True To Form

Earlier this evening on Twitter: “In the latest chapter of Quentin Tarantino‘s lifelong effort to make movies about other movies or books, but NEVER, EVER about life as he’s lived it, thought it, felt it or dreamed it ALL BY HIMSELF & based on his own personal ‘walk the earth’ journey…

“…he’s decided to direct a remake or re-imagine or re-stylize or amplify upon a 1966 ultra-violent Franco Nero spaghetti western called Django, which he’ll be re-titling Django Unchained. Brilliant. Crawling even further up his own ass.”

I meant to say it took me three tweets to say this.

182 thoughts on “True To Form

  1. Your criticism of Tarantino makes no sense to me. Stanley Kubrick almost never, if ever, used original material for his films. He based pretty much all of his scripts on well-known books, even a Stephen King book, at the height of King’s mainstream popularity. So what? Kubrick’s artistry is in the distillation and interpretation. His voice is all over every one of his films.

    Same with Tarantino, only he didn’t grow up reading Thackeray and Napoleon biographies, he grew up watching movies. As a result, the maturity level and overall depth of his work may be less than a Kubrick, but to go so far as to imply he’s not producing real/valid works of art is absurd.

  2. Ryan: I’m not a big fan of Kubrick myself, but I will say that, unlike QT, he was a visualist, and wasn’t just copying scenes or citing his favorite lines from other movies. And regardless of what I thought of Kubrick’s adaptations, he at least tried to put his own stamp on them, while QT likes to just mix and match.

  3. Ryan – I don’t think he’s saying Tarantino’s work isn’t valid because it’s adapted from other works. The criticism – as I see it and deeply agree with it – is that Tarantino’s not dealing with any real emotions, real themes, etc., and never has and doesn’t look like he ever will. If an artist’s purpose is to reflect (or reflect on) real life, then Tarantino falls further short from being an artist with every film he makes. He only reflects (or, to be less kind, rips off, revamps, remakes, re-imagines, remixes, samples, etc.) pre-existing work, which has little connection to real life itself and which can barely be called art in the first place.

  4. Ryan – But a book is a different medium and the opportunity to create something vastly different is there. WIth Tarantino he’s mostly riffing off movies, creating movies. I know people like to think he’s redefining genre, but I just see it as wallowing in it. Like a spoiled child who knows he has an eager, expectant audience.

    Now you might think, so what, what’s wrong with that? For me he’s shown enough technical and verbal ingenuity to do something completely different and that’s why this ‘news’ is a yawn for me. I don’t want to see him turn into a Nolan, like a magician with his back to the audience, so proud of his own tinkering.

  5. That’s the longest Tweet I’ve ever seen.

    You already know how this movie’s going to go … lots of Leone-inspired eye shots, barefoot madame at a brothel, and TALKING.

  6. To WNichols and Kakihara and Owsler –

    You’re rehashing the classic dismissal of what Tarantino does — the “he’s just a clever rip-off artist” argument — and I think that’s best disproven by the abject failure of his imitators who jumped on the “Tarantino style” bandwagon in the mid-to-late 90s. Their movies didn’t “pop.” His, undeniably, do. You have to start by admitting that he’s creating successful cinema on some level, and ask why others who attempt to pilfer his secret recipe (Hell Ride — oof) always fail.

    Anyone who says Tarantino’s success lay in the fact that a given film of his contains a music cue from an old Burt Reynolds movie and a line or two from an obscure Japanese martial arts film is not really being honest about his abilities as a storyteller. Yes, he’s a synthesizer, which I understand is something to be naturally suspicious of, but he’s proven by now that the bits he takes from other films are a) not thievery, and b) always superseded by his own voice.

    There are basically two kinds of movies, I think — writer/director-driven films and actor-driven films. Kubrick and Tarantino don’t make the latter. They aren’t attempting to replicate the patterns of real, grounded human relationships to achieve a dramatic purpose. What they are doing is creating hermetic worlds populated by intricate archetypes recognizable perhaps only to them, informed by their own prejudices, kinks, and dreams, and visually structured in a way that stamps each of their films as being similar to the last.

    Again, I really think the jury is in on whether he’s an important artist. But carry on.

  7. I do love Tarantino, but I agree 1000000% with Jeff on this, and have been saying it for years. Trouble is, though, just about every time he announces a new project, I think this exact same thing– ugh, more of this pastiche grindhouse bullshit that like six guys on planet earth are nostalgic for, and they’re all QT’s yes-men or buddies–

    And, really, the MOVIE GODZ if they do exist NEED to issue a restraining order to keep QT and Rodriguez (and maybe throw in Roth and Wright) apart for at LEAST some occasional six months stretches, because God bless ‘em they’re essentially living all of OUR dream as guys who have the freedom to basically and indulgently remake all their favorite movies and genres from childhood ad nauseam, and have created a geek fantasia of all their cinematic fetishes and… but they’re all in equal danger (Rodriguez is utterly hopeless at this point) of, as Jeff says, being stuck up their own asses for all eternity, to ever diminishing returns. Can’t wait for 2021 when they’re all joining forces to remake GATOR meets TRIAL OF BILLY JACK as a 3.75-hour endurance test shot in 8mm with 3000 jokey cameos from their little rep company and no musical score, just snippets random Joe Delia sax riffs and Lalo Schifrin’s outtakes.

    But then Tarantino’s movies themselves are always so alive and fun and interesting, and in IB’s case I’d say at least somewhat cinematically revolutionary and inspired… I kind of remember that this IS his entire shtick– if Spike is obsessed with racial and urban tensions, if Schrader is obsessed with forbidden sex and dark nightlife impulses, if Scorsese’s into Catholic guilt and violence, if David Croneberg’s obsessed with etc etc etc…. then, really, Tarantino’s whole thing is just movies as life and movies as nostalgia and tugging at the format and basically creating a universe informed by life lived 100% through pop culture. Other than the slowed-down, beautiful ruminations on aging in JACKIE BROWN, which for all I know came from the Leonard novel, he doesn’t seem to have much interest in putting his own fears and concerns on screen, beyond “I like feet! I like trashy chicks talking smack! I like twenty-minute conversations about pop culture signifiers…”

    I don’t know, is it possible there is no “there” there? He seems mostly untroubled and worry-free in his ten zillion over-”caffienated” interviews… Could he be the ultimate case of “Movie Asperger’s,” where he doesn’t express or process anything without seeing it through the prism of bad drive-in kitsch? Other than vague themes of revenge and redemption– which, let’s face it, come from the movies he’s paying homage to to begin with– does he have any thematics that exist outside of his specific movie world?

  8. Jeff’s comment here is the first – and only – suggestion I’ve seen from anyone online that the film is a remake. Since Nero is appearing in the film, the strong implication is that this is a proper sequel, nearly half a century after the first movie. Have you even seen the original film, Jeff? For any fan of the spaghetti western genre (we’re a motley bunch but we do exist), this choice of genre, star, title and possible storyline is a big deal. I think Ryan Stewart’s post above nails it.

  9. Also, I LOVE Franco Nero (ENTER THE NINJA POWER), but after the COLOSSALLY EMBARRASSING failure of Grindhouse– easily one of the most prominent examples EVER of a totally indulgent, insanely hyped movie getting SHUT the fuck down by a moviegoing public that had ZERO interest in it or what it was going for…

    How do these guys basically take that EPIC FINANCIAL FAILURE… as a REFERENDUM to make SIX MORE GRINDHOUSES? Machete, Basterds (admittedly a surprise massive hit), apparently Red Sonja, now this? I don’t know, if there were a case as CRYSTAL CLEAR as Grindhouse of your audience saying, “Look, we don’t get these arcane references to movies NO ONE is clamoring for, this means nothing to us,” the sane impulse would be to move on to do something more commercial… not fucking REMAKE IT again and again.

