“Some people have the idea that re-appropriation should not be awarded with popularity and critical praise. Given that QT is hardly the first artist do re-appropriate, I don’t really see the problem here.”
the problem is the level of praise he receives for what he does, not that he receives praise at all. But for me it’s a certain kind of prejudice, and i won’t deny that, and that prejudice is that we live in an era that assigns an incredibly amount of significance to novelty. that is not to say that other eras were not the same, but i think the balance has been thrown off in the last 25 or so years. Tarantino is merely a symptom, not the cause, but he has been pretty damn influential so he is therefore much easier to blame.
what surprises me most about Tarantino, however, is that people still care. i thought his career was over after jackie brown, at least in the mainstream anyway, then he comes back with Kill Bill and is back on top again. Death Proof flopped but I.Bastards was one of his biggest films ever. By now i expecting him to be one of those dreaded 90’s hangovers like Kevin Smith, but people still think he is cool. that’s what really surprises me.
Am I the only one that really, really enjoyed Death Proof? The final punching scene, Zoe Bell’s amazing car surfing and the lap dance scenes should at least count for something. Also, it was right on the money as far as grindhouse homage. People say it was too talky but when you watch those films you’d be surprised how little action there actually is compared to clumsy lead-ins, weird plot digressions and pointless exposition.
It’s the level of praise and the way he seems to buy into all that praise that is distasteful to me. And I already said that I’m a fan of his early films, even Kill Bill in large part, though that was the last of them.
I’m hoping he matures a little and loses the idea that his voice is cool, and makes a really interesting film. He’s obviously talented and makes some good choices.
But the backlash is more than understandable.
“way he seems to buy into all that praise that is distasteful to me”
i don’t like it either and i think to a large extent that’s what has killed him. The Tarantino of the 00’s onwards is more of a fancy exploitation director that plays to his audience. it’s like he is responding to a funhouse mirror image of himself or something. Regardless of what one thinks about Jackie Brown, it was fairly low key compared to Pulp Fiction, and certainly risky because of it, but that that he just lost the plot.
I thought I.Bastards was better than D.P and K.Bill though.
MACH: yes and no. in my experience, those films have awful dead patches where absolutely nothing happens, then there is a kickass action scene around the corner that makes up for it. Death Proof just dragged to me. with the exception of Rosaria Dawson, none of those girls knew how to deliver his lines imo, and the only thing i liked about it was Kurt Russell.
The stunts were terrific. With cgi replaces many stunts these days, I forgot how exhilarating real stunts can be. However, I did not like Kurt Russell in that role. (Instead, how about Clive Owen? I wonder if Jim Carrey could have pulled it off. He could do the crazy/creepy part fairly well, I think. A younger James Woods? Anyway…)
@Grind House: I really enjoyed Kurt Russell’s performance I must admit. However, I thought the theatrical version was better than the DVD version. I liked that the lap dance, etc. were cut out from the film because they were filler anyway. Those scenes could’ve not even been mentioned in the film at all and it wouldn’t have hurt it. What at least made it watchable was Russell’s characteristically (and self-aware) stellar performance. I was the only person cackling in the theatre when Russell’s wailing about his shot arm. I mean, god, that was visionary. But I don’t think much of that owed to Tarantino.
The dialogue though was really, really bad (even for Tarantino). Russell, like I said, made it work (somehow!) perhaps that’s just because he’s on a different level of acting than the rest, but yeah, horrible dialogue. That cafe scene where the girls are chatting about whatever was really grating because it was like four Tarantino’s talking simultaneously. I mean, I can’t believe someone on the set wasn’t like, “OK, let’s take it down a notch, Quentin.” Horrible, horrible.
Again, it’s not so much that Tarantino doesn’t know what he’s doing, he seems to be pretty technically proficient (or has surrounded himself with technically proficient people), but that it just bores the hell out of me because I’ve seen it before. His writing is deplorable, his directing is better, but not much.
