Not Quite Hollywood (Magnolia Pictures/Magnet Releasing, R)

film_not-hollywood_sm.jpgSadly, Not Quite Hollywood is not the rollicking, movie-love-inspiring film it ought to be.

 

 

 

 

 

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Formatted like the great, largely unseen Xan Cassavetes documentary from 2004, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, comes Not Quite Hollywood, a celebration/tour of Australian exploitation films ("Ozploitation") from the ’70s and ’80s. Exploitation movies, especially ones that are either largely unseen, really fucked up or both, have long been a fascination of mine, so it seems like any documentary that opens the door to many I’ve never heard of would practically be custom-made for me.

Sadly, Not Quite Hollywood is not the rollicking, movie-love-inspiring film it ought to be. Granted, I’ve never been a big fan of Australian national cinema (example: NQH‘s filmmakers seem to think 2005’s Australian horror movie Wolf Creek is the second coming of Ozploitation; I just think it sucks), but realistically, most of the films featured in Not Quite would probably be films that I like. The problem is that the film is so self-satisfied, it never really makes you care about them.

A lot of this self-satisfaction comes directly from one of the film’s key interviewees, Quentin Tarantino (who was also a staple talking head in the aforementioned Z Channel). Although many great interviews were scored in the production of NQH, from old stunt men, directors, writers, stars and even Hollywood legends such as Dennis Hopper or Jamie Lee Curtis, it seems like every other interview segment in the film is Tarantino, which quickly gets tiresome — and this coming from someone who likes and respects Tarantino a great deal. His superlatives for the discussed films repeat themselves quickly ("Release this film in theaters tomorrow, and people will still love it!"), and also the interview seems awfully dated already: He makes lots of references to Kill Bill but none to Death Proof which, in many cases, seems like a much more apt comparison. Had he not made it yet at the time that this interview was conducted? Further evidence of the QT interview being quite old has him saying that X Australian car chase movie has more car chases in it than "both" of the Fast and the Furious movies. Uh…there’s four of those now. That puts the Tarantino interview as conducted probably somewhere between 2003 and 2005, despite the fact that this film is just now being released in theaters. (It came out in Australia last year, which isn’t much better.)

One obvious pro is that Not Quite Hollywood opened me up to some movies I haven’t seen before but can’t wait to now, all of which are much more of the Mad Max than the Peter Weir variety. I’m embarrassed to have not yet seen yhe 1978 horror film Patrick, to name one, and it’s discoveries like that that make seeing films such as Not Quite Hollywood vital. I just can’t help but wish this film had been more joyful and informative, and less inaccessible and backslapping. | Pete Timmermann

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