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Monday, April 09, 2007
The family that watches Grindhouse together...
A review of Grindhouse, overheard outside of the St. Johns Cinema and Pub on Friday night:
GRANDFATHER: That was one wild movie!
GRANDDAUGHTER: I liked the zombie movie but all the girls talking about sex in the car movie...
YOUNGER GRANDDAUGHTER: That was boring.
GRANDDAUGHTER: But the chase was really, really cool.
Yeah, I trucked all the way out to the St. Johns for Grindhouse. Seeing that it was the only theater in town showing both the movie and willing to serve beer, I think I made the right choice. The (nearly) sold-out crowd was "totally into it" and spent most of the 3+ hour running time hooting and hollering, appropriate behavior for a double-feature featuring both Rose McGowan as a go-go dancer with machine gun/ grenade launcher prosthesis AND a 25-minute-long car chase scene.
As for the grandfather and his two granddaughters, your guess is as good as mine. The man had to be in his early 60s and the girls ranged between 14 and 18. The kids were dressed in Hot Topic outfits and he looked like he had just wandered into the 21st century off the cover of a Saturday Evening Post circa 1952. He was even wearing a Father Knows Best sweater jacket. I'm going to go with a "simplest explanation is the one most likely to be true" hypothesis and assume they tricked the old man into taking them to this incredibly violent R-rated mayhemfest.
Three hours of explosions, mutants, car chases, weird cameos, throwback mayhem, fake trailers and Kurt Russell? I loved it. The crowd loved it. Given the good reviews from critics and the response at the St. Johns, I figured Grindhouse was a shoe-in for a $20+ million haul at the box office over the weekend. Alas, it looks like middle-America didn't "get it" and decided to spend their Easter weekend watching Will Ferrell (take note of which movie took the # 1 slot again this weekend) or eating chocolate bunnies. I just read a post in one movie forum written by a teenager somewhere in the Midwest. He works as an usher and spent the weekend listening to customers complain about Grindhouse's "scratched print" and the "missing reel" gags. Management showed these angry customers signs posted in the theaters explaining the movie's theme and even an Entertainment Weekly article explaining the entire thing. Undaunted, they still demanded their money back. Ugh.
Meanwhile, here in Portland, the owner of the Clinton St. Theater seems to think the low haul can be blamed on the distributor's unwillingness to book Grindhouse into small, artsy theaters like his. His argument was quickly shot down when it was revealed that the nearby Cinemagic theater was showing the film. Further finger pointing and Monday morning quarterbacking can be found here.
My theory: Americans won't pay too see 3 hours of blood and guts on an Easter weekend unless it's contained in a movie directed by Mel Gibson and starring the son of God. Meh, their loss.