When I saw Reservoir Dogs for the first time (might’ve been 12 or 13), I liked it a lot; at that time, it was something I had never seen before. The way it shifted back and forth in time and how it used implied exploitation were all new to me. Later I discovered Scorsese and Peckinpah, Leone and De Palma, the New Wavers, etc.and it dawned on me that, holy hell this guy is just regurgitating (we could nicely call it “emulating” if one prefers) these directors.
“@Grind House: I really enjoyed Kurt Russell’s performance I must admit. However, I thought the theatrical version was better”
i had to sit through both versions unfortunately.
“That cafe scene where the girls are chatting about whatever was really grating because it was like four Tarantino’s talking simultaneously. I mean, I can’t believe someone on the set wasn’t like, “OK, let’s take it down a notch, Quentin.” Horrible, horrible.”
that’s how i feel about Pulp Fiction nowadays too, albeit to a lesser extent. I think the characters were more defined in Reservoir Dogs, whereas after that they were just smart ass variations of Tarantino’s own personality.
But yeah, that cafe scene was annoying, especially when that girl with curly hair delivered that line about the ‘the funny looking guy’. i wanted to punch Tarantino right in the face there and then! lol!!
Zoe Bell annoyed me too, but let’s not go there.
Quentin Tarantino has 7353 fans on MUBI and both Kill Bill fans have over 5000 fans on this site, and I don’t even want to get into the money his films make. There seems to be a strange attitude amongst Tarantino fans who refuse to believe that anybody could dislike his films because they don’t think they’re very good. Apparently, you can only dislike his films if you are anti-mainstream or are trying to be ‘fashionable’.
I won’t be surprised to see a thread popping up asking whether it’s become ‘fashionable’ to rate Andrei Tarkovsky as one of the greatest film artists ever, because there’s obviously no other reason why you could enjoy a Tarkovsky film.
My only dislike is people who dislike his films without grappling with them directly. People who write him off because they don’t like his personality, or his fans, or his chin, or anything that doesn’t have to do with the films themselves. There’s never any close talk about Tarantino’s work. Only name-calling and bashing — on both sides. Is there another filmmaker where the lines of demarcation are drawn and entrenched so profoundly, and on such a wide scale?
Corman seems to provoke pretty varying opinions too.
James Cameron maybe or Ridley Scott or Woody Allen
As big as Von Trier is, he’s not bigger than Tarantino. Corman isn’t really in the public consciousness as a contemporary filmmaker to be discussed. Cameron is huge, but not in the critical/art context. Ditto for Scott. I’d say Allen is past his prime as a factor in these sort of critical/popularity debates.
Clint Eastwood then
“People who write him off because they don’t like his personality”
i don’t know, his persona is all over his films. one of the reasons he shits me is for that very reason.
having said that, i don’t hate the guy. i’m just sick of him. i think he has the talent to make better films. though.
ahh Peter Jackson
He reminds me most of Michael Patrick King, in that he took a jovial concept that had its fans and made it kind of odd and not half as much fun as it could have been.
“Ditto for Scott.”
Both Scotts are hardly discussed when polarized opinions arise.
Eastwood, Howard and Spielberg don’t have the popular/cult pull that Tarantino has. There is no filmmaker more splitting than Tarantino who has that cultural cache on both sides of the fence (critical + popular). I can’t even think of anyone who comes close. He really is the only true “rock star” of cinema. (Calm down everyone. It’s for better or worse. Not necessarily saying it’s a good thing or a mark of value.)
The Coen brothers also occupy that privileged space too. And there are people here who, like Tarantino, absolutely despise their sensibility and thus hate their films. On the other hand, the Coen brothers are not about a cult of personality the same way that Tarantino is so, yeah, they aren’t “rock stars” or, better put, “trademarks.”
In any event, these threads generally don’t lead to very interesting discussions.
“I can’t even think of anyone who comes close. He really is the only true “rock star” of cinema. (Calm down everyone. It’s for better or worse. Not necessarily saying it’s a good thing or a mark of value.)”
agree, Spike Lee tried to do that back in the day too but his popularity has waned considerably.
