Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Easy A vs. Machete!
Okay, I haven’t dragged my sorry butt to the movies in a couple weeks. And the last time I did, I made my poor wife write the review. But I have something special for you this week: dueling DVD reviews, where I attempt to connect two newish, disparate DVD releases in the same review. Can it be done? Read on to find out…
First up, Easy A. It’s a movie that wants to be a John Hughes movie so bad that it has its main character, Olive—a high school girl who discovers she can be popular just by pretending to be a slut—lament to the audience via a fourth wall-busting web cam, that she wishes her life were like a teen movie. In case all in the audience are twelve and have no context, director Will Gluck includes film clips from Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Say Anything. Then goes on to include various teen-movie references throughout his script.
Emma Stone plays Olive as a precocious 30-year-old in a 17-year-old’s bod. She speed talks with a charm obviously inherited from her charming, funny parents (the effervescent Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson) with such self-assured intelligence and humanity that the only people at her school who dare keep up are her English teacher (Thomas Haden Church, teaching the Scarlet Letter with élan) and the dude Olive’s liked since junior high.
Which brings us to Machete. But wait. What’s the segue here? What’s the connection?
Lindsey Lohan. Five or six years ago she could have played Olive with the same obvious intelligence and nascent sexuality. Olive is similar to Cady, Lohan’s star-making role in Mean Girls, a movie which covered similar high school ground. Mean Girls was to Lohan as Easy A is to Stone. And as long as Stone keeps showing up for work with the same enthusiasm she shows not only throughout Easy A but in the reel of outtakes where she bubbles like an actress damn happy to be headlining a minor Hollywood feature, she’ll do great. Unlike poor Lohan, who anyone with a predilection for entertainment headlines knows, has bottomed out to such a degree that she may not rebound.
The evidence of Lohan’s fall is displayed in her small, superfluous role in Robert Rodriguez’ Machete. Co-directed by Ethan Maniquis, Machete is a comic-book giddy, violent love letter to 70’s crime exploitation (or grindhouse) movies like TNT Jackson, Foxy Brown, and Shaft. Lohan is mostly naked throughout her few scenes, until the end where she joins a climactic shootout dressed as a nun. Ha. She still recites her lines with game enthusiasm. But her presence in the movie is for titillation only. But then titillation is what Machete is all about.
Danny Trejo, looking like ten miles of rough Georgia asphalt, plays Machete, an ex Mexican Federale who is still trying to get over the murder of his wife and child at the hands of a ruthless Mexican drug lord, Torrez (Steven Seagal!).
Jessica Alba’s lovely, tough ICE agent Sartana Rivera, and Michelle Rodriguez’ Luz, the leader of an underground group fighting for the rights of immigrants, illegal and otherwise.
Robert Rodriguez flicks, Machete is over-busy and over reaching, but it mainly works. And, if you can stomach the severed limbs, decapitations, innards used for rappelling, gratuitous nudity, silly dialogue, gun toting priests, and the reemergence of Steven Seagal, then you are the right audience for Machete.
Watch the Easy A trailer:
Watch the Machete trailer: