A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie celebrates and partially recreates brutal sex-and-action movies that played in bad-neighborhood theaters of the 1960s and '70s. There is a lot of swearing, bloody violence, much talk of sex (none shown, though), vicious and self-destructive behavior, and revenge.
What's the story?
In Austin, Texas, radio DJ Jungle Julie (Sydney Poitier) meets with visiting friends at roadhouse, before they carpool for a girls'-only weekend at one of their father's cabins, with marijuana and maybe a few boys on the agenda. Also in the roadhouse is Mike (Kurt Russell), who is secretly stalking Jungle Julie and her posse. On the road he strikes, in his "death-proof" black 1970s stunt car. Later, Mike tries to pull off a similar crime against a group of spunky young ladies in Tennessee, but the intended victims here are also movie stuntwomen, and they aren't such easy prey.
Is it any good?
A lot of viewers might find it a long haul to get to the action. Others might find the filth-talking girls, psychotic Mike, and a few other low-life guys around the periphery to be most unappealing people to spend time with. And maybe just a few viewers, who groove to the same beat Tarantino does, will think this movie is the best thing ever. Characters inhabit a world of violence, sex, and obscure-movie quotes and entertainment trivia.
DEATH PROOF originally was Quentin Tarantino's half of Grindhouse, a joint effort with Robert Rodriguez to recreate a double-bill of shabby exploitation movies of bygone days. After it flopped at the box office, Death Proof was released by itself to theaters overseas and on video in the U.S. Without the framing gimmick, it's the equivalent of a punchline with no setup. There is plenty of Tarantino's profanity-jammed, witty/lewd/movie-reference-quoting dialogue plus a slam-bang car-chase action finale, but in the end the film's only real achievement (aside from unnerving any parents who catch their kids watching this) is halfway duplicating the look and feel of an old grindhouse potboiler.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Quentin Tarantino made this film, and what would be the appeal for anyone outside of his viewing-party circle. Lots of today's cutting-edge moviemakers seem fascinated by trashy exploitation pictures from their childhood, and some commentators claim those down-and-dirty films, ignored or condemned at the time by the mainstream, exhibited more creativity, energy, and daring than conventional Hollywood productions. Do you believe that? Where are the good ideas hiding today, then?
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