September 14, 2010

"Machete"

From my new review in Taki's Magazine:
After the Euro-ennui of The American last week, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete sounded pretty entertaining: heroic illegal immigrants driving bouncing lowrider cars slaughter the evil white Americans holed up in a modern Alamo. Well, anything had to be better than waiting around for George Clooney to furrow his brow some more.

And Rodriguez, the junior varsity Quentin Tarantino, has a long list of sort-of-good movies to his name, such as Spy Kids and Sin City. Plus, Machete got even better reviews than The American did (72 percent thumbs up) and an enthusiastic 7.8 out of 10 rating from the fanboy raters at Internet Movie Database.

Because The American was, deservedly, the worst graded movie of the year (D-) in CinemaScore’s audience exit polls, there was much anticipatory schadenfreude among people who follow box office results that The American’s second weekend revenue would plummet. And, it did. Yet, Machete’s haul fell even faster, down 63 percent to only $4.2 million.

What happened? It’s an interesting question during a slow movie season because everybody recognizes that the gradual Mexicanization of America is a big deal statistically (there are 31 million people of Mexican origin in America). Yet few in America’s popular culture elite know much about Mexican-Americans, who may be even less common now in Hollywood than in the days of Anthony Quinn. Although there are three celebrated Mexican art house directors who moved to Hollywood after finding success in Mexico, the “Three Amigos,” the only big name filmmaker of representative Mexican-American background is Robert Rodriguez. (He’s from a San Antonio family of ten siblings.)
Rodriguez teamed up with Tarantino to make the 2007 double feature Grindhouse, an homage to bad 1970s exploitation films. Machete started out as a fake trailer in Grindhouse about a cutlass-brandishing Mexican federale who leads illegal aliens in race war against Texas whites. Neither auteur has shown much skill at directing action, but Tarantino can frame compositions and write dialogue. Rodriguez’s most notable talent is concocting ideas that build pre-release buzz among the Internet nerds who are the most vocal film fans these days.

Rodriguez put his second cousin, Danny Trejo, a 66-year-old ex-con and longtime character actor, in the title role. Trejo, who does project a certain gravitas, looks like Charles Bronson in one of his American Indian roles, if Bronson had been saddled with Edward James Olmos’s dermatologist. Why hasn’t anybody before Rodriguez been enough of a genius to dream up making an ultra-violent action movie starring a spear-carrier older than Bronson was in Death Wish IV? I mean, other than that Old Penitentiary Face Trejo can’t move around so good anymore and never could actually act much.

Read  the whole thing there and comment upon it below.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Machete was freaking awesome! Hopefully it will lead to Hispanics taking more assertive action and whites finally seeing that it is not all about them anymore.

Anonymous said...

Edward James Olmos's dermatologist???


Apropos of Lucille and Lindsay Bluth while sharing a bananas flambe....

Lucille- "You might want to let that flame go out before you stick your face in it"

Lindsay- " That's funny because i was going to say you better not get near that flame because you're soaked in alcohol"

Lucille- "Mine was better"


You're welcome Steve.


Dan in DC

OneSTDV said...

The basic liberal response:

It's absurd satire that right-wingers are overreacting about.

http://www.alternet.org/media/148141/the_xenophobic_right%27s_weird_reaction_to_hollywood_blockbuster_%27machete%27/?page=entire

Here's a quick thought experiment to test: If a movie showed whites slaughtering illegal immigrants, would they be so quick to dismiss it as purposefully inane satire?

Anonymous said...

"Yet, there are only so many people who will pay to see a stinker with one laugh every 15 minutes because they find its meta-joke conceptually amusing. In its second week, Machete is laying an egg at the box office because the Mexican audience, which makes up the demographic core of Hollywood blockbuster enthusiasts, isn’t really into irony. When they pay their hard-earned money to see a movie, they want to see one where the filmmakers worked hard, too."

Is this a meta-meta-joke? I hear Mexican teens working in SoCal theater ticket booths are letting patrons use CA issued welfare debit cards for admission.