    At this point, though, I think the QT name sells pretty well, and it’s like AUSTIN POWERS when those would come out: You’d be in a theater with like 12-year-old Filipino kids and date-night couples BOWLED OVER at these references to Casino Royale and Blow-Up that you know goddamn well they didn’t REALLY understand or get; It was just funny to see a guy in a goofy outfit say “Do I make you horny?” With Tarantino, I’d guess like 20% of the paying customers REALLY ever sat through any of this 1982 Dirk Benedict RUCKUS shit that he’s so high on; Though just respond to it being so different and quirky and captivating in and of itself.

    Still, I’m thinking just based on the work, Roger Avary’s inclinations were a better influence on QT than his subsequent cronies.

    Christ, you just know this thread’s gonna be an all-weekend Kakiharathon, too.

  10. As someone who has actually read Tarantino’s latest script – and no I can’t forward it to anyone, it’ll get out there pretty soon anyway and I ain’t about to scan 166 pages of script because I’m sitting on a hard copy – I can tell you that most of you are just shooting from the hip. DJANGO is fucking awesome and it’s a script that only QT could have written… and I actually think it’s one of his most personal scripts to date.

    First off, this thing is going to be controversial with a capital C. The title character Django is a freed slave, who under the tutelage of a German bounty hunter (Christophe Waltz) becomes a badass bounty hunter himself and after assisting Waltz on taking down some bad guys for profit, is in turn assisted by Waltz in tracking down his slave wife and liberating her from an evil plantation owner. And that doesn’t even half begin to cover it! This film deals with racism as I’ve rarely seen it handled in a Hollywood film. While it’s 100 percent pure popcorn and revenge flick, it is pure genius in the way it takes on the evil slave owning south. Think of what he did with the Nazis in Inglourious and you’ll get a sense of what he’s doing with slave owners and slave overseers in this one. It’s violent and funny and full of great Tarantino monologues and shoot outs (and slave rapes and slave tortures) and the center piece of the script is this fantastic relationship between Django and his Obi-Wan Waltz and it all just fucking works in the way only Tarantino makes it work. If you’re a QT hater this script won’t convert you. If you’re a fan, you’ll be onboard for the entire ride and you’ll love every fucking second of it. I cannot wait to see the finished movie. It’s going to shock and offend and drive people nuts when they see this thing. Detractors are going to find a thousand reference points from previous movies, but they’ve never been presented like this and I’m some one who has seen a LOT of movies and this script didn’t feel familiar to me in the slightest.

  11. Know what? Don’t see it. Bam, problem solved.

    But then:

    a) Jeffrey wouldn’t have anything to bitch about, and bitching is what Jeffrey likes to do more than anything else in the world.

    and,

    b) Jeffrey would be left out of “the conversation.” That’s the worst punishment the Movie Godz ™ can mete out.

    Unless, of course, it’s seeing the movie after someone else has. I would expect that Jeffrey has already sent dozens of emails to lawnorder pleading so see that script.

  12. You guys are acting like his last film wasn’t a daringly original, well written, beautifully shot, Oscar winning, box office success. I really don’t think those who say Tarantino is a rip off artist has actually seen the movies he supposedly ripped off. Otherwise, they would know that the “homage” is superficial.

    Tarantino is one of the few writers who’s characters actually behave like recognizable human beings, no matter how outrageous the settings are.

    BTW, the name DJANGO was used for hundreds of spaghetti westerns, even though there’s only been one official sequel. I’m thinking naming the movie DJANGO UNCHAINED is just a nod to that tradition.

    Now if what the above poster said is true (sounds to good to be…) I’ll be there day one.

  13. Ryan: “You’re rehashing the classic dismissal of what Tarantino does — the “he’s just a clever rip-off artist” argument — and I think that’s best disproven by the abject failure of his imitators who jumped on the “Tarantino style” bandwagon in the mid-to-late 90s. Their movies didn’t “pop.” His, undeniably, do.”

    Again, you can’t call them imitators when they’re aping someone who’s already a plagiarist. And last time I checked, Guy Ritchie and Danny Boyle did alright for themselves. Plus, if you want to be accurate, QT’s non-Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Four Rooms, Sleep With Me, and Grindhouse movies “pop”. Everything else is either below the radar or a disappointment, or both.

    “Anyone who says Tarantino’s success lay in the fact that a given film of his contains a music cue from an old Burt Reynolds movie and a line or two from an obscure Japanese martial arts film is not really being honest about his abilities as a storyteller.”

    Um, his stories are ripped off, too.

    “but he’s proven by now that the bits he takes from other films are a) not thievery, ”

    How so?

    “and b) always superseded by his own voice.”

    What voice is that? “I like torture porn”?

    Lexg: “and in IB’s case I’d say at least somewhat cinematically revolutionary and inspired…”

    Um, the whole fucking premise of IB was swiped from a Hitchcock movie.

    “I don’t know, if there were a case as CRYSTAL CLEAR as Grindhouse of your audience saying, “Look, we don’t get these arcane references to movies NO ONE is clamoring for, this means nothing to us,” the sane impulse would be to move on to do something more commercial… not fucking REMAKE IT again and again.”

    Yeah, I agree with you, but I’m still ironically game for Hobo w/ a Shotgun.

    Anthony: “Jeff’s comment here is the first – and only – suggestion I’ve seen from anyone online that the film is a remake.”

    All his films are remakes.

    lawn: So it’s basically a spaghetti Western version of Dogville…?

  14. Vic: ” I really don’t think those who say Tarantino is a rip off artist has actually seen the movies he supposedly ripped off. Otherwise, they would know that the “homage” is superficial.”

    Bullshit. They’re as superficial as Vanilla Ice’s cover of Queen.

    “Tarantino is one of the few writers who’s characters actually behave like recognizable human beings, ”

    That’s why they act like total fucking morons who die even more stupidly than in a Jason movie.

  15. IB is a collection of well written scenes that barely hang together. And that’s why QT’s riffing is so tiresome. He constructs these geeky, knowing, showboating moments, but forgets the connecting material.

  16. hold on there Owsler: although I heartily agree with your assessment of Tarantino’s problems with knowingly cool references (and dialogue that all sounds the same, I might add), plus your last comment in IB being an incohesive mish-mash of hit-or-miss set peices, is on the money….

    but why lump in with Nolan? (comment #7). The Batman stuff aside, at least Nolan has the balls to come up with some genuinely original material and follow through.

  17. Re. my Nolan/Tarantino comparison, my feelings stem from Inception which I found utterly cold and in love with the mechanisms of filmmaking and mystery. Tarantino is in love with filmmaking in a different way, but it’s still quite impersonal and distancing.

    That’d be fine if he was making private films for a circle of friends, but he’s not. He’s making cinema, and it’s a cinema of self-indulgence, unrelenting self-indulgence. If the inevitable flaws were picked up on it wouldn’t be a problem, but his films are too often hailed as masterpieces when they feel more like a collection of scenes, than fully finished movies.

    I was hoping to see Tarantino’s own subversion of the traditional Western rather than him riffing on a Spaghetti Western that is in turn subverting the traditional Western. I’ve no doubt it’ll be colourful and kinetic and sharply written, but there’s a sterility and artificiality that feels wrong to me.

  18. it’s funny we have such direct opposite opinions of Inception – I find it a fascinating film, put together like a fine watch, yet emotionally rewarding…and infinitely watchable (which in my book makes a film a classic, just as I’m watched every Kubrick film more times than I can remember). So we can agree to disagree on that one. And agree on QT ;)

  19. Maybe it’s all due to Forster and Grier, but JACKIE BROWN definitely deals in real emotion. In fact that whole movie is fairly grounded in it. He’s only referential in the casting. So he is capable of it.

  20. Yeah Jeff seriously, put a cork in it when it comes to Tarantino. There’s a whole shitload of directors who’ve had entire careers built on adapting somebody else’s work. So he didn’t make a film about his days at Video Archive or snorting coke with strippers on the Sunset Strip. He makes MOVIES!!!! Move on already!!!!

