Watched this again over a couple days… the Grindhouse version with trailers and interstitial stuff, not the extended director cuts released separately. I’m usually a nut for director’s cuts and extended versions, which is why I keep re-buying The New World and Michael Mann movies, but for some reason I’m satisfied with the theatrical edits here – maybe because the two “missing reels” are the best jokes in the movie.

Replacing my original writeup, which was pretty worthless. I didn’t know who most of these actors were at the time… going through ’em now with too many screenshots.

Machete:


Planet Terror (Robert Rodriguez)

I really enjoyed this the first time around, but conventional wisdom from critics in the intervening decade has been “Death Proof is a masterpiece, too bad it’s attached to that garbage Planet Terror.” So this time I was expecting to be disappointed in Planet Terror, to admonish my stupid youthful self for ever having loved it, but nope, still awesome.

Introduces a bunch of great characters in the first half, then brings them together at BBQ joint The Bone Shack, which gets invaded by zombies and catches fire in the missing reel, followed by the all-action showdown finale.

Pole dancer Cherry (Rose McGowan) is reunited with her ex, legendary biker El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez, “lopsidedly muscled” in Lady in the Water)… while scientist Abby (Naveen Andrews: Sense8, Lost) gets double-crossed by militia monster Bruce Willis

Scientist w/ wicked knife:

Fergie (of the Black Eyed Peas) stops at JT’s Bone Shack, talks to proprietor Jeff Fahey:

Dr. Josh Brolin and his anesthesiologist wife Marley Shelton (Sin City, Pleasantville):

Sheriff Michael Biehn (Kyle Reese in The Terminator) and Deputy Tom Savini:

Drama: Cherry loses her leg in a car crash and gets a machine gun replacement. Brolin catches his wife cheating, sticks her hands full of numbing meds, then their young son shoots himself and her Southern gentleman dad (the late Michael Parks) joins up. Willis turns into a giant mutant and his colleague Tarantino gets severe eye trauma. Most everyone dies, the survivors retreat to Mexico.

Marley with messed-up hands:

Fahey and Cherry:

QT, staked:


Werewolf Women of the SS (Rob Zombie)

This was actually kinda overlong and uninteresting and I was forgetting why I thought it was so great, and then came those magic words, “and Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu” and suddenly I remembered.

Still love the voiceovers on Don’t (Will Arnett) and Thanksgiving (Eli Roth).


Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino)

Opens with a great replacement-title gag, then there’s some editing humor and surface noise, and another “missing reel” right when something sexy’s about to happen, but then QT chills out with the self-reflexive filmmaking gags as his movie gets darker.

Three girls are out for drinks in Austin: local DJ Jungle Julia (Sydney Poitier of last year’s Too Late and Netflix horror Clinical), Shanna (Jordan Ladd of Cabin Fever) and out-of-towner Butterfly (Vanessa Ferlito of Spider-Man 2). QT and Eli Roth are in the house, then their friend Lanna Frank (Monica Staggs, Daryl Hannah’s stunt double in Kill Bill) finally shows up and the girls take off. Meanwhile, Stuntman Mike has been stalking them, agrees to give a ride to drunken Pam (Rose McGowan again) at the bar, then kills everybody. I remembered Pam getting bounced around in his open passenger area with Mike in the protected driver’s seat, but forgot the rest – he rams the other girls’ car head-on, just destroying it, and the movie jumps back in time to show each death in detail. Except for this gruesome couple of minutes, it’s practically QT’s most wholesome movie, 80% talking and 20% car chases.

Up front: Shanna, Lanna, Jungle Julia, Butterfly:

Pam at left, with bartender QT and patrons:

Planet Terror characters cameoing in Death Proof’s hospital scene:

And about that car chase… next, a bunch more girls, and I can’t maintain much interest in the dialogue after he’s just Psycho’d his entire cast and expecting us to care about a whole new one, but here goes. This time they’re all in the film business: makeup artist Rosario Dawson, actress/model Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the girl with hair like this), and two stunt women, Kim (Tracie Thoms of Rent, Wonderfalls) and Zoë Bell (as herself, lately of The Hateful Eight). Lee is left with some redneck while the others test drive his Vanishing Point car. Kim drives while Zoë does poses on the hood, then suddenly Stuntman Mike starts running them off the road. Some of Zoë’s hood antics here are unbelievable, and the chase goes on nearly forever, then at a stop Kim shoots Mike, who drives off crying until they catch up and beat the shit out of him. Mike is one of my favorite QT creations, a super-tough, scar-faced pervert predator who becomes an absolute whiny little bitch when the tables are turned.

Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Andy (Nick Frost) reluctantly join Gary King (Simon Pegg) in reliving his youth and ignoring adult realities. Then they fight aliens. It’s all kind of amazing.

Jan. 2015:
Watched again. Katy didn’t like it much.

Sports Night season 1 (1998-99)

Good Aaron Sorkin show. Casey (Peter Krause of Six Feet Under) and darker-haired Dan (Josh Charles of Muppets From Space) are anchors of a sports show run by Felicity Huffman (of Transamerica and apparently Magnolia) and Robert Guillaume (Benson, Rafiki in The Lion King). Casey likes Felicity, who is engaged to Ted McGinley, and Dan likes Teri Polo (mom in The Hole), who is married. The only stable relationship is Felicity’s assistant Sabrina Lloyd (Harley’s The Girl From Monday) with new guy Joshua Malina (a Sorkin regular).

