Robert Rodriguez is a rebel filmmaker. He went from doing his first film El Mariachi for $7000 to doing the much beloved Spy Kids series, From Dusk Till Dawn and Sin City. Robert Rodriguez is known mostly as an American film director, producer, editor, and screenwriter who has produced a large amount of films out of Mexico and Texas. Preferring to use the desert as his backdrop, Rodriguez is talented at creating little black film noir pieces of magic that turn out to be cinema thrillers. A favorite among those who watch cult movies, here are just a few of his films that should not be missed.
Written entirely in Spanish, El Mariachi was Rodriguez’s first attempt at making it as a filmmaker. Shot on a low budget that was partially funded by taking part in medical research studies, the film won Rodriguez the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and redistribution by Columbia Pictures who cleaned it up, translated it into English, and then made it a cult favorite. Although it was a bit rough at the time, today it is considered to be one of the leaders of bringing attention back to independent films during the nineties.
His follow up to the success of the sleep-indie film was Desperado which featured a much larger cast with Antonio Banderas as his star and then unknown Salma Hayek as his co-star. Not only did this film help to jumpstart Salma’s career as an A-list actress, but it also helped to boost Rodriguez’s profile enough that soon he became known as a quality film creator worth taking note of. It was followed up quickly with a sequel Once Upon a Time in Mexico, co-starring Johnny Depp.
From Dusk til Dawn is notable for the fact that Robert Rodriguez collaborated with Quentin Tarantino in making this masterpiece. It starred both George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, and it’s known for perhaps one of the sexiest dance scenes ever thanks to the lovely Salma Hayek appearing again in a film by Rodriguez. This vampire thriller which led to two more sequels helping to boost both Rodriguez’s bank account and career even more. It was a weird mix of robbery film and vampire film, and the mash-up proved a success. Widely known as Rodriguez’s first foray into the horror genre, From Dusk till Dawn proved that he could expand his offerings to the box office in a very meaningful manner.
Written by Kevin Williamson known for Scream and its sequels, The Faculty is a horror film produced and directed by Rodriguez that features the story of a high school that is attacked by alien parasites. Featuring plenty of then unknown but now popular actors including Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, and Salma Hayek, the film is quite a masterpiece in itself. Each character was given their own plot and just enough emotional attachment to make the horror scenes ring true with violence and shock.
Ironically, while Robert Rodriguez is known most for his contributions to noir films by those in Hollywood circles, when it comes to blockbuster hits it took heading in a difference direction to really make the public stand up and take note. The first Spy Kids came out in 2001 and became a huge hit that was quickly followed up by three sequels. Known for its clever humor for children and its semi-fast plot that kept adults entertained as well, Spy Kids continues to be one of his top grossing box office films.
Co-directed by Rodriguez, the adaptation of the popular comic books by Frank Miller quickly became a cult classic due to the fact that the comic art was used interchangeably with the art of the film. Creating images that were a mix between reality and animation, the film was quickly turned into a release that could stand alone on its own two feet. Acclaimed by most as the best comic book adaption yet to hit the studio, the action filled, violence packed film has become a favorite among both mainstream audiences and those who love comics.
Robert Rodriguez wrote and directed Planet Terror as part of his collaboration with Quentin Tarantino for their double feature Grindhouse. Both movies were a throwback to the B-movie exploitative movies that filled up ratty theaters and drive-ins in the early seventies. Planet Terror was an homage to the zombie film genre and was about a group of people trying to survive it, including a go-go dancer named Cherry Darlin’ who loses her leg in a zombie attack and then fights them off with a machine gun attached to her leg stump. The Grindhouse double feature didn’t do well upon initial release, so the studios broke them into separate films overseas and released them that way.
Released in 2010, Machete is unique because the idea for the film actually stemmed from a fake trailer that was created for use with the Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse series. Expanded to a full length film, the story stars Danny Trejo as its main character who worked on a great deal of Rodriguez’s former films. The film actually traces all the way back to Desperado when Danny and Rodriguez started tossing around ideas to do a feature based on a character that was envisioned to be the Mexican version of Jean Claude Damme.