. Man, this guy has been working out. Anyway, after bringing him up on stage, QT turned and motioned for Rodriguez to stay... At this point, everyone who'd been at the 80s horror-thon started working themselves up. Quentin mentioned that they played a movie called Silent Night, Deadly Night, all of us vets started cheering. Tarantino then said that they were going to re-enact the first scene from that movie, with Rodriguez as the grandfather and Quentin as young Billy. They both got on their knees, RR started playing comatose, and what followed is probably the highlight of the entire festival for me. Rodriguez gave it up as well as I remember seeing a week ago, only forgetting to throw in a "BOYYYY" but other than that pitch-perfect. It was really something special to see.|
Afterward, Rodriguez explained that it was probably his favorite monologue in all of cinema and he hadn't seen it in a long time but the last time he did it was to scare the shit out of the Spy Kids kids when one of them mentioned looking forward to Christmas. He also mentioned that he's been hanging out at Quentin's house working on Grindhouse (tangential note: RR said that QT actually got a line idea for their trailer from one of the trailers played here during the fest... so when the Grindhouse trailer hits expect it to say "Rodriguez and Tarantino are back! but this time, they're Back TO Back!") and when he mentioned that he was gonna play SN,DN for us, he went right into it and Quentin was really surprised and impressed that he knew it so well. Surprised and impressed indeed.
So after that, Quentin said that there was really nothing that could be said to prepare anyone for Tarzoon for those that haven't seen it. I'd agree, it really is better to just let it wash over you and appreciate the perverse surreality of it all. I was a little anxious about seeing it at 10:30 rather than midnight, but to my surprise the film was still really funny on that bizarre level. I think I appreciated Belushi's Perfect Master character even more. "Come on, douchebag, what's your name?" and the two-headed dude arguing to himself about whether certs was candy or not. Eric (AKA Quint) said he got a set of French Lobby cards off eBay but they haven't arrived yet. I really hope there's one of the phallus army generation conveyor belt... that'd be really special.
|09.17.05||Fight for Your Life||Robert A. Endelson||Encore Night continued with a new film which Quentin described as one of his favorite exploitaiton movies ever. He was looking through Tim's list of prints last night and freaked out when he saw the title and when he called Tim up this afternoon and said he wanted to show it, Tim just started laughing. Qhen QT mentioned that it would make a great double feature with Hot Summer in the City, Tim got serious and said you couldn't do it. It would just be too wrong. Either the screen would ignite into flames or God would just have enough with us and push the "Smite" button on his keyboard. QT then goes into an impersonation of a foul-mouthed ghetto-slang God stomping his foot down on poor little Alamo Drafthouse Downtown... at the time i thought "God wouldn't really be that bad" but after seeing this movie and imagining seeing it together with Hot Summer in the City, I have changed my mind. I DO think God would get that upset and start swearing and mashing us down into hell with his white sneaker.|
What's funny about the movie is it stars William Sanderson, who has been in tons of stuff, usually as a dimwit thanks to his unique voice. He was in Blade Runner as the toymaker and the Bob Newhart show as Larry (with the brother Darryl and the other brother Darryl) and is now on Deadwood now as E.B. Farnham, the hotel owner. According to QT, anyone who knows this guy will forever now know him only as Jessie Lee Kane from this movie. His performance as a cracker southern hillbilly psycho nutcase will burn into your brain and make you forever associate him with this role.
"You can make a movie as incendiary as Fight for Your Life," Quentin tells us all, "but you can never make a movie MORE incendiary than Fight For Your Life." Quentin also mentioned that this movie first had the title "The Fighting Family," but then it was "Fight for Your Life," but when he finally got to see it in NY it was "Staying Alive." Incidentally, IMDb has seven titles associated with this movie, including "I Hate Your Guts", "Getting Even", and "Blood Bath at 1313 Fury Road." The Isely Brothers-esque theme song that plays in the beginning and end of the flick has the words "fight for your life" in it though so... you know.
The actual movie is about a black family (the patriarch being a deacon at his church, very soft-spoken and decent) being terrorized by a group of escaped convicts. Sanderson is the leader of said escaped group, taking great pains to include EVERY reacial slur in the KKK lexicon of "words that make black people angry." He doesn't limit himself to the family that he's terrifying though. See, he has a gun and his buddies only have knives so he gets to call his latino buddy a spic and his "oriental" buddy a chink an awful lot too. Both the spic and the chink are pretty funny though. one's like obsessed with his poor upbringing and the other is a total perv who they have to hide the family dog from for some reason. It's really Sanderson though who takes the cake. He points a gun at the back of a baby's head after killing its papa, beats the deacon out of conscioussness with his bible, yelling "turn the other cheek!" and he rapes the virgin daughter then lets the other two have goes while the dad's still knocked out.
The pervy oriental also beats this little kid to death with a rock. It's really pretty brutal and totally uncalled for. I really think the FBI needs to investigate anyone who owns a copy of this movie.
It's ultimately rewarding though when the family finally turns the tables on Sanderson and his crazy-ass buddies. The once peacable happy family becomes completely vicious and vindictive, shooting one guy in the crotch and really exacting some revenge on the other two.
