Discussion:
Kill Bill
(too old to reply)
Matthew Dickinson
2003-10-10 20:51:23 UTC
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The greatest genre picture ever made.

Matthew
Alexander DeLarge
2003-10-11 00:35:16 UTC
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Post by Matthew Dickinson
The greatest genre picture ever made.
Which genre?
Mike Jackson
2003-10-11 02:44:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alexander DeLarge
Post by Matthew Dickinson
The greatest genre picture ever made.
Which genre?
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
--
"Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth."
-- Erma Bombeck
M4RV1N
2003-10-11 03:42:30 UTC
Permalink
Mike Jackson
Post by Alexander DeLarge
Which genre?
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
Well said. The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly.

I might add a few hyphens:
never-having-an-original-thought-but-having-characters-say-totally-unbelie
vable-lines-and-act-gratuitously-violent-while-wearing-out-the-word-nigger
genre.

Mark Ervin
Mike Jackson
2003-10-11 04:44:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by M4RV1N
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Alexander DeLarge
Which genre?
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
Well said. The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly.
I was gonna call this new film "Honk Kong Fooey" genre but I decided no one
but me here might be old enough to get it.
Post by M4RV1N
never-having-an-original-thought-but-having-characters-say-totally-unbelie
vable-lines-and-act-gratuitously-violent-while-wearing-out-the-word-nigger
genre.
Mark Ervin
I wonder how much money he made licensing out the idea of wallets with "Bad
Mother Fucker" on them? Man I wish I had thought of that one...
--
In this vale - Of toil and sin - Your head grows bald - But not your chin.
-- Burma Shave
Thornhill
2003-10-11 11:26:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by M4RV1N
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Alexander DeLarge
Which genre?
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
Well said. The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly.
I was gonna call this new film "Honk Kong Fooey" genre but I decided no one
but me here might be old enough to get it.
Post by M4RV1N
never-having-an-original-thought-but-having-characters-say-totally-unbelie
vable-lines-and-act-gratuitously-violent-while-wearing-out-the-word-nigger
genre.
Mark Ervin
I wonder how much money he made licensing out the idea of wallets with "Bad
Mother Fucker" on them? Man I wish I had thought of that one...
Hey, that's original. CNN's Paul Clinton is, paradoxically, pretty
loud, but on the QT, at the same time:

"The film was crafted in different chapters, and each reflects the
characteristics of these different genres filtered through the highly
unique sensibilities of Tarantino's avant-garde style."

Which begs the question: Does 'lowly unique' exist?

Don't ask Paul.

Thornhill
Wordsmith
2003-10-11 17:46:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thornhill
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by M4RV1N
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Alexander DeLarge
Which genre?
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
Well said. The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly.
I was gonna call this new film "Honk Kong Fooey" genre but I decided no one
but me here might be old enough to get it.
Post by M4RV1N
never-having-an-original-thought-but-having-characters-say-totally-unbelie
vable-lines-and-act-gratuitously-violent-while-wearing-out-the-word-nigger
genre.
Mark Ervin
I wonder how much money he made licensing out the idea of wallets with "Bad
Mother Fucker" on them? Man I wish I had thought of that one...
Hey, that's original. CNN's Paul Clinton is, paradoxically, pretty
"The film was crafted in different chapters, and each reflects the
characteristics of these different genres filtered through the highly
unique sensibilities of Tarantino's avant-garde style."
Which begs the question: Does 'lowly unique' exist?
Don't ask Paul.
Thornhill
"Lowly unique" is ascribable to Clinton...but only if his first name
is "Bill".

W ;)
Wordsmith
2003-10-11 17:08:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by M4RV1N
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Alexander DeLarge
Which genre?
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
Well said. The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly.
I was gonna call this new film "Honk Kong Fooey" genre but I decided no one
but me here might be old enough to get it.
That was a cartoon. Scatman Crouthers did the voice. (Well, it least
it has a tangential connection to Stanley!)
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by M4RV1N
never-having-an-original-thought-but-having-characters-say-totally-unbelie
vable-lines-and-act-gratuitously-violent-while-wearing-out-the-word-nigger
genre.
Mark Ervin
I wonder how much money he made licensing out the idea of wallets with "Bad
Mother Fucker" on them? Man I wish I had thought of that one...
Really? How crass.

