Who's in It:
Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodríguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Michael Biehn, Naveen Andrews, Tom Savini, Quentin Tarantino, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Tracie Thoms, Zoe Bell, Kurt Russell, Bruce Willis
The Basics: It's two things
1. It's a double feature padded with some fake trailers. One movie, Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror, is about zombies; the other, Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, is about badass ladies getting sweet revenge on a mean man.
2. It's the most incredible blast of disgusting, orgasmically exploitive trash I've seen in forever, and sitting through it made me a better human being. Seriously, I'm one step away from ascending into the clouds on the angel-winged backs of all those puppies that Rudy Giuliani's wife killed. That's the transformative power of this movie.
What's the Deal? OK, I lied. It's really just for fanboys who get off on and the following list may or may not count as spoilers to some people; I think of them as enticements myself lesbian strippers, scrotum removal, exploding pustules, face-melting chemical weapons, zombies, amputations, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas meeting a grisly end, mini-bike wheelies, blood-spattered breasts, machine-gun legs, needles plunged into eyeballs, bone saws as weapons, brain-eating, steel-pipe skull-bashing, exploding everything, chicks in fast cars and your grandmother cooked like a Thanksgiving turkey. And if you have a problem with one of these things, then you most likely have a problem with all of them. In other words, you should stay home and watch Steel Magnolias on cable instead.
Which One Is Better: I don't have a favorite. They deliver separate but equal pleasures. Rodriguez's is a fantasy of what an old-school-schlock zombie movie might have been with a big budget and no script downtime. Tarantino's, on the other hand, fuses his nerd-tronic sensibility (his hot babes talk a LOT about Vanishing Point) to something that actually feels like a cheapo car-chase movie from the early '70s. In a lot of those films, there was a distinct element of boredom. You'd sit there thinking, "When do they start crashing the cars?" So when Tarantino's women sit around talking about nothing for a very long time, he's giving you the real deal.
What It's Really About: It's a throw-down to all the mainstream movies posing as cool exploitation, ones that wish they could be about nothing but pure sensation yet still feel the need to sell themselves to a mass audience, diluting their effect. In this one, the medium is the message.