So this “Whatever happened to …?” is less a “Seriously, where did that guy go” and more a “what happened to lead that guy to making the life decisions he did?”
Take, for example, Robert Rodriguez. Robert Rodriguez debuted with the brilliant indie flick El Mariachi, which is a movie about a mariachi player and some stuff happens and so many people get shot (it’s been a while since I’ve seen it). This was the movie that was so good I insisted my friend and I rent the only copy in town from the video rental store, because I am so old that I remember when video rental stores were a thing. Also, I’m so old that I can’t remember which friend this was, but I’m sure Matt or Natalie or Jon loved the movie as much as I did.
But enough about El Mariachi. Let’s talk about Robert Rodriguez. The man. The director.
He was born in Texas and became interested in movie-making after his father purchased the family a VCR. Coincidentally, after my father purchased our family a VCR, I became interested in movie-watching. Reading further along in Robert Rodriguez’s wikiography, I see that his VCR came with a camera. I didn’t know they did that.
Anyway, he filmed his high school’s football games, getting canned for being all artsy-fartsy about it. After that, he went on to The University of Texas, where, apparently, his grades weren’t good enough for the school’s film program, so he wrote a cartoon for the student newspaper instead. (My college’s school newspaper sucked, as an aside.)
Then, good things finally happened for Rodriguez. Or one good thing, and then some other stuff happened. His short film, “Bedhead,” won a local film contest, gaining him entry into the university’s film program and paving the way for El Mariachi.
After El Mariachi, Rodriguez decided to make El Mariachi again. Because this was in the ’90s and people didn’t like reading subtitles, he made it in English, starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, and called it Desperado. Possibly it was a sequel, though.
Later, and most awesomely of all, Rodriguez went on to direct the second, superior half of From Dusk Till Dawn, because it was the part with vampires and the disco ball and the guy with the crotch gun. I could watch the second half of From Dusk Till Dawn for days, you guys. The first half is any old Tarantino film that you’ve already seen, except George Clooney is pretty hot, so … no, I still recommend skipping right to the second half. They’re criminals on the run in Mexico. That’s all you need to know.
Moving right along, Rodriguez had his first Hollywood hit in 2001: Spy Kids. This was the beginning of the end, because he has made four Spy Kids movies, and I swear they get progressively stupider. Kids like ’em, though, which is probably what he’s going for. Speaking of terrible children’s movies, he also made Shark Boy and Lava Girl, which sounds cool, but stars a young Tyler (or Taylor?) Lautner, thus making it Rodriguez who shoulders the blame for introducing the future Twilight werewolf to film-going audiences.
So why the terrible children’s movies, Rodriguez?
Well, apparently, he really likes kids. And kids like terrible things.
And he did make Machete, so I guess I can forgive him. Especially if Sin City 2 is any good.