Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stuff I Scrambled to See on Netflix Before It Expired: American Grindhouse

Hey, folks, for a change, I'm doing you a solid and writing about something while it's still actually available. So do take advantage and see the 2010 documentary American Grindhouse. Directed and produced by Elijah Drenner, it's an entertaining and well organized history of grindhouse and exploitation cinema. I highly recommend you sit down and reserve an hour and a half for this if that sounds interesting.

Then again, any grindhouse aficionado might not find a whole lot that's new or revelatory in this documentary.   Still, I think the mark of a good movie of this type is that it inspires newbies to go see the films discussed...and it inspires experts to go see the fi;ms discussed again. On this count, "Grindhouse" succeeds; its enthusiasm and love of the material is infectious. hey, it would be great if more of the movies mentioned were on Netflix!

Robert Forster is both a credible and approrpriate choice to narrate the doc, but the more prominent voices are the many talking heads who are interspersed with vintage film clips, trailer excerpts, and footage of moviegoers and theaters. It's no surprise to see Trailers from Hell proprietors Joe Dante and John Landis here. Czar of Noir Eddie Muller is a welcome presence as well, and the resident representative filmmaker talking head is Herschel Gordon Lewis.

There are fun stories and great highlights of some of the landmark exploitation movies in history, and the narrative does a solid job of weaving that history with American cultural history and explaining the synergy. Make no mistake, though, this 80-some minutes will leave you wanting more. It is a fast-paced, enjoyable primer on the subject and a great Instant Watch...for another few days or so.

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