This Sunday I'll be hosting Badass 101: El Mariachi with Alamo Drafthouse programmer and occasional BAD correspondent Robert Saucedo at the Houston Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park. I've never seen El Mariachi on the big screen and I'm thrilled to see it huge for the first time with the Badass 101 crowd.
El Mariachi is one of those films that just felt exciting when it came out. In 1992 writer/director Robert Rodriguez was a 23-year-old kid who seemed to come out of nowhere with this huge, inventive, enormously entertaining action flick that, made for $7000 and filmed in under two weeks, rivaled the thrills and explosions of any bloated budget Hollywood picture. The legend is that Rodriguez garnered most of his budget by being paid for experimental drug trials at PharmaCo (now PPD) in Austin - a length to which I and many of my fellow UT students resorted to pay our tuition or rent every now and then.
El Mariachi felt dangerous and brazen, and the wonderful thing is that - all these years later, with dozens of hits and sell-outs and millions of dollars under Rodriguez's belt, with the movie's own Rodriguez-helmed sequels blanching the franchise to something unrecognizable - the movie is still all of those things. And what's more, it's hugely, endlessly fun. El Mariachi feels like a movie made by a man who loves movies, who takes genuine glee in the process and the product and the implications. When was the last time a Rodriguez movie felt that way?
Well, it's been twenty years since El Mariachi attacked screens and helped foster the indie film wave of the '90s, and regardless of anything that's come since, I'm proud to celebrate the movie's 20th anniversary with a beautiful 35mm print as part of the Badass 101 series. Here's a little from Robert on the series:
The world is getting soft. We are getting soft. As civilization slowly marches towards a future full of politically correct, health food conscious, light beer sipping emotional marshmallows that don't know how to take a punch, it is becoming evident that we, as a society, need to relearn how to be a badass. The Alamo Drafthouse is here to help with a new monthly series at Mason Park dedicated to teaching the art of badassery.
Every month, we’ll screen a film that has proven itself to be badass. Screened from a 35mm print, these movies are the cinematic equivalent of wearing sunglasses, a leather jacket and chewing on a toothpick. In conjunction with each month's screening, we will host a special guest from the community as they teach the audience a badass technique. If humanity is to survive long enough into the future to enjoy flying cars and colonies on Mars, we are going to need to learn how to toughen up. Starting this May, class in in session — one movie at a time.
Join us for a special 20th anniversary screening of EL MARIACHI, the film that kickstarted director Robert Rodriguez’s career. When a down-on-his-luck musician finds himself caught up in a gang war, he will be cursed to forever put down his guitar and instead pick up a gun.
So join us Sunday at 6:30 pm at Mason Park, where we'll have a mariachi band live in the theater to get everyone all riled up before the flick. Get tickets here!