I think it might be wrong for me as a person to say i really liked this movie, but I have to say it's the kind of movie that you don't tend to forget. Surprisingly (to me at least) there were lots of people there who'd seen it before, many times before actually. It's just a reminder for me that i am a real lightweight when it comes to exploitation film.
Oh, also. Quentin said that the last movie of the night would be Johnny Firecloud, which he hasn't seen so that would get to be his little festival, watching a movie he hasn't seen with us.
|09.17.05||Johnny Firecloud||William A. Castleman||So here's the funny thing about this screening, the last screening of the entire fest. Tarantino was gone. Nobody seemed to really know where he was off to, no one really knew if or when he was coming back, he just sort of disappeared at some point. and was never really heard from again. So i guess I've now seen a movie that Tarantino hasn't... that officially makes me eligible for a hardcore filmgeek badge and secret decoder ring, right?|
Anyway, Tim got up and intro'd the film instead and did a great job of it. he also called for a show of who had made it to every show of the fest. I proudly started clapping and although I was surrounded by AICN people so it made it seem like there were a lot of us, Micah's (he was sitting a few rows back)dumbdistraction.com write-up mentioned that there was really only about a dozen of us. Not even Tim made it to all of them, citing BMX Bandits as his downfall. He then called for a show of the all-but-one club and got some more applause (many yelling "Madman Marz" excuses... weaklings.) Tim: ah yeah, Madman fuckin Marz... did anyone actually like that movie? (I actually did) You guys are high or stupid or something. I've got news for you... you watch it again and you'll find out that movie sucks!
I call that just a little bit of jealousy for not making it to all the showings, but Tim's a cool guy so I'll let that go.
So Tim continued with his intro, calling Johnny Firecloud a rip-off of Billy Jack made by the great David F. Friedman, basically making a bloodier, dirtier, nastier versions of movies that make a lot of money.
The movie was pretty much that. There was a great scalping scene along with a few other cool death idead (a bag full of rattlers!) but before it could get to that we had to sit through a lot of rednecks making fun of indians and indians arguing about whether or not their culture sucks. The main guy, Johnny Firecloud, was pretty built but insisted on wearing these really tight pants with this totally cinched up belt which made him look flabby. He's constantly angry at everyone even though big-breasted women want him, including an absolutely beautiful Native American girl who actually gets raped TO DEATH. I'm not sure exactly how much rape it would take to cause death, but it must be a lot, and she must have gotten it.
Easily the most interesting character of the movie is not Johnny Firecloud or the big rich redneck who own's the town but the police dude with the dirty secret that keeps him on the rich guy's leash. There's a scene in here where he sits at his desk and has a sort-of quit breakdown/tears-of-rage sort of thing that... I have to say, was a real moment. It felt like it deserved to be in a better movie, or maybe it was still pretty bad but just better than everything else, at 3:30am who can tell. Anyway, he's gay, or maybe not, but in any case he got discharged from the military for being gay. This calls us back to an earlier line where one of the rednecks confronts him in a bar and says "One of these days you and me are gonna tangle assholes!" Drew (AKA Moriarty) after the movie: I don't think that means what you think it means, man. You should maybe rethink that before you go around saying it again.
In another emerging pattern though, there's a scene with some of the best camel-toe I've seen in recent history. It mirrors Funeral Home's nicely.
I think the only other good moment of the film comes when Johnny Firecloud's getting back at the big rich redneck. Instead of killing him, he ties him up and whips the shit out of him (because of course he was whipped earlier, blah blah blah) and has him strung up to hang with his feet barely standing on the ground and connects with a solid punch right to the balls. The rich redneck guy then proceeds to try and scrunch up his legs in pain but then starts hanging and has to bring his legs down to the ground but hurts so much he can't so he's thrashing around trying not to choke as he deals with his nutpain. Pretty cool.
Other than that, the movie doesn't end with a death or even a showdown but a wussy psychotherapy session between Johnny Firecloud and the gay cop on that pile of rocks that they use for every movie (a joke was made of it in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey when they're watching a Star Trek episode and the evil B&T robots then tae the real B&T to the same formation to throw them off and kill them). All of this talk of feelings and knowing who you are and where you're going pretty much killed any sort of excitement or energy I had for this film. At that point it was just 4 in the morning and Quentin had already left.
Through the whole night I was feeling pretty sad since this was the end. Sure spending every night at the Alamo was sort of getting to me (there was a bug that was going around that I was just waiting to catch, my ass was sore, and I had a paranoid fear that all of the assorted BOs were attaching themselves to my clothes and stuff), but after this final film there was a pretty positive feeling of making through to the end. 27 films, 1 TV show, and 2 encores in 9 nights = pretty epic. I'll have Weird Wednesday's to revisit some of this kind of feeling though, and upcoming festivals to hopefully see everybody again. I do have a fear that I won't get a badge to the next QT fest - selling out in half an hour is really hardcore - but hopefully something will work out. Hopefully there will be another one, and in less than four years too. After saying goodbye to everyone and sauntering out into the completely deserted streets of 4:30am Austin, i got in my car and headed home to bills and garbage and an empty refridgerator and all the other pains in the ass that real life creates. I didn't get a ticket for the Firefly marathon going on today at the Alamo so i'll actually have to stay home tonight. i wonder what that will feel like.