Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rottweiler (2004)

Rottweiler is certainly a bad movie. But it has something wonderful in it. However, first the bad stuff...

The movie begins with a prisoner getting kicked and beaten. We don't know who he is, or what he's done. Later, on a chain gang, another prisoner is stung by a scorpion, which somehow allows this prisoner to escape. A metal dog chases him, but he manages to elude it. At least for a few minutes. Soon a bounty hunter who works for the prison catches up to him. The dog, apparently, is his, for he has the dog with him.

We then get a flashback of the prisoner - whose name is Dante - on a boat with his girlfriend. It appears to be a boat full of refugees, but Dante and the girl (named Ula and pronounced Oola and then later Ola), say they're infiltrating. No clue what they're infiltrating. But infiltrating all the same. But the boat is stopped, and they jump overboard.

Back to the present, Dante tricks the metal dog into looking at a rabbit, then kills the bounty hunter and the dog, and escapes. He takes the guy's boots. The next morning he sees a metal skeleton of a dog on a hill and shoots at it, but it's just an hallucination. This leads him to find some drug runners in a cave. They share their food and a Cheech & Chong-type joint with him, but when they ask for his boots in return, Dante says no.

Meanwhile the dog comes back to life because of a smoke machine (and possibly because of a scorpion). And the dead bounty hunter also comes back alive long enough to tell the dog, "Find him, kill him."

Anyway, Dante is trying to find his girlfriend. He shows a picture of her to the drug dealers, and then we get another flashback. The two of them swim to shore, where they're caught. They're immigrants with no papers. They explain that they're playing a game called "Infiltration." Yes, seriously. They describe it as roleplaying in the real world. The next morning when Dante wakes, the drug runners are gone, and so are his boots.

Moments later the dog kills the one with his boots, clearly mistaking him for Dante. But then he somehow gets on Dante's trail. Dante is swimming, and the dog goes after him. Dante taunts it, "I can outsmart you any day of the week, you fucking dog." And then he runs, naked, through the woods. Which gives us time for another flashback. Ula is being raped in a truck, and some blonde asks Dante for a light. That's the entire flashback.

Meanwhile a little girl is afraid of monsters in a cellar on a farm. Anyway, naked Dante arrives, and is given pants by the girl's mom, who then immediately takes them off and fucks him in the Jesus room. Seriously, check out the neon blue glowing cross - it looks like a beer sign - and the Jesus portrait over the bed. Who says Christians have no sense of humor?

The scene where the dog tears the mother apart in front of the daughter is great. The girl is in the cellar, looking up at her mother, whose blood drips down onto her. Wonderful.

But the best thing in this film (and one of the best things I've ever seen in any film, no exaggeration) is the rooster's reaction shot to the dog jumping out of the cellar. The rooster is by far the best actor in the film. This shot is amazing. Dante managed to get the dog into cellar (after getting the little girl out), and locks the door. But the dog is jumping up against the door, banging on it. The rooster looks over at it, curious and a bit nervous. Then the dog springs out of the cellar, and the rooster's reaction of terror is incredible. I can't stress this enough. It is one of my favorite moments in the history of cinema. Again, I am not exaggerating. It's worth owning this movie just for this moment. I watched this scene a dozen times, and it cracked me up every single time.

But eventually we had to let the movie continue. A shame, because we get another flashback, where his girlfriend is finished being raped. Dante tells her it sounded like she was enjoying it. So at that point we want Dante to be killed by the dog. What a bastard. He wanders into a graveyard, and a dead guy from the boat leads him to believe his girlfriend is dead. Suddenly Dante is in the red light district, trying to find Ula (now Ola). Anyway, more stuff happens. But who gives a shit? As soon as the movie was over, we went and watched the rooster a few more times. Amazing.

For those who don't want to sit through the first fifty-five minutes of the film to get to that moment, here is a link to the shot on You Tube: Rooster deserves Oscar.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nail Gun Massacre (1985)

Nail Gun Massacre is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It's incredibly bad, a total mess from beginning to end. It begins with a woman being raped by a group of guys. We don't know who this woman is; we don't know who any of the men are. Then it cuts to a guy in a shack who is angry because he doesn't have a clean shirt. Just as I'm starting to relate to the guy (I need to do laundry), suddenly the killer appears - in a camouflage outfit and a motorcycle helmet, and carrying a nail gun. We can only assume that the guy with dirty shirts was one of the rapists. And that the killer is either the girl who was raped, or a relative of that woman.