  21. I wanna see Jeff’s OWN personal “Walk The Earth” movie, to be titled, “Hobo WIth A Shotgun At Starbucks.”

  22. Jeff’s “Walk the Earth” journey movie is a mix of Falling Down and Greenberg while it ends with a corpse in yellow sneakers dropping an “emotionally vivid” cowboy hat from the clutches of his hand as he draws his last breathe a la rosebud and the loud lousy Mexicans make way too much noise on the floor above.

  23. I think Jeff loves to hammer at QT and Spielberg in part to get attention which is totally fine. I think he also largely believes what he says and the opinions are interesting. QT is not one of my favorites, but he’s an interesting, entertaining filmmaker. I thought Inglorious Basterds was a lot of fun. I have no need for him to make some serious, personal film. He does what he does and he does it well. And I’m always excited by the idea of a big-deal Western with big stars by a major director. That is a rare thing and should be cherished.

  24. Surprised we made it to this many comments without anybody noting that Robert Rodrigues already remade DJANGO twice, as El Mariachi/Desperado.

  25. While I wouldn’t really want to see a biopic of QT’s life, I think he could do a brilliant 8 1/2-style deconstruction of filmmaking. Not too much like 8 1/2, of course, but something purely interested in form and the challenges of artistry. We know he’s hit writer’s block before, right?

    Also, re: what someone up there said: HE TOTALLY HAS ASPERGER’S. Is this documented anywhere? There’s really no other explanation for his whole manner of behaving. Unless he’s been doing a shitload of coke for the better part of the last twenty years.

  26. Looking forward to the idiocy that will be pouring into this and more threads in the coming months.

    Once the script gets online the fun REALLY begins. Everything from, “He can’t spell!!, He’s illiterate!”, to “Reservoir Dogs is just Ringo Lam”, to Roger Avery wrote the best Tarantino script”, and all the other lazy criticisms that are thrown about will splatter all over the boards. Some of the most ill conceived being the old reliable “His movies aren’t about anything personal or from his own life “.

    Now that the script has been passed to many of Quentin’s peers and friends it will undoubtedly show up online very soon. And of course, all the haters will read the script in one sitting when it shows up online. I seem to recall Jeff here doing multiple postings about the Basterds screenplay while he was reading it, strange for anyone with such a lack of interest for the material. Strange.

    By the time the script is up for the best screenplay Oscar, most of the nabobs will have moved on to some other issue that they can’t possibly hope to understand.

    Maybe by then a new jigsaw puzzle of personal in jokes by the Coen Brothers will have been released, so the haters can all rehash what a waste of time The Man Who Wasn’t There or Intolerable Cruelty was.

    Or maybe the new Paul Thomas Anderson movie will be in production, and the haters can ponder for the hundredth time why pump organs magically appear out of nowhere, or why do frogs suddenly, frustratingly rain down from the sky, or how can a generally stupid porn star undergo a ten minute spiritual epiphany while sitting on a drug dealer’s couch or how can a character suddenly step completely out of apparent character and start screaming about milkshakes and drainage for no apparent reason.

    Or some other fascinating critique of throwaway cultural junk.

    Can’t wait.

  27. Tarantino is a pop artist. He takes ‘trash’ and repurposes it. These discussions about his legitimacy as an artist are getting tiresome and irrelevant. He does what he does and he’s not going to do anything else. Maybe one day he’ll go meta and make a movie about making a movie and that’s when we’ll get his ‘personal’ movie based on his ‘life.’

  28. @hiviper:

    Nice added afterthought that you “understand” the use of the word percentage. When you posted your first kneejerk remark, clearly you did not.

  29. How can people watch Basterds and say same ole same ole? Does Tarantino re-use old scenes? Yeah, so does every director. Do people yell hack because the mirror scene in Taxi Driver is an homage to Reflections in a Golden Eye? Do people criticize Kubrick because the axe scene in The Shining is an homage to Broken Blossoms? No, because no one either knows or gives a shit. It works. The only difference between Tarantino and others is that he’s more honest about things. And it seems critics think it’s a game now to try and pick out all these little in-jokes. It’s tiring because it’s so misguided and predictable.

    I don’t give a shit whether an artist writes about their life. (Evnen though he kind of did in True Romance.) Who gives a shit about that? He’s passionate about what he does, and delivers great movies. That’s all I want.

    And how did Jackie Brown not deal with “real emotions?”

  30. EL Mariachi/Desperado a ripoff of DJANGO? Like I said before you guys have never actually watched the movies Tarantino/ Rodriguez are supposedly ripping off.

    I have DJANGO on my DVD shelf right now, the only similarities I see with Desperado is a hero with an unorthodox way of carrying around guns. And in DJANGO, the coffin/mini-gun thing is used for ONE SCENE.

  31. “Unless he’s been doing a shitload of coke for the better part of the last twenty years.”

    Uhhh.

    “You changed the face of cinema. I just wish cinema would return the favor.”

    - Jeffrey Ross

  32. Isn’t this exactly what people said before IB? And then it turned out to be nothing like the “original” at all, and in fact he just borrowed the title as a jumping off point? I remember on some message boards, people couldn’t believe that the likes of BJ Novak and Samm Levine were being cast as the Basterds, thinking it was still going to be the Dirty Dozen-style remake, and there seemed to be a genuine feeling that Stallone’s Expendables would put it to shame. We all saw how that turned out.

    IB was a masterpiece. Richer and far much more going on than simply just references to pop culture.

    The synopsis provided above by the poster (if true) ties in to what QT said about wanting to make a “Southern” and possibly linking it with the story of John Brown.

  33. Ohmigod Rashad just got all excited because he read Schickel’s “Conversations With Scorsese” and found out that the “Taxi Driver” mirror scene is “an” “homage” to “Reflections In A Golden Eye!”

  34. VicLaz2:

    Yes, that’ exactly what I’m talking about.

    In Django he carries a gatling gun in a coffin. In El Mariachi, he carries a guitar case for of weapons.

    It’s the same movie!!

    Brilliant.

    If anything, El Mariachi is a multiple mistaken identity scenario, and not much of anything like Django in terms of story or motivation. Oh well.

    The points about Kubrick are particularly apt. He used more scenes from earlier pictures than just about anyone. Which in the end has zero to do with the overall effect that Kubrick’s work has on the viewer. Zero. His films had a great deal to do with commenting on cinema, were clinical in their detachment from the “real world of human emotion and connectedness”. His films are about as insular and emotionally impenetrable as you can find, Godard excepted. It’s interesting that Jeff and others feel so strongly about Kubrick while dissing Tarantino so vehemently for having many of the same sensibilities.

    But nary a peep about Kubrick riffing on everyone else’s stuff. Tarantino on the other hand, it’s the only thing people want to talk about to points way beyond redundancy.

    Scorsese remakes Infernal Affairs and wins the Oscar. What prey tell did that film have more to do with the “real world of human emotion” than Jackie Brown?

    And so on.

  35. Palmer: He lost it after My Best Friend’s Birthday.

    Disconap: Sorry, but misogyny and indifference to the plight of the black community aren’t emotions. :)

    Alboone: “There’s a whole shitload of directors who’ve had entire careers built on adapting somebody else’s work.”

    Yeah, but they were honest about it. Plus, they did other things which proved they weren’t just the cinematic equivalent of a Cliff Notes book.

    goodvibe: “By the time the script is up for the best screenplay Oscar, most of the nabobs will have moved on to some other issue that they can’t possibly hope to understand.”

    I haven’t. In fact, the fact that Best Screenplay and Supporting Actor is as far as QT can get at the Oscars pretty much shows that they’re tired of his one-trick pony shtick, too. And these are the people who regularly vote in movies about Victorian Brit society and Nazis for BP.

    “Maybe by then a new jigsaw puzzle of personal in jokes by the Coen Brothers will have been released, so the haters can all rehash what a waste of time The Man Who Wasn’t There or Intolerable Cruelty was.”

    The Coens can make their own movies, though. And PTA at least does shit with pizazz. QT’s gimmick is just making actors sound like him to the point that he makes Woody Allen doing the same thing come off realistic. ‘Cus at least when Allen does it, you believe those actors could have similar experiences as him, and aren’t just reciting a check-list of movies QT saw that day which they’d never even touch with a ten-foot pole.

