Move Over, Stanley Kubrick…

Buckle up for a beat-down full of bullets and babies, because Drive Angry is the Greatest Movie EVER!

Click on the poster or the movie title above to download our review of the film, featuring…a pair of mysterious, crime-fighting podcasters!

Review in a Nutshell:  One of my cohosts called me a crazy person for implicitly comparing this film to A Clockwork Orange.  He’s probably right.

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20 Responses

  1. Neveldine and Taylor + Nicholas Cage + Ghost Rider = Darly Sarut regains faith in humanity.

  2. Ghost Rider 2 has he potential to be the mos entertaining superhero film of the past 2 decades. That’s even considering Captain America and X-men First Class, which I loved.

    I am somewhat surprised that Dave didn’t like first Class, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard him even give his second highest honor of “it was OK” to a capes n’ tights flick.

    I’ll ignore the “people just didn’t get it” portion of the show, the battle-cry of internet children.

    What I want to focus on are two things.

    1. Having a lower budget makes your movie better:

    I feel that this is a philosophy of The Greatest Movie Ever, or at least Daryl Surat. I think this “opinion” is common of film snobs, but on this program, it has narrower genre focus. I wouldn’t call it snobbery. I guess it’s “awesomery”

    I think people definitively get he Crank movies and they got Shoot ‘Em Up. Rotten Tomatoes has a good sample of critics, and 66% percent of them dug that film. audiences did not seem to get it, though, because its gross fell below its small budget.

    2. Intellectual modesty
    I know there is hate and backlash and nose-thumbing to the Whedons and Tarantinos of the world (I admit a bit of it, and disagree with mos of it) but I think that just because other directors/screenwriters don’t write their characters in a way that doesn’t feel appropriate that they are better writers. Maybe, just maybe, they are a different sort of poor writer.

    My favorite William Fitchner films/tv shows are “Agent Mahone Tries to Protect his Bank,” “Agent Mahone Tries to Catch Prison Escapees, but Then he Conveniently Ends Up in a Prison Himself,” and “Agent Mahone is a Florida Sheriff, but This Was Before Agent Mahone Existed”

    William Fitchner is great. He is almost Gary Cole. Almost. Hell, they could be brothers.

  3. I don’t know if I just missed the joke. I am not sure if it was sarcasm. Perhaps I just dreamed the whole thing, but did you seriously compare Drive Angry to A Clockwork Orange?

    I am completely with Dave here. Both of you are crazy. It has nothing to do with Kubrick as to why this comparison doesn’t hold up. It has everything to do with comparing a movie, and a commentary, that has stood the test of time, to this week’s flavor of action movie. Does Drive Angry have a message? Perhaps it does, but a big knock against that is “We have to get the worst wig ever” moments. For all the hate this podcast spits at Tarantino, it is ironic that this moment, that smacks of breaking the fourth wall and pointing at something and saying “haha isn’t this funny”, is applauded.

    In spite of that, keep up the good work. 🙂

  4. I think trying to figure out why a film doesn’t find its audience is a perfectly legitimate question, Vichus. We weren’t being “internet children” saying “people just don’t get it”. We were trying to determine why the film doesn’t make that connection. As Daryl said in the Hobo podcast, I think it might be a manner of expectations, and I’m beginning to think he’s onto something there.

    Having a lower budget does not make a movie better. I’ve seen plenty of no budget and low budget movies that are terrible. I do think that having budgetary limitations can spark creative solutions to the problems presented in filming, though. My battle-cry is “art through adversity”, and I feel that large budgets often result in creative laziness and an unwillingness to take risks for fear of alienating the audience out of purely financial concerns.

    I’m not concerned with any kind of intellectual modesty on the part of the writers. I only care if they are being honest with their material.

    I don’t hate Tarantino. Some of his films are great, but some of them are lousy. That’s my entire point; even Kubrick struck out sometimes. For every 2001 or Dr. Strangelove, he also produced crap like Lolita and Eyes Wide Shut. No director is above criticism, and no director is below it, either. If there’s one thing I think my podcast is about, it’s that genre films with an absurd premise still merit serious critical consideration.

    The wig scene is great specifically because it does not break the fourth wall. It’s played completely straight.

