Couch Trip

Jul 15, 2009 at 12:00 am

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!

An obvious labor of love, Not Quite Hollywood highlights Aussie exploitation films from the '70s and '80s. Short on social context but long on Adobe AfterEffects, this doc assaults senses with its barrage of clips and breakneck editing (few shots last longer than three seconds).

Broken into roughly three parts, the film is like a timeline rather than an investigation into subgenres of sexploitation, horror and gore, and road mayhem. It features interviews with many players involved in Oz genre films, but few key ones. The most notable absentee, Bruce Spence, appears in the first featured clip (Stork). His roles in 20th Century Oz, Road Warrior, and many of the films highlighted in Not Quite Hollywood have made him the gangly face of Australian Cinema (at least as much as Dame Edna, Noah Taylor, Paul Hogan or Yahoo Serious).

The lack of Road Warrior discussion here is unsettling, but far stranger is the inclusion of clips from The Cars That Ate Paris, with nary a mention of this unusual artsploitation film. Proudly lowbrow, Australian film critics Jim Ellis and Philip Adams provide the loudest voices of dissent against the films Not Quite Hollywood embraces. They're a valuable counterbalance to the pervasive interview with fanboy Quentin Tarantino who proudly proclaims "This is my favorite [Insert Adjective Here] film!" far too often to be sincere. Can't wait to see what's in his Inglorious Basterds

Mark Hartley does a fine job highlighting numerous films that have otherwise remained under the radar for U.S. genre fans, some gathering dust on video shelves and others never getting stateside release, much less in their native Australia. Not Quite's frantic pacing could use some help, as the film stalls when it should be full-throttle in the road movie section. This final chunk runs out of gas, becoming a hodgepodge of loosely related clips (though Hartley gets a lot of mileage out of a single Mad Max scene that he uses four times).

A good first attempt, here's hoping that Not Quite Hollywood spurs another, more sharply focused look at Outback Cinema. See