|Title:||The Savage Seven|
|04.25.06||Rolling Roadshow||This Screening is part of event: Best of QT Fest|
So the whole thing with today is that the air guitar stuff was going on at the downtown alamo tonight so QT fest had to be moved somewhere else. Yes, Tarantino was redirected because of air guitar. You might think that's ridiculous but once you go to one you will completely see the logic there. So instead of calling it off, they decided to make it an outdoor event. This way, they didn't have to worry about selling the venue out so anyone that wanted to come and experience the QTfest vibe could. The only problem is that a huge thunderstorm was due and the whole day was overcast and threatening rain. At 3:45, they took weather.com's 60% chance of rain to mean that we're dodging the storm and the show was on way the hell out in this place called The Glenn. The rain contingency was to play the movies at South Lamar, which would've been weird because they would have had to set up two theaters, but to be honest that didn't sound like such a bad idea... at least it would be in a theater... so anyway, since it's so far out of town lots of people who flew into town needed rides. I left my place at 6 and the sky to the north was black. Things did not look too good. I brought an umbrella along with my lawn chair.
So I picked up this guy Matt and we went out there and they wouldn't allow chairs in the place and I didn't bring a blanket or anything so I was pretty much screwed. The venue's actually pretty weird. It's similar to the Stubb's outdoor area except it's a sort-of grassy lawn instead of all dirt... and there are booths for drinks and stuff but it's in the middle of this shopping center, like we parked in the Best Buy lot which was right across the street... but inside the gate it's a lawn sloping down to a stage and for tonight the Alamo's rolling roadshow inflatable movie screen.
Pretty much as soon as we got there it began to sprinkle a bit and the wind picked up and they had to take down the screen. I was sure they were gonna cancel it right then and there but there was no official announcement or anything and more and more people started showing up. We staked out a series of rocks to sit on at the back of the field... this really wasn't ideal because the rocks were uncomfortable and we couldn't help but hear everyone walking and talking behind us... It also got downright chilly and me in my shorts was pretty much as unprepared as I could be. No blanket, no pants, no socks... it kinda sucked.
it still wasn't raining though so Louis Black got up and talked for a bit about how great we all are then introduced Quentin and he gave a rousing introduction to the first movie. Tonight's double feature is a recreation of the very first night of QT1... without the midnight feature. So it's like two thirds of the first ever night of QTfest... but also outside almost as if we were in a drive-in... and he showed this film on 16mm way back then and now has a pretty good 35mm print of it, so we've upgraded in that sense too.
And to also sort of top it off, the stunt coordinator for this movie was in attendance. He didn't get up or anything but I saw him come in. This is a pretty cool thing because in this movie, much like a lot (if not most or all) biker movies, at some point it becomes very clear that the stuntment take complete control of the movie. I don't think I've seen a biker movie with a massive end brawl that hasn't degenerated into one stunt after another, making almost no sense in relation to the movie but complete sense when you picture these guys trying to prove who's the craziest guy out there over and over. Guys jumping off buildings, falling off bikes, setting on fire... everything in the stuntman's handbook invariably gets thrown into every good biker movie. If it doesn't, then it's not a good biker movie.
So The Savage Seven is no exception to this rule. By the end it's total chaos... which I can dig. What's also cool about this movie is that Max Julien plays an Indian. During his intro, QT had a funny bit where he offhandedly remarked that every black man tries to say he's part Cherokee anyway... then he starts talking to someone in the audience (I have to believe it's Elvis Mitchell), saying "...yeah they do... and if they don't they're not cool." He also explained that even though there are some cool people in this film (Larry Bishop, Max Julien, Penny Marshall for like a second, Bud Cardos, Chuck Bail, and Duane Eddy!?), by far the best thing about it is Adam Roarke. According to QT, if William Smith is the king of biker movies, Adam Roarke is the crown prince. What's great about him in this movie is that he never quite lets you forget that he's not a good guy. Just when you're getting just enough empathy toward him he does some horrible thing that reminds you that these bikers are bums... not nice people.
Quentin also mentioned that this is sort of almost close to a retooling of The Magnificent Seven as a biker movie, but I spent the most part of the movie trying to figure out where that connection was and could never really find it. The plot seemed to be a biker gang rolls in on or close to an Indian reservation and... sort of hates them but then befriends them but then hates them again but for the wrong reason. There's also a huge dude who is sort of the real bad guy, but most of it is bikers vs. faux-indians. All the biker-movie staples are present (weed, rowdy carousing, rape, the psychopath biker who goes too far, etc.). One dude gorws his own herb in a little box he keeps on his bike. When asked about it, he answers "if people potted plants, then it'd be ok if i planted pot. I'm a horticulturist." Earlier, in the midst of a boozed-up party scene, one dude pukes on another dude's woman. "Hey!," he says, "You just barfed on my broad!" The first guy says sorry and the second responds "it's ok, you're my brother. If you want to barf on my broad then go right ahead." This kind of gentle - feminine almost - male bonding seems to happen a lot in biker movies... I'm sure there's an essay on homosexual undertones in the genre floating around somewhere, and if there's not I'm sure there soon will be.
Let's see, what else... the main bad guy's henchman yells out "care-atay!" as he starts using his psuedo judo on the bikers in one scene. After Snake in Monkey's Shadow last night, this scene is pretty laughable. In another scene, the horticulturist biker tries to woo a girl by grabbing her by the arm and saying "let's go in the back room and make love." When she rejects him he says "what's the matter, I said I liked your oatmeal."
These are the moments that make the movie memorable for me, although I have to say that the increasing briskness in the wind and everything else made it tough for me to really get into the movie. It seemed like an awfully long 94 minutes and by the end my ass was hurting from sitting on a rock the whole time. I ate a $3 taco in hopes that just the process of digestion would generate a little body heat and I hopped around for the short break in between movies while more than half the crowd left... I guess not a lot of people were interested in staying for the next movie which was...