Went to go see Grindhouse on Friday night. Overall, it was a really good time. Some friends I hadn’t seen in quite some time ended up sitting down right beside us by complete coincidence… cool and strange.

Planet Terror is a crowd-pleasing romp through B-movie conventions with rampant gore, zombies, ridiculous scenarios and over-the-top action. It’s got breakneck pacing and manages to up the ante on itself several times with an explosive payoff. The adrenalized opening night crowd was cheering and clapping by the end. Great stuff.

Inbetween the films were some fake trailers that kept the energy high and freaked us out. Hearing Ray moan “I’m not a horror writer…” during the stomach-churning Thanksgiving trailer and watching Chris take off his glasses to wipe his face because he was crying tears of pure laughter was almost as good as the footage up on screen.

Then Death Proof unbelievably sucked away all that built-up momentum…

Buried inside the bloated hour and a half of Death Proof’s running time is a half hour of shocking and unexpected exploitation film. The unfortunate part is that it’s buffered by an excruciating hour of sheer nothingness; paint-drying worthy dialogue and characterization that steals away any excitement you have for the action-packed ending. It’s anything but the advertised “white-hot juggernaut at 200 miles per hour”.

Seriously. It’s so boring that they show an extreme close up of a character typing a text message on her cel phone. This isn’t some crucial plot point, it’s a nothing throwaway message, but we get to watch her scroll through each letter on screen… mind-numbing. Tarantino is a capable film maker but that doesn’t mean every single masturbatory indulgence he generates is greatness. This flick needed an edit, badly.

When I perused reviews for Grindhouse on Rotten Tomatoes, one critic lauded Death Proof as “defying expectations”… if by “expectations” you mean “entertainment and patience”, then yes, he did defy my expectations.

Anyways, the package as a whole was very good, don’t get me wrong. Planet Terror is fantastic, the fake trailers are a hoot and Death Proof ends with decent thrills. If you head out for a leak and some fast food after the intermission, you’ll come back just in time to see the worthy parts of Tarantino’s mess and end things on a decent note.

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