Sideways said...

A) your link goes to page two of the review

B) dear god, what happened to Taki's website? That's terrible.

rightsaidfred said...

The irony abounds. Jessica Alba, with a Scandinavian mother, can play iconic blonde Sue Storm, and with a Latin father, can play a La Raza foot soldier.

Tanstaafl said...

Machete didn't start as a fake trailer in Grindhouse.

Interview with Danny Trejo and director Robert Rodriguez for Machete:

Trejo: Well, this is a dream come true. Robert and I talked about it 14 years ago while we were doing Desperado and he just said, you know what, you're perfect for this character. Here's this script, here's the storyline, and I thought wow man, it's a dream movie.

For fourteen years, While making Spy Kids, Rodriguez and Trejo were dreaming of their raza rising up and hacking to death impetulant Whites who don't want their country transformed into Mexico.

Severn said...

I'm trying to imagine Hollywood doing a similar movie, but with white people portrayed sympathetically as they wage war on illegal immigrants.

But my imagination cannot stretch quite that far.

Anonymous said...

Is takimag rebranding? The redesign looks horribly feminine and liberal.

Anonymous said...

Your link to the review goes to page 2, not page 1.

Anonymous said...

Talk about over-analyzing a film!

Listen Freud, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. By the way, I don't agree with the immigration policy in Arizona, and I'm a white, Irish Catholic descent guy whose family has been here since the civil war. If this country was able to let a bunch of unwanted Irish immigrants who swore fealty to a guy in a pointy hat over here, I have no objection to anyone coming here.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how attempting to uphold this nation's laws, as AZ is trying to do, makes one mentally deficient. It's those that fall into the emotional traps played by the left-wing who need to re-evaluate what's really going on. Being destitute doesn't support violating the law. As stated elsewhere, Mexico is a land of many resources, but the country's government has failed its people. It's response, pass the problem elsewhere. America shouldn't have to bear this burden. Any immigrant entering America without following our processes for naturalization is illegal. The Mexican race is feeling the brunt of this because they are currently the majority of immigrants coming here illegally, but this should apply to any person coming to our country illegally.

It is absurd to suggest that because white men took this land from natives 250 years ago that we can't have laws protecting our borders today. Not one of those people is alive today, and not one thing can be done about their actions today. But, a country burgeoned from those actions, and it is now fully developed and not the same land it once was. A country has a right to protect its borders. It's not about trying to keep this land white. It's about accounting for those who come to this country to work and live. If you are going to enjoy the benefits of this country, you must also share the costs and pay your taxes. For now, the 11 million or so illegal immigrants in this country are using our resources but not subject to paying taxes. Taxpayers feel this burn and have a right to demand something be done about it. It's also just as absurd to suggest that because there are small bubbles of racist communities in the South that anyone wanting to resolve the illegal immigration problems is a racist. Typical liberal reasoning, applying broad labels to people. There's racists in the South, so the South must be racist. Liberals thrive on labels and classifications because their goals don't know how to recognize the individuals, which is what we need to see illegal immigrants as. We need to see them as individuals violating our nations laws and costing us money we don't have.

This issue here is not racism or hatred, its about following the law and about the preservation of a nation. Anyone who immediately labels a supporter of legal immigration racist is a hack. America needs to assert itself and show other countries that you just can't import those you don't want, that we have laws and processes to becoming a citizen. Every other civilized country in this world does.

The movie was entertaining, but proves that even an exploitation film can have an agenda.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how attempting to uphold this nation's laws, as AZ is trying to do, makes one mentally deficient. It's those that fall into the emotional traps played by the left-wing who need to re-evaluate what's really going on. Being destitute doesn't support violating the law. As stated elsewhere, Mexico is a land of many resources, but the country's government has failed its people. It's response, pass the problem elsewhere. America shouldn't have to bear this burden. Any immigrant entering America without following our processes for naturalization is illegal. The Mexican race is feeling the brunt of this because they are currently the majority of immigrants coming here illegally, but this should apply to any person coming to our country illegally.