    Milkman: http://www.theonion.com/articles/next-tarantino-movie-an-homage-to-beloved-tarantin,2801/

    Rashad: “Does Tarantino re-use old scenes?”

    Yes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6X9Yj5ct88 I mean, he fucking cites King Kong, and alludes to Triumph of the Will, for fuck’s sakes.

    “Do people yell hack because the mirror scene in Taxi Driver is an homage to Reflections in a Golden Eye?”

    No, but then Marty gives credit where it’s due. He wasn’t afraid to call his first Oscar-winner a remake.

    “Do people criticize Kubrick because the axe scene in The Shining is an homage to Broken Blossoms?”

    No, but then Kubrick did actually take chances on different things once in a while.

    “The only difference between Tarantino and others is that he’s more honest about things. ”

    Uh, no he’s not. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HgbSAL8OKY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZKgptV4GmQ&feature=related

    Vic: “EL Mariachi/Desperado a ripoff of DJANGO? Like I said before you guys have never actually watched the movies Tarantino/ Rodriguez are supposedly ripping off.”

    From what I understand, El Mariachi was more of a tribute to the Killer. I can watch it on Crackle, now, so I’ll get back to it eventually.

  36. Jesus. The same old arguments. You know Reservoir Dogs plays out nothing like City on Fire right? And the second video is just hilarious at its attempt to degrade the work. As if we didn’t know what was in it. (Tarantino even said he borrowed part of the speech from Chiba.)

    And yeah he’s no different, at all. Look at Indiana Jones and then Secret of the Incas. Once Upon a Time in The West stemming from Johnny Guitar.

    “I mean, he fucking cites King Kong, and alludes to Triumph of the Will”

    You’re hopeless

    “He wasn’t afraid to call his first Oscar-winner a remake. ”

    Because it was . They bought the rights and made it. RD isn’t close to the same film. This is like you and Inception vs Paprika. Somehow you believed Nolan because he told you he didn’t see it.

    “No, but then Kubrick did actually take chances on different things once in a while. ”

    And the scenes Kubrick has used for inspiration you just don’t know about. Tarantino’s films aren’t alike. Not one of them. Even the Kill Bill, which was conceived as one movie, plays out like in two distinct ways.

    Glenn: Scorsese said so on tv. Keep your smartass remarks to yourself.

  37. Going back to what Lex noted a bunch of comments ago, I’m struck by how much of those criticism in Tarantino seems, to me, more in theory, based on his personality, rather than in practice, based on his actual films. I really loved Kill Bill, but yes, when they announced Grindhouse, though I was excited, I was also kinda saying that’s strange… didn’t Rodriguez and Tarantino just make a bunch of grindhouse movies? Why do they need a formal tribute? And Tarantino doing a slasher movie? What’s the point? Shouldn’t he be making better use of his gifts?

    But when Grindhouse came out, I loved it, and I’m no film savant who has more than a cursory knowledge of what movies they were riffing on with either part of the film. But Death Proof was a riff on slasher movies unlike any actual slasher movies I’d seen, as well as a better car-chase movie than most actual car-chase movies.

    Then with Inglourious Basterds, when it was described as sort of a WWII take on an exploitation movie, I was excited but again had that thought of, jesus, again? Why is Tarantino so grindhouse-obsessed? Yet the actual experience of watching Inglourious Basterds is completely different. It may have an exploitation influence, but it’s a 2.5 hour movie with, what, like ten scenes? It’s not exactly a wild Rodriguez-esque camp fantasia (although I like a lot of Rodriguez’s stuff, too; are we really going to pretend we need a personal, heartfelt, austere movie from Robert Rodriguez? I’ve been following his career since I was fifteen and he’s the last director I’ve ever had that thought about). It’s a patient, tense, yet also deliriously entertaining and very funny, audacious movie.

    I cared about the characters, I was involved in the story, and despite its obvious lack of historical accuracy, I never felt like it was a goof that was only about other movies. I mean, it’s actually ABOUT movies in a way his other movies aren’t — but thematically, not references to them. (On the other hand, I think he likes the characters in Death Proof too much for that movie to just be about other genre movies, even though it’s steeped in that style, superficially.)

    The point is, I can tell you as someone who CANNOT SPOT 90% of the most obscure references in a Tarantino movie, they play fine without any knowledge of that stuff, and that he gets dismissed as lacking human feeling of experience… well, wow. Do we require all directors to be austere autobiographers now? Tarantino hooks me into his movies as well as anyone working right now, and I don’t get hooked in by obscure references or the “pop-culture monologues” that he barely actually writes or flashy violence. Every time I start to wonder if his harshest critics may be on to something, the experience of actually WATCHING HIS MOVIES takes me right into the other direction. So I think he’s doing something right.

  38. Rashad: “You know Reservoir Dogs plays out nothing like City on Fire right?”

    Well, yeah, if you count him ripping off Pelham, too, then sure.

    “Because it was . They bought the rights and made it.”

    So did Darren with Perfect Blue; but he has yet to acknowledge it in relation to Black Swan.

    “This is like you and Inception vs Paprika. Somehow you believed Nolan because he told you he didn’t see it.”

    Well, from what I gathered about how he summed himself up, Nolan’s more of a crime film/hard sci-fi type of fan, and his bro’s the one with the geek tendencies. So Nolan could have indirectly “seen” Paprika through him. Which is fine by me. As for why I trust him over QT, well, he could’ve easily pulled a Lex and said, “I don’t watch cartoons, and I think you’re a nut, and this was supposed to be about Memento, not Inception. Next.” But he did respect my question, when he could’ve just easily “No comment” ‘ed my ass. I mean, seriously, why the fuck does a multi-millionaire star director like him even need to do a Q+A for one of his smaller films in the first place? But that’s just how classy and respectable the guy is, that he’s willing to sit it out for trivial questions like these. QT, on the other hand, is the type to throw everyone under the bus to get ahead, whether it’s Lam, Avary, or quality Asian films raped by Harvey.

    But even if Paprika was the inspiration for Inception, Nolan at least started his career doing his own movies, not ripping off Ringo Lam or Elvis.

    “And the scenes Kubrick has used for inspiration you just don’t know about.”

    Maybe I don’t, but again, Kubrick at least tried to expand the medium. QT does not.

  39. As someone who knew Quentin briefly while he was living in Manhattan Beach I can say that the guy didn’t really have a life outside of movies. The guy was either working at a video store, watching a movie, writing a script or talking about movies. Also, I told him the joke he tells in Desperado. He tells it wrong in the movie.

  40. That onion article someone linked doesnt work, but i found a cached version on google. It was hilarious. Sure everyone is inspired by other films, but can you really compare that to what Tarantino does? more and more critics are turning on Tarantino. Great filmmakers are universally accepted as great filmmakers, because theres a level of sophistication and intelligence behind them. the directors making them come from an educated background and are versed in philosophy, psychology, sociology, and history. Tarantino dropped out of school in the 9th grade. He’s not educated. He watched a ton of films, loves films, and chooses to make commercial films within that limited prism of influence. It doesn’t interest me. Maybe it did in 1994, but not anymore.

  41. all the issues I had with IB at the script level were pretty much realized in the film – except for the baseball bat scene which was thankfully snipped since it made zero sense. But the scenes just went on way too long. The action was too short. Thankfully it wasn’t served up as two movies.

    Even Deathproof was painful with two car scenes that came off more as technique than entertainment. It wasn’t even as excusable as the big chase from the original Gone in 60 Seconds.

    The only thing Tarantino has done in IB and Deathproof is proof that he’s the most sadistic director ever since he keeps beating the audience with the wooden acting of Eli Roth.

    In the middle of Kill Bill with the numerous homages, I kept wondering “When does Tarantino’s movie start?”

    Maybe he needs to make a documentary about an activity so he can understand what it takes to capture and distill a real moment versus just crib off a bunch of films while he gets high in his screening room.

