“No more dead bodies for Da Da tonight.”
This is the role that started the ball rolling that allowed us the pleasure of Josh Brolin. If it wouldn’t have been for “Planet Terror”, we would have missed out on Brolin’s magnificent performances in “No Country for Old Men”, “W” and “Milk” and his upcoming roles in “True Grit” and “Jonah Hex”. I remember seeing the trailers for “Grindhouse” and being so excited for “Death Proof” and not caring less about “Planet Terror”. To take a quick sidestep, Brolin said he got a copy of the script of “No Country” and wanted to audition for the Coens. At that time, they had their sights set on Heath Ledger for the role of Llewellyn Moss. Ledger then decided to back out and take a well deserved rest from film. Brolin again tried to audition for the Coen Brothers and it wasn’t until he sent in an audition tape directed by Robert Rodriguez and shot by Quentin Tarantino that the Coens let Brolin read for the part. I can’t imagine a better audition tape then that! Okay, back to the task at hand. I’m sorry, but “Planet Terror” is a far superior film then “Death Proof”. It had all the elements of a great genre movie. The story was absurd – yet compelling, the script was air tight, the direction and cinematography were brilliant and the cast of the film was impeccable. Robert Rodriguez brought all these actors together, from bankable stars like Bruce Willis and Fergie to relatively unknowns to the masses – Freddy Rodriguez and Rose McGowan – to washed up actors like Josh Brolin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey and Michael Parks.
As far as this blogger is concerned, Josh Brolin steals the show as Dr. William Block. I just love the name, William Block. The name sounds vague yet mysterious at the same time. Brolin is just marvelous as he navigates his way through his suspicions about his wife’s infidelities and a night at the hospital that is filled with zombie bitten patients, Josh Brolin steals the show. It makes me tense as Brolin sucks and chews on the glass thermometer that he keeps in his mouth. His goatee and glasses make him look tremendously threatening and he peers over his glasses with his eyes filled with accusations. Brolin’s straight forward Southern drawl (that he later revisits and prefects in “No Country”) is crisp, and filled with deep seeded anger and rage.
The physical acting ability he displays is a wonder to me. It’s as if inside of Block there is a caged animal that is bursting at the seams to break out, to cause chaos and let it rain. It’s as if his caged beast is rocking back and forth in its cage, just waiting to take over. The film itself is over the top and campy, but with Brolin’s performance it brings the film back to its roots, a horror film. I truly feel that his performance holds the film together, as soon as it starts to stretch itself a tad thin, Dr. William Block snaps it back. Whenever Brolin is on the screen, we’re captivated by him, we’re at his will. We know he’s a bad man without knowing anything about him or his past. Think about it for a second – we know very little about Dr. Block, but through Brolin’s perfect timing as an actor, and through the camera angles and shots that Rodriguez shows us, we know one thing for sure: Josh Brolin is one bad motherfucker.