By Matt Fleming and Jarrod Jones. This is the ANTI-MONITOR podcast, where we believe that Quentin Tarantino could take five or even six years off and that would be totally fine. This week, the boys decide to venture into arguably the worst film QT has ever bothered to commit to celluloid, ‘Death Proof’. We discuss our favorite films from the writer/director, creepy foot fetishes, and delve into more ‘Batman v. Superman’ scrutiny.
As always, be wary for spoilers throughout, and please enjoy.
ANTI-MONITOR: MATT — While Grindhouse was a fun concept from two very capable cinematic minds, Quentin Tarantino’s contribution, Death Proof, doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Suffering from QT’s tendencies toward self-indulgence, what should be a tight and thrilling homage to ‘70’s shock-and-shlock is just long-winded and underwhelming. His reliably sharp writing sounds more like personal outtakes, especially when delivered by actors who aren’t quite up to his convoluted writing style. The hollow and boring parts make waiting for the action unbearable, as the film drags itself towards a bloated two-hour runtime.
And though Kurt Russell is perfectly cast as a demented stuntman, his is a character that is never fully realized. Stuntman Mike will banter pointlessly in Russell’s John Wayne voice, but there is never a reveal for why he must abduct or terrorize young (and barefoot) women. The director/writer’s visual skills are replaced by unnecessary frame-skipping and a grimy filter that feels inauthentic, especially for such a genre-enthusiast. While Robert Rodriguez contributed the zany and exciting Planet Terror, Tarantino ended up phoning in an extended trailer for a couple cool action sequences. Sure, he may have intended for Death Proof to feel like an early ‘70’s cheap thrill, but it comes across more as an expensive excuse for a vacation in Austin, Texas.
ANTI-MONITOR: JARROD — When you leaf through the filmography of your favorite filmmakers, there inevitably lies that one stinker you personally wish you could forget about. For Quentin Tarantino, who has been grinding my nerves for the last ten or so years with his increasingly wearisome approach to filmmaking, that film is undoubtedly Death Proof.
It’s true — the film does have incredible, all-or-nothing stuntwork (most of it supplied by the indelible Zoë Bell), and it’s the sort of devil-may-care mayhem that’s generally given a hasty CGI polish by a lesser filmmaker. Here, the pavement is scorched with burnt rubber and fake blood. It hearkens back to all those great road movies namechecked by Tarantino’s game (but overwhelmed) cast. But the road along the way? A meandering, thundering plod. If only we could all get paid to chill at Guero’s.
CONSENSUS: Even though it only clocks in at a svelte two hours — well, svelte for Quentin Tarantino anyway — Death Proof is a tedious slog towards thundering excitement. — 4 out of 10
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