Robert Rodriguez is one of the only directors whose highest aspiration is creating instant camp trash — for him, disposability is immortality. And yet, the so-called “illegal” trailer for the upcoming “Machete” cracked me up far more than its origin, as an over-obvious fake-exploitation trailer in “Grindhouse.” What started out as another Rodriguez cheapie has had the resonance of a real immigration law added to it, and all the racial jokes suddenly seem relevant (even if nothing is funnier than the words “Introducing Don Johnson”).
Nothing about “Machete” in its original form provoked conservative complaint. But the “illegal” “Machete” trailer begins with Danny Trejo’s announcement that he has a Cinco de Mayo message for Arizona, which set off alarm bells. When the movie comes out, it won’t be a big deal. (There’s scarcely been a conservative protest in the past 20 years to match the contentious release of “The Last Temptation of Christ.”) Still, for now, this is a faux-talking-point, and there’s a simple reason for this: Alex Jones got involved.
For those unfamiliar, Alex Jones may best be remembered as one of the highlight of “Waking Life”, ranting against the age of “slavery incorporated,” sounding merely like one of Linklater’s most vehement slackers. If you were in Austin in the ’90s, Jones was probably the best late-night AM host to stay up with in the area — his ramblings about a one-world government and black helicopters hovering over the rural areas were eminently listenable. But he’s blown up from local oddity to syndicated AM guy, still a firm believer in the idea that a “new world order”/”one world government” is trying to take over, Jones is actually to the right of Glenn Beck, who on a recent broadcast had the nerve to mock “tinfoil hat people.” He believes in “global governance,” not “global government.” This is how far right Jones is: Beck disputes him over semantics.
One of the reasons Austin became a popular place in which to make movies in the late ’90s/early ’00s was, in part, to do with both generous tax breaks for filmmakers, but also with the establishment of the Austin Studios by the Austin Film Society — co-founded by Richard Linklater in 1985, and whose efforts were aided by Robert Rodriguez, who seems to have shot every movie he possibly can in Austin or at least Texas, including “Machete.”
Then Jones’ site “Infowars” screams that “Machete” is a “racist film” about “race war” being funded by Texas — apparently “Machete” is no longer a cheeseball spoof but a “Do The Right Thing”-esque incitement to blood in the streets — which makes a $20 million budget (and tax credits) spent in Austin unacceptable.
Jones must know how important film production has become to Austin in recent years. But every anti-“Machete” editorial op-ed you read will be based off his “research.” Just be aware where the talking points are coming from here — there’ll be no racial wars, but Texas will benefit economically.
Here’s Jones on the film and what he believes it will incite:
[Photos: “Machete,” 20th Century Fox, 2010; “Waking Life,” 20th Century Fox, 2001]