  42. Surprised to see Kubrick and Nolan as the points of reference so often for this discussion. To me, the most apt comparison is DePalma. Another guy who made some admittedly excellent movies that were all about riffing on other films. And like with Tarantino, the emotional connection is often lacking.

  43. This will likely be the best film released in…whatever year it gets released.

    “fair enough – but I’d still lilke your list of QT’s GREAT films. Kill Billl 1 and 2 included in that?

    What’s Mallick’s percentage?”

    Malick is boring and pretentious as shit. He has a few great movies but who the hell wants to watch them twice? Masochistic wanna be film nerds, that’s who.

  44. corey: I think what bugged me about Deathproof is how it totally missed the point of what its inspirations were about, even though it was ironically supposed to be the culmination of the types of movies QT grew up with since he was a kid.

    pmn: DePalma actually had fun with his movies, though. QT just comes off like a lazy tour guide.

    Buk: Is Malick supposed to be a crowd-pleaser, though?

  45. Buk94 said:

    “Malick is boring and pretentious as shit. He has a few great movies but who the hell wants to watch them twice? Masochistic wanna be film nerds, that’s who.”

    A less wordy way of saying that would’ve been “I am a moron”.

  46. QT is batting 5 for 7 on “great” movies.

    The 2 that don’t make that lofty cut: Grindhouse, and Jackie Brown, but JB is an excellent film, just bottom of the stack.

    Maybe QT hasn’t had enough “at bats” to get inducted into the HOF, but his winning percentage is higher than any other director working today. That is all I claimed in my first post, and I still stand behind the statement.

  47. “A less wordy way of saying that would’ve been “I am a moron”.”

    Travis, don’t be angry with me because I called you out, and after you lied repeatedly for weeks, you finally admitted your lie.

    Malick is great, as I said. But anybody that claims they like to watch his films over and over is a pretentious liar.

    My guess is you haven’t seen a single Malick film, you just want to be in on the conversation.

    And again, you are a coward and a liar. Your opinion is worthless.

  48. Buk94

    “Malick is boring and pretentious as shit…”

    Uh huh. Sounds like you’re a huge fan. Sorry I didn’t get that. Makes one wonder what you’d say about someone who isn’t “great”.

  49. Oh yeah….

    Blah blah blah, Travis, blah blah blah coward, liar, blah blah blah…

    (there…now you can save the trouble of posting and returning to studying the “great, boring” Terrence Malick)

  50. Yes, his films are boring at times, even the ones I love. As an adult, I’m able to have conflicting thoughts at times.

    As a conservative republican, you wouldn’t understand any of that.

    And again, stop talking trash if, when called on it, you back down like a little pansy on the playground.

  51. Once again, a Travis post that says nothing at all. You make DZ look brilliant by comparison.

    How does it feel to hide behind razor thin wit and obvious sarcasm?

    Coward.

  52. Conversation between myself and Travis last year.

    Travis:

    I’ll kick your pussy ass, man. I’ll kick your pussy ass. Where do you live?

    This went on for quite a while.

    Finally…

    Me:

    You live in LA, don’t ya Travis? I’ll be in Los Angeles later this year if you want to meet up and discuss this man to man.

    Travis:

    (never heard back from him again)

  53. I’m not saying I disagree with you.

    I’ve often wondered how much more awesome “Days of Heaven” would be if it had transforming robots, gravity-taunting car chases and CG-assisted explosions instead of all those boring, pretentious shots of non-super-powered locusts.

  54. So THAT’S where Travis went. I wondered. It would appear that you kicked his ass so badly he’s been laying in a coma for all this time.

    Not cool, dude.

  55. Travis,

    I don’t like CG heavy films. Once again, your inability to see anything but extremes has made you look foolish.

    And no, nothing happened to Travis. As I said in the post (you really have issues with reading comprehension) I never heard back from him again.

    As in, he was a cowardly pussy with all bark and no bite.

  56. Lesson:

    Don’t ANYBODY fuck with the Buk94.

    Lest ye receive a thorough beating. We marvel at the badness that is the Buk.

    Let God sort ‘em out!

  57. I have to admit, I expected DZ to be the stupidest one in this thread, so imagine my surprise at this nightheat guy.

    “Great filmmakers are universally accepted as great filmmakers”

    This is one of the least informed statements I’ve ever read.

    “the directors making them come from an educated background and are versed in philosophy, psychology, sociology, and history.”

    This, even moreso. It’s pretty much completely wrong. The vast majority of acclaimed directors working today studied film or studied nothing while obsessing over film. Previous generations, like your Fords, your Hawks, they weren’t educated either, they fell into it precisely because it was for *un*educated people.

    Can you cite a few examples of who you’re thinking of? Because your point seems really stupid so far. You’ve managed to out-dumb DZ in a Tarantino thread, which is his home court advantage.

  58. “This is one of the least informed statements I’ve ever read.” “This, even moreso. It’s pretty much completely wrong. The vast majority of acclaimed directors working today studied film or studied nothing while obsessing over film. Previous generations, like your Fords, your Hawks, they weren’t educated either, they fell into it precisely because it was for *un*educated people.”

    Luis Bunuel, Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman, Frederico Fellini, Rainer Werner Fassbinder are uneducated and aren’t universally accepted as great filmmakers?

  59. Nice reference, nightheat (#46).

    I don’t love everthing QT’s done, but these arguments are like demanding Andy Warhol paint landscapes.

  60. Nightheat — are you sure you know what you’re talking about here? I’d have to double-check some of those names, but I’m not even sure any of the names you listed even graduated college (maybe Bunuel, but you are the one that brought them up, not me).

    I know for a fact that Kubrick did terribly with formal education (barely graduating H.S.), which seemed to be something he lamented (never verbally, but after devouring enough biographies on him you can read between the lines), and probably drove him even harder to become a self-taught “expert” on nearly every subject.

    Now if “intellectually curiosity” — even if developed later in life — is what you’re talking about, that might make a little more sense, but there are only so many concrete ways to measure “being educated.” I don’t think most of those guys really qualify, esp. if you’re going to use that distinction to compare them much more favorably to QT.

  61. “From what I understand, El Mariachi was more of a tribute to the Killer. I can watch it on Crackle, now, so I’ll get back to it eventually.”

    Generally what we do on this blog is share our thoughts on cinema by talking about films after we’ve seen them. You’ve really gotta hand it to our maniacal buddy Tyler Durden here for forever trying to cut out the middle man. Do you go to cancer groups just for the “company,” too?

  62. After reading all these posts, as per usual in a Tarantino thread, I have a ton of questions. But since I’m a day late and a dollar short (and it would take forever to individually address each one), I’ll try to condense:

    Re: lack of “real emotion”:

    Why is it that the Coens seem to get a lifetime pass here, especially among critics, when their hip, arch aesthetic is equally ubiquitous — if not moreso! — as Quentin’s? Love Ethan and Joel dearly, by the way — so don’t take this as a criticism of their work in the SLIGHTEST — but when they do a riff on a genre, doesn’t it sometimes come off as more of a combination condescending/amusing whereas with Quentin it’s more admiring/amusing?

    Watching Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? — which again, is GREAT — don’t you get the vague feeling that they kind of hated the South (or at least the way it’s been portrayed in cinema)? I don’t get that feeling at ALL in Kill Bill. Yeah, the movies he’s paying tribute to are kind of goofy as hell, but he doesn’t think so (which is one of the reasons I dig him so).

    Re: his films aren’t really “about anything”:

    I think this argument probably held a lot more water back in the ’90s. As mentioned above, Jackie Brown contains some really interesting themes about aging, and how it affects your emotions, impulses, and possibly even your moral compass. As a fan of Elmore Leonard, I have to say: that stuff was “present” in the book, but it wasn’t really there. Not like in the movie.

    If you can’t find interesting subtext in Inglourious Basterds, I don’t even know what to tell you. Just for starters — what about the moving image as a form of terrorism/mind control? When we look back on QT’s career, I have a feeling this will be one of the pictures that grows most in stature, if only because — like Vertigo, Sunset Boulevard, Mulholland Dr., etc., it is a great movie about movies.

