Post by M4RV1N
Well sorta really; let me qualify that some of the praise was ridiculously
silly (i.e., "Tarantino is the next Orson Welles") and some of the praise was
also justified. For the record I don't dislike his films--I just don't
recognize a great artist behind them.
I completeley agree with that last sentence... I guess my admiration
of Tarantino has more to do with his filmmaking skills than his
content, which is very uneven at this point. I will say again, though,
that his decisions re: casting, music, structure, etc. are far more
inspired and surprising (and often far more reserved and understated
-- look at those long takes and the motionless camera in Pulp Fiction
and Jackie Brown! Completely at odds with the prevailing style of the
last decade) than either W. Anderson or P.T. Anderson, both of whom
seem to be going through the "film school" repertoire rather than
finding some personal lexicon of influences...
I'm not sure Tarantino's history as revealed in the press is accurate,
but I'm always generally more interested in dropouts or self-educated
artists (like Kubrick)... W. Anderson strikes me as a snob -- it seems
to me he comes from money, and his films reveal this in their settings
and situations, though I guess he deserves credit for being honestly
autobiographical rather than acting as if he was poor... P.T.
Anderson's work seems to me like he's trying to feign familiarity with
all sorts of "underworld" (porn, crime, etc.) characters and stories,
but I don't think he's empathetic or imaginative enough to convince
me. Certainly first-hand experience is no requisite for great art
(again, Kubrick is the finest example of this) but a reasonable amount
of thought is, and his work strikes me as posturing... Tarantino has
never claimed any relation to reality at all, so his work, as
derivative and cartoony as it might be, does convince me with its
total "movieness", as stupid as that might sound.
Post by M4RV1N
The Thin Red Line; The Sweet Hereafter; Eyes Wide Shut; Trois Colors (there's
3); After Life; Safe; The Double Life of Veronique; Raise the Red Lantern;
Kundun; Europa, Europa; Stealing Beauty; Touch of Evil (Welles' cut RR); Bottle
Rocket; Black Robe; Pulp Fiction (ha. gotcha); Exotica; Remains of the Day;
Dreams; Heat. Let's see that's... 21. I know I'm forgetting a bunch.
Um, I said American, or English speaking films... Off the top of my
head I would include: Safe, The Thin Red Line, Eyes Wide Shut, Dancer
In The Dark, Jackie Brown, Remains Of The Day (best film about
repression, among other things, ever), Fargo (I otherwise despise the
Coens -- perhaps the most condescending filmmakers of all time),
Existence (easily Cronenberg's best since Dead Ringers -- I don't
understand the knocks this film got, so much better than The Matrix),
Gummo (I'm serious!), Three Kings (at least the first 3/4), Chuck &
Buck, Dead Man, maybe Twelve Monkeys, etc.
I don't think Scorsese has made a good film since Goodfellas, or a
great film since King Of Comedy. I think Stealing Beauty is an
embarrasment, Bottle Rocket is W. Anderson's weakest film, Exotica is
crap, likewise Sweet Hereafter, Michael Mann is an excellent director
but his stories do nothing at all for me... If you're going to include
re-constructions like Touch Of Evil (don't like it at all, one of the
dumbest "noirs" I've ever seen) why not include Dreyer's The Passion
Of Joan Of Arc or Apocalypse Now Redux or Vertigo or etc...
Foreign films I'd list might include The Dreamlife Of Angels, In The
Mood For Love, Mother And Son, etc.
I think Jackie Brown fits well among any of these films -- it's as
well-made as any of them, as "humanistic" (as if that matters) as any
of them, etc. For what it's worth I'm not a HUGE Tarntino fan... I
have no use for Reservoir Dogs (I liked it better when it was called
The Killing) and while I think Pulp Fiction is great I think its
"message" is very confused and more than a little dishonest. What I
like so much about Jackie Brown is that it's as much a love story as a
crime film -- and the characters in the film almost don't realize this
themselves until the end! Also Tarantino again confounds expectations
by casting two middle-aged "nobodies" as characters comitting a crime
because it's pretty much their last chance in life... a very rare
point of view in crime films -- usually we get young, attractive,
greedy, or just bored protagonists and their "kooky" gang planning the
Post by M4RV1N
But there's a qualitative difference between "quoting" and stealing huge
passages of content. The latter is a sign of creative bankruptcy, and the
crime is compounded with no acknowledgment.
Yes: "quoting" is what film-students like Anderson or Scorsese do;
"stealing" is what normal human beings do.
I've always wondered why Kubrick hasn't been taken to task for the
influence of The Boys In Company C on FMJ? It even had R. Lee Ermey in
it! Clearly FMJ is the superior film, but c'mon. I also remember
reading somewhere that he swiped much of a Japanese film (can't
remember name) for FMJ...?
Post by M4RV1N
But "The Matrix" does make clever use of some very sophisticated notions of
philosophy, and integrates them very well into a narrative. I found the
violence a distraction to this, but then, there's no sophisticated
philosophical concepts in Tarantino's work at all. All things in balance, I
guess I liked "The Matrix" about as well as Tarantino's best, "Pulp Fiction."
Ugh, I can't stand The Matrix... It's definitely smarter and more
well-made than the average SF/action film, but let's face it, the
"philosiphizing" was watered-down PK Dick and was just there as an
excuse for the action scenes... very dishonest and pretentious... at
least Kill Bill was nothing *but* action scenes...