Friday, April 06, 2007

The REAL Bellyaching

Loser Hand

I was recently emailed a URL for "The REAL Grindhouse," a low budget mess of a film that happens to share its name with the cinematic experiment out this weekend from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. On his website director Stephen Tramontana relays the tale of how he tried to suckle at Tarantino's teat like thousands of other fanboys.

I won't go into the dirty details of Tramontana's "damning evidence" that he knows Tarantino had to have seen his film, GRINDHOUSE, and has subsequently been ripped off by the sticky-fingered director. Tramontana writes, "Tarantino was setting the film up. I tried to stop them from using the title Grindhouse because I own it. I am the only person with the title Grindhouse registered with the copyright office."

I hate to break it to Tramontana but titles can't be copy written. Remember that film that won all those Oscars a few years ago, CRASH? No, not the one based on the J.G. Ballard novel, also called CRASH, but the other one. I wonder if Oerd Van Cuijlenborg is foaming at the mouth over David Fincher's ZODIAC since his 2001 film had the same name. Probably not.

Does this mean that Tramontana thinks he also has legal precedence over Eddie Muller and Daniel Faris's book, Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of "Adults Only" Cinema? Do Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford cut it too close by using the word "Grindhouse" in the subtitle of Sleazoid Express: A Mind-Twisting Tour Through the Grindhouse Cinema of Times Square? Watch out, the Tramontana train is coming for you!

The other thing that makes me absolutely laugh out loud is that Taramontana proudly boasts about his film's win at the New York International Film and Video Festival. For those who aren't familiar with it, that festival is renown for being a "pay to play" fest. Also know as the New York Film and Video Fest, one festival director describes their modus operandi as "You pay a HUGE entry fee that's refunded if they don't accept your film. Of course they accept it. Then you can pay for all kinds of promotion that's supposed to get your film noticed. Then you win an award, and you can pay for the trophy. Oh yeah, I've heard you also have to pay for the screening. There's one in L.A. too." So, boasting that your flick even played at the New York International Film and Video Festival is the cinematic equivalent of publicly acknowledging what a loser you are... even more than pitching a bitch on your cheesy website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Lenny pointed me over to your coverage of my "crying." I really appreciate your support, and it's great coming from a guy who built a Tarantino-is-a-hack/thief website. Did you have a change of heart like Chris Gore?

I'd like to just make a few corrections so your readers understand our position:

1. We understand the title situation. In my original blog, I used the example of Gladiator. It's not new to have films with the same titles. And I was aware of the Grindhouse books.

2. Tarantino did not rip off the story. Death Proof and Grindhouse have (to my knowledge) no shared story elements.

3. Our movie of course will look like a mess. It's supposed to. Grindhouse movies looked like a mess, that's why they were playing in grade C theaters.

4. This movie was never intended to go out and light the world on fire. It was meant to just be a little experiment that would be watched by 500 people tops.

5. The situation with NY International is news to me. We didn't pay a higher fee, and we're the only people who took home the award. There were three other horror films in competition that year.

6. There's a difference between a fan boy, and trying to make connections. Me approaching Tarantino had nothing to do with getting the movie made. We made the movie without him. We would have just like the support in helping to get another project going.

7. The biggest point here is there were no delusions of grandeur. None of us on the team thought Tarantino raided our film for ideas. We're betting he didn't even watch it. Our point was that before our film came out, Tarantino was talking about a number of long gestating projects. None of them had to do with what would become Death Proof or the idea of Grindhouse.

What's funny is that your blog kind of missed the point. Our argument was that we're pretty certain that Tarantino heard of the project somewhere. Besides our direct contact, this was also announced on, and the film itself was reviewed by Film Threat and Rue Morgue (who, I think, hated it more than you - even though you haven't seen it). So it was more of an idea argument then a story argument.

So, thank you for the support. We think it's hilarious that people got crazy on our $4,000 cheapie movie.

We're off to cry some more and watch all the fan boys get nuts.

Here's the link to the Film Threat Review:

And here's the link to our bitch site:

Your Fan,

Stephen Tramontana

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