Asylum (1996)

Edgar Wright’s first series – and he has four others that I’ve never heard of between this and Spaced. Cowritten with the cast, overall uneven with a slim overarching story and characters that get tiresome if you watch the episodes too close together.

Simon Pegg is a pizza boy called to an asylum then imprisoned there. Jessica Stevenson plays the sadistic head nurse and a daytime-TV-addict inmate. Mighty Boosh star Julian Barratt is a talkative, pretentious artist (and the highlight of the show). Standup comic Adam Bloom is a Lenny Bruce obsessive, Paul Morocco a mute juggler, Norman Lovett (of Red Dwarf) the head doctor and Mick O’Connor (whose only other credit is The Falls) the receptionist. Each episode ends with a music video, which I kinda loved.

Big Train season 1 (1998)

Excellent sketch comedy show starring Simon Pegg (between Asylum and Spaced), Mark Heap (Brian in Spaced) and Kevin Eldon (a dim officer in Hot Fuzz), with Julia Davis (Nighty Night) and Amelia Bullmore (Jam and I’m Alan Partridge).

Weird to hear a Tortoise song scoring a fake TV ad in episode 3, and to see a parody of the intro to A Matter of Life and Death. Lots of animated (barely) footage of the staring-contest world finals.

Cowriters Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan worked on The Fast Show, and with Christopher Morris on Jam and Brass Eye. Still need to watch Morris’s feature Four Lions

Arrested Development season 3 (2005-06)

So very good. I love how it ends with none of the characters having learned anything at all. Appearances by Justine Bateman, Judge Reinhold and a long section with Charlize Theron.

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (2006)

Since I didn’t watch this with the release of The Drift like I was supposed to, I watched it with the release of his follow-up album. Wow. Some records I need to get: Night Flight, Climate of Hunter, the Ute Lemper album. Scott worked on Pola X so they show some behind-the-scenes bits of the warehouse performance and motorcycle crash.

The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway (2011)

Apparently, Pee Wee is better remembered than revisited.

Also watched Maria Bamford‘s stand-up thing recorded at her house with no audience – weird and awesome. She’s got a new one with her parents as the audience, which sounds even better.

The Queen of Versailles (2012, Lauren Greenfield)

Katy watched on netflix in a couple installments – I think I was there for all of it, but not too sure. Belongs in the Movies I Only Sorta Watched category. Pretty fascinating, starting as a document of the loony mega-rich couple building the largest house in America, until the housing crisis delays their plans and threatens his timeshare business. Wonderful to see things from the 1% perspective, especially when they’re in what they consider to be desperate financial straits (though the wife has a five-shopping-cart trip to walmart and visits the warehouses where their extraneous crap is stored), repeatedly referring to themselves as normal people who got screwed by the banks.

Edgar Wright sets out to prove he can do good work without Pegg and Frost. He and cowriter Michael Bacall adapt a video-game-obsessed comic book for the big screen, so many mediums combine – noisily and awkwardly according to Katy, or with a powerful awesomeness if you ask me.

Somehow the Michael Cera thing hasn’t worn off on me yet. Good to see Kieran Culkin as his sarcastic gay roommate, Anna Kendrick of Up In The Air as his sister, and Brandon Routh of Superman Returns as a baddie who gains his powers from eating vegan. Jason Schwartzman as a corporate supervillain was an interesting choice. Had no idea that the main hair-dyed love interest (Mary Winstead) was in Death Proof, that Cera’s band’s drummer played Milk’s campaign manager, that the action-movie-star ex-boyfriend was Human Torch from Fantastic Four, or that Thomas “Dreamcatcher/The Punisher” Jane was a vegan policeman.

EDIT: Watched again in 2013, though it took me a couple tries to get past the beginning and title sequence, which I felt compelled to watch again and again.

EDIT 2016: I have seen this movie lots. It it the best movie.

December 2008:
Watched again on video, and it only gets better. Five (five!) commentary tracks to go, and two discs full of extras, wooo!

Peter Jackson as Father Christmas:
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Marsha from Spaced:
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March 2007:
The trailer set it up right – supercop Simon Pegg is making the department look bad in comparison, so he’s shipped to the safest small town in England and paired up with lazy son-of-the-chief Nick Frost. All is well until the town elders turn out to be involved in a Wicker-Man-like conspiracy to beautify their town by any means possible (usually murder). Very suddenly it turns into an all-out war, with the police dept. (minus the evil chief) and Simon and Nick (or Shaun and Ed, as I still think of them) against the neighborhood watch.

Extremely funny and a great action flick. Nothing much or bad to say about it. The crowd gave big response to particularly gruesome killings, the jump kick to an old woman’s head, and Bill Nighy. Edgar says they were happy to be working with an ex James Bond (Timothy Dalton) and three oscar winners in this one (Cate Blanchett, Peter Jackson and Jim Broadbent, the former two uncredited). Such a very fun movie, this and Grindhouse have put me in the mood to watch less serious-minded movies, hence the appearance of Saw 3 on this page.

SEPT 2006:

Funniest zombie movie ever. Funnier than “Return of the Living Dead” and “John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars”… combined! Even Katy liked it.

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UPDATE: DEC 2007

Katy might have liked it the first time, but she’s had quite enough of it now, and played computer games through most of the movie when I was showing it off to Dana this week. Well, no, obviously she still LIKES it, otherwise she would’ve either left the room or suggested something else. Dana did not immediately declare it the funniest zombie movie ever, so the screening was a partial failure. I got to watch “Heart of the World” beforehand, so I was obviously the happiest person in the room.