How To Turn a Fast Moving Thriller into a Slow as Molasses Snooze Fest

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s film from Dusk till Dawn has always had its own little category in my mind. It's a peculiar film, so much so that when I first saw it back in the 90s I thought maybe Quentin Tarantino, who wrote the script, had two script halves that he didn't know what to do with so he just kind of stuck them together into one film.

At the beginning is the story of the Gecko brothers. One of them is deeply disturbed and a sexual predator while the other one thinks of himself as a protector and an all-around super cool dude. Quentin Tarantino plays Richie Gecko, the predator, who also hallucinates, and George Clooney plays Seth, the more responsible brother. (But he's just as quick to kill a person as his more deranged brother.)

The brothers are on the lam after robbing a bank and taking a hostage and are on a collision course with Harvey Keitel and his two teenage children, who are traveling in a motorhome and headed south. Seth and Richie are also headed south while trying to get there ill-gotten gains over the border and into Mexico. They're headed for a place called El Rey which Seth touts as Paradise on Earth.

Naturally their two paths converge, to the detriment of Harvey Keitel's family. Once they are kidnapped by the Gecko brothers, they try to make their way across the border, without alerting the border guards..

So about halfway through this story, which so far has been a kind of classic Tarantino Crime Story, it turns into an absolutely insane, over the top, camp vampire film.

The change is so abrupt and so out of left field that it's kind of hard to take in if you weren't expecting it. I watched it with someone a few days ago and they thought that I had inadvertently changed the channel part way through.

It's an interesting film and I think you should see it if you've never seen it, even if it's just so that you can say that you have. However I was still quite surprised to hear that it was being made into a TV series. The movie has a beginning and an end, and it's very fast paced and everything is pretty much resolved at the end. So how are they going to make a TV series?

So with some trepidation I started watching the series. How did they turn this film into a series? Bye taking an exciting movie and slowing it down until you feel like you're on the last mile of a 100 mile hike, wading through deep mud. It is so so so so slow it's kind of agonizing. It seems like what took just a few minutes in the film is now an entire episode long.

Someone recently asked me what they should watch at that moment. They were trying to wind down for bed and wanted to watch a show that wasn't going to be too interesting or exciting because they wanted to be able to fall asleep quickly. So I told them yeah you should watch the Dusk till Dawn series. It's so slow moving that even if you fall asleep while it's on you won't really have missed anything.

The crazy thing is that Robert Rodriguez's name is all over this series. I believe he wrote the Bible for the series and he wrote the pilot I want to say he is the show runner. How does a man who writes and directs the kinds of films that he does make something that so incredibly dull? Maybe he just got tired of making exciting films and wanted to try something as an experiment?

To be fair it's not just a remake of the film. They are adding new elements to the story, such as the extreme likelihood that Richie is a serial killer who is working for a cartel. Of course this means that there are gruesome scenes of women who've been mutilated after they've been murdered. Blech.

I can only hope that this thing picks up, before I have to mentally file it as a sleep aid.

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Last Wish and The Gulf
Before I go I wanted to speak very briefly about Poppy Z Brite’s newest offering; Last Wish and the Gulf. Mr. Brite, who's also going by Billy Martin these days, has not written anything in quite some time. He has been making his living creating jewelry and I guess I'll call them magical talismans? Although that's not quite right. He's also been painting so he has been being creative but writing beyond his social media updates seems to have been quite difficult for him. So it was with great excitement that I read that he had released a small ebook which contains two stories, one of which is brand new.

The Last Wish is a piece of flash fiction about someone who is determined to go out his way; which is definitely not the mainstream way. The Gulf is a character sketch of a young man whose life is completely up ended when the hurricane strikes. (The story left me feeling quite melancholy.) As expected from Mr. Brite, both stories are well done. The first one reminded me of a one paragraph story by Cuban modernist Virgilio Pinera that explores the hideous depths of insomnia.

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Bonus Treat
As I mentioned above, I was thinking about the terrific short story Insomnia by the brilliant Virgilio Pinera. I dug up this link that also has two other pieces of short fiction: one about eating a mountain and one about swimming on dry land. I particularly like the thing about the fish.