Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chicks and Car Chases

I recently had the pleasure of watching the "unedited" version of Quentin Tarentino's Death Proof.

Good things:
Zoe Bell on the top of the 1970 Challenger is awesome. I wanted to be a stuntperson back in the day and so I know better than many when it's the stuntperson and what they're hiding or faking. Because Zoe Bell is a stuntperson we got to see all the things we normally don't and it was spectacular. I also like her attitude during the counter-chase scene where she grabs the metal pipe. Use what you can and don't hold back. She was also impressive when she tossed the metal pipe in via the car window and then jumped right after it. Having done something similar with the much easier entry port of an open car door, it is not the easiest thing to avoid that which you have just thrown in before you. Especially after you've made sure not to hit your buddy with the thing you just threw in.

The interaction of the groups of women were great, even if the dialogue made you want them dead. It's the chemistry and the naturalism that works here.

As always, the music was one of the biggest highlights of the movie. I'm a big believer that QT does more for a musicians career than big music studios ever do.

The girl power. Yes, it doesn't seem like it initially, but this is one of the few times that we have seen women(physically) fighting for something other than the standard "browbeaten woman gaining power and beating on the guy in self-defense."

I admit, I love violence in movies and video games and it was a true delight to be taken through what happened to each girl in the crash. We're usually given crashes from one perspective and only the happenings on the whole. If we are given multiple takes, it's usually just different angles. This was a treat.

The visuals. The graininess was fun. The costumes were so 70s even if the time frame was modern. Stuntman Mike's Icy Hot jacket was a hoot.

Bad Things:
The dialogue. I understand the goal of the girl chats is to make you want to see them dead but they just go on too long. Two minutes into the initial scene with the chatting in the car made me ask "Where's the boom?" Unfortunately the dialogue continued, albeit at different locations and times, for another half hour or so.

The distortion of the time it takes to do things. Kim, from the second group of girls, goes into a Circle A for coffee and Red Bull. She's in there long enough to grind her own beans, brew up the coffee, run down the street to the market for cream and sugar, drink the coffee and Red Bull, wash the coffee mug and recycle the Red Bull cans. During the time she's "getting coffee" one of the other girls goes into the same store, gets cash from the ATM, grabs a snack, and has a short chat with yet another girl, who is still outside the store, about that girl's appearance in Allure magazine, find the magazine, show the girl her spread, buy the magazine and snacks, go outside to talk to the other girl about another magazine, and then go back in for the other magazine. I'm sorry, getting coffee and snacks from a convenience store takes all of 4 minutes, MAX. And that's if there's a line at the counter. QT could have shown the foot fetishism and the creepy car appearances in that time. Just cut out the Stuntman Mike considering his latest targets bit that dragged on. If he really wanted the time, he should have had them getting gas.

The fact that the bit set in Texas had everyone going outside to smoke. Last I checked it was ok to smoke in a bar in Texas, why go outside for a smoke? OK, you can argue it's to show the car and set the tension, but really, no. It just makes it seem forced, especially since you have people inside smoking already. Also, Arlene tells Stuntman Mike she's scared of his car, but I don't recall any point before that where she saw him coming out of the car or when he pointed it out as his.

Overall this is a fun movie if you're into exploitation and violence movies. I really enjoyed watching it and I will buy it. I'll just fastforward through most of the dialogue.

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