Tarantino is also the only director that could have got films like Grindhouse and I.Bastards made in Hollywood, and with a decent budget. for better or worse ;-)(
I found a great article on “Kill Bill”. Maybe some will be interested to read it as a starting point for a more serious, analytical discussion of the films?
“I am glad that Tarantino remembered how cool Carradine could be, because his crocodilian charm is crucial to the success of Kill Bill, a work I make no apologies for considering one of the greatest of the decade.”
I believe “one of the greatest of the decade” is a bit exaggerated but certainly Carradine is one of the great things about “Kill Bill”.
“Tarantino is, in many ways, the straight man’s Pedro Almodovar: a self-conscious quoter of generic traditions, fueled by the strong emotional charge inherent in disreputable cultural detritus, setting his ardour of artifice and ground-level feel for human interaction in a pas de deux as intricate as the swordplay.”
Don’t know nearly enough about Almodovar to comment on this but I’d be curious to hear others thoughts.
“A major criticism leveled at the film is that the first part contains all the great set pieces, and it’s true—the House of Blue Leaves sequence is one of the great set pieces in cinematic history and a notable riposte to Hollywood’s increasing inability to shoot action scenes.”
Again, too much exaggeration. The House of Blue Leaves sequence is actually one of the things I like least about the film. It’s TOO self-conscious (even for Tarantino), and lasts for way too long. Actually, it’s like a microcosm for “Kill Bill” in its entirety. As I mentioned before, a great film buried underneath a huge mountain of a flawed film. If we could separate the Go-Go fight and the O-Ren fight from the rest of that laborious sequence we’d have some wonderful set pieces.
For me, the second part has all the great action. Bea’s training sequence with Pai Mei is much more satisfying than the House of Blue Leaves sequence. And let’s go ahead and call the climax of part 2 — probably the climax of the whole two-part epic — the Bea/Elle fight. THIS is Tarantino staking a claim for “best fight ever” status. Whether he achieves it or not is debatable but I don’t see how this isn’t the set piece to end all the set pieces in the film.
“It’s more a tacit acknowledgement how much the life-and-death dramatics of our beloved fantasies inform our perceptions of our everyday lives.”
This is an interesting way to conceive of the film.
“Kill Bill is, in many ways, as much a musical as a melodrama.”
Also interesting for discussion.
“Kill Bill is also a film with a genuinely dynamic and interesting female hero. Most stabs at creating action heroines come across like fashion models jammed in cat-suits, or men in skirts, but Beatrix is detailed, emotionally and intellectually complex, and not exactly the nicest woman in the world. She’s a savage killer, and once she commits to vengeance, she pursues it without mercy, to the point where she leaves children without parents. She’s also an actual female protagonist who experiences specifically female problems—the whole narrative is spun from the fact that she abandoned her previous lifestyle to bring up her child, thus contending with a difficulty that confronts many women. The film then, through all it flights of fancy, is sustained by a critical sense of The Bride’s incensed pride and sense of loss, leading to a final scene where she weeps in gratitude and grief for everything her mission has brought her.”
This is a great paragraph. Many feel that Tarantino does a great job with female characters, if he doesn’t do anything else at all. How do we feel about that?
“He heads towards what he knows is his well-deserved end with a strange dignity: note how well Carradine plays the scenes where he quietly gets drunk enough so he knows he’ll be little threat to Beatrix.”
Never considered this detail about him getting drunk at the conclusion. Makes the emotional turns here all the more interesting.
Still no takers?
Anyone care to make fun of his chin instead? Anyone?
^^i don’t take Q.T as seriously as that reviewer does, so no, mate, i’ll have to throw that line right back at you ;-0
Booo! Don’t cop out. It doesn’t matter if you take him seriously or not. What do you think of the critical ideas brought up by the reviewer? Debunk them if you wish.