It is absurd to suggest that because white men took this land from natives 250 years ago that we can't have laws protecting our borders today. Not one of those people is alive today, and not one thing can be done about their actions today. But, a country burgeoned from those actions, and it is now fully developed and not the same land it once was. A country has a right to protect its borders. It's not about trying to keep this land white. It's about accounting for those who come to this country to work and live. If you are going to enjoy the benefits of this country, you must also share the costs and pay your taxes. For now, the 11 million or so illegal immigrants in this country are using our resources but not subject to paying taxes. Taxpayers feel this burn and have a right to demand something be done about it. It's also just as absurd to suggest that because there are small bubbles of racist communities in the South that anyone wanting to resolve the illegal immigration problems is a racist. Typical liberal reasoning, applying broad labels to people. There's racists in the South, so the South must be racist. Liberals thrive on labels and classifications because their goals don't know how to recognize the individuals, which is what we need to see illegal immigrants as. We need to see them as individuals violating our nations laws and costing us money we don't have.

Anonymous said...

This issue here is not racism or hatred, its about following the law and about the preservation of a nation. Anyone who immediately labels a supporter of legal immigration racist is a hack. America needs to assert itself and show other countries that you just can't import those you don't want, that we have laws and processes to becoming a citizen. Every other civilized country in this world does.

The movie was entertaining, but proves that even an exploitation film can have an agenda.

KissTheGoat said...

The link to your review goes to page 2, not page 1. No need to post this, just letting you know.

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."Is takimag rebranding? The redesign looks horribly feminine and liberal."

"Horribly feminine and liberal"--what a terrific phrase. So useful.

And yes, it does.

Anonymous said...

American government is the problem and the solution. It is a problem when it doesn't perform it's assigned duty: to protect and ameliorate the lives of the citizens. It can be a solution by reigning in the robber barons who've off-shored their money and jobs, thwarted environmental basics and basically acted very un-American. Yes, it's true, he who has the gold makes the rules but business can still be done efficiently and with adequate profits under adequate contraints and transparency. Only government has the power and authority to set the rules to play the game but our government has been owned by the very interests that want no rules for their game. That's how it's been since the beginning. One never does anything until he is more or less forced. Maybe it would be good for America to lose it's world leadership position to create a greater pressure for change. I think America will survive; I hope it changes for the better.

Harry Baldwin said...

Admittedly it's useless to argue taste in movies, but I generally like Rodriguez's movies more than Tarantino's. I think "Desperado," "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," and "Sin City" are great leave-your-brain-at-home escapist films. I thought Rodriguez's contribution to Grindhouse, "Planet Terror," was far more entertaining than Tarantino's "Death Proof." (Tarantino's attempt at cool grrlz' dialog in "Death Proof" was excruciating. "Kill Bill" was also horribly scripted.)

I wouldn't go to see "Machete" if you paid me, as I find the premise morally repugnant. Hey, guys, let's stir up a race war! I guess Rodriguez wants to be La Raza's Leni Riefenstahl. I read of a white being killed by blacks who had been stirred up by "Mississippi Burning," so perhaps Rodriguez hopes to have a similar impact.

The movie may serve to give whites an idea of how much Mexicans hate and resent America. Mexican newspapers editorialize against the US with the same vituperation as you'd expect from an official newspaper in Iran. I first realized the extent of this by reading the "M3 Report," which provides translations of articles from Mexican and Latin American newspapers.
http://m3report.wordpress.com/

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"If this country was able to let a bunch of unwanted Irish immigrants who swore fealty to a guy in a pointy hat over here, I have no objection to anyone coming here."

Nuh-uh.
Just because the 1800s generation let in Irish doesn't entitle YOU to give away my country out from under me and mine.

The Founders talked about themselves and their posterity. And the expectation and demand, including upon the Irish, in trade for being allowed in has always been for immmigrants to transfer their primary loyalty TO The Posterity.

