Friday, September 10, 2010


I’m finally headed to Machete tomorrow night at the drive-in, and although the reviews have been decidedly mixed, I happened to read Walter Chaw’s piece on the movie this morning and now I’m genuinely hoping for another good time a la Piranha 3D. This is a really good piece from Chaw, a writer with whom I’ve issues in the past, and it’s convincing largely because he locates the place that Robert Rodriguez has traditionally be unable to cross over from exploitation to some kind of transcendence, the way that Quentin Tarantino has:

“What Rodriguez continues to do is clarify exactly how good Quentin Tarantino is; it's the difference between a guy copying his favourite movies without much comprehension of their appeal and an artist using the grindhouse as a starting point for a fulsome conversation. Machete's a blast, but there's nothing in its underneath… It resembles Alexandre Aja's Piranha remake, in that sense: there's nothing like reserve in its execution. Yet unlike Aja's picture, Machete doesn't always know it doesn't have a lot under the hood.”

Well, maybe there’s a little something under there after all for Chaw:

Lindsay Lohan, playing Booth's daughter and dressed as a nun, has a moment of real grace in which she gets everyone in a rumble to stop fighting. There's a suggestion here that, after having had Lohan play herself as a wayward girl fallen in with drugs and the wrong crowd, Machete is offering her the film's only hope for the possibility of salvation in its world. The movie, in other words, is actually unexpectedly--if only a little--kind.”

Chaw has raised my hopes for a good time at the drive-in, for sure, though my suspicion of Rodriguez has hardly abated. I am grateful, though, for any kind of compassion extended toward someone who is clearly out of control, be it from Rodriguez or a film critic, for that matter, when derision and mean-spirited gossip is the usual go-to position in this celebrity-obsessed society. Thanks, Walter. It does sound like my cup of grindhouse joy.




Oh Crap said...

So how was it?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

O.C.: It was terrific. I'm going to try to write something today. Had a discussion with a friend afterward in which he brought up a comparison with another film that is totally apt, yet no one has mentioned it yet. Stay tuned.