Grindhouse-One of the main things that make campy movies campy and enjoyable is their sincerity, the evident belief that the film being made is a quality one, or-failing that-one that people will really enjoy. In that vein, there is an added barrier to enjoying the Rodriguez/Tarantino double feature. On the other hand, while Rodriguez and Tarantino are talented and self conscious film makers, it is also quite obvious that they are incapable of making a movie that is not of this cheap action genre. They are lords of the B movie, perhaps, but still tied to their kingdom
Planet Terror was the far superior of the film, featuring a plot that was written by a thirteen year old, but was still fast-paced enough and rather funny. Rodriquez was able to pivo quite effectively off of the stylistic constraints of this being a “grindhouse” movie, most memorably when an overly sexualized sex scene was cut off by a “missing reel”.
Tarantino’s Death Proof suffered from the director’s characteristic self-indulgence, featuring little plot and far too much dialogue. It dragged on, and what was supposed to be funy and slick became simply tedious, most of all a black female lead who either struggled to control a script written by a white male trying to create the voice of hip women of color or was cast because she played this caricture too well and was allowed to improvise.
Jamie Tanner’s The Aviary is the first graphic novel I have read in a long while and I heartily recommend it. His universe is one of drinking robots, simian pornographers and silent toy birds. The themes of loss and the general obsession with finding meaning and proper expression are wound deeply into tightly written, absurdist stories. Highly recommend it.
Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys provided another bit of highly enjoyable light reading. A young adult book, it got a bit heavy in terms of the self-affirming/maturing/everyone’s happy and cool business towards the end, but it was still a book about stories, and about weaving stories.
Set in a similar universe as Gaiman’s far darker (very worthwhile) American Gods, it follows the story of Charles Nancy, a nervous bumbling son of Anansi the Spider, who lives as a human in Florida. This liberal mixing of mythologies and mythological beings in our modern world is a delightful world to explore, and Gaiman has a way with sneaking in really beautiful one liners. Another good, easy read.