- El Mariachi: 1
- Desperado: 0
- LA Story: 2
- Bowfinger: 1
- Adaptation: 2
- Meet the Feebles: 1
- The Replacement Killers: -1
El MariachiItinerant guitar player is mistaken for crazed killer who keeps his weapons in a guitar case. I bought and read Robert Rodriguez' Rebel Without a Crew on the flight to Maryland over Christmas; because I'd always been interested in how he did it, because I'm interested in movie-making, and because Chris mentioned that it was worth a read for doing indie-anything--we're both doing indie games.
However, it makes it hard to judge the movie fairly, because I know so much about what went into it, and because I read the script in advance of seeing it.
So, how to judge it? Judge it independent of the fact it was made for $7,000? It's a cheesy direct-to-Spanish-video exploitation film. Should I judge it as to how good it is by that standard? Or just judge it as a movie?
So my stance is: it's a pretty damn good exploitation movie; it's entertaining, it has some nice touches (like his 'things happen three times' bits), so, yeah, thumbs up, it's a positive experience. But it's still only an exploitation movie, with action sequences that aren't all that impressive. Rating (-4 to 4): 1
DesperadoItinerant guitar player with weapons in a guitar case seeks vengeance on the men really responsible for the bad stuff from the first movie despite the fact there was no hint anyone else was involved. Robert Rodriguez spent $7,000,000 on this one, and it's not 1000 times as good. He says (I listened immediately to both of the commentary tracks) it's got amazing production value for $7M, though, that Hollywood would have spent $20M or whatever on it. He says he was trying to do John Woo on a budget, but IMDB says Woo's Hard Boiled budget was only $4.5M. So I dunno.
The love scene is entirely gratuitous. The action seems too cheesy--the opening scene is intentionally blown out of proportion since Buscemi is telling the story, but then the first real action sequence, Banderas is far too slick, and things like him whipping the guns as he shoots them is just way too unrealistic.
So this felt to me like an exploitation movie with way bigger production value, but perhaps the same problem as Star Wars--once given the freedom to do all the action right, he sacrificed the believable elements of the story. He may have intended it as parody, but most of the time it crosses the line of just providing exactly the same thing as the thing its supposed to parody. Rating (-4 to 4): 0
L.A .StoryFreeway sign guides weatherman Steve Martin to true love. The bit with the freeway shootings is dated, but other than that, it's an enjoyable little romantic comedy with an incredibly silly premise, but a cutely weird arc and lots of good small bits all throughout. Have Steve Martin and Woody Allen ever been in a movie together? Rating (-4 to 4): 2
BowfingerAspiring movie director Steve Martin shoots a movie starring Eddie Murphy, without the latter knowing. Kind of weird how the plot turns crucially on Murphy's character being nuts in exactly the right way to misunderstand the script--that felt fairly artificial. Without the romantic comedy arc of L.A. Story and Roxanne to hold it together, it's kind of eh; I felt like I got a lot less out of it at around the halfway point, when I guess the plot took over too much. Rating (-4 to 4): 1
Useless commentary track. Frank Oz says "this is a set; now we're on location"; "there's a deleted scene here because it was just too long"; "this bit right here we added after a test screening to make sure it was clearer". (But not worst commentary track ever; that's Big Trouble in Little China, as far as I can remember.)