I’m sorry, kids, but it’s high time that we oust Quentin Tarantino as America’s number one maverick filmmaker.
Whoa! Whoa there, partner! Now don’t go pullin’ yer fists out of yer pockets just yet. And don’t you dare get me wrong, either. Hear me out first. QT had his fun: he made us laugh and cry about life and death (particularly death). He even managed to throw a little love into the fray – just to make us feel really awkward from time to time. But, honestly, the whole thing has grown rather wearisome.
Sure, Tarantino’s works (especially his earlier ones) are still the subject of praise by many folks (mainly college-aged kids who weren’t old enough to see them the first time ‘round). Whether it be Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, or that one with Pam Grier, I simply cannot sit through any of them anymore.
As for his “newer” films (those made in this century)…yeah, they’re still good…but not as good as anything that Quentin’s pal and fellow unconventional moviemaker, Robert Rodriguez, has ever made. Just take a look at either the Red Band (read: NSFW) trailer or the slightly more SFW Green Band Trailer (below) for Rodriguez’ latest jump-up-and-down-in-your-seat-like-an-ADD-kid-on-crack ode to the glorious days of exploitation gone by, Machete, and see for yourself.
What started out as a “joke” trailer for the 2007 Rodriguez/Tarantino collaboration Grindhouse (which finally hits home video in its original theatrical presentation in the US October 5) has become what promises to be the über-bloody, bad-ass, huevos-to-the-wall movie of 2010 (the fact that it premieres the day after my birthday has absolutely no bearing on my claim whatsoever).
So, what makes Tarantino back-burner material now? Well, just in case the trailer doesn’t load or you simply don’t “get it,” it’s obvious that Rodriguez knows how to enjoy himself whilst manufacturing a moving picture. He doesn’t waste his time writing the most poetic and drawn-out conversations in multiple languages. Instead, he deliberately forces his actors to say the most ridiculous dialogue with the straightest face they can muster.
Plus, he knows how to cast. While Tarantino seems to scour the globe for one international actor with a killer accent to pair up with one fairly washed-up American player, Rodriguez simply invites his actor friends over to play. And, in the case of Machete, Rodriguez’ friends have invited their friends as well.
The original phony trailer starred Danny Trejo (as a “good” guy for a change), Jeff Fahey (who is good in just about anything — Psycho III notwithstanding), and Cheech Marin. The new and improved film brings all three of those actors back for more, only this time, we also get Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Robert DeNiro, make-up guru Tom Savini, Lindsay Lohan (hey, every rose has its thorn, right?), and even Don Johnson.
Rodriguez’ sense of humor has also kicked Tarantino’s oft-off-kilter yarns to the curb. Note how the credits for Machete jokingly read “Introducing Don Johnson,” or how he included the aforementioned Lohan (whom the trailers make no mention of at all!).
Plus, Rodriguez also gives us more nudity in the Red Band trailer (of a luscious Latina vixen at that) alone than Tarantino did in all of his recent Macaroni Combat homage, Inglourious Basterds.
Actually, there might be more nudity in Machete’s Red Band trailer than in all of Tarantino’s works combined. What up with that, Quentin? The winning formula for any exploitation-movie lover is “gratuitous wanton sex and explicit violence” – not “numerous variations of the word ‘fuck’ and people talking.”
And so, while we wait to see if Kill Bill, Vol. 3 comes to fruition or not, I hereby declare Robert Rodriguez “The Man.”
In short: fuck you, Tarantino.