Not Quite Hollywood


Directed by: Mark Hartley
Written by:Mark Hartley
Released: August 28, 2008
Grade: A-

Not Quite Hollywood will bring back memories for some and create new memories for others.  It’s a documentary which reflects back on the crazy Australian movies that were made in the 1970s and 1980s.  These films contained heaps of sex, nudity, violence and horror.  They were perfect for drive-in movie theatres and they helped put the Australian film industry on the international map.

Mark Hartley’s documentary contains an array of clips from these “Ozploitation” movies.  Titles you might be familiar with include Alvin Purple, The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie, Razorback and Mad Max.  The scenes shown are intermingled with current day interviews with the directors, writers and stars.  Some are proud of what they did whilst others a little regretful.

Their insights are fascinating and it opened my eyes to a host of Aussie films that I never knew existed.  I’d guess that a large percentage of these movies aren’t even available on DVD.  They weren’t made to win awards – they were made to make money.  They did so by creating controversy.  Who’d have thought that our movies from the 1970s contained more nudity than our films today?  It’s hard to believe.

Offering his thoughts throughout the documentary is high-profile director Quentin Tarantino.  Tarantino is a huge fan of Ozploitation cinema and you can see from movies such as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Ficton that they helped shape his own style of filmmaking.  When Hartley interviewed Tarantino, they spoke for over 3 hours.  That’s a testament to how passionate Tarantino is about the subject.

The film is broken up into several chapters which look at the different types of movies which fall under the Ozploitation umbrella.  I was most impressed with the section on action films.  Stuntmen risked their lives with every major stunt they did.  They didn’t have all the safety measures that we have today.  Knowing the risks that they took makes these action films feel more suspenseful than the computer generated action sequences we see in the current era.

Documentaries are one of my favourite genres because you can be entertained and learn something at the same time.  Not Quite Hollywood is a perfect example and I hope it finds success at the local box-office.