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Old June 24th, 2004, 01:59 PM   #1
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Once Upon a time in MEXICO, Rodriguez dissapoints with features

Hello forum,

Just yesterday i finally got myself a copy of Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the latest in the El Mariachi Trilogy.

The film was not too bad, and a lot better than desperado which i thought sucked, again nothing compares to the original which uses comedy well enough to move a serious story without being stupid.

The extra features were my beef. I waited 6 months for these as i am region 4 (australia) and im glad i did not get a region 1 import.

IN the past RR has been extremely informative in his xtra featues, even spy kids 2 had a fantastic section about shooting and how to get the best out of your budget. In OUATIM we get The 10 minute flick school, a regular feature from El Mariachi, and Spy Kids 2.

This was actually decent although, really no new info from previous editions.

The thing that annoyed is that he uses the "fix it in post" type throwaway "we just added that in in post" when reffering to bullet hits, wire removal, and the knife throwing, and then refers to it as though it is incredibly easy in a very blase tone. In my experience it takes a lot of time to do the simplest CG compositing, and i wanted more info on how he did what, software and about HD. Id rather him spend 10 minutes on 1 effect rather than not much info on all of them.

I also thought that RR steadicam work isn't fantastic, as most people know it takes years of practice to becom a decent operator, not a 3 day course with Garrett Brown.

Inside Troublemake Studios.
This was pretty Useless as he doesnt really tell us much. Just that he has $$$ worth of equipment "Thats just an avid he says". Well! for us normal people i think we'd be pretty impressed to see just an avid in use!

Rodriguez gives the illusion he does everything like the sound effects whatever, but i was suprised to see other Employees in his home studios. This has led me to believe that RR like any director, assists in all this production but doesnt do the bulk of mixing , sound design etc. (Yes i know he edits everything!)

His music setup looks damn expensive, the only useful advice was to purchase a digidesign 001 protools machine. Being a musician i am aware of what he is talking about, but i would have liked more detail here if i wasnt a muso and just in general.


NExt he shows us his Videoconferncing setup, with like a 1TB connection to Canada, nice toys but teach us something!

The thing i liked least was the 10 minute Cooking school.
While most ppl think this is a joke i think RR is seriously trying to help us become more better rounded men, thankyou anthony robbins of the film world.

NExt up why does RR were bandanas all time. OK in 1994 it was the fashion but he's always wearing a hat. I dont think hes going bald, lets see your hair!

Over the past few years there has been some unnerving subconscious inkling to me about the vocal tones of RR. I remember watching the commentry of "Dusk" and thinking you wouldnt wanna get on his bad side, by the way he spoke about some guy who botched a job. He just seems to have a serious side then humor, and cant be both at once. scary!

his voice seems to have an effect on me of almost intimidation. Its like i can do everything know you do this! dont screw it up

anyway it seems issues have been building up with me over RR for a while and these weak installments of the film schools have pushed it out.

Come to think of it RR is hit and miss with his films anyway, the only ones i love are EL mariachi Spykids 2 and 4 rooms, i hate the faculty!

love him or not, hes a legend and a leader, i just wish he was more of a leader on this occasion.
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Old June 24th, 2004, 02:42 PM   #2
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Re: Once Upon a time in MEXICO, Rodriguez dissapoints with features

<<<-I also thought that RR steadicam work isn't fantastic, as most people know it takes years of practice to becom a decent operator, not a 3 day course with Garrett Brown.>>

With Mr. R., if he wants to do it, he'll just do it. In this case getting to pose for publicity stills wearing the arm and vest seems to take precedence over having accurate framing in his films.

<<Rodriguez gives the illusion he does everything like the sound effects whatever, but i was suprised to see other Employees in his home studios. This has led me to believe that RR like any director, assists in all this production but doesnt do the bulk of mixing , sound design etc. >>

What a surprise.

<<NExt up why does RR were bandanas all time. OK in 1994 it was the fashion but he's always wearing a hat. I dont think hes going bald, lets see your hair!>>>

From what I've heard from someone who knows him, that's exactly the reason for the bandanas. Can't really blame him all that much, losing your hair is a shame. But Hollywood likes to see "youth" in their directors., and I guess he's not into the "shave your head bald" out.
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Old June 24th, 2004, 02:47 PM   #3
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I'm kind of mixed on RR myself. But I feel that way about alot of the "young hotshot" types. QT gets on my nerves big time. Doesn't me he dosen't make good films, he just seems a little full of himself at times. I guess we are all guility of that sometimes.

I agree that the "fix it in post" battle cry sometimes gives people the idea that all we do is push a red button and film willy nilly. Run the tape through a magic box and out pops a masterpiece. HD, DV, or film the rule applies, garbage in garbage out.