And that expectation and demand to continue to give primary loyalty to The Posterity falls, rightly, on the immigrants' posterity.

Just because YOUR Irish great-great-great, etc., grandparents failed to live up to that expectation (proof? you) doesn't give you a pass to continue their perfidy.

Anonymous said...

If this country was able to let a bunch of unwanted Irish immigrants who swore fealty to a guy in a pointy hat over here


They were wanted. That's why they were let in.

And FYI, Catholics do not swear fealty to the Pope.

Svigor said...

Talk about over-analyzing a film!

I agree. I'm writing a script right now about slaughtering Irish Catholics and I hope Hollywood bias doesn't kill it.

Listen Freud, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Yup. Sometimes a movie about slaughtering Irish Catholics is just a movie about slaughtering Irish Catholics!

By the way, I don't agree with the immigration policy in Arizona, and I'm a white, Irish Catholic descent guy whose family has been here since the civil war. If this country was able to let a bunch of unwanted Irish immigrants who swore fealty to a guy in a pointy hat over here, I have no objection to anyone coming here.

I agree. My ancestors (here since before the Revolution) were nice to yours, so we should thank them by screwing their posterity. The idea that my ancestors made a mistake by letting your ancestors immigrate (as proven by your current behavior and thinking) is deplorable.

Don't over-analyze this post!

Svigor said...

From that M3 link:
Calderon rules out use of UN, blames troubles on US

the fact is that if there had not been the flow of arms from the United States to the Mexican criminals (…) we would not have the rate of violence that we have now.”

Our press often says something similar. Then, out of the other side of their mouths, they blame Mexico's drug violence on the American demand for drugs.

Americans want drugs and Mexican crooks oblige? Our fault. Mexicans want guns and American crooks oblige? That's our fault, too.

Fred said...

This paragraph from your review was priceless,

"Lovely Jessica Alba is cast as a tough Border Patrol copette who switches sides out of blood loyalty to La Raza after she falls for the vintage charms of Machete. The willowy Alba seems to be just marking time at this whole acting thing until she can relinquish her current buttkicking babe roles, put on ten pounds, and begin what promises to be a long career of nice mom roles as a subliminally Hispanic Mary Steenburgen."

Whiskey said...

You missed the big one Steve. The movie was in English. Not Spanish.

Also, Rodriguez is perhaps the most assimilated, most successful, most dependent on a White audience, Mexican-American film-maker. Alba is the favorite of Maxim Magazine and White nerdy guys. Michelle Rodriguez made her career in White-audience movies like AVATAR or "Lost" and Cheech Marin owes his millions to White stoners.

This is the movie they made. Ironically, "Machete" is Exhibit A in the view that Mexican-Americans don't assimilate, choose Mexican peer interests in racial solidarity over fellow US Citizens who are White, and the interest of pretty much most Mexicans is taking over America, even if it makes them far poorer.

elvisd said...

I don't know if certain fonts and layouts are inherently "liberal", but Taki's new layout definitely has an unhealthy, pallid East Coast flavor.

Anonymous said...

"The American" is a terrific movie. Hence American audiences didn't like it. Machete is well...as Harry Baldwin rightly pointed, there is no accounting for taste in movies

B Lode said...

I hope they finish the border fence soon. That way the Mexicans won't have to deal with any of those nasty American-made arms.

Skip G. said...

"Edward James Olmos’s dermatologist"

Bwa ha ha!

jody said...

i was also wondering why machete did not find much of an audience, but neither did grindhouse, which seemed like it would do much more business than it did. not sure what the deal is here. planet terror was great B movie fun. no way it should have only made 25 million.

the US box office remains a gamble.

Anonymous said...

What is a meta-joke? Do you mean like the casting of above-said Mary Steenburgen as the gun-totin' country gal who sets a pair of jaded Manhattanites straight in "Have you Heard about the Morgans"?

David Davenport said...