I know, I know. It’s easier to say you don’t like the way Tarantino talks. My gawd, like, isn’t he totally annoying??
it’s hard for me to ‘engage’ with these ideas if my memory of the film is hazy though, so i’ll have to pass.
Okay. No takers indeed! It’s too bad.
While looking back on my past posts, it seems that the only part of the post people are paying attention to is the part where I bitch about his fans, so I’ve to re-posted my more valid complaints against KB Vol. 1 in spite of the fact that I’m sure most people are intent on ignoring them. I know there’s really no point in this, but what the hell, I have to find some way of killing time while time kills me…
Also, I’ve corrected one or two typ2os
Granted it (KB) had some clever moments and a few laughs, but I just found it bland for the most part. My problems with it are as follows…
(I WILL TRY TO BITCH SUBJECTIVELY NOT LETTING MY CRITICAL ATTITUDE TOWARD HIS FANS INFLUENCE THE FOLLOWING OPINIONS. AS YOU ALL CAN SEE THE TYPEFACE IS NOW REALLY BIG SO THAT IT’S HARDER TO MISS)
Pretentiousness: Why was it impotent to announce the fact that this is ‘The Forth Film By Quentin Tarantino’ in the opening credits? Was QT worried that there would be someone in the theater saying to himself, “So how many movies did Quentin directed again? Five? Six? Damn, this is going to be thinking about this the way through the movie! Oh, I see, it’s his fourth. Thank you credits, that was really starting to drive me nuts!” You want to talk about self-indulgent; that was pretty self-indulgent. Even the most smug and pretentious piece of crap released in the last decade (we’ll call it ‘Hard Candy’) waited until after the credits (In KB defense, it is vastly superior to HC).
Excessive referencing: I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with homagesploitation (ex: I enjoy Brian de Pulma films), but when every other frame of the movie is crafted for the sole purpose of reminding you of something else it becomes more then a little distracting. It also doesn’t help that most of the movie references (the ones that I caught) just reminded me of how much I’d rather be watching the other movie.
Cardboard swordplay: I’ve heard people praise the fight scenes in this movie non stop, some even going so far as to call them “The best fight scenes EVER!” (Damn it, here we go again). They are not. They don’t even come close, and I sincerely believe that if QT didn’t direct this movie, no one would even entertain the idea of comparing it favorably to ‘Once Upon A Time In China’ or the ‘Lone Wolf & Cub’ series. It’s not that the choreography is particularly bad (it’s not great, but I’ve seen worse), so much as the lack of intensity and kinetic energy that should have been flowing through the climax (where most of the action is contained). Uma Thurman is fine when it comes to simulating empty-handed combat, but looks awkward with a weapon; on top of that, I read that QT wrote out the choreography in his screenplay (“Cut left. Cut right. Cut straight down. Thrust forward etc…”) which could account for the lack of spontaneity. No wonder I thought the fights looked scripted, they were! I’m not sure what the intent behind scripting the fights was, but for me it removed the feeling of spontaneity of Woo-Ping Yuen’s best work (Tai Chi Master, Magnificent Butcher…)
Agreed. In retrospect the “4th film” credit is probably as good a definition of pretentious as we’re going to get. I didn’t mind it at the time though. There were so many years between “Jackie Brown” and “Kill Bill” that I was hungry enough to ignore it. My mindset was his last two films were great masterpieces, so I just knew he would outdo himself with the next one. Unfortunately he didn’t.
But on the other hand, is this really a critique of the film? A complaint about the way he credits himself as a director? We’re back to talking about his personality again, in a slightly roundabout way.
I understand some may not care for his incessant film referencing. But as Godard said, it’s not what you take but where you take it to. So it is what it is. We have to assess what he does with what he takes. That’s his style. Saying you don’t like Tarantino’s referencing amounts to the same thing as saying you don’t like Almodovar using gay characters, or you don’t like Tony Scott’s quick cuts. I get it and that’s fine, but it still closes off the conversation instead of opening it up. But it’s ok. People don’t take him seriously, so there’s no conversation to be had anyway in their point of view.
