STEPHEN'S POP CULTURE HEROES: ROBERT RODRIGUEZ
I spend a great deal of my life thinking about fictional heroes, however when I truly need inspiration I look to my real life heroes like Kurt Russell, Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, Kevin Smith, Guillermo Del Toro, Richard Linklater, Spielberg, George Lucas, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Doc Hammer & Jackson Publick, Scorsese, Scott Bakula, Brian K Vaughan, Alan Moore, Peter Jackson, The Broken Lizard crew, Bob Gale, Coen Bros, Wachowski Bros, Mario Bros, Robert Zemeckis, Bruce Timm, Geoff Johns, Timothy Zahn, Max Brooks, Paul Dini, Sergio Leone, etc.
and of course
For as long as I care to remember I've been a fan of Robert Rodriguez. I remember my parents watching his first film El Mariachi on the living room TV and getting shooed away cause it was too violent for my young eyes. The irony is I walked into my room and put on a tape of Total Recall to see triple boobs, mutant faces, and bloody arm dismemberment. I remember hearing my parents discuss the film and I remember hearing people talk about it to each other. Probably because it was a Spanish language film, and my parents spoke Spanish so it was the thing to do to ask them their opinion of the movie.
I remember seeing all the best scenes in Desperado on tape with my brothers and marveling out how cool explosions and fire was. I wanted so bad as a young boy to have a guitar case with a machine gun or bazooka. It was the essence of cool in my young mind.
My family was lucky enough to have a TV in a Mark3 van to watch movies which made long car trips more tolerable for us kids and for my parents. Then on a trip to see my brothers wrestle somewhere upstate. With my two best friends from middle school, my brothers popped in a rented copy of From Dusk till Dawn. My young mind was blown. I can remember being super excited to see Spy Kids in theatres alone with my cousin Dex. I was so hyped to see Danny Trejo appear in the movie. I wanted him to vamp out again Razor Charlie style and kill Tony Shaloub. By the time I got in high school, Spy Kids 2 was a DVD purchase watch, for which the audio-commentary is one of my favorites of his. It's all about the creative process and it is extremely inspiring and a must watch for anyone interested in his process. Spy Kids 3d was a must watch in theatres for Stallone and the sweet 3d, before Avatar as Robert will tell you in the video below.
Once Upon a Time In Mexico was everything my 16 year old boy heart could ever want it to be. I had the pistolero song stuck in my head for that whole 2003-2004. I saw Sharkboy and Lava Girl as a college student in a theatre packed with 8 year olds on opening day, like the biggest dork on earth. Sin City was a Thursday night midnight viewing. I remember sitting in the theatre watching Marv jumping through the sky in a trench coat and thinking, I got to read comics again. That year I found my amazing local comics shop Mac's Comics which I still go to today. Grindhouse was a surreal experience in an empty twelve o'clock movie. Shorts was an on demand rental. Machete was a failed first date, her opinion of the movie being the clear difference we could never be together.
From Dusk till Dawn still remains one of my favorite movies, and Robert Rodriguez for me will always be the coolest filmmaker there is. This is a speech he gave to his alma mater about his future endeavor El Rey channel.