Wordsmith :)
hap
2003-10-11 07:45:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Alexander DeLarge
Post by Matthew Dickinson
The greatest genre picture ever made.
Which genre?
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
Not a bad post for a
newsgroup-jockey-cum-movie-critic-whose-film-sensibilities-are-about-as-smal
l-minded-and-dull-as-a-day-in-Des-Moines.
JeffreyMeyer
2003-10-12 13:41:51 UTC
Permalink
"The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly."

Really?

Name more than, say, ten American films of the '90s that are better
than JACKIE BROWN, then we'll talk...

QT is no intellectual giant like Kubrick, but he is a brilliant
director. No American director alive right now knows better how to
assemble a film than he does. Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson,
to name two other lauded directors, are utter frauds in comparison --
the former's work is precious, derivative, and insincere, the latter's
work is bombastic, derivative and hyper-emotional...

And while Tarantino might not be a screenwriting genius (remember that
Kubrick always collaborated on screenplays) when he steals (and he
steals plenty) he generally admits it or refers you to the source: his
interviews are peppered with names he admires, his film credits always
feature "thank you"s to influences, and his own company releases the
work of favored directors on video. On the other hand, Anderson and
Anderson both owe JD Salinger a huge debt for about a third of the
contents of MAGNOLIA and THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, yet how many critics
called them on it? Why is the first shot of BOOGIE NIGHTS, taken so
blatantly from GOODFELLAS (and who knows where Scorsese originally
stole it himself... Welles, probably) considered so clever? Why is
BOTTLE ROCKET not knocked for swiping so much from Godard? etc.

At least Tarantino is drawing from *very* disparate sources and
combining them in genuinely surprising ways -- he might even be
considered the first director to make narrative films in "collage"
form.

Anyway, having said all that -- I was disappointed with KILL BILL, ha
ha! But it's about a hundred times better than that MATRIX shit...
dc
2003-10-12 19:27:04 UTC
Permalink
<<<<<<<<At least Tarantino is drawing from *very* disparate sources and
combining them in genuinely surprising ways -- he might even be
considered the first director to make narrative films in "collage"
form.<<<<<<<<<<<

Yeah but you left out that Kll Bill in style is very much Oliver Stone NBK
style meets the Matrix.---Kill Bil is clever.......pointless but fun.


dc
PT Caffey
2003-10-13 22:41:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by JeffreyMeyer
"The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly."
QT is no intellectual giant like Kubrick, but he is a brilliant
director. No American director alive right now knows better how to
assemble a film than he does. Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson,
to name two other lauded directors, are utter frauds in comparison --
the former's work is precious, derivative, and insincere, the latter's
work is bombastic, derivative and hyper-emotional...
And while Tarantino might not be a screenwriting genius (remember that
Kubrick always collaborated on screenplays) when he steals (and he
steals plenty) he generally admits it or refers you to the source: his
interviews are peppered with names he admires, his film credits always
feature "thank you"s to influences, and his own company releases the
work of favored directors on video. On the other hand, Anderson and
Anderson both owe JD Salinger a huge debt for about a third of the
contents of MAGNOLIA and THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, yet how many critics
called them on it? Why is the first shot of BOOGIE NIGHTS, taken so
blatantly from GOODFELLAS (and who knows where Scorsese originally
stole it himself... Welles, probably) considered so clever? Why is
BOTTLE ROCKET not knocked for swiping so much from Godard? etc.
Art is perpetually in a conversation with its own history; this
criticism concerning "influences" is tired and silly, especially in
this postmodern age. Futhermore, Wes Anderson has cited Salinger's
influence again and again--especially his stories of the Glass
family--as well as his love of French New Wave. No secret here. And
we know PT Anderson admires Scorsese (who does not?). So your
suggestion that Tarantino is upfront about his "thievery" while the
directors Anderson are not isn't a valid distinction.

Now, let's see, Wes Anderson is "insincere" and Tarantino is
what--utterly genuine? Silly rabbit.

The chief difference, to me anyway, is one of sensibility--humanism
versus sensationalism. Wes and PT Anderson are humanists and Quentin
is more Grand Guignol.

