July 5th, 2012

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Tarantino/Rodriguez: Roadracers

Earlier this year, I'm thinking about my mini projects I'd been contemplating. I knew for a while that Tarantino/Rodriguez would follow Edward Norton. So I was IMDB-ing these guys yet again. God only knows how many times I've seen both of their pages. I was sure I already owned all of their movies, but the OCD in me needed to see the list again. But wait. What was this? A movie under Robert Rodriguez' credits that I'd never even heard of? Whaaaa???

That movie was Roadracers. This strange little American Graffiti-esque flick starring Salma Hayek and David Arquette. Wikipedia tells me that this was part of an original movie series done by Showtime. A handful of directors were asked to pick a title from a movie from the 50s, and do their own take on it, that may or may not invoke the original. Basically the experiment was to see what'd happen if Rebel Without a Cause was made today. I kinda wish I had that context when I first saw this. It's definitely making a lot more sense, and looking less weird.

If you're keeping score at home, you'll notice I said a very important name in the Robert Rodriguez universe: Salma Hayek. Not only is Roadracers her first film working with the man whose muse she would become, but this is also her US film debut. Its kinda strange for me seeing her as a high school student, but she's still got that sass and spunk that we love in Salma. David Arquette is the doofy tough guy with a heart of gold. He dreams of playing guitar in a band, but can't seem to get past his small town issues including a feud with the sheriff's son.

The movie's still a little rough, but considering it was a low budget made for tv movie, written and directed by a fledgling director, it really aint all bad. It further sets the tone for the style we've come to love and expect from Mr Rodriguez, and it's certainly a fun twist on that expectation.