  5. I never take Daryl Surat’s comments as sarcasm. It’s better that way.

    I understand the mission statement of this podcast. That’s why I chose it above all others. Aaaand the guest you have on don’t hurt its appeal, either.

  6. After hearing Daryl Surat on the OSMCast talking about this movie, I decided to watch it and I really enjoyed this movie a lot and was a little sad I didn’t see it 3D. Now I can listen to this podcast now that I’ve seen it. I might comment more after I listen to this.

  7. I went into Drive Angry expecting a lot of fun and came out feeling disappointed. It seemed to me like the writers were trying to be smart by including some allusions to John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and various other religious works and it ended up feeling forced and lazy.

    Other than these allusions there was no deep meaning behind the plot. I would never watch it again. The film just didn’t have anything worth examining and there was nothing redeeming in it. It was too excessive in it’s violence and just felt morally wrong watching this. I’m not really into violence for no reason in films. Which is what these films are.

    Same thing for “Shoot Em’ up” which was just a stupid movie full gratuitous violence for the sake of violence. There’s no distinction between that and the torture porn genre to me. Films like “Hobo with a Shotgun” “The Killer” and “Scarface” are of the same violence and tone as these movies but the difference is that they have a social message which I think elevates them above films like “Drive Angry” and “Shoot Em up.”

    Like Dave said you can pretty much read into anything as much as you want but in the end I think it’s pretty obvious if you’re just making it up or if that was the film makers true intention.

  8. Since we have all ready concluded that Drive Angry > Clockwork Orange, can we also concluded that Drive Angry > Paradise Lost? I also spent the entire movie looking for references to Paradise Lost and the only thing I could think of is that maybe The Cage getting shot in the eye is suppose to reference the fact Milton was blind. Maybe?

  9. I’m going to have to disagree with you, Ezekiller. It’s fine that you didn’t like the film, but to claim that Shoot `em Up and Drive Angry have no social message, no thematic content, and nothing interesting to examine suggests a terrible misreading of those films on your part. I don’t understand how you can apply a more critical eye to something like Hobo with a Shotgun and not do the same for the other two. What is it exactly that allows you to dismiss two as mindless trash or containing “violence for the sake of violence”, and yet you don’t apply the same rigor to an equally anti-social film, like Scarface? Why is that? Why the value judgements and the sense of moral uncleanness?

    This speaks to the larger point that I’m trying to address when I give a film like Drive Angry serious critical scrutiny. People act like I’m committing some terrible blasphemy. Why? I believe it stems from a deeply engrained genre-based prejudice. Dramas filled with graphic violence and cruelty (like Scarface) are placed on a pedestal and held up as boundary-pushing works of art. Action films, science fiction films, fantasies of all sorts are reviled and accused of being vapid and meaningless. Why? Why the double-standard? Why does one provoke deep circumspection on the part of the viewer, and the other provoke disgust? I don’t think people are applying their critical faculties uniformly when it comes to watching these films.

    Dave is wrong. Criticism is not purely a matter of spinning whatever thoughts strike your fancy regarding a film. You can’t just make up whatever you like and claim it applies to the film you’re watching. It’s about being willing to dig deeper than the surface level, to get your hands dirty, to examine presumptions, to see patterns, and to draw conclusions from there. You have to back up your assertions with evidence from within the film. Critical readings live or die based on whether they can be anchored in the text. If the work of art doesn’t support the idea of the criticism, the criticism fails.

    Every film is someone’s precious creation, even films I dislike like the the Michael Bay Transformers film. To say they are devoid of meaning, to dismiss them without careful consideration, is an injustice to the artists that worked so hard to realize them. And an artistic failure can be just as enlightening as a universally hailed triumph.

  10. To say you “implicitly” compared the films suggests you did not outright say the film doesn’t get the critical consideration Clockwork Orange does because it’s not directed by Stanley Kubrick.

    Your comment paints me as some intellectual criminal that thinks all criticism is pie in the sky wondering with no basis in reality. I don’t remember if I was able to complete my thought. YOU were doing that with THIS movie: that is what I was saying. Scarface has a bevy themes that are were immediately relevant at the times, some of which are still very in vogue today. That a criminal can be both perpetrator and victim is an extremely complex message, one that our culture as a whole still has not grokked. A Clockwork Orange addresses the legitimacy of government imposed morality. Hey look, that’s another theme that’s an immediate touchstone RIGHT FUCKING NOW, IN OUR COUNTRY. You are making an extraordinary claim, so the burden of proof is on you. For all this talk of its importance to our culture, I don’t recall you actually actually making mention of anything except some vague idea of the disenfranchised white male. You would need evidence to support that. Did you actually present any?