I agree about some of the fight scenes not being great. But as I mentioned, I don’t see how the Bea/Elle fight isn’t a wonderful one. Also that anime fight sequence in the O-Ren origin story.
“But on the other hand, is this really a critique of the film? A complaint about the way he credits himself as a director? We’re back to talking about his personality again, in a slightly roundabout way.”
You have a point here, but while I think an artists have the right to be as arrogant as they want to be, I’d rather they keep it out of their movies, unless they can turn it into some kind of self-mocking gag (there were moments outside the credits that found pretentious, but I can’t recall exactly what they were as It’s been a while since I’ve seen it).
“I understand some may not care for his incessant film referencing. But as Godard said, it’s not what you take but where you take it to. So it is what it is. We have to assess what he does with what he takes. That’s his style. Saying you don’t like Tarantino’s referencing amounts to the same thing as saying you don’t like Almodovar using gay characters, or you don’t like Tony Scott’s quick cuts. I get it and that’s fine, but it still closes off the conversation instead of opening it up. But it’s ok. People don’t take him seriously, so there’s no conversation to be had anyway in their point of view. "
The problem I had is that I don’t think he really took it anywhere (not in Vol.1, anyway). Like I said, I don’t have a problem with homagesploitation; I can appreciate some winks and nods to other movies, or even a lot of them, but I found it difficult to really “get myself into” KB, as almost EVERYTHING in this is from something else and after a shot while, I was unsure as to whether I was watching a movie or a clip show. I mean, I think you can reference as many movies as you want, but when you’re movie is composed almost entirely of other movies it’ll only be a matter of time before I begin to question just how many of your own creativity when into it, or how much you have. It’s easy to see why some people mistook it for a rip-off rather then as the tribute that QT intended.
I’ve made most of my complains with Vol. 1 in mind (I actually liked vol. 2 quite a bit better; not my favorite movie of any decade, but it was a pleasant surprise after actively disliking 1), but yes, I found the fights in vol 2 to be better then those in vol 1; this includes the trailer scene. The anime scene in vol 1 was kind of fun (I actually found myself becoming more interested in O-Ren then the bride); I don’t remember any real fights in that scene though, from what I recall it was more of a montage of assassinations.
I think that Kill Bill have a big inventive story. But Tarantino lost himself in a three-hour epic (as the film was originally conceived, but isn’t news for anyone). Tarantino’s desiere is build a masterpiece with ninjas flying across the frame, and a blond woman cutting heads… well, maybe — just maybe the idea was sucefully executed, but it is not justificative to a bunch of fanboys being cheering a simple filme as that. OK, as I said in the start, Tarantino’s wanted to build a masterpiece, but is not. It’s just a simple filme, with an inventive story, losted itself.
Her are some interesting thoughts on Tarantino written by IV on his blog:
“Why is Jackie Brown Quentin Tarantino’s most lasting film? Because it’s his least ironic. It’s the work of a lover, not an expert. Of a friend, not a taxonomist. Most importantly, it’s a movie by someone who believes in the exploitation film, not someone trying to sell their knowledge of the genre. Coincidentally, it’s one of his least popular and commercially successful projects.
The extended cut of Death Proof, shown abroad and available on DVD in the US, will last, too. It treats the world of genre movies and general business of commercial filmmaking unironically. It emulates rather than imitates. It has a secret ambition: to move beyond Kill Bill’s brand of Jack Hill “sexy feminism.” Liberation through transgression: Tarantino’s sexual fetishes are no longer suggested, but are instead lingered on; the abrupt, violent conclusion doesn’t bring closure—it creates possibilities. Death Proof’s free women are in the imagination of a free man."
If we like “Jackie Brown” would we say it is because of these reasons? I’m also curious to know what you all think of these thoughts on “Death Proof”. I disagree with IV and think it is a film will not last.