Friday, April 8, 2011

I Finally Got Around to Seeing Not Quite Hollywood(2008)...

....and it only took me two years to do it. When Not Quite Hollywood:The Wild,Untold Story of Ozploitation!(2008) first started hitting the festival circuit back in 2009, it seemed as if every genre blogger and podcaster had seen it and something to say, most of it being praise. Now that I think about it, I don't recall anyone writing anything negative about the doc at all, and I understand why. Thanks to the power of Netflix Instawatch, and too much free time on my hands during a rainy day, I finally put forth the effort to watch the highly regarded documentary. I must say it was time well spent.

Just in case you were unaware this film existed (I speak mainly of the friends of mine who click my Facebook Link), Not Quite Hollywood documents the rise of fall of Australian genre cinema, known affectionately in the cult movie community as Ozploitation. From it's beginnings in testing the censors with skin exposures, to it's apparent demise, not unlike the American Drive-thu and Grindhouse culture, with the rise of VHS, the doc outlines the history of the genre. As you would expect from any documentary about film, there are shitloads of interviews with filmmakers, actors, and stuntmen...too many to actually name with the exception of Quentin Tarantino. There are also film clips up the anus, again sounding like pretty standard doc garbage.

What sets this film apart from other docs, aside from subject matter, is the rock video editing that keeps one such as myself, who has the attention span of a cat, interested for close to two hours. Two hours with no bathroom or snack breaks is something that happens very rarely, especially with an informative film. Blurbs from interviewees never last more than 30 seconds before a movie clip, typically speaking over the clip. The director obviously knew that when making a doc about movies, people want to see clips of the actual movies rather than a bunch of old fuddy-duddies talking about filming. The only problem with this concept is these old fuddy-duddies are Ozzies,who happen to be pervy and quite crazy, so the stories that are actually being told are far from boring. Throw in a soundtrack of classic glam rock from Down Under, and you have the makings of a perfect documentary.

I was a bit disappointed in myself knowing very little about the genre, being a total dork when it comes to this shit. Out of the dozens of films covered, which I assume were a small part of the actual industry, I could only name 2 or 3 of the movies as flicks I have actually watched. On the flipside though, I took down the titles of most of the films covered for future viewing purposes. I may not know much about ozploitation right now, but by the end of the month I guarantee I'm going to have close to a dozen under my belt.

All together I can say the movie did what it was supposed to, expose the world to a lesser known film industry and make people want to seek these Australian rarities out. If you screen Not Quite Hollywood and don't immediately seek out a copy of The Man From Hong Kong or Patrick, there has got to be something wrong with you. Keep in mind that the director, Mark Hartley, currently has a new documentary on the festival circuit called Machete Maidens Unleashed! which explores the hotbed of exploitation filmmaking known as the Philipines. I've seen the trailers and read the reviews, hopefully it doesn't take me 2 years to take the time to watch it.

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