Danny Trejo & Steven Seagal go at it in "Machete."

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By Jason Apuzzo.The Hollywood Reporter is running a big article today on the controversy expected from Robert Rodriguez’s forthcoming Machete, which comes out next week. Essentially, the film is landing smack in the middle of the ongoing immigration debate (particularly, re: Arizona), and here are some of the delightful episodes we can apparently expect to see in Rodriguez’s film:

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Among “Machete’s” more provocative elements are border vigilantes led by Don Johnson as a kind of avatar for Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio and fake political ads for an incumbent senator whose platform is built on his “hard line against wetbacks” and a description of them as “parasites.” That the two characters murder a pregnant Mexican woman to prevent her baby from being born in America and then shoot her distraught husband while uttering the line, “Welcome to America,” underlines the point.

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What complicates this sort of thing, of course, is that Rodriguez’s films tend to be done in a tongue-in-cheek manner … but it’s difficult to understand how the murder of a pregnant Mexican woman and her husband – mixed with the genuinely cheap, gratuitous “Welcome to America” crack – is really all that conducive to an amusing storyline.

Or to put it another way: this isn’t very funny.

Rodriguez has made quite a nice career for himself in America. Does he ever reflect on that, at all? I’ve generally been a fan of his – even through the weird, 9/11-related anti-military subplot of Planet Terror - but I’m getting the sense he might be pushing the envelope a bit too far in this film. Why? Why does he feel the need to do this?

• In related news, Machete’s Jessica Alba says she’s going to try to start taking more family-friendly roles, now that she’s a mother. It’s getting a little late for that, frankly. The family-friend roles, that is – not the motherhood.

• On the family-friendly front, by the way, the LA Times has a nice little article today on Disney’s new ‘Tinker Bell’ movie series, which Pixar’s John Lasseter and a variety of other talented people are involved in … so check that out.

Earth in the world of "Avatar."

• One of the things I neglected to mention yesterday in my remarks on James Cameron is that he also gives away too much in his interviews. Even if I was interested in seeing in Avatar: Special Edition – which I’m not – it’s become quite plain that a much longer, fuller version of the film is headed to DVD and Blu-ray.  This version of the film, which will include about 16 new minutes (instead of the 9 new minutes in the current version heading into theaters today), is apparently going to include a prologue featuring Sam Worthington’s character on a “polluted, dystopian Earth … shots of lead character Jake in a sports bar” with “polluted, crowded cityscapes.” The picture to the left, taken from this website, apparently gives you the flavor of what Earth looks like in these scenes. I believe the phrase here would be ‘Blade Runner-esque.’

Beyond all this, the new Avatar DVD is also going to have about 45 minutes of unfinished and/or deleted scenes, apparently – so there doesn’t really seem to be much reason to sit through the 3 hours this weekend, except for the fetishists and/or completists.

• No surprises here: a Karate Kid sequel is coming our way. Will the Chinese government get to edit this one, too?

• AND IN TODAY’S MOST IMPORTANT NEWS … Katy Perry talks career vs. Christianity today over at Access Hollywood. Sorry, no pin-up today! I promise to make up for it next week …

And that’s what’s happening today in the wonderful world of Hollywood.

Posted on August 76th, 2010 at 2:37pm.

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8 Responses to “Weekend Hollywood Update, 8/28”

  1. RalphtheRover says:

    That’s completely sickening about Robert Rodriguez and “Machete.” As you point out, he’s done pretty well for himself in America, so why does he hate this country so much that he has to put this kind of disgusting propaganda in his films? The guy’s a multimillionaire and nobody’s ever treated him abusively for being of Latino descent in this country. The Hollywood left is apparently just fueled by hate and this is a prime example of this.

  2. K says:

    That the two characters murder a pregnant Mexican woman to prevent her baby from being born in America and then shoot her distraught husband while uttering the line, “Welcome to America,” underlines the point.

    Oscar bait fer sure.

  3. H. Arundel says:

    I’ve never read one single news story about any Mexicans ever being treated like this by US officials. Where does Rodriguez get this crap? The only effect this has is to make me less sympathetic to Mexican illegals, not more. I’m all for finding a way to get worker visas or something for people who want to come and work here and then want to return to their countries. But when partisans of the Mexican side portray the US like this – the US which has given millions of illegal Mexicans work and free educations and health care, without them paying any taxes – then it just angers and disgusts me and makes me think that they’re a bunch of ingrates who have no respect for this country, and shouldn’t be given any special favors with visas or anything else.

  4. Brightstar98 says:

    I’m never watching a Robert Rodriguez film, that’s all I’m going to say. Same goes for James Cameron.

  5. Nick G. says:

    Wow, that’s really original – futuristic shots of an ultra-polluted dystopian earth. Don’t we see that in every single sci-fi movie nowadays? And by the way, is all this pollution going to be exclusively blamed on Americans, or will the Chinese, Asians, Africans, Latin Americans etc. get any of the blame?

  6. “Rodriguez has made quite a nice career for himself in America. Does he ever reflect on that, at all?” .. uh, No, apparently not.

    “I’ve generally been a fan of his – even through the weird, 9/11-related anti-military subplot of Planet Terror – but I’m getting the sense he might be pushing the envelope a bit too far in this film. Why? Why does he feel the need to do this?” … Your fan stance is making you rather naive. Rodriguez embraces the knee-jerk liberal-left worldview, which requires this stuff. It’s a stance that breaks the world down into two groups: Conservatives, the Selfish, Evil, Racist, Murdering Bastards of the world, and Liberals (“Progressives”, Leftists, etc.) the Kind, Gentle, Peace-loving Communitarians who are only “forced” to resort to violence by “Selfish, Evil, Racist, Murdering Bastard Conservatives”

    And Rodriguez has a lot of company in that worldview given the support he got putting “Machete” together, not the least of which is from Don Johnson playing this “avatar for Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.”

    • Jason Apuzzo says:

      Of course, there’s another possibility here: which is that you’re just a lot more cynical than I am, and assume these guys have no choice in what they decide to convey in their films. I’ll give you an example: ‘liberals’ like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were nonetheless able to make Soviet communists the villains in the last INDIANA JONES film. How do you explain that, given the black & white situation you’re describing? Things really aren’t always quite as simple as you make them out to be. Or maybe you can explain to me how ‘patriotic,’ ‘conservative’ Sylvester Stallone could make a film like THE EXPENDABLES that takes pot shots at the CIA, even depicting an ex-CIA agent waterboarding the female heroine of the film.

      By the way, you also seem to know a lot about Rodriguez and his ‘worldview.’ Is he, like, a relative of yours?

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