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Roadracers (1994)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Robert Rodriguez Rating:9.0/10 (2 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by frankasu03 on November 19th, 2012:Find all reviews by frankasu03
Another great commentary from Professor Rodriguez. This one for an unherladed gem he made back in 1994 for the Short lived series on Showtime. Based on AIP films from the '50s with a '90s sensibility, Robert extoles his love for "edgy" rock n' roll fare from the conformist decade. His previous work on "El Mariachi" gave the director a reputation for delivering quality filmmaking on the cheap. Really cool to learn how he got a chance to join directors like Joe Dante ("Runaway Daughters") on the series. It so happens Wes Craven left a spot open, on account of his "New Nightmare" getting the "green light." Back to the track; Rodriguez recalls the feeling of having a million dollars and 13 days to shoot, as one of luxuriousness. The rest of the crew thought that fact damned the picture to "low budget" status. Hear about how he wanted to separate the look and, especially, the casting of "Roadracers" from other pictures in the series. Gone was the "blown out" Kodachrome look, in was stark lighting and unconventional casting with the likes of David Arquette and Salma Hayek. Although he disliked the title, "Roadracers" proved to be an integral part to this Director's future in filmmaking. For example, he hated the steadicam work so much, he decided to take a 3 day course himself, and has since refused to let anyone else shoot for him. A solid track, with great insight into '90s filmmaking and the whole DIY movement. More film school that should be required listening. 9/10
Reviewed by reidca on December 4th, 2012:Find all reviews by reidca
One of Robert Rodriguez's best commentaries. He is very *honest* about what went right and what went wrong with this production and he has an open matter of fact approach towards these issues and although much of what he discusses he also talks about on his other commentaries and in his book, this is a very interesting track as it really does bridge El Mariachi to the Hollywood films he has made since. His constant berating of crew and their lack of skills and passion may be too critical for some, but it is refreshingly honest in an industry which is all pats on the backs, and some of these insights also come into play in other Rodriguez productions, especially From Dusk Til Dawn (see the excellent documentary Full Tilt Boogie).

The track describes in detail his self taught attitude to filmmaking, from the Steadicam, to Lightworks and ProTools. It talks very much, almost the backbone of the track about music, especially Link Wray and the way that he and Quentin Tarantino play dibs on music. It gives a lot of credit to people like Tommy Nix, who esssentially co-devised the film with Robert while on a road trip and plays a small role, and Johnny Reno, who plays the singer of the band and would write music for Robert whenever they couldn't get the rights to a song.

Very important also to this track is the detailed explanation of how Robert went back and saved the film from the look of a cheap cable television production to something resembling a fairly glossy feature film.

A couple of little nuggets that I hadn't come across before - actress Helen Shaver was cut out of the film (she played Dude's mom) and Wes Craven was originally slated to direct.

A hugely important commentary and essential for anyone interested in getting into the business. 9/10