    Action films and Sci-fi films absolutely can make statements. Akira, for example. Robocop. Starship Troopers. Paul Verhoven’s awesome with that shit. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan worked their asses off in Rush Hour and ended racism forever. Actors like Steve McQueen and Lee Marvin were icons of their time and perfectly reflected how male culture thought of themselves. Does Nick Cage’s comb-over and power fantasies with young hot women have that same cache? I didn’t see anything remotely on that level in Drive Angry and I don’t appreciate your “DAVE IS WRONG” demonization.

  11. I’m afraid that my original point has been lost, that I’ve failed to communicate it properly. When I brought up Clockwork Orange, it was not to imply an equivalence between the two films, it was to use an example of how both films could be easily misinterpreted if not approached critically. Even the idea of Orange expressing “the moral legitimacy of government” is not something that I would necessarily take away from the film, since when the power structures are reversed the so-called moral people treat Alex with an astonishing degree of cruelty. If anything, I think it speaks to the idea that civilization and human morality are an illusion, a thin veneer of culture layered over the naked ape beneath. But that’s my interpretation. I could be wrong, in the same way that people are wrong if they think Alex is a portrayed as a heroic figure. That’s what I’m trying to say.

    I’m also saying that it’s unfair to simply dismiss a film like Drive Angry as unworthy of critical consideration. Is that really such a misguided idea?

    I do think that saying directors like Kubrick, Tarantino, del Toro, or even Peter Jackson receive more critical consideration for their violent movies is an accurate statement, though.

    Calm down, Dave. I’m not trying to demonize you. I think you’re wrong for not offering Drive Angry deeper critical consideration; you think I’m wrong for attaching meaning that you don’t think is there. It’s not a zero sum game, though. It’s not a competition. Either of our ideas can have value; the question remains which argument is most persuasive in the light of content of the film.

    I say Drive Angry does have deeper themes that are worth exploring. That’s a positive claim, although I don’t think it’s a particularly extraordinary one, and thus I shoulder the burden of proof. You can say that you disagree, but to claim that it is entirely meaningless is also a positive claim, although I don’t think you’re making that claim. Others have, and it puts them in the unenviable position of trying to prove a negative.

    As for presenting evidence, well, it’s no fun to turn the podcast into a doctoral thesis; you have to go where the conversation lead you. Allow me to present my thoughts:

    I do think Drive Angry is an interesting example of a white male power fantasy, although I do not think it was the director’s intention to examine that idea with a critical eye. Through the idea of intertextuality, it’s possible for works of art to take on meanings beyond their original author’s intentions. Drive Angry is interesting to me because despite all of the carnage and the mayhem that the protagonist inflicts (and we touched on this briefly), ultimately he is an impotent and unnecessary character. His sole purpose is to get the granddaughter into the hands of a woman, someone capable of providing the sort of maternal care that he cannot. The big, masculine, violent man ultimately concedes his power to the nurturing mother. That isn’t interesting? That isn’t worthy of examination?

    I also think the ideas it expresses about religion, the role of the Devil, and the nature of an after-life are all interesting. There is no mention of Heaven, and Earth is a hellish place. Conventional ideas about salvation and grace are entirely absent. All of these are worthy of deeper examination.

    That’s all I’m saying. We should look deeper. I could be wrong. There may actually be nothing of value whatsoever in this movie, but I don’t think that is the case.

  12. I thought the point of Shoot Em Up was to be a send up of balls-to-the-wall action flicks.

  13. Genre bias? C’mon, dude. You think Scarface and Drive Angry aren’t kissing cousins? Scarface isn’t all that bright a film, but I think that the moral lesson is just oozing out of its pores as compared to Drive Angry.

    I think it’s fair to say that people put hard work in every film from Gone with the Wind to Transformers 2, but to say that every film that had a lot of effort put into it has something to say is ludicrous. Some movies are just done for the cash-in.

