Release Date(s)2008 (October 6, 2009)
Studio(s)Magnolia Home Entertainment
- Film/Program Grade: A
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: A+
The Ozploitation explosion from the 1960s to the 1980s brought about some of the best underground filmmaking that cinema had to offer. Whether it be action-oriented, horror-themed, pornographic, or just downright gonzo, the underground Australian film community had it going on, pumping out gem after gem. Not Quite Hollywood takes a look at that timeframe, with gusto.
Not Quite Hollywood premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2008, receiving rave reviews and helping to bring in a new audience of folks to a set of films that might have otherwise gone unappreciated. The documentary itself focuses more on the filmmakers and not necessarily the impact of the films that they made, although they do touch on that just a bit. One particularly memorable segment takes place during the making of Mad Dog Morgan, in which Dennis Hopper and others recount many of the outrageous things that went on behind-the-scenes during the making of the film as a result of Hopper being intoxicated for much of the shoot. There are a great number of interviewees, including Brian Trenchard-Smith, Quentin Tarantino, George Miller, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stacy Keach, George Lazenby, Russell Mulcahy, James Wan, and many of the people (actors, directors, and film critics alike) involved in the Australian film industry at the time.
The documentary doesn’t attempt to provide an argument about these films in either a positive or negative light. While the film critics that are interviewed give brutally honest opinions about films like Turkey Shoot, Razorback, or The ABCs of Love and Sex, others might praise them. In other words, it allows the films to speak for themselves. The documentary is also full of male and female nudity, as well as horrible violence and gore, so be warned with if you have an aversion to sorts of things.
Not Quite Hollywood acts as a well-oiled machine with nothing taken for a granted. Because of the deliberate pace of the editing, you’re constantly engaged at all times and there’s hardly ever a shot that lasts more than 5 seconds. It’s a terrific documentary that sheds light on a particular subject matter that hadn’t really been touched on before, as great documentaries should.
Unfortunately, Not Quite Hollywood hasn’t been given a Blu-ray release just yet, but Magnolia Home Entertainment’s DVD presentation is still quite pleasing. Obviously the different film sources are of varied qualities, but for the most part, everything seems to have been sourced from original elements. The interviews themselves look very good and have varied environments for their subjects, so there’s always something new and interesting to look at. The sound is also quite excellent. You get two options, both in English: 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital. The music never dominates the comments from the interviewees and is mixed well with some excellent sound effects, both modern and vintage (for effect). It’s not a documentary that cries out for surround sound treatment necessarily, but it’s still very good. Oddly enough, the only subtitle option available is in Spanish.
To my delight, there’s also a multitude of extras to dig through. There’s an audio commentary with director Mark Hartley and “The Ozploitation Auteurs” (Brian Trenchard-Smith, Antony I. Ginnane, John D. Lamond, David Hannay, Richard Brennan, Alan Finney, Vincent Monton, Grant Page, and Roger Ward); a set of deleted and extended scenes; Quentin Tarantino interviewing Brian Trenchard-Smith; an audio-only interview with director Richard Franklin; funding pitches from Quentin Tarantino and John D. Lamond; an image gallery; the documentary’s original theatrical trailer; and a set of previews for other titles from Magnolia Home Entertainment. There’s also a hidden Easter Egg on the first page of the Special Features menu by highlighting the car on the right, which is an additional interview excerpt with writer Bob Ellis. I would have liked to have had some trailers for a lot of the titles mentioned in the documentary also included, but that’s not even a complaint really.
Although others might complain that Not Quite Hollywood highlights mostly the more well-known underground titles that Australia has to offer, others will find it illuminating, educational, and entertaining. Above all, it’s a fun documentary and worthy of your attention if you’re a film fan of any kind.
- Tim Salmons