Grindhouse is getting rave reviews. The critics must have realized that the audience for this thing is so limited that they might as well sit back and enjoy it.
I don't like gross-out movies so I normally wouldn't care one way or the other. Fake previews from Rob Zombie and the guy who made Hostel? Blecch. Zombie movies? Blecch. I hated From Dusk til Dawn so what's the difference between an unintentionally bad movie, and an intentionally bad movie like Planet Terror? Unfortunately, Rodriguez isn't really as good a filmmaker as I wish he was. Desperado was great, but Once Upon a Time In Mexico was a disaster.
And I still haven't bothered to see Sin City, but that's mostly because I found the comic kind of repugnant (What happened to Frank Miller after Ronin and The Dark Knight Returns anyway? He went from writing about fascists to writing as a fascist. I guess that's why I have no interest in seeing 300).
So really, what's the appeal?
Because unlike the rest of the schlock-meisters, he really is a genius. And sure, I may have doubted him when Kill Bill, Vol. 1 came out. It seem gratuitous. B-movie wankery for its own sake. But I think the two-parts as a whole do amount to something approaching art. By the time it was all over you really did feel like you'd been on an epic (quasi-mythic) journey with the Bride.
So let's face it, he's never really made a bad, bad movie. Several good bad movies, and at least one genuinely good, good movie. Regardless of your assessment, what he's done has consistently been either 10 years ahead of everyone else, or so unique that it's been completely its own thing. Often imitated, never duplicated as they say.
More importantly though, I think his work gets people talking and thinking about movies in ways that no one else does. Does Marty do that? Steven? Clint?
I learned a lot about kung-fu movies in Kill Bill, and I hardly even knew what a grindhouse was until I did a little research.
So he's actually pretty clever and he knows how to deliver a real visceral experience. I can still remember the giddy dread of watching Pulp Fiction in 1994 and the audience literally had no idea what was going to happen next. I'll be looking forward to seeing Death Proof on the DVD.