The Feature Presentation: A Look at Master Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez

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Robert Rodriguez
Cover of Robert Rodriguez

Sammy Warshaw ’12
A&E Editor

For film junkies everywhere, director Robert Rodriguez is a hero.

For those who aren’t familiar with his history, Rodriguez is known for raising $7,000 to shoot “El Mariachi,” a Spanish action movie that had no celebrities, no Hollywood touches, and tons of enjoyment. The film went on to be produced by Columbia Pictures, and ever since, Rodriguez has been making big-budget, star-studded films.

In 2007, Rodriguez directed the film, “Planet Terror,” which was made as an ode to classic bloody horror films. In its opening sequence, there was a faux-trailer for a fake movie titled “Machete,” about a crazy revenge seeking man who enjoys slicing and dicing his enemies.

The trailer was funny, clever, and entertaining. No one expected Rodriguez’s next move.

He announced that he would turn “Machete” into a full-length film, starring Jessica Alba and 66-year old Mexican actor Danny Trejo. Here we are, three years later, and “Machete” is in the theaters.

And yes, it is awesome. What other movie features a Mexican senior citizen killing people with a machete, enjoying the company of women such as Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez, and dueling with legends like Steven Segal and Robert DeNiro?

Yes, the film isn’t perfect, but that’s beside the point. What’s important is that Rodriguez is pushing the limits of filmmaking, and following his passions.

That is exactly the reason why Rodriguez is so important to all teenagers. He’s a role model for those of us searching for meaning and inspiration.

Throughout any teenager’s life, they are told to find a passion, something they are in love with. Any teenager can appreciate and learn from Rodriguez. Following a dream may be the biggest cliché of them all, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Rodriguez is a shining example of the thousands of passionate directors that have focused their entire lives on a goal and vision. You may think that I am some crazed teenager who is just obsessed with telling people about movies. While this may be entirely true, I am doing it for a reason.

Believe it or not, film is an art. It may not be as cerebral as performance art, or as pretentious as some rock music (yes, I am talking to you, Coldplay), but that doesn’t mean that it should be forgotten as a true art form.

Appreciating and critiquing art is something everybody does, usually involuntarily. Don’t even try to say that after every coming attraction you don’t turn to your friend and say “that movie is gonna be good,” or even more commonly, “Megan Fox could not be hotter.” And no, I am not just talking about guy audiences.

The point I am trying to make is that appreciating good film is something that people can easily learn to do.

I don’t go to every movie, despite what some people may think. I go to movies that I think I will enjoy, or at least might educate me. Developing a “movie-gauge” is something we all can do.

And with a little help exposing teens to film history and culture, it’s easy.