10 Movies With Great Second Halves (But Awful Firsts)

9. Death Proof

Star Wars Attack of the Clones
Dimension Films

Death Proof is near-universally accepted to be Quentin Tarantino's worst movie - a B-movie throwback and one half of his Grindhouse collaboration with Robert Rodriguez - if still completely servicable by any other filmmaking standard.

The first half of the film is a slow-burn in which we're introduced to a group of women who, at almost exactly the movie's mid-way point, are summarily murdered by the villainous Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell).

Much of Tarantino's typically wordy dialogue in that first half feels like off-cuts from his better movies, lacking the witty verve you'd expect despite the efforts of a solid cast.

The generally scuzzy aesthetic of that first hour, complete with "missing" reels, jarring jump-cuts, and scratched-up footage, also feels a little like low-hanging fruit for Tarantino, even accepting the film's premise as an exploitation homage.

But after Mike brutally has his way with our initial leading ladies, we shift forward 14 months for a far pacier follow-up, in which a second group of women face off against Mike.

Not only are the chintzy visual gimmicks mostly gone, but the central group is decidedly more likeable, and it all comes to an end with a delirious 15-minute car chase, expertly helmed by Tarantino no less.

It's a bit of a slog getting to the good stuff, but ultimately worth the wait.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.