At least one way to measure genius is by influence, I think—has Tarantino actually had a meaningful influence on cinema? Depends on how we qualify ‘meaningful’, I think, and perhaps it’s too soon to tell. But I don’t see it, right now. I see a brilliant thief and synthesizer, which is something, but not as much as people think, I’d say.
Now I would not call him a genious, but it is fact that I like every single movie the guy has made. I include him everytime I make a favorite directors list. Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs bring so much good memories from my childhood, I can’t just ignore them!
And Inglourious Basterds looks badass, you have to admit.
I think we can call him a genius. “Pulp Fiction” is a masterpiece, and maybe the most influential film of the postmodern era. Not many directors have made a film as powerful and unique as this one. It’s one of those seismic shifts in world cinema.
The real question is, is he on a downward spiral or not? I feel that “Death Proof” was weak overall, and “Kill Bill” clearly wasn’t as strong as “Jackie Brown”. So I’m looking forward to “Inglorious Bastards” to see if he can re-capture some of his old magic.
But Bobby, influential in what way, exactly? He influenced people to imitate him—ironic coming from someone who has based his career on imitation—but when there is a ‘seismic shift’, that usually means things are rebuilt afterwards, made stronger. Has Tarantino done this? What did he change, for the better, in film? What can we point to that ‘shifted’ because of PF?
I don’t ask it rhetorically: I loved Pulp Fiction.
I’m not a big QT fan. Don’t get me wrong, he’s got some pretty decent movies. Reservoir Dogs is a great first film. Jackie Brown and part one of Kill Bill were great. I have allways felf let down by his “Masterpiece” Pulp Ficting. The dialog makes it fun to watch with a group of people. It’s verry quotable. Jackson’s preformance is perfect but the film itself is full of filler. I’m not even going to go into Death Proof beyond saying that it was a perfect copy of those type of movies down to the falts. Now finnaly he’s just doing an outright remake with Inglorios Bastards. He’s a competent direcor with a big head. If anything he was a bad influence on film influencing people to just make “cool” movies that usually pale to his films. Cinematic genius he is not, we should leave that turm to the Ingmar Bergmans of the world.
I think Tarrantino isnt a genius but just a really good director from what ive seen. I think Tarrantino is just good at making an interesting plot with numerous references to old movies and T.V. shows and music, then injecting a crapload of cussing and violence. Thats pretty much a Tarrantino film.
Well, I think influencing a generation of people to imitate you is an awfully strong thing (and yes, highly ironic too. classic postmodernism!). How many filmmakers can lay claim to that? Not that it’s the sole measure of genius.
Seismic shifts don’t always usually mean things are made stronger after the fact. True, they are often rebuilt and re-defined. For one, Tarantino liberated narrative. Yes, Kubrick and Jarmusch did it before him. But they banged on the doors. Tarantino opened the jail cell. Also, Hollywood literally was never the same after “Pulp Fiction”. Whether its stronger is another story. But the conception of an indie film changed forever after “Pulp Fiction”. This is the film that built Miramax, which went on to take chances on other unique films and filmic voices.
Tarantino also made the auteur accepted on a widespread scale. He mainstreamed the spirit of Godard. All these young auteurs running around Hollywood getting money to make their films the way they want to owe a debt to Tarantino.
Hi again Mr. W
…but he opened the jail cell door—I am enjoying following your metaphors, darling—and what did he let out? I think you’re right; he doesn’t have an obligation to influence anyone anyhow anyplace. It’s not imperative. But the praise people throw at QT bears some scrutiny; I find people are far too eager to offer superlatives which ultimately have no meaning. I think we’ll need to wait some time to see if QT has had anything close to a positive influence. Maybe the better question is (and again, this isn’t rhetorical—I’m curious to know the answer: what good films do you think have come about directly because of his influence?
I think he’s a genius and a socially conscious one at that. His films, more than those of any other filmmaker, attempt to infuse the audience with a badass resolve to evaluate their situations critically and live by their own moral code.
Quentin is the only filmmaker working whose work is an event. I mean, it’s a big deal when Tarantino has a film coming out. The original thread starter stated that “directing is an overrated profession that tends to reward one individual when in the reality of it all it consists of a team of people that create your vision” and I disagree more than I can agree on that.
Granted, filmmaking is a collaborative effort, but it is the directors vision who dictates the blocking, staging, style, framing and compositions, the shooting for the edit, the pace. The D.P. isn’t sitting there telling the director that he thinks the camera should dolly left to establish a new axis line. Of course, the D.P. is the next person on set that gets my creative kudos.