    I LOVED the first Iron Man, but the aim ultimately was not to pass along a message or say something. Yes, there are lessons there about humility and owning up to your responsibility, but they were mainly doing a cool superhero movie because people dig it.

    I admire the honesty of some actors like Michael Madsen, who admits on his site what films he did as a favor or to pay the bills. I think it’s the same thing for some writers and directors. You read the entertainment stories about how some films are passed around from director to director, and have 5 screenwriters by the time they make it to the screen. Sometimes a film is just a snack for the Hollywood monster. I will never believe that films are a 100% learning exercise, especially when art is somewhat up to interpretation.

  14. You know what’ll solve all this? Ghost Rider 2.

  15. How can you not like Watchmen? That was a pretty interesting movie. Long but interesting. Probably as close as you’ll ever get to being to the source material.

  16. I’ve herd quite a few people not like the Watchmen movie. Fans of the book, haters of the book, people who’ve never read the book.

  17. I’m not entirely dismissing “Drive Angry” for EVERYONE. It’s just not a movie that spoke to me. I am neither white, an abused woman, nor a demon/acolyte so I didn’t really care for this film. It had some fun moments and the action was good. Other than that though I found nothing. Just like torture porn films which many of us do not care for.

    “Shoot Em’ up” I remember being super excited for but I walked out of the theater kind of disgusted. I love stuff like “Desperado” and anything with a Mexican stand off. But “Shoot Em up” was just blah for me.

    Sci-Fi films do get held pretty high up as films, I never said they didn’t. Dave mentioned some perfect examples.

    Some films just aren’t made for certain people. Can I at least give credit and say that you walked away from it with a message. Sure. Perhaps the message wasn’t for me which is why my mind tuned it out. I can believe that.

    For those who say that Scarface is the same as Drive Angry I disagree. That film deals with issues that affect everyone. It’s a film that deals with economics, the drug problem in the west, friendship, and flying to high like Icarus.

    From what I gathered in Drive Angry the themes were….I don’t know. I guess you can see what you’re saying but I would kind of have to really stretch it to see the themes you see.

    I respect your views though and enjoy listening. Keep up the good podcasts.

  18. For the record, I am ALSO neither white, an abused woman, nor (believe it or not) a demon/acolyte and this is still the best film of 2011. Then again, I also did not myself claim that there were heavy thematic messages to this film, but I can certainly respect the Kenshin-esque “you’ve done bad things, and even though you are personally compelled to redeem yourself now, you still have to pay for the things you’ve done in the past and you’re at peace with that” arc of Nicolas Cage. Hmm. Let’s get Nicolas Cage to play Kenshin instead of whoever the heck that boy band / host club dude they cast for the live-action is. Okay, fine. The Cage can be Hiko Seijuro given his age.

    I like movies with lots of blood, shooting, fighting, and explosions. I evaluate movies by the quality of their blood, shootings, fights, and explosions. Drive Angry has high quality all of the above.

    Vichus: That you think it’s MY opinion that “having a lower budget makes a film better” is just flat-out, outright, 100% absurdity. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and attribute it to the editing of this podcast, in which all of my undying praise and love for Michael Bay’s movies gets edited out of the final product. That style of uber-crass spectacle film making simply can’t be done on a modest budget.

    I also can’t help but notice that whenever I’m on this podcast as of late you see fit to mention Quentin Tarantino, Joss Whedon, and occasionally Robert Rodriguez in the comments. For the record: I only intensely dislike one of those three (Whedon), but the common thread between all of them is they all distinctly stylize their dialogue and scenarios. That’s fine; heck, I’m the guy who still likes John Woo’s old movies even though the world has moved on. My problem is when people point to that stuff as examples of things with “natural” or “realistic” characters/dialogue/etc. They are not. “Cool” and “snappy” is a matter of perspective; they’re more “smug” and “lacking in distinct voices such that the only voice *I* hear emanating from these characters’ mouths is that of the writer” from where I stand.

  19. I’m sorry you have brought up either of those three people on more than one episode of this podcast.

    Yes, I was implying that more love is given to a film the cheaper it is. OK, I’m totally wrong, then.

  20. Drive Angry is the modern R rated version of the Blues Brothers.

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