Not Quite Hollywood (2008)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 7/7/12
Director: Mark Hartley

A delightfully delirious look at Australian exploitation films in the 1970's and 80's, featuring a smattering of sex, nudity, murder, vehicular mayhem, monsters, kangaroos, and generally immoral behavior. Having had no prior exposure to Australian cinema (with perhaps the exception of the "Mad Max" films), I found this to be a highly entertaining glimpse into that period in time, and it was interesting to see people like Jamie Lee Curtis, Dennis Hopper, Stacy Keach Jr., and George Lazenby show up here and there. A highly animated Quentin Tarantino is on hand to offer his gushing appreciation of the genre and to fill in a lot of history, but it's the snooty Aussies who prove to be the most entertaining with their snobby attitudes, exceedingly dry wit, and matter-of-fact sensibilities.

As any good documentary will do, it makes you want to track down some of these lost gems, like "Turkey Shoot", Russell Mulcahy's "Razorback", "Midnite Spares", and even Jimmy Wang Yu's "Man From Hong Kong." The production values are decent and the interviewees are well lit, but you can definitely tell that corners were cut here and there, most notably with the soundtrack which uses an embarrassing AC-DC sound-alike band. While the film touches on George Miller's genre defining "Mad Max" (1979), the absence of the superior and considerably more successful "The Road Warrior" (1981) is curious. Perhaps the most entertaining bits are the old concession stand advertisements that theaters used to play, especially one that refers to "crunchy hamburgers." What? It's marvelously bizarre. Now I just need to find some of these films, most of which are long out of print and in PAL only.