Chance Favors the Prepared Mind
I'm still really excited to see it (I guess I better hurry) but this article makes some worthy points. I mean, I'm glad they sunk such a huge amount of money into it, but why did anyone think this would be a hit, let alone a tent-pole for a new Weinstein venture?Even more than Kill Bill, it looks like an elaborate inside joke but also a mythology created by the filmmakers, right? The idea is that they're re-creating an expereince... you remember, right?, the ol' grindhouse? It might be that it's a concept a half-generation older than the people who already go see Tarantino/Rodrigues movies. For us, the appropriate reference would be the films discovered on cable TV and video stores by teenage boys in the late 1980s and early 1990s (like Bloodsport, Above The Law, or the entire early oeuvres of Seagal and Van Damme). It's also a concept that they're making up. And who wants to it in the theatre and be told for 3 hours that they're just not cool enough for the joke? (I mean, besides me.)
Well, that's all true, but I think the real mistake was in the marketing, not the films (or the joke) themselves. It was too gimmicky, maybe, and they should have just been advertised in a more straightforward manner. Also, 3+ hours is long. I don't think people can't sit still that long, but it's just hard to find time to go see 3 hour movies. People do it though - look at the success of films like Titanic or Armageddon.The article also cites the popularity of "dumb" movies like 300. But, uh, Grindhouse is smart? Just because it's kitschy? The whole movie is retarded. But incredible fun, and maybe that's the difference.Ah well. I read the article at 7:00 this morning.
I agree that the problem is something much more than the running time. Three hours movies can certainly be successful, so that's not what Grindhouse's problem is. I noticed that derisive comment in the article about 300 being a "dumb" movie. I don't doubt that I wouldn't like it, but I'm always against categorizing movies as either dumb or smart (I don't think a movie is inherently either of those things). And you're right, is it somehow more esoteric to be able to discuss why Grindhouse is clever for blah blah blah than it is to know that 300 derives from a graphic novel, or that Live Free Or Die Hard is the third sequel to a beloved action classic.
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