As much as filmmaking is a team effort, the grips, the A.D.’s, the Production Coordinators, et al rarely have much creative input. I am speaking of the norm and not the exception.
Back on topic ? Quentin Tarantino is a genius.
Nobody gave a flying fuck about Grindhouse, so I think that throws your thesis out of the window, J.R.
1,592,310 people bought the DVD in 2007. I’m kind of happy that Tarantino doesn’t have a mainstream fan base.
I’m not saying its good or bad, I’m just saying that hardly qualifies as an event. It did very badly at the box office despite a very expensive ad campaign, and a million and a half dvd’s sold isn’t a lot either.
If you like a director and you they have a movie coming out and you go see it opening weekend, It’s going to FEEL like an event to you. This is all I’m suggesting.
Sorry for double posts. :P
I see your point and Grindhouse was definitely not the event it was hyped up to be and it was great that films like Blades of Glory and Meet the Robinsons held the top spot during this time. I loved Grindhouse, although not high art, it was everything I expected it would be. But …
I admit, not Tarantino’s finest hour by any stretch, but what director hits a home run every time out ? When I think of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown (and yes, I love the Kill Billy’s) he gets a pardon from me.
Bring on the Basterd’s !
Regarding it feeling like an event ? As much a fan I am of many filmmakers working today, Tarantino is the only one that gets me pumped. I remember seeing the teaser for Kill Bill for the first time years ago; “The Fourth Film by Quentin Tarantino.” and just going YES !
When a director makes movies based on past movies he loved, it is always difficult to call him a genius. QT sometimes takes the best parts of those past movies and imposes his own unique story or style upon them, like a great hip-hop song, as he did with Pulp Fiction. Or sometimes he just throws together episodes of violence and cinematic references to create a “remix” movie like Kill Bill. His best work results when he listens to the little Godard angel on his one shoulder telling him to create something, rather than the Uwe Boll devil on his other shoulder telling him to throw a bunch of nonsense together.
Personally, I don’t think he has a “genius” level catalog of films yet. Some are very good, but he doesn’t have that long list of greats like a Kubrick or a Bergman. Maybe he will, and at least his movies are usually fun enough to enjoy the journey!
I hear you. I don’t think it’s a question of what good films have come out that were influenced by QT that becomes a measure of his genius. The sheer amount of films that come out that mimic his style say more to me than whether they were good or not, because QT can’t make other people’s films for them. That mimicry says to me that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (sincerity being maybe just one element that can make a film good). People don’t usually imitate something that isn’t good, or interesting, or profound to them for some reason. Unless they’re performing satire, which of course has happened plenty to QT.
I agree with you that the superlative praise bears some scrutiny. I also agree that time will be the final arbiter on QT’s career, and his genius (or lack thereof).
But I feel pretty strongly about this: the worth of QT’s contribution to the arts will ultimately rest in judgment on the shoulders of “Pulp Fiction”. And I believe that “Pulp Fiction” is a film that will be remembered and celebrated for all posterity as one of those unique landmarks in the history of cinema. I think “Pulp Fiction” bears the mark of a genius.
Bobby, I loved PF. I named my dog after Tarantino. But the dog died. There’s a moral there…and yes, he’s never topped PF. Never will, if you ask me. We’ll see, right?
I like to garble my parables, and I tend to think imitation is the last refuge of the scoundrel. It may be where people begin; but films that are nothing but imitation—what to make of these? And I’d suggest this is all that QT’s influence has produced. But again: we’ll see.
JR, I’d suggest that Tarantino has a pretty substantial mainstream base: Grindhouse might have tanked, but Kill Bill did massive business. In fact he’s very far from a rebel auteur, now; he hasn’t been for some time. And I was happy to see Grindhouse tank; it was the work of a 12 year old boy. Frenetic, frenzied, even, and I loved seeing the stuntwoman strapped to the car hood; but it was further proof, like it was needed, that Tarantino is devolving, not evolving. To which I am sure he’d say, yeah? Who the fuck cares about evolution anyway?
The Kill Bills grossed $70,099,045 and $66,208,183 domestically in the states. Hardly massive business in today’s box office record breaking business I’d say. I think his fanbase consists more of film geeks and filmmakers than of the mainstream white bread type.
I often hear people refer to PULP as being a work of cinematic genius and then decrying the later works. Is it QT’s fault he went yard on his 2nd film ? Making a film that meets or exceeds that films praise (Nommied for 7 and winning one Oscar, winning the Golden Palm) is a tall order for any filmmaker.
Consider he has only 5 films to his credit. Too see his talent and impact on cinema this soon is an exciting idea when thinking 20 years from now when he has a more expansive body of work.