PT Caffey
Surfchan
2003-10-14 04:27:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by PT Caffey
The chief difference, to me anyway, is one of sensibility--humanism
versus sensationalism. Wes and PT Anderson are humanists and Quentin
is more Grand Guignol.
Mmmmm, but I think it's more complicated than that! To me, Anderson's films
tend to fall flat for me because he seems to be obsessed about being perceived
as humanistic, whereas Tarantino actually *is* genuinely and unapologetically
humanistic about his love for the sensational. I'll leave Anderson out of this
as I haven't fully formed an strong opinion of his work yet (loved boogie
nights, hated magnolia), but I think it's easy to make the mistake of letting
the subject matter exclusively drive your reaction to it. Tarantino's
cinematic techniques towards the admittedly "lowbrow" material he chooses is
sneaky -- if you manage to catch quentin's funky wavelength, you might find
that he often has a surprising, unique, funny, albeit exaggerated take on the
human condition.

I'm curious -- what did you think of Jackie Brown?
PT Caffey
2003-10-15 02:18:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Surfchan
Post by PT Caffey
The chief difference, to me anyway, is one of sensibility--humanism
versus sensationalism. Wes and PT Anderson are humanists and Quentin
is more Grand Guignol.
Mmmmm, but I think it's more complicated than that! To me, Anderson's films
tend to fall flat for me because he seems to be obsessed about being perceived
as humanistic,
If you have evidence that Wes Anderson is secretly a raging nihilist
who only poses as a humanist, I'd love to see it! If anything, some
may be turned off by the sentiment in his films, but--in my opinion at
least--he employs sufficient irony to ward off sentimentalism. As a
former president of my own high school's beekeeping club, I also have
a personal bias in any defense of his work.

whereas Tarantino actually *is* genuinely and unapologetically
Post by Surfchan
humanistic about his love for the sensational.
Yes, Tarantino is clearly genuine about his love for movies and the
sensations exciting movies can trigger in an audience. He's awash in
the day-glo history of pulp cinema. I don't fault him for that. It's
just that's not what I mean when I say "humanist."

I'll leave Anderson out of this
Post by Surfchan
as I haven't fully formed an strong opinion of his work yet (loved boogie
nights, hated magnolia)
"Boogie Nights," while clever, is clearly an apprentice work;
"Magnolia" is far more ambitious--and more problematic--yet I prefer
it. Its prologue alone is more enjoyable than most full-length
movies.

, but I think it's easy to make the mistake of letting
Post by Surfchan
the subject matter exclusively drive your reaction to it.
I agree that's a terrible thing to do. I have little interest in
movies that feature "subject matter." There's nothing new under the
sun anyway; it's how you tell the story that counts.

Tarantino's
Post by Surfchan
cinematic techniques towards the admittedly "lowbrow" material he chooses is
sneaky -- if you manage to catch quentin's funky wavelength, you might find
that he often has a surprising, unique, funny, albeit exaggerated take on the
human condition.
Oh, I'm happy he's around and curious about what he's doing. I'm
looking forward to his war movie. But there's a weird rage riding
beneath everything he does--from his films to his talk show
appearances. It doesn't surprise me in the least that he'd return
with an epic two-part REVENGE fantasy. Revenge fantasies must be the
central daily passage of talented video store clerks all over Los
Angeles.
Post by Surfchan
I'm curious -- what did you think of Jackie Brown?
To this point, I've only seen it in part. I was disappointed that
there wasn't more blood.

PT Caffey
Padraig L Henry
2003-10-16 18:47:41 UTC
Permalink
On 14 Oct 2003 19:18:11 -0700, ***@yahoo.com (PT Caffey) wrote:

