16 June 2007

Rodriguez (1994)

1994 - Roadracers - Before firing up the DVD, I was thinking: "Roadracers? Looks like some kinda '50s drag racing movie. Meh." Actually, no it isn't. Roadracers is a cinematic ball of energy that plays with the conventions of '50s teen movies, ultimately blowing them away with a shotgun blast to the chest. What a nice surprise this flick turned out to be.

Though this move was infamously shot in just 13 days, it isn't sloppy. The actors nail their characters. David Arquette, in particular, becomes possessed by the ghost of a chain-smoking, squinty-eyed, leather-clad 1950s rebel without a cause. The editing is beyond hyperkinetic. The simple process of lighting a cigarette -- which happens countless times in this flick -- often involves as many as five cuts. I can see this technique annoying some, but it only serves to emphasize the style of the film. It's a BAM-POW-ZOWEE blast from a hyperreal vision of the past.

Most of all, I like the story. For first three-quarters of the film, it follows a fairly standard story arc. A rebel plays the guitar and has a beautiful girlfriend. He likes to hang out at the local diner with his quirky pal. The local police hassle him and he runs into some trouble with the mostly harmless local bullies. One day, the rebel is given a choice to determine his fate: try out for a band that just got signed or fight the bullies at the playground. After much cajoling from his gal and quirky pal, the rebel makes the right choice and heads to the club to try out. Things are going his way; he's gonna make it!

Not really. The band turns out to be lip-syncing sellouts. He destroys the band's instruments, beats the band members and heads to the playground to rumble. The bullies turn out to be armed with more than little switchblades. The rebel is shot in the shoulder. Fleeing briefly, the rebel retrieves a shotgun. He kills the head bully, gets the police to ram into a tree and explode, leaves his girlfriend, and -- covered in blood, with a crazy expression on his face -- roars down the highway into the credits. Neat.

C says: "I love finding good movies you've never heard of." Hell, even the wife was impressed with this one. (8/10)