    I think some of his lesser films even have some sneaky depth. Take another look at Kill Bill with regards to it being a metaphor for a broken home and it suddenly becomes quite a bit more interesting. Maybe not quite on the legendary level of The Shining – Indian subtext, but at least up there with some of Spielberg’s “orphan” narratives.

    Not bad for a kung-fu homage, I say.

  63. “Badlands” is a work of art…. despite Buk’s apparent belief that it is “boring” and not worthy of repeat viewings.

    Despite its lack of wizards and F/X.

  64. I made my point. the first being, Tarantino dropped out of school in the 9th grade and his work reflects that. My second point being, the filmmakers that engage me intellectually explored complex themes: mortality, religion, philosophy, science, ect..

    Theres a reason some films are only screened in small niche art houses and some, like Tarantinos, are screened in multiplexes filled with lard asses gnawing on Milk Duds and Popcorn. I mean, I think I’m making some valid points here, and they’re being ignored because you’re huge fans of Tarantino. And if thats the case, theres no argument I can make, and nothing I can say to make you concede anything that doesnt portray Tarantino as “brilliant, super genius, greatest filmmaker of all time”

  65. “and I understand what you mean by percentage – how many of the 7 are ‘great.’ ”

    I’d say he’s batting .833 on masterpieces; my only qualification is that I would induct KB in its entirety, not two separate entities (can we all agree it’s just one continuous story, and the “two-part” thing was more of a release strategy than anything else?).

    While Death Proof is certainly far too slight for the “masterpiece” tag, I could be easily persuaded to classify it as “great” (I think it’s borderline as is, but then again I’m “in the tank” for his filmmaking).

    RD is a little slight, too, but I think it’s only fair to grade most debuts at least slightly on a curve due to many limiting factors (budget, location, shooting time). While it’s certainly not as wildly ambitious as Citizen Kane (Duh!), I think it’s every bit as gripping, entertaining, and tightly-wound as, say, Blood Simple.

  66. Fair enough, nightheat, but two questions:

    1) Do Kubrick’s films reflect that he graduated high school with a 67 average?

    2) Did you see Inglourious Basterds?

    I can actually see someone entirely dismissing the man’s work up to this point due to difference in tastes and aesthetics, but I really feel that IB is the point in which everyone that is even vaguely interested in serious culture needs to hop aboard.

    He’s saying plenty about “mortality, religion, philosophy, science, ect (sic)” in that movie — I don’t even see how this is a debatable point. If you turn a blind eye toward these contributions because of the baser and trashier aspects, well, that’s your loss, amigo.

  67. Resevoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, and True Romance are masterpieces.

    So is Natural Born Killers, but QT, all due respect, is a TOTAL DOUCHE about that one– I get that he’s pissed that one of his earliest babies got extensively rewritten, revamped, and arguably turned on its side but Oliver Stone. But if you’ve ever heard him interviewed on the subject, he’s a COLOSSAL DOUCHE about it, claiming he’s never seen it beginning to end and that he and Juliette Lewis (!) went to see it in theaters and stormed out.

    Seriously? You’re a 30 year old screen writer in your first couple years of fame, an Oscar winning maniac director adapts one of your early scripts, and you’re SUCH AN EGOTISTICAL DOUCHE about it all, you talk shit about him and his movie and can’t EVEN BE BOTHERED to sit through a MOVIE MADE OF ONE OF YOUR SCREENPLAYS??? I think to most of us, that sounds like such a dream come true with such minimal odds of ever happening, that if we wrote an important, soul-searching paean to our friends and relatives and formative years, but Michael Bay bought it and turned it into a Fascist music video about robotic supermodels who start internment camps for fat people who don’t drive Ferraris… we’d still make two hours of hour life to at least see the goddamn movie. It’s one of those quirks of his bizarre personality that seems positively Kakiharan.

  68. Lex, you can only say that as someone who has never slaved over a screenplay, finished it thinking you’ve written something that’s about as good as it can be and then watch as some douche takes it over, rewrites it so that it’s unrecognizable to you and then films it like he’s on mushrooms and crack at the same time – which is probably likely. It’s like having someone steal your first born from you and bring them up as a Nazi. All you feel is pain and disgust at what has become of your creation and what it could have been.

    So fuck all the money and fame and whatever else that comes with it, you have been artistically raped, trite as it sounds, and the resulting offspring is something that you can never love no matter how much you will yourself to. I salute Tarantino for having the balls to say that shit isn’t me or mine and I renounce it. Personally, I thought Natural Born Killers was unwatchable. It was one gigantic mixed media-look how fucking clever I am headache and Stone is incapable of making us root for Mickey and Mallory. The best thing about that movie is the original theatrical trailer because it suckered me into seeing that garbage in the first place.

    It’s not ego that makes Tarantino hate on NBK, it’s the soul destroying mangling of his work by another and you can’t reduce it to the guy should be so happy just to see his name on the screen and have his work directed by Oliver Stone. Stone made good movies up until JFK and then fucking lost it. QT has yet to let me down and most of the time he exceeds my expectations for what I’m about to see.

  69. Yeah, that’s pretty weird about NBK; it’s an ego thing. Because I’m pretty sure if he sat down and watched the fucking thing (which, for all we know, he may have actually done YEARS ago), he’d almost certainly love it. Is there even any doubt?

    But of course it’s viewed as trademark Stone now, esp. with that WILD Richardson photography (who Quentin of course stole for his DP years later, ironically enough).

    Two questions about that, actually:

    1) How was he NOT even nominated for that? I know he just won a few years before for JFK, but who cares? Tom Hanks won two years in a row, and that was in a category that more than five people on movie blogs at 4AM actually care about. I guess I’ll have to take another look at the ’94 nominees (I’m sure Gump, PF, and probably Ed Wood were among them), but I can’t imagine five better-shot films that year, let alone one.

    2) How the fuck has RR never DP’d a horror flick before (no, Shutter Island does not count)? NBK contained some of the most supremely scarring images of my latter-era adolescence (just this side of Jacob’s Ladder). It must be a personal taste issue, no?? I have to believe he’s been approached about a million times…he’d shoot the living hell out of a gritty TCM-style slasher.

  70. I wrote four screenplays in the mid-to-late 90s, never even got an agent meeting, the coverage I did get back from one was that it was an abomination and diseased, but going into ANY endeavor my expectations are nil, so if I wrote Citizen Kane on spec and Elie Samaha bought it and turned it into Art of War 4, I’d GLADLY cash my paycheck.

    That’s not to say there isn’t artistic integrity and pride, but screenwritings who can pine over such a fall from grace have never had to work 15 years in a subtitle factory; I’d giddily and gladly “sell out” and agree to sell my soul to devil in any form, allowing any brilliant thought I ever had be turned into utter hackwork if it meant I made money off of my own creativity and writing.

    I just see screenwriting as PLAYING THE LOTTERY, not a profession, so it’s always been my view that anyone who can sell something has entered the top .00001% of the Hollywood food chain, and should kiss the script goodbye and move on to the next thing.

  71. The most tiresome thing about this thread and all the Tarantino fan boys is that I don’t get the sense they have seen 1,2, let alone 3 or 4 of the works by any of the masters of real cinema by the likes of Antonioni, Bergman, Bresson, Godard, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Vigo…

    Thus their whole history of film has been distorted into thinking the past is nothing more than a Douglas Sirk steak and a $5 milkshake.

    It seems their whole spectrum goes from Tarantino to Scorsese and they believe the extreme ends with Mallick.

  72. Is it really general consensus that Ollie Stone tanked after JFK? Because that seems waaaaay too early to me.

    In my estimation, after that you still have two stone-cold masterpieces (NBK, Nixon), two really great, underrated — if uncharacteristic — films (Heaven & Earth, U-Turn), and two fevered, ambitious, “half-awesome, half-awful, but you still can’t write them offs” (Any Given Sunday, Alexander).

    I think after that point, it’s fair to say said shark had officially been jumped.

