Full Tilt Boogie (1997)

full tilt boogie poster 1997 movie documentary from dusk till dawn
8.0 Overall Score

Good look at multiple sides of a production

Feels a bit dated due to some of the events happening on the set

Movie Info

Movie Name: Full Tilt Boogie

Studio:  Miramax

Genre(s): Documentary

Release Date(s):  September 5, 1997 (Venice Film Festival)/July 31, 1998 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

full tilt boogie robert rodriguez quentin tarantino

Let’s Boogie!

When Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez teamed up to make From Dusk Till Dawn, it was the meeting of two of the hottest directors of the time.  With an up-and-coming big-screen actor in George Clooney, the movie became a difficult and grueling shoot.  Dealing with soaring temperatures, windstorms, torrential downpours, and set fires, the film and its crew met many obstacles.  When a battle breaks out with the union over the non-union production, the filmmaking could get ugly.

Directed by Sarah Kelly, Full Tilt Boogie is a documentary movie film focusing on the filming of Robert Rodriguez’s 1996 From Dusk Till Dawn.  The film received positive reviews.

There are a lot of ways to do film documentaries and often film documentaries just end up as supplemental material on DVDs and Blu-Rays.  Sometimes documentaries like Hearts of Darkness on the filming of Apocalypse Now get it right.  While Hearts of Darkness is widely acclaimed and shows the rigors of a production gone wrong, Full Tilt Boogie shows a nice contrast with many of the day-to-day issues facing a challenging production.

full tilt boogie quentin tarantino robert rodriguez union negotiations

Getting the good press

The angle of Full Tilt Boogie is one of the best parts of the movie.  Unlike most documentaries where they just talk to the celebrities, Full Tilt Boogie talks to everyone.  You hear from craft services, the drivers, the personal assistants, and yes, the celebrities like Clooney, Tarantino, and Lewis.  It shows where there is camaraderie between the groups and where there is a distance between cast and crew.

The film also gets into the whole union-vs-non-union debate which has raged for decades and decades.  In 1995 when the film was being made, the view on unions was probably a lot different than today which sees the unions as sticky, but also there is a bigger push for unions with struggles to find affordable healthcare.  The movie tries to paint an even pictures of the unions, but attempts to speak to the union bosses failed so it appears more anti-union.  In the end, the film crew is given health coverage as kind of a “bonus”, but it does feel like they should have had it already for the hour and conditions they are working in.

full tilt boogie titty twister set fire

Flames, a desert, dry conditions…should be no problems…

Another interesting “period piece” aspect of the film is the post-#MeToo look at the set and conditions.  There is a butt judging contest, hook-ups all over the place, and harassment on both sides of the camera.  In the film, it is generally seen as acceptable, but it feels like a lawsuit waiting to happen nowadays.  It is even compounded by the fact that the film was produced by Miramax which was Harvey Weinstein’s company, and Robert Rodriguez later had a relationship with Rose McGowan who became one of the #MeToo movement leaders.  Looking at the set in today’s eyes is unacceptable…but does it mean that everyone is wrong?  It is a question that everyone has to deal with in the changing times.

Full Tilt Boogie is a fun little documentary that has value to people other than just fans of From Dusk Till Dawn.  It shows a lot of creators young and living in the Wild West of the independent film boom.  If you are a fan of movies and maybe if you are even trying to find out where you might fit in on a movie set as you choose your career path, Full Tilt Boogie might be worth the watch.  It is a good reminder on how many people are working behind the camera and what the industry means to so many.

Related Links:

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

From Dusk Till Dawn 2:  Texas Blood Money (1999)

From Dusk Till Dawn 3:  The Hangman’s Daughter (1999)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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