<some snippage>
Post by PT Caffey
Yes, Tarantino is clearly genuine about his love for movies and the
sensations exciting movies can trigger in an audience. He's awash in
the day-glo history of pulp cinema. I don't fault him for that. It's
just that's not what I mean when I say "humanist."
Oh, I'm happy he's around and curious about what he's doing. I'm
looking forward to his war movie. But there's a weird rage riding
beneath everything he does--from his films to his talk show
appearances. It doesn't surprise me in the least that he'd return
with an epic two-part REVENGE fantasy. Revenge fantasies must be the
central daily passage of talented video store clerks all over Los
Angeles.
Tarantino is cinema's hip-maverick, postmodern, postpunk purist.
Combining the spaghetti nihilism of Sam Peckinpah [though without any
of Peckinpah's delirial, loyal commitment to macho-destructive
*passion*], he is ex-prole-on-the-make driven by the
every-shot-an-audio-visual-homage, comic-strip, anything-possible,
everything-solvable/resolvable aesthetic (like, for instance, Pulp
Fiction's comic-schematic "resurrection" of the Travolta/Vincent
character in the film's final edit-looping section, long after he -
Vincent - had been, strictly chrono-narratively, killed by
Bruce/Butch). Any wonder, then, that Tarantino finally fully achieves
and flight-of-fancy immerses himself in all of this unanchored stylism
by taking total - comic/animation/martial art - flight with his
latest, with Kill Bill?

You mention "a weird rage riding beneath everything he does--from his
films to his talk show appearances." Certainly, yes. But - his
indignantly self-righteous arrogance aside - Tarantino still manages
to successfully function as an *undercover* operator in Hollywood;
unlike Peckinpah (or Welles, for that matter), who's careers suffered
irrevocably due to their short tempers and whip-lash tongues,
Tarantino, well, otherwise just plays it "cool" and gets what he
imagines he wants ... and the following recent comments by [Sam]
Quentin perhaps also explain much about (t)his aesthetic: "I'm not
particularly keen on Victorian drama, movies about people knuckling
under society or trying to fight society, or about people destroyed by
breaking rules ... I like movies about people who break rules, about
mavericks who are not pulverised for being mavericks." Which is why
he cannot be, will never be a Peckinpah or a Welles :-). Much less a
Kubrick.

But ultimately, Tarantino's core thematic concern seems always to be a
very old, ritualistic one: that of [in the main, masculine - even when
under the guise of a female protagonist. Tarantino ain't no feminist
..] loyalty and betrayal and their consequences (ie. not being
"pulverised", and revenge, respectively): the dramatic, inciting
tensions at the heart of Res Dogs, Pulp F, and Jackie B all hinge on
this atavistic, honour-bound, Peckinpah-esce value dynamic.

But is it all now just (K)ill (B)ill for the loyal "maverick"?

Padraig
PT Caffey
2003-10-16 23:09:45 UTC
Permalink
***@iol.ie (Padraig L Henry) wrote in message news:<***@news.iol.ie>...

<snip/slash>
Post by Padraig L Henry
But ultimately, Tarantino's core thematic concern seems always to be a
very old, ritualistic one: that of [in the main, masculine - even when
under the guise of a female protagonist. Tarantino ain't no feminist
..] loyalty and betrayal and their consequences (ie. not being
"pulverised", and revenge, respectively): the dramatic, inciting
tensions at the heart of Res Dogs, Pulp F, and Jackie B all hinge on
this atavistic, honour-bound, Peckinpah-esce value dynamic.
But is it all now just (K)ill (B)ill for the loyal "maverick"?
Padraig
Perhaps if Tarantino has a core thematic concern, you've neatly
described it. Whatever dark deeds his characters must perform in
their depraved world, each "just wants to enter his house justified,"
having upheld the lonely precepts of a personal code. Yet that's not
what I find unsettling in his work. What disturbs me rather are
scenes of explicit violence played for laughs--and with seemingly no
other purpose in mind. Kubrick, in ACO, presents horrific violence in
the context of a satire that is, by turns, both amusing and repulsive.
But underlying everything is a deep philosophical concern and,
despite the comedy, a seriousness of purpose. With Tarantino and his
blood baths, I sometimes get the sense he's merely riffing: "Wouldn't
it be SO COOL if the pattern of the blood spray formed an American
Flag?!" Etc.

And the notion that Taratino loves to see "mavericks" win for a change
is so hopelessly adolescent that it's almost poignant.

Boys will be boys. But will he ever be a man?


PT Caffey
dc
2003-10-17 05:21:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by PT Caffey
Kubrick, in ACO, presents horrific violence in
the context of a satire <<<<<<<<<<<<

And Kill Bill Tarentino is sort of toilet humor on a grand scale