FRIDAY NIGHT KNIFE FIGHTS
(NOVEMBER BATTLE – CONCLUSION)
With Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, and Craig Shaw Gardner
(The Scene: a boxing ring, with spotlights on Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, and Craig Shaw Gardner, sitting on stools inside the ring.)
MA: Welcome back to FRIDAY NIGHT KNIFE FIGHTS. Tonight we’re continuing our brawl—er, discussion—of Robert Rodriguez vs. Guillermo Del Toro, in order to judge ultimately which one of the two is the better director?
I’m joined once again by L.L. Soares and Craig Shaw Gardner. Gentlemen, thanks again for joining me.
CSG: Happy to be here.
LS: Screw the niceties. Just get on with the questions. I’m sure there’s a movie playing somewhere we have to review.
MA: No doubt there is. Anyway, LL, since you’re so full of—energy— tonight, we’ll start with you. Of the two directors, Robert Rodriguez and Guillermo Del Toro, which one means more or has done more for the horror genre?
LS: They have both done a lot for the horror genre—.
MA: Cop out.
LS: Will you let me finish?
MA: Sure. Go ahead.
LS: As I was saying, they both have done a lot for the horror genre, although I feel Del Toro has a much stronger resume in the genre. Where Rodriguez has also made action films and family films, Del Toro’s output has been almost exclusively focused on horror, or at least dark fantasy.
MA: Okay, it’s Craig’s turn. Craig, how about you? Who has done more for the genre, Del Toro or Rodriguez?
CSG: Well, Del Toro has given us stuff like THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE (2001) and PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006), movies that engage the mind as much as any horror/fantastic films made today.
LS: I love them both! Great movies.
CSG: Both directors play fast and loose with horror conventions, but Rodriguez’s stuff seems to have less staying power. So, I’d have to go with Del Toro.
MA: I don’t know. Rodriguez’s stuff has stayed with me.
However, because he’s has created such detailed and elaborate worlds of darkness in his movies, I’d have to say Del Toro has done more for the genre. Rodriguez probably means more to the action/pulp genre than to horror. I still prefer Rodriguez’ movies though.
And on that note, has either one of these two directors made a movie or movies that you’ve disliked?
I’ll answer my own question first and say no, neither one has made a movie that I’ve seen that I’ve disliked. I’m not a big fan of PAN’S LABYRINTH, but I wouldn’t say I disliked it. And I’ve liked everything I’ve seen directed by Rodriguez, even his SPY KIDS movies.
LS: They have both made movies I have disliked. I was not a big fan of Del Toro’s MIMIC. While it had some interesting ideas, I didn’t care for it.
MA: I liked MIMIC. I thought it had its moments.
LS: And something like BLADE II from 2002 (which was maybe the best installment in that series), though based on a comic book, is much inferior to his HELLBOY films, which are also based on comics.
As for Rodriguez, I am not a fan of the SPY KIDS movies. But then again, I am not the intended audience for them.
MA: But without the SPY KIDS movies, there wouldn’t have been an Uncle Machete!
LS: And I thought his MARIACHI films were uneven. Even his straight-out horror film FROM DUSK TIL DAWN—while there are some things I like a lot about it—is pretty much a mixed bag. Overall, I think Del Toro has the stronger filmography.
MA: So, Craig, which one has made a movie you’ve disliked?
CSG: Both. And they were both sequels. ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO (2003) and HELLBOY 2 (2008) were, each in their own way, terribly confused, and big letdowns compared to the earlier films.
MA: Time for our next question. Which one would you want directing your own screenplay? Craig?
CSG: It would depend on the nature of the screenplay. Haunted, spooky, reflective stuff would go with Del Toro. Balls-to-the-wall action, and we’re going with Rodriguez.
MA: Yeah, I would agree with that.
As for myself, I’d want Rodriguez directing my screenplay because I would most likely be writing something highly energetic with a pulp feel, as opposed to something more cerebral set in a fantasy world. Rodriguez would be a better fit for me.
LS: Actually the best fit for you would be Hanna-Barbera.
MA: Try Looney Tunes. But cartoons aren’t on the ticket tonight.
LS: If one of them were to direct a screenplay by me, I would definitely prefer it be Del Toro. While working with Rodriguez seems like it would be a lot of fun, and I agree he’s excellent when it comes to rapid-fire action, I just think Del Toro is a much more gifted director.
MA: Okay. That brings us to the final bell, the big question of the night. The bout is over. Robert Rodriguez or Guillermo Del Toro? Who’s your pick for the best director? Craig?
CSG: First, I will admit to skipping a couple of Rodriguez films (some of his lesser, later, kid’s films.)
MA: It’s okay. I haven’t seen all his films either.
CSG: I would go see anything Del Toro was involved in (including stuff he produces), so I guess he’s my favorite of the two. So I guess I’d have to go with Del Toro.
That said, I have no interest in reading the vampire book series he’s co-writing. We all have our limits.
MA: Absolutely! I just read the book jacket of the latest book in that series the other day at my local library, and I left it on the shelf.
LS: Yeah, I’m not that interested in checking them out, either. Although, if he made films of the books, I’d go see them.
MA: My answer to the question, which one’s the better director, I’m sure both of you have already figured out.
For me, the best director is Robert Rodriguez over Guillermo Del Toro, hands down!
LS: As usual, you have no idea what you’re talking about. While they’re both talented, I’d go with Del Toro over Rodriguez any day.
MA: So, there you have it folks, two votes for Del Toro, and one vote for Rodriguez. So, on this particular night, Del Toro is the winner of the FRIDAY NIGHT KNIFE FIGHTS.
LS (shakes CSG’s hand): Thanks for proving I’m right. This guy never learns.
MA: What a kiss up!
Anyway, on behalf of L.L. Soares, Craig Shaw Gardner and myself, we’d like to thank you for joining us tonight. We’ll see you next month with another exciting bout between two horror icons.
LS: And who knows which members from our illustrious staff will be here then to take part in the bloodshed. Tune in to find out!
MA: This has been FRIDAY NIGHT KNIFE FIGHTS. Good night everybody!
© Copyright 2010 by Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares and Craig Shaw Gardner