And yes, the killer is going after all the rapists. The problem soon arises, however, that there just aren't enough rapists to fill the length of a movie. So the killer kills a lot of other people too. People who are introduced halfway through the film only to be killed in the same scenes in which they're introduced. Women as well as men. So is it really about revenge? One of the victims tells the killer that if it's money he wants, he's out of luck because he's broke. The killer says he's not after money. He wants revenge. Okay then. Only problem is that this guy just arrived in town in the previous scene. Revenge? And apparently he dies from a nail through his hands.

Which reminds me... Another victim is killed on the highway. The cop and the doctor arrive on the scene and the doctor says that none of his wounds were fatal. What? He's dead, isn't he?

This film suffers from some of the worst acting ever in the history of film. There is an old lady playing a store clerk who is so awful that I joked that it must be the director's grandmother. My friend Ryan guessed that it was the actual clerk of that store. Turns out we were both right. She flubbed one of her lines, then corrected herself, but apparently that was the best take. The entire scene was done in one take, with no coverage or anything, even though many of the lines are inaudible, and there's a radio playing.

So is this movie so bad it's good? No, not quite. But it is strangely a bit of fun. You'll have fun filling in your own dialogue during moments when the actual dialogue is inaudible because no one was miked properly. You'll have fun trying to figure out who the main characters are. There is a group of characters living in a house where someone was killed, and for a while the film focuses on them. But then suddenly they disappear. And for some reason it's the doctor who has to solve the case. He does this partially by calling another doctor he knows in Dallas and asking for his help. Does that other doctor help? We don't really know, actually. And how would this doctor help, given that he has no details about the case? Is the cop the main character? Sometimes. Does he solve the case? No. But at least he shows up at the end.

There is an interview with the filmmaker as a special feature on the DVD, and he said that because of problems the 80-page script became a 25-page script. The movie is 85 minutes long, which means that an hour of it was improvised. Yikes. It's rather obvious. I almost felt bad for the director while watching that interview. He had this to say: "It's a very enormous experience to undertake. I mean, trying to make a movie is just very, very hard to do. You gotta have a bunch of people." Indeed.

The movie feels like it was written by a twelve-year-old boy. There is an early nude scene, and the guy suddenly has to leave because he promised his friend he'd help him chop wood that day. The woman complains because she thought they were going to play doctor all day long. Seriously. She says that. She also says her breasts need attention. And the camera zooms in and then lingers on her large breasts. (By the way, it turns out this entire scene was shot later because the distributors asked for more nudity. That explains the problem the scene creates - the next scene is the wood-chopping scene, and in that scene the dialogue makes it clear that is it in fact the friend who is there to help this guy chop wood. It doesn't matter because both wood-chopping guys are soon dead anyway. And the nude woman is left to play doctor by herself.)

There is another sex scene in a car. Well, it's not really a sex scene, because the two never quite get their pants off. The guy is between the girls legs, and he keeps pulling at her pants. But really, unless he moves he's never going to get them off. And he never does. A terrible song is playing on the car stereo, and when it's over, the radio DJ says it was a request. Apparently, it was the only song the filmmakers could get the rights to, because it then starts playing again. Did someone else request it? I certainly didn't. Fortunately the killer arrives before we get too far into that song again and kills the two people.

So, what's good about this movie?

There is a nice bit when a guy who is having sex with some girl against a tree is shot in the head with the nail gun. (Though the long shots of them having sex before that bit will completely try your patience.) I love that the two roads in this town are called The Main Road and The County Line Road. For some reason, that makes me laugh. Sometimes The County Line Road is described as a dirt road, and sometimes it's a paved road, but that doesn't matter.

The end of the movie is completely retarded, but by then you have totally given up not only on this film, but on film as a medium, and begin to consider fingerpainting as high art.