    I was mistaken in that ’94 actually had some compelling cinematography candidates (Legends of the Fall, Shawshank, Rouge), so there certainly wasn’t a lack of stiff competition that year, but that still strikes me as a pretty embarrassing oversight (prob. due to the subject matter as Seven wasn’t up for that award the following year, either).

  73. “It seems their whole spectrum goes from Tarantino to Scorsese and they believe the extreme ends with Mallick.”

    Just curious — where do you get that idea?

    Godard is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, and — this is probably really going to piss some of you off — I think Tarantino is just about every bit his contemporary equal. Can someone express to me how what Quentin is doing now (or was doing in the ’90s) is any less relevant or important than what JLG was doing in the ’60s?

  74. Somewhere Orson Welles is weeping that CK4L chose an affiliation with one of his works.

    Is “lawnorder” coming out as QT himself like that metafilter.com thread where the Dilbert cartoon creator was defending his own work under a pseudonym? Way too much faux psychoanalysis if you aren’t in Tarantino’s head yourself.

    LexG proves my point. Start with L’Atalante by Jean Vigo.

  75. “…the masters of real cinema by the likes of Antonioni, Bergman, Bresson, Godard, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Vigo…”

    Also, shocker, aren’t all these dudes abundantly repped by the Criterion Collection? That’s kind of why I bag on CC just a little… There’s a whole new breed of Ignatiy Vishnavetsky type geeks who are SO WHOLLY DEPENDENT on the stupid fucking Criterion Collection to tell them what a classic movie is. Oh, this is CRITERION, it’s GOOD FOR YOU. Art comes in all shapes and forms, and if you’re relying on a random BUSINESS to mete out to you who the classic directors are what OLD MOVIES are of note, you’re kind of a poseur. Chances are, 90% of the posters here or on ANY site, including Crtierion’s own GODAWFUL message board which banned, ever actually saw ANY OF THOSE MOVIES in a theater in their time, probably never saw them at a rep house, even.

    Nope, they just buy any old shit Criterion puts out and assume they’re getting a film education on THE MASTERS. Meanwhile missing ALL kinds of great directors and disreputable directors and cult movies and successful movies that were ACTUALLY GOOD, all kinds of blank spots, because it’s not fucking CRITERION. Not saying they don’t put out a TON of worthwhile and brilliant stuff, but IN CRITERION WE TRUST is the rallying call of the TOTAL poseur.

  76. “LexG proves my point. Start with L’Atalante by Jean Vigo.”

    Start? Isn’t that the only actual movie he ever made (and I’m not talking about shorts)?

    Listen — I know his life was cut short by health problems, and he more than likely would have gone on to have a long and prolific career, but what does a dude that died over 75 years ago have to do with Tarantino, and — more pressingly — the modern state of cinema today?

    I like the oldies as much as just about anyone my age, but c’mon — ignoring contemporary art and culture is just as short-sighted as embracing and consuming nothing but

  77. Old movies never had any hot pussy. Although The Gamine in Modern Times (TERRIBLE MOVIE) did show her feet a lot.

  78. The ignorance coming from the last few posts is laughable but oh so very sad as well.

    LexG might want to be relegated to only discussing matters he is familiar with such as Paris, Kim, and K-Stew.

  79. Filmofdusts:

    I have a Film Studies degree from a major university. Do you? I see 130 movies a year in the theater. Do you?

    You have a Netflix account, that’s all. I am a FILM EXPERT AND CONNOISSEUR.

  80. If you think Criterion is creating some magical market manipulation for their product instead of supplying a well-deserved and desired niche and market demand then you are totally clueless.

  81. Also, to everyone here and on Glenn Kenny’s site who thinks I’m some dumbass who only watches Twilight and Bay movies: How much money have YOU been paid over the last decade by a few certain boutique DVD companies to work on their films? How many classic film restorations have you been PERSONALLY INVOLVED WITH and paid to work on????? Are you considered one of THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS in doing pinpoint accurate DVD work for certain PRESTIGE DVD companies??? I’ve done DVD post work all up and down L.A., working on countless “classic” titles. Half the bullshit OLD MOVIES in your collection? They have my handiwork all over them in some way, shape or form, from Fellini movies to Fuller movies to every director mentioned in this thread…. Much like WILL GRAHAM being called out of retirement to catch the Tooth Fairy, they all come looking for The Lexman to punch up their classics. You might as well just say thanks, because every movie ever mentioned on Some Came Running? Who do you think worked on the DVD? You’re welcome.

  82. Actually, I have a real degree from the ivy league, work in the industry when I please, and get real film to spin and roll in my theater.

  83. Dusts, there are dorks who buy movies site-unseen because it has a CC label on it. Usually movies that have been on DVD for AGES via other companies; I don’t begrudge CC and they put out GREAT movies… It’s the short-sighted film geeks who don’t know enough about cinema, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, do not have a voice or taste of their own and need to have Criterion tell them what to watch and what’s good– those are poseurs, straight up.

  84. You are still chill though, Lex. So I would still get someone to take a second look over one of your screenplays. Maybe even commission a rewrite….

  85. But, yea you should still check out L’Atlante, LexG. It apparently wasn’t one of the classic dvds you worked on.

    Perhaps your problem is that you are watching 130 terrible movies a year. You may want to cut the wheat from the chaff.

    L’Atlante, however, does have a young K-Stew stand-in with Dita Parlo.

  86. LexG, by his own admission, does DVD subtitles. Or he’s been lying about that for years. Classic film restoration? Not a chance. Anyone who believes that self-aggrandizing claim is a sucker.

  87. Nah, I’ve done all kind of shit for years– telecine and restoration and all that. Translation. But, whatever it is… how much have the studios paid YOU for your services? Any big studios seek YOU out? Thought not. Say thank you and pipe down.

  88. Who do you think you’re talking to? You’re a braggart and a liar, and I don’t believe for a second that big studios “seek you out” individually for anything. Your knowledge of film is painfully narrow and limited, as exhibited here in this forum on practically a daily basis, and if you’re in demand for film restoration and do what you now claim you do, then you won’t mind supplying your name for the purpose of checking credits. Say thank you and pipe down.

  89. CitizenKaned4Life said, “How the fuck has RR never DP’d a horror flick before?”

    You’re in luck! Richardson’s about to shoot Brad Pitt’s zombie epic, World War Z.

    LexG said, “they just buy any old shit Criterion puts out and assume they’re getting a film education on THE MASTERS.”

    As an owner of an indie record/dvd shop on Cape Cod, let me attest to this statement’s validity. There are DOZENS of regulars here who – when they buy a classic or foreign film – buy Criterion dvds almost exclusively. Point them towards a similar film (same director/theme/genre/what-have-you) and they turn up their noses at it…until Criterion picks it up five years later and it’s magically legitimized in their eyes. The worst culprits of this sort of uneducated elitism? FILM STUDENTS. How do I know they’re film students? Cuz they tell you they are every time you try to have a conversation with them about movies! Seriously, only the ‘unwashed masses’ would ever take our recommendations to check out Blow-Out, Two-Lane Blacktop or Night of the Hunter before their Criterion release. The so-called ‘film students’? Not a single f*cking sale.

  90. So now “Modern Times” is a “terrible” movie?

    Oh lordy.

    At least you’ve acknowledged the hottiness of Paulette Goddard.

  91. On the flip side, nothing annoys me more than people expressing absolute dismay at Armageddon or whatever as WORTHY of a Criterion release. Like Criterion is somehow or another the arbiter of good taste and how could they have made such a mistake???? OMG!

  92. I actually love Criterion. For as much shit as they get for being overpriced — which they are, no argument here (I wait for the B&N or DD sales) — I think they’ve ALWAYS done a bang-up job on the extra material, and their selection of titles is always extremely eclectic in regards to genre, influence, era, demographic, etc.

    Having said all that, Lex and Ju-osh make a fair point about the Film Comment-lovin’ fools who build their disc collection exclusively from that library, or who snub their nose at excellent reissues that just so happen to be released under a different label.

    But let’s hate the playas, not the game — CC almost always puts out an exceedingly high-quality product.

