It's not every day you see a documentary feature dedicated to the crazy genre films of Australia. And thank goodness, because I came away from "Not Quite Hollywood" with so many new titles on my "gotta see" list that it damn well may bankrupt me.
How did movies this out-there stay such a well-kept secret for so long? You may have heard of — and even seen — "Mad Max" or "Roadgames" or "Razorback," but those are surface-scratchers compared to the absolute inanity and insanity that Mark Hartley's doc dredges up.
"Not Quite" is divided into three sections: sex, horror and action. Good thing they put sex first, because it' s a litmus test: If you're offended, proceed no farther. The ribald comedies featured in this section offer surprisingly explicit nudity (let's just say man parts as hanging around) and situations of extremely poor taste.
Seriously, the gross-out gags of "American Pie" and its ilk have nothing on the vomitous likes of "The Adventures of Barry McKenzie."
The horror section is full of suspenseful-looking shockers that appear to deserve wider attention, such as the "Carrie" rip-off "Patrick," the eco-terror of "Long Weekend" and, for so-bad-it's-good reasons, "Howling III: The Marsupials."
Ditto for action, in which it's revealed that some of the titles were shot with questionable regard for safety. Highlights include the kung-fu cop flick "The Man from Hong Kong," the controversial "Turkey Shoot," the female revenger "Fair Game" and the post-apocalyptic "Dead-End Drive In." (I actually remember that playing in metro theaters in the mid-'80s, as did the director's bike-based "BMX Bandits," featuring a young " and rather unattractive " Nicole Kidman.)
All of these spectacles are revisited with honest, pointed recollections of the talents involved on both sides of the camera. You also get the typically exaggerated, mouth-frothing enthusiasm of Quentin Tarantino, who's never met a bad movie he didn't think was the best movie ever.
Easily one of the year's best films, "Not Quite" is such a wild ride that when it's over, you may very well utter a "Whew!" and wipe your brow. To paraphrase many an infomercial, but wait, there's more! Access the special features' deleted scenes for roughly an hour's worth of clips that didn't make the cut. It's like icing on the cake that already has lots of icing. —Rod Lott