You were happy too see GH tank ? Why ? That sounds almost vendetta’d. : / :P :)
JR, I do think you’re fooling yourself about QT’s fanbase. I teach at a college here in Toronto, and when Grindhouse came out, all the pretty young things were keening to go. All the Bed & Kitchen Girls, as I call them. I mean, go figure. Of course, this is hardly scientific proof, is it?
Sorry my dear: what does ‘went yard’ mean? You’re right for sure: a tall order to top PF, but I think the boy got scared after Jackie Brown—a flawed exercise, but the work of an adult, I thought—did not do well, and since then, it’s been Boy’s Town all the way. Which is fine, I suppose—who am I to slam it? But I find no room for myself at all in his films, and I belong to his generation.
Well, Grindhouse…it was just so…resoundingly pointless. I know, I know. I should lighten up, right?
Um…do you actually memorize movie grosses? How brilliant is that.
Now now, let’s not bash anyone’s fanbase. Keep it nice on here. I don’t want to see this website turn into yelling and name calling contests. Nothing wrong with pretty young things. They have thoughts and tastes too!
“Going yard” means hitting a home run. He knocked it out the ballpark.
I can’t agree with you about “Jackie Brown”. I think that film is brilliant. I can’t see a flaw in it. There’s probably a ton of people who think it’s better than “Pulp Fiction”, I’m just not one of them.
My favorite thing about “Grindhouse” was the trailers. I don’t mean that sarcastically. They were tons of fun to watch!
I don’t have time to read all of the posts here, especially since some of the early ones don’t even seem to have anything to do with Tarantino, but I’ll throw my opinion out there:
Tarantino has written some of the hackiest, most embarrassing dialogue in the business. He’s been Kevin Smith-bad at times in that respect. That said, I think Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are great movies, both having been helped enormously by incredible acting performances. I think Jackie Brown is pretty good. I think Kill Bill is fun, but that’s also when “Tarantino-style” officially started to really bother me. And Death Proof was foot-fetish garbage. I think it’s kind of cool what they did with Grindhouse, but neither of the movies were particularly entertaining. I’ve read the Inglorious Basterds (sic) script that leaked a while back and, unless it gets tightened up dramatically, it’s not a very good script. I have a feeling, though, that QT’s talents as a stylistically inclined director will benefit him greatly and the movie will probably be considered a return to form for the guy. I will probably see it opening weekend, despite my sort of love/hate feelings for him.
One thing is for certain, he’s not a genius. He’s just an enthusiastic director who wears his vast variety of influences on his sleeve, which I don’t necessarily consider a bad thing.
Bobby Darling, no offence to the Pretty Young Things. They’re not only a fan base; they’re my support base, in more ways than one.
I too liked Jackie Brown, really. Maybe I will see it again and re-evaluate.
By the way, re. Bed and Kitchen: this is an allusion. “She’s all bed and kitchen”. Line from a film. Spot it, and your reward will be great in heaven. I open this to everyone. Try not to Google.
Now I really must get to that food, as I am still feeling grandmotherly.
I cannot argue with you there Wendy. I think it is safe to say that QT missed the mark with Deathproof; I still enjoy it of course but am unashamedly a fan of his work.
Again, I got out of GH what I expected. I think RR and QT were just doing what they love because they could. Was it the work of a 12 year old boy ? Yeah. I guess it kind of was. I want to make some high art one day in my life if I can make my dreams happen, but I still have the ZOMBIE EPIC in the back of my head that stems from my days of a 12 year old and would make it in a second if given the green.
Does that make sense ?
And yes, Going yard means hitting it out of the park; thanks Bobby.
David ? I find QT’s dialog to be some of the best in the business. R-Dogs, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, From Dusk Till Dawn (Until the Vampires attack) and Jackie Brown all leave me craving more character speak.
Yeah, watch “Jackie Brown” again and re-evaluate it. It deserves attention as a great movie.
I think QT is mainstream. He’s the only “indie” Director most people know. The four most well known directors around are Spielberg, Scorsese, George Lucas, and Quentin Tarantino. Most of the time that the only ones people do know, and Hitchcock.
Deathproof (and Grindhouse in total) is the most underrated film of the decade
Well, J.R., to each his own, and I do think Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are pretty great, but the rambling hip-speak really started to get annoying in Jackie Brown and it’s only gotten worse sense. Most of the dialogue in Death Proof made me cringe, and Kill Bill had plenty of stupid in it. If he had someone telling him to try and tone it down here and there (Robert Rodriguez or Harry Knowles would not be ideal) it would make all the difference in the world. I don’t expect that to happen, though.
Overrated and annoying as hell. I cannot stand the way he writes dialogue.