  93. Kane: “Just for starters — what about the moving image as a form of terrorism/mind control?”

    Didn’t Natural Born Killers and/or Seven/Fight Club already do that?

    “RD is a little slight, too, but I think it’s only fair to grade most debuts at least slightly on a curve due to many limiting factors (budget, location, shooting time).”

    And being a remake of a better film.

    “1) Do Kubrick’s films reflect that he graduated high school with a 67 average?”

    No, but then he didn’t live in a video store and work in a grindhouse after HS.

    “1) How was he NOT even nominated for that? I know he just won a few years before for JFK, but who cares? ”

    ‘Cus the Academy doesn’t like controversy unless it means honoring turncoats like Kazan and enablers like Reifenstahl, or snubbing a well-received Ang Lee movie because of its gay themes.

    “2) How the fuck has RR never DP’d a horror flick before (no, Shutter Island does not count)?”

    The Faculty doesn’t count?

    “Godard is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, and — this is probably really going to piss some of you off — I think Tarantino is just about every bit his contemporary equal.”

    You know Godard disowned QT, right? Basically said what most of us haters know already, which is that his movies are fascist Republican recruiting tools.

    “Can someone express to me how what Quentin is doing now (or was doing in the ’90s) is any less relevant or important than what JLG was doing in the ’60s?”

    Um, when QT’s movies can actually be evaluated against the backdrop of the time they were made, and not just against the movies he ripped off, then we’ll talk.

    Lex: “So is Natural Born Killers, but QT, all due respect, is a TOTAL DOUCHE about that one–”

    Not to mention assaulting a taxi driver and using 9/11 as an excuse to trash the Wachowskis.

    lawn: “Lex, you can only say that as someone who has never slaved over a screenplay, finished it thinking you’ve written something that’s about as good as it can be and then watch as some douche takes it over, rewrites it so that it’s unrecognizable to you and then films it like he’s on mushrooms and crack at the same time – which is probably likely.”

    Well, given that this is QT we’re talking about, wouldn’t that be a case of the pot calling the kettle black? :)

    filmsofdusts: “The most tiresome thing about this thread and all the Tarantino fan boys is that I don’t get the sense they have seen 1,2, let alone 3 or 4 of the works by any of the masters of real cinema by the likes of Antonioni, Bergman, Bresson, Godard, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Vigo…”

    Hell, most of the time, they haven’t even seen the lower-tier b-flicks which QT ripped off. But QT makes ‘em feel more knowledgeable about film, anyway.

    Ju-Osh: There’s this German movie I’ve been wanting to see subbed which my mom loved as a child: Das Wirtshaus im Spessart. No one’s brought it over yet once. I can get a modified player and import it, but it’s no doubt unsubbed. And I’ve requested CC bring it over, and they have yet to acknowledge that possibility. It’s not a major classic, but then not all movies which get picked up by that company are, either.

  94. This thread in one sentence:

    Guy makes the only truly smart, subversive, discomfiting movie about the whole 9/11 experience to come along, and all you numbnuts bitch and moan because he didn’t make it as fucking obvious and earnest and brain-dead as Lions For fucking Lambs.

  95. This thread in one sentence:

    Guy makes the only truly smart, subversive, discomfiting movie about the whole 9/11 experience to come along, and all you numbnuts bitch and moan because he didn’t make it as fucking obvious and earnest and brain-dead as Lions For fucking Lambs.

  96. le corbeau: I’m not really sure how QT’s being “subversive” when he’s basically arguing for Gitmo in IB using Republican talking points.

  97. Weird. Criterion Collection doesn’t take personal requests from DZ. That’s so odd! Why wouldn’t they? He’s so smart!

  98. I know I don’t just randomly buy Criterion Collection films. Because they are absurdly overpriced. It’s unfortunate that that’s the only available DVD for a bunch of great stuff. I never watch movie special features, none of them are ever interesting enough to be worth time I could spend watching another movie, wish I could just buy barebones versions of Kurosawa movies.

    Anyway, this is absurd to be ragging on Tarantino. The only thing of his I’ve seen and hated is about half of Death Proof. Jackie Brown is one of my favorite films of all time, and that alone gives Tarantino a lifetime pass to do whatever.

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  100. Hawks was hardly uneducated. He attended Throop College of Technology (now Caltech), Phillips Exeter Academy, and Cornell. Truffaut said of him in 1977, “[I]n my opinion, he is one of the most intellectual filmmakers in America. He often speaks in terms of film concepts. He has many general theories. He doesn’t belong to the school of instinctive filmmakers. He thinks of everything he does, everything is thought out. So somebody ought to tell him one day that despite himself he is an intellectual and that he has to accept that.”

    Ford quit the University of Maine shortly after arriving there (partly because he encountered anti-Irish prejudice, partly because he found the education inferior to his high school in Portland) but spent his life reading constantly (he had his own personal researcher and librarian on the payroll, Katherine Cliffton, partly so he could talk with someone about the Civil War, which he once told Gavin Lambert was his principal interest in life) and as a result was highly educated on his own. Welles and Kubrick never went to college.

    Education, it should be obvious, is a personal matter. One can be a graduate of a prestigious college and be a dunderhead. One can be self-taught and be brilliant.

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  103. Going back to what Lex noted a bunch of comments ago, I’m struck by how much of those criticism in Tarantino seems, to me, more in theory, based on his personality, rather than in practice, based on his actual films. I really loved Kill Bill, but yes, when they announced Grindhouse, though I was excited, I was also kinda saying that’s strange… didn’t Rodriguez and Tarantino just make a bunch of grindhouse movies? Why do they need a formal tribute? And Tarantino doing a slasher movie? What’s the point? Shouldn’t he be making better use of his gifts?

    But when Grindhouse came out, I loved it, and I’m no film savant who has more than a cursory knowledge of what movies they were riffing on with either part of the film. But Death Proof was a riff on slasher movies unlike any actual slasher movies I’d seen, as well as a better car-chase movie than most actual car-chase movies.

    Then with Inglourious Basterds, when it was described as sort of a WWII take on an exploitation movie, I was excited but again had that thought of, jesus, again? Why is Tarantino so grindhouse-obsessed? Yet the actual experience of watching Inglourious Basterds is completely different. It may have an exploitation influence, but it’s a 2.5 hour movie with, what, like ten scenes? It’s not exactly a wild Rodriguez-esque camp fantasia (although I like a lot of Rodriguez’s stuff, too; are we really going to pretend we need a personal, heartfelt, austere movie from Robert Rodriguez? I’ve been following his career since I was fifteen and he’s the last director I’ve ever had that thought about). It’s a patient, tense, yet also deliriously entertaining and very funny, audacious movie.

    I cared about the characters, I was involved in the story, and despite its obvious lack of historical accuracy, I never felt like it was a goof that was only about other movies. I mean, it’s actually ABOUT movies in a way his other movies aren’t — but thematically, not references to them. (On the other hand, I think he likes the characters in Death Proof too much for that movie to just be about other genre movies, even though it’s steeped in that style, superficially.)

    The point is, I can tell you as someone who CANNOT SPOT 90% of the most obscure references in a Tarantino movie, they play fine without any knowledge of that stuff, and that he gets dismissed as lacking human feeling of experience… well, wow. Do we require all directors to be austere autobiographers now? Tarantino hooks me into his movies as well as anyone working right now, and I don’t get hooked in by obscure references or the “pop-culture monologues” that he barely actually writes or flashy violence. Every time I start to wonder if his harshest critics may be on to something, the experience of actually WATCHING HIS MOVIES takes me right into the other direction. So I think he’s doing something right.

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  104. As someone who has actually read Tarantino’s latest script – and no I can’t forward it to anyone, it’ll get out there pretty soon anyway and I ain’t about to scan 166 pages of script because I’m sitting on a hard copy – I can tell you that most of you are just shooting from the hip. DJANGO is fucking awesome and it’s a script that only QT could have written… and I actually think it’s one of his most personal scripts to date. Goodlife Fitness

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