By the way, I don't agree with the immigration policy in Arizona, and I'm a white, Irish Catholic descent guy whose family has been here since the civil war.

Please go home to Ireland.

Seriously.

Eric said...

the fact is that if there had not been the flow of arms from the United States to the Mexican criminals (…) we would not have the rate of violence that we have now.”

I wish he would tell us where they're buying all those legal machine guns and grenades. I always wanted an AK-47.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

By the way, I don't agree with the immigration policy in Arizona, and I'm a white, Irish Catholic descent guy whose family has been here since the civil war. If this country was able to let a bunch of unwanted Irish immigrants who swore fealty to a guy in a pointy hat over here, I have no objection to anyone coming here."

Obviously, my ancestors made a big mistake in letting your ancesors come to this country. Why don't you find a country of your own to give away?

BamaGirl said...

"If this country was able to let a bunch of unwanted Irish immigrants who swore fealty to a guy in a pointy hat over here."

Well, my Irish Catholic ancestors settled on the gulf coast right after the civil war where according to family history they were most certainly wanted. Many southern cities actively sought to attract irish/german immigrants to help offset the large black population. And most Irish Catholics never swore fealty to the pope lol.

Is It Just Me? said...

Rodriguez's Planet Terror featured Mexican-American and redneck Texans working together to fight off and survive a zombie epidemic. I haven't seen Machete but it appears as if "good ole boy" whites comprise a good percentage of the villians in that film. Contrast Planet Terror where quite a few of the same character types were portrayed as imperfect but ultimately decent and genuinely heroic.

josh said...

Pathetic that the meathead from Az says he is IrishC and several of the nerds here pounce--not on the stupidity of his comments--but on his ancestry,as if he has single-handedly invalidated the value that the Irish have given America!Jesus Christ!!! "My ancestors shouldnt have let yours in!" LOL! Your ancestors mightve considered choosing more intelligent partners. Guys,"Arizona" is most likely a Jew from New York,OK? Obv if you want to get a rise from this bunch you claim to be Irish Cath,and the fangs are bared. BTW have ye heard of this interesting tale of the San Patricios? Irish immigrants in the Army during the Mex-Am war(the FIRST Mex-Amer war I should say)were so brutally treated and so detested(for being Irish or Catholic,I couldnt say as both are equally deplorable)that they bolted,joined the Mexican army and created a strike force of shocking ferocity,doing a heck of a lot of damage afore they wound up stretching some ropes. No doubt there wouldve been a few more bellicose iSteve readers had their ancestors not met an untimely death. The Irish led the Mexicans to far greater effectiveness in battle than had been prev displayed and were lionized by the Mexicans.Had there been more of them...Anyway,the escapees lived out their lives in Mexico and their descendants are prob in the forefront of stirring up trouble now. (A number of German Catholics also fought with the SP's,following the Irish lead,as is their wont)Moral of the story=none. But I'd venture to guess that while immigration seems to be neasured in the amount of $$ and power the immigrant accumulates,maybe we should measure it in the value he/they ADD to the history and culture f the host nation. By that score. Irish immigration is unquestionably the best thing that ever happened to the USA. The inundation from Latin America is the 2nd WORST.

Mr. Anon said...

"josh said...

Pathetic that the meathead from Az says he is IrishC and several of the nerds here pounce--not on the stupidity of his comments--but on his ancestry,as if he has single-handedly invalidated the value that the Irish have given America!Jesus Christ!!! "My ancestors shouldnt have let yours in!""

I didn't say that irish catholics shouldn't have been let in, nor did I mean that. I meant that it was a mistake to have admitted his - specifically his - ancestors.

Truth said...

"Pathetic that the meathead from Az says he is IrishC and several of the nerds here pounce"

Grasshopper, you are a racist.

Svigor said...

‘Machete’ Review: Dull, Convoluted, Racist and Anti-American

Check out the sixth comment on the second page.


Heh, just what the hell is your deal, Rotgut? Multiple personality disorder, or what?