The shortanswer to this question is no, though to be fair I'm not counting his Spy Kids work because that's not what people revere him for. The Robert Rodriguez I'm talking about is the guy they asked to produce the new Predators film, the guy who the marketing department figured would sell more than the actual director of the film, Nimrod Antal.
So why is Robert Rodriguez known? I think it's the Tarantino effect. Grindhouse cemented the friends as an entity in pop culture, though Rodriguez's prior work (Sin City, From Dusk Till Dawn, Desperado) has found a foothold with genre fans everywhere.
Clearly, Tarantino and Rodriguez are currently on different wavelengths. When Tarantino wants to homage something he also attempts show off a bit of genre evolution, whereas Rodriguez looks to bring the splatterhouse films you saw in the '70s back to life. Quentin has had two "big" earners, Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds which would put him neck and neck with Rodriguez's Spy Kids haul. But Pulp Fiction has remained relevant for over a decade and Inglourious Basterds was a Best Picture contender. Not so much with the Spy Kids franchise.
I suppose my longish point is this: Robert Rodriguez probably isn't going to make it as a director who draws big at the box office based on his name alone. And that's fine, it's not always about the money. But when Machete opens at $22m and brings in $60m overall people might start asking hard questions.
"You sunk my battleship!
The film industry could use a solid film about naval warfare. The only problem? The game of Battleship wasn't about that at all! I know, I know, they are going to dramatize the events, and Peter Berg is one of the good guys. Still, it makes very little sense because the name recognition you get from naming your film Battleship is somewhat pointless as:
1. The U.S. Battleships are now all museums
2. No one who played the game thinks "I MUST see a film about guessing random numbers!
It's a conundrum. You could have named your film War at Sea and gotten the exact same amount of initial interest. Battleship does nothing for you, unless you count people curious as to why you'd start with such a terrible idea. I mean, why not named your film Destroyer?At least the Navy still has those in service!
Oh, I see. They've cast Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. If you can't win them over with story, baffle them with eye candy. It's a page stolen from Michael Bay's playbook, only without the robots, but with the hefty budget.
Battleship is due during the summer of 2012 ... unless the accountants find out what's going on first.
The trailer sweeping through the Internet is Black Swan. Let's break this thing down!
:01 - :18: I don't know about you, but whenever someone starts telling me about their dreams I immediately tune out. Because it's always completely nonsensical, mostly because it's a dream. But I'm willing to meet you halfway Natalie Portman. After all, you're girl who gave us the best SNL short in history.
:19 - :26: Vincent Cassel adds a superior element of creepy to everything he does. And if you put string music behind him? Forget about it. Creep city. I think it's the hair that does it. You don't get to that level of coifed without also having little lists of "people to kill" laying around the house too.
:27 - :38: Darren Aronofsky is one of the best young directors out there. I would have loved to see his take on Robocop.Sadly, all the money in Hollywood is being funneled towards Mattel board game rights.
:38 - :45: I knew it! In one fell swoop Cassel just belittled Portman and boosted the esteem of Portman 2.0, Mila Kunis. Trouble is a 'brewin.
:46 - :56: Well that's just borderline sexual harassment. No wonder Vincent got into the ballet game.
:57 - 1:05: Someone, or something, is clawing at Portman's shoulder. If it's one of the lesser Baldwin Brothers I'm outta here.
1:06 - 1:10: Lesson: Don't let people cut your nails.
1:11 - 1:22: When someone says "I have my ways" you can generally finish the sentence "And those ways just happen to be psychotic."
1:23 - 1:27: I would agree that she's after you. So WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T KISS HER. Oh. Never mind then.
1:28 - 1:31: Nobody is after me? The haunting string music and monster you just showed would indicate otherwise. Wait, unless I'm the monster at the end of this book?
1:32 - 1:40: Rapid flashcuts. Those never indicate stability and happy endings.
1:41 - 1:57: I can see a visit to the emergency room in Portman's near future. "So you pulled a little tree spear out of your shoulder and then your eyes turned all RED?? Wow. Mmmhmmm. Can I see your insurance card, dear?"
Still, it's Darren Aronofsky, and he hasn't made a bad film yet. We'll take the journey with him here too, if only to see what sort of eye drops cure THAT mess up.
On that note, I hope you all have a great weekend, sans trips to seek medical treatment!
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.