Friday, April 13, 2007

High marks for movie trash

Back in the ’70s, my roommates and I spent a lot of nights at an old movie theater in Culver City, where tickets were just 50¢, and you could see real good crap like Rolling Thunder, the revenge flick with William Devane, Black Belt Jones with Jim Kelly, and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, starring Peter Fonda and — oh, sweet muthauvgawd! — the irrepressible Susan George, who’d already slayed us sexually and made us useless to other women in Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs just a few years before. At the time, we didn’t know that these on-the-cheap movies would pretty much disappear, then return as cult classics. We never even heard the term “grindhouse” until we heard Quentin Tarantino use it.

I saw the Rodriguez-Tarantino double-bill extravaganza Grindhouse with my brother-in-law earlier this week. Deb asked me to describe it later. I told her it was a genuine “chick flick.” Most of the guys in the picture are whiney and weak. It’s the girls who kick serious ass. So Grindhouse gets a high rating from me, falling as it does in a long line of recent “armed and dangerous babes” films, all of which I’ve enjoyed — Aeon Flux, Elektra, Ultraviolet, and the greatest of them all, Kill Bill. I can’t recommend Grindhouse without warning that it may disturb you. It may even piss you off. And I’d never suggest that you take your loved ones with you. But I got a kick out of it, and I’ve been talking about it for five days.

And Rose McGowan, who stars in Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror” segment of Grindhouse... Well, she’s almost made me forget about Susan George. Almost.


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