Once Upon a Time in Mexico
By Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe
I guess this movie reviewing is becoming a frickin’ thing for me to do. Not that anybody reads it or that my opinions matter. I don’t even think I’m going to be voting this year.
Robert Rodriguez is the frickin’ man! If you don’t know who this man is, let me break it down for you– El Mariachi. A movie that this man directed, shot, edited, scored, cast, and he even animated the Los Hooligans logo. This is a piece of independent film genius. Film majors go gaga over this shit. Why? It cost about $7000. Wannabe director wet dream.
El Mariachi is hard to type a bunch of times.
Then he did Desperado. You’ll remember this one a little better for the big names and the explosions but you may or may not know it was a sequel. Well.. it only sort of is. Aside from recasting El Mariachi (also known as ‘the Mariachi’) with Antonio Banderas, and ignoring little things like the mechanical hand at the end of El Mariachi, he changes slight story elements but still stays true to the mistaken-identity-guitarist-gone-killer-seeking-revenge-for-the-woman-he-loves-and-has-a-bullet-imbedded-in-his-palm feel that we’ve seen in movies throughout the ages. Despite the descrepancies, I think the major failing of the film was killing off STEVE BUSCEMI! Who the hell would do such a thing!? Simon West wouldn’t do it. Quentin Tarantino couldn’t do it. Adam Sandler’s never done it. The Coen brothers did it but it was in a way so awesome that I cannot complain. As I recall, Tim Burton made us think he’d done it but really he hadn’t.
And speaking of Quentin Tarantino, one more reason to NOT watch Desperado. But Cheech Marin provides a reason TO watch the movie.
While we’re on the subject, Robert Rodriguez did a silly little movie called From Dusk Til Dawn. This first half of it seems like a typical bloody shootemup typical of both Tarantino and Rodriguez. Once the vampire madness starts, however, it suddenly becomes Tom Savini’s movie. And a bad one at that. You think that Quentin Tarantino did a bad job of acting in Pulp Fiction or Desperado? Imagine dealing with him for a whole damn movie and then see the undead Tarantino. So watch it for about an hour then just know that George Clooney, Cheech Marin, and Juliette Lewis are the only ones to live.
I haven’t seen the Spy Kids movies because I am neither a twelve year old nor am I a single mother.
Now for his crowning achievement. Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Brilliant filmmaking. Spectacular imagery. Action. Explosions. Vengeance. More Cheech Marin. More explosions. Johnny Depp has this medical condition whereby he cannot disappoint in any movie. And I love it when somebody is blinded and still kicks ass. (The whole ‘blind messiah’ was the only redeeming quality of Matrix: Revolutions for me.) Enrique Iglesias, for some reason, didn’t make me vomit more than three times in the 102 minutes I was watching it. Salma Hayek gets top billing despite the fact that she exists only as a flashback and is in it for maybe a tenth of the movie. Willem Dafoe plays a convincing Spanish man. That’s understandable, he played a convincing Irish woman in Boondock Saints. Oh yeah, and more explosions.
Watch El Mariachi.
Watch Desperado up until just before Steve Buscemi is shot.
Watch Once Upon a Time in Mexico… twice.
Watch From Dusk til Dawn until they get into Mexico. That’s good enough.
Watch Four Rooms. Just watch it.
Watch Reservoir Dogs, but splice the last scene from Con Air where Steve Buscemi is at the casino there after he leaves the warehouse.