Geeky Cinephile Musings…
I don't pontificate, I blather.

Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects”: a small rant…

I should’ve written this post as soon as I’d watched the movie.  I’m worried that many facts will have been swallowed up by the colossus that is the void of time when it comes to my short term memory lately.  But heck–when has adherence to facts ever stopped me? Perhaps the most telling factor in this posting is the fact that a few weeks later, I’m still influenced enough (ah hell, irritated enough) to write about this film and all of its shortcomings.  The sad thing is, I was totally rooting for this film, for more reasons than you might think.  I visited the set of this film in 2004 (God, has it been that long?) because I knew a few people that were working on it: my good friend Nicole Kreuzer, who was the stand-in for Zombie’s wife, Sheri Moon (Baby), and Zach Atkinson, who was the full-time assistant to Matt McGrory (Tiny), who sadly passed away 08-09-05, only a couple of weeks after “Devil’s Rejects” was released in the USA.  Although I cannot claim a long friendship with him, it was nevertheless very obvious that Matt was an absolutely stellar guy, and his death was extremely hard for all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

At the time, they were filming out north of Los Angeles, up the 14, the setting for the Firefly family’s home.  I was thrilled to see a horror movie being filmed (as I’m sure any of you who know me know it’s my ultimate dream in life to be in a horror film…Dario? Dario? Are you out there?), and excited about meeting Rob Zombie.  After all, I was a child of the early 90’s–I’d bought “La Sexorcisto.”  I was pleasantly surprised to find an eloquent, (rather sexy in a kinda cowboy way!) intelligent, thoughtful man.  The day I spent there, watching them film the scene where the house is set on fire, was fantastic and memorable.

Fast forward to late August, 2009.  My husband and I are channel surfing and come across “The Devil’s Rejects,” being shown on Encore in conjunction with the release of Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II” (which got rather lukewarm reviews).  We settled in…and were severely disappointed.  As most reviewers choose to do the good stuff first and then ease into the bad, I’d like to do the opposite. Just cause.

For starters, the dialogue was for the most part, pretty vacuous.  I know, I know–it’s a horror film, right? Rarely do you find exciting and thought-provoking dialogue in films (my beloved Dario has come out with some real groaners at times), but this dialogue was beyond that.  It was irritatingly teenager-ish.  I got the feeling that a fifteen year old boy had written the script (and hey–wouldn’t you know it? The majority of people who love this film are fifteen year old boys).  In particular, one bit stands out to me as just…painful.  At the start of the film, during the shootout between the Fireflys and the law, Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook) turns to Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) and says in a curiously Marietta Fortune-esque voice (this is from memory now, so caveat lector), “I remember when you was just a baby, you was so fucking beautiful–a fucking angel!!” to which Baby replies, “Aw momma!” And that’s about as good as it gets.  I wish I were kidding.

Then there was the issue of Sheri Moon herself.  Actually, her performance might be a good 50% of why I didn’t like this film.  She has two expressions: sexy flirty and cheerleader sneer.  Here, I’ll give ’em both to you:

THE_DEVILS_REJECTS-24.jpg image by JONBONJOVISONLY  

Yep, that’s about the extent of her acting skills.  As a supposedly hardened, sick, cruel and arbitrary killer, she is not even remotely scary or believable.  She is, in short, an absolutely, mortifyingly terrible actress.  Every time she spoke, I got the feeling that she didn’t feel or truly believe in what was happening in that reality.  You just saw Sheri Moon, the woman, getting another freebie lead part in her husband’s film.  I could almost picture her bursting into smug laughter after every shout of “Cut!” and flouncing off to go flirt with the crew members.  Doing light research (and you thought I just spouted off! HA! Um…yeah!), I have found that most people, even if they like this movie (shudder) draw comparisons between Sheri Moon Zombie and Sofia Coppola in her infamous Godfather role…ouch…poor Sofia.  She doesn’t deserve that.

I also had a MUCH smaller problem with the character of Otis, played by Bill Moseley.  I wouldn’t even necessarily call it so much a problem as just something that jarred me out of the film.  Otis looks like this:

 but talks like this:

Does that just seem odd, or am I being a picky bitch? I figure, if anything jars someone watching a film out of that reality, it might be something to consider changing.  Hello? Escapism?

My last beef with this film was Zombie’s Tarantino-like use of “homage,” which basically borders on “rip-off.”  The thing is, Tarantino does it far better, and so I let him off with a roll of the eyes.  Zombie painfully scrambles to imitate films and genres of films that he has grown up on and loved, and tries desperately to make it his own, but ultimately his mark is that of a rich kid-turned-director whose only fallbacks are senseless violence and extreme gore.  Now, now, don’t go gettin’ mad.  I know Zombie (excuse me, Robert Cummings) was not rich…he was merely upper middle-class…but the description stands.  This film was extremely self-indulgent, and that has always been something that just “grinds my gears,” (see my temper tantrum about  Garden State) because it completely forgets the audience.  Much like the chef who cooks a meal based on how it looks, or how many fine ingredients he uses, as opposed to the simple idea of basing it on how it will taste, Zombie left me with an unsavory flavor in my mouth in terms of his masturbatory goals with this film.

Which brings me to the end of my rant.  Now I’ll say what I liked about the film.  The soundtrack (what one of my friends lovingly refers to as “Dirt Rock,” but what I refer to as “My current Ipod hits”) is 1970’s country rock–always a favorite, and the killings were all quite gory and visceral–always a favorite.  And yep, that’s about where it ends.  Sorry, were you expecting more there? Okay, fine, I’ll end on a quote from a Rob Zombie lover that I found on a message board while doing my (ahem!) research for this blog:

I love how some of you guys sit here and say he can’t make a decent movie or fuck Rob Zombie(sic). How many movies have you made lately? You all know that you would fuck his old lady with your and your buddy’s cock if you could.”   — Imperius

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One Response to “Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects”: a small rant…”

  1. […] but duck and hide from him, although I know there’s no way he could possibly know (or care) that I blasted his awful film, The Devil’s Rejects.  His speech was exceedingly awkward, as he kept telling stories that were meant to make Malcolm […]


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