As for the film itself, the story was fine, nothing really new. A little to complicatedb but that is subjective. I did love Johnny Depp. That really worked for me.

I do think it is great that we get the chance to hear the thoughts and ideas of these directors. Even if we don't always agree.

I'll kill the cook, I'm parked outback.
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Old June 25th, 2004, 02:22 AM   #4
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I thought the disc was quite interesting and way better than
all those interview "making off's" you get on a lot of discs. Sure
it can't hold up to the 4 disc LoTR sets, but then again, what
can <g>. Would I've liked to see more indepth stuff, sure? But
personally I really liked taking a look at where he and the others
guys "play". I mean, which movie actually shows you in the
behind the scenes when something went horribly wrong
(running with a camera and then... well, you know what happens)?

I think when you say "in post and effects aren't easy" you are
mis interpreting it. Let me explain. I think he means it is easy
todo TODAY with the right HELP. In other words, someone who
knows what they are doing and has done effects work for
movies a lot.

If you can see what we can already do with color correction I
think his statement isn't that far off, especially for people working
in the industry.

He likes to do a lot himself, but as you noted there are other
people at work there as well and you can bet he didn't do any
of the CGI himself (he even shows a link to an effects company).

If an effects company could not add a fake bullet hole, do wire
removal or add some knives that go by so fast you don't have
to be THAT authentic, then it wouldn't be an effects company,
now would it?

I'm not trying to defend him or something, but he is not making
his claims as an indepedent film maker. He still collaborates with
quite a lot of people.
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Old June 25th, 2004, 11:59 AM   #5
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No filmmaker is obliged to give anyone even one special feature. Heck, for the longest time it was hard to get most Miramax films with anything other than chapter selection on the DVD.

What RR offered, regardless of a person's personal like or dislike for him, is an inside look into his life as a filmmaker; as a person. And for him to put in the cooking school, while I think pork is nasty, I thought it was a great thing to add, since Johnny Depp's character is so hung up on that dish. It gives you a chance to see his cultural dish, and to find out for yourself what's so great about it. It's like in Bend it Like Beckham's DVD - they tell you how to cook Aaloo Gobi (Potato-Cauliflower). It's mentioned in the film, so why the heck not? It's a nice added touch, and allows you to experience the film in a new way. I felt like he was sharing his culture, and I appreciated that. Bad language or not. (Come on - it's Robert Rodriguez - his films are full of bad language).

Let's give the guy a break. I don't know many filmmakers that would put out a film that has a DVD that takes you that far into their life - and he did it because he knows he is sort of this patron saint of indie filmmakers, and he didn't want to let anyone down. And while you can't please everyone, is it really something to lambast someone over?
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Old June 25th, 2004, 12:03 PM   #6
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I don't own the DVD, however i have seen the movie and was underwhelmed by it.

IMO it is a work of a poser and everything in that movie is so poserfully done. Actioin scenes are as stale and fake as the acting.

You know those westerns where the whole town, the saloon, the sheriff's, the whorehouse...etc, is just a row of painted boards? To me the characters in this movie were even more shallow than that - and unconvincing and dead. Like watching cardboard puppets dance in front of a scrolling canvas scenery. The waste of Depp was especially infuriating.
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Old June 25th, 2004, 12:13 PM   #7
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Yeah, I thought the movie was pretty lame myself. Desperado was so well done in contrast. And the soundtrack of Desperado - what a great road-trip soundtrack it was!
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 03:52 AM   #8
 
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----I AM ACKNOWLEDGING HERE THAT THE FOLLOWING ENTRY IS WRITTEN BY ME . . . A NO NAME DIRECTOR WITH ONE (IN MY OPINION) MEDIOCRE INDEPENDENT FILM UNDER HIS BELT---THAT SAID . . .

Well,

I guess I'm just not as leaniant as a lot of you. I'm not doubting that RR is an extremely knowledgable guy when it comes to the film tools, the tool operation, and handling production such that he gets things done, but as an artist . . .

THIS . . . GUY . . . SUCKS . . .

His scripts and storytelling abilities are simply terrible, at the top of the bad movie heap, man. I simply can't watch his films without my RR filter on (which is to say, just laugh, becasue you KNOW it's going to be even worse than the worst can be).

El Mariachi may have been only 8 grand, but it showed it too and you have to remember just how much money was dumped into it cleaning it up before it was seen by our eyes. (not as badly as CLERKS, of course) The only thing I think RR should be remembered for is how a no-name guy with no budget can make it to the top, and that it's possible to do. Of course, in this day and age, he would have stood no chance. He entered the game on the "micro-budget indie" surfboard that later got swallowed by increasing numbers of filmmakers. (then Blair Witch made it a Tidal Wave). Really, there were and are FAR MORE TALENTED filmmakers than RR deserving his place, accept perhaps he deserves it on the perserverence factor. So if we commend him on anything, it should be that. His perserverence paid off, and sets a good example.

. . . Now then . . .

His movies are awful films (well, really only saw Dusk and the Mariachi Series and clips of that horror flick, whatever it was). Script, Acting, storyline . . . it's like watching a Hollywood version of a Jr. High home movie or something. Someone mentioned that behind the scenes, he seems to either be comical or serious, and unable to be both at one time, and whatever he is at the time is extreme. Well, his flicks sure show it. Can't ever decide if their actions or comedies.

I don't know, maybe it's all supposed to be farcical and I'm just not getting it. I mean I do enjoy his flicks, but only becasue they're so cheezy.

But hard for me to see such money and talent (Johnny Depp of all people) wasted on parts my girlfriend's 10 year old nephew could play just as easily.. . "Are you a Mexi-can or a Mexi-can't?" . . .

The answer is I'm a stupid actor if I chose to work with a director actually handing me that liine.

(He wrote that last script in a matter of days)

Again, he perservered, so he deserves his glory, but still, People like RR really just annoy me becasue they fill up one of the very few Hollywood slots when someone really more artistically talented than him (and just as hard working for their craft) deserves it.

Just IMHO
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 05:08 PM   #9
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While I don't 100% agree with you, it does seem to me that the more of a budget he gets, the poopier his movies get. I've definitely noticed a downward trend in his recent productions. Maybe his studio should just give him $10,000, a beat up old 16mm camera, some squibs, and kick him out of a van in the middle of the desert. We'd probably see his best work yet.
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 01:59 AM   #10
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I gotta admit Ive never got RR. In fact his best work was probally the segment in 4 Rooms. From Dusk Till Dawn started off strong then got stupid and the rest (including the 3 mariachi films) suck. I guess my 4 year old digs Spy Kids.
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 09:51 AM   #11
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In some ways I admire RR. He’s got loads of ambition and energy, and his journal on the making of his first film was a terrific read! But as a storyteller, he’s not my cup of tea. His stories come across as a bit childish and immature to the point where it almost seems like he is making fun of them himself. Nonetheless, RR is a great inspiration to me.

As for QT, I couldn’t swallow him for the longest. Being a Black movie maker myself, I got a little offended at his obsession with the n-word throughout his films. He seems to have gotten over it, though. Nonetheless, film is a medium of expression, so I’m sure QT had some unconscious, or maybe even conscious racial issues that he had to vent out in his films. Hey, it's freedom of expression, even if it doesn't sit well with me. As for QT's story telling, I have a love hate relationship with it. On the one hand, I think he is the most creative cinematic story teller alive, but only in the creative ways the he executes his scenes and dialogue. QT’s plots, or his overall story design, always end up meaning nothing to me in the end. Nonetheless, QT is the only filmmaker that really excites me right now.

This maybe a little off topic, but it seems like the days of colorful Indie filmmaker characters are dead. Maybe this is due to the bigwigs buying up the small distributors in the late 90s, who knows?
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 02:30 PM   #12
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I can dig what your saying about the use of this word (The word it seems can only be said if your black or in a movie). I play tons of basketball and this word is thrown around the court more than the ball by the players. Pulp Fiction was over the top on this one.

QT is one of my favorite filmmakers although KIll BIll I wasnt into (Not a Kung Fu fan and this film seemed to be a ton of Kung Fu and nothing else; I havent seen 2 yet....)

Definatley excited by QT. I remember the first time I saw the trailer for Kill Bill with this insane guitar riff; Damn! His work reminds me of early De Palma.
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 02:49 PM   #13
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>>I can dig what your saying about the use of this word (The word it seems can only be said if your black or in a movie). I play tons of basketball and this word is thrown around the court more than the ball by the players. Pulp Fiction was over the top on this one.<<

Don't get me wrong, the word has its place. For example, in Goodfellas or the God father, it was in context because, well, that's how those people actually talked.
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 03:19 PM   #14
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I agree with this statement. The wonderful world of film aloows the artist to do pretty much whatever they want because of this.
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Old July 29th, 2005, 04:24 PM   #15
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"But hard for me to see such money and talent (Johnny Depp of all people) wasted on parts my girlfriend's 10 year old nephew could play just as easily.. . "Are you a Mexi-can or a Mexi-can't?" . . .

The answer is I'm a stupid actor if I chose to work with a director actually handing me that liine."


Johnny Depp is the one who came up with that line
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