Song of the Day #4,080: ‘Chick Habit’ – April March

Continuing my countdown of the films of Quentin Tarantino:

#7 – Death Proof

Of all the Tarantino movies I rewatched to create this list, 2007’s Death Proof is the one that jumped the most in my estimation.

Released first as part of the Grindhouse double feature along with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, but later at a longer length as a standalone film, Death Proof is a grungy homage to the exploitation films Tarantino grew up on.

The film follows two sets of women in different states who are preyed upon by Stuntman Mike, a serial killer played by Kurt Russell. Mike’s weapon of choice is his reinforced stunt car, which he describes as “death proof,” but only for the person sitting in his seat.

During the first half, Tarantino fully embraces the grindhouse aesthetic, deliberately scratching the film, inserting jump cuts as if frames had been damaged and removed over time. The film’s second half is free of those effects. Perhaps the first segment is intended to represent an old print recently resurfaced, while the second is the same kind of movie shot with modern production values. Or maybe Tarantino just wanted to make sure the climactic car chase was presented in hi-def glory.

In the post-Me Too era, Death Proof plays like Tarantino’s most feminist film. All of its protagonists are women, and he gives them plenty of time to pal around, talk about their work lives and love lives, and embrace their sexuality on their own terms. Some of these women become victims, while others become avenging angels.

Russell’s Stuntman Mike is an aging Alpha Male who devolves into a blubbering baby once the tables have turned. Every man in the movie is either threatening or useless. Most are anonymous background players, while the women grab the spotlight with confidence and agency. I’m surprised this movie doesn’t come up more often in discussions of Tarantino’s depiction of women.

Death Proof is also memorable for that killer car chase, in which stunt woman/actress Zoe Bell (Uma Thurman’s double in the Kill Bill films) does her own acrobatic maneuvers atop the hood of a speeding Dodge Challenger. Like the whole film, it’s a gritty, sexy thrill ride.

[Chorus]
Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll be alone in a quick
Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
Or you’ll never get another fix
I’m telling you it’s not a trick
Pay attention, don’t be thick
Or you’re liable to get licked

You’re gonna see the reason why
When they’re spitting in your eye
They’ll be spitting in your eye

Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
A girl’s not a tonic or a pill
Hang up the chick habit
Hang it up, daddy
You’re just jonesing for a spill

Oh, how your bubble’s gonna burst
When you meet another nurse
She’ll be driving in a hearse

You’re gonna need a heap of glue
When they all catch up with you
And they cut you up in two

Now your ears are ringing
The birds have stopped their singing
Everything is turning grey

No candy in your till
No cutie left to thrill
You’re alone on a Tuesday

[Chorus]

[Outro x4]
You’re gonna see the reason why
When they’re spitting in your eye
They’ll be spitting in your eye

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,080: ‘Chick Habit’ – April March

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I never saw this movie, but your description and review has me intrigued.

  2. Peg says:

    I never saw this one either but I think I’ll pass

  3. Amy says:

    I completely forgot this was one of Tarantino’s films, and, I, too, somehow missed out on this one, though your review definitely makes me want to rectify that. Intriguing how Kurt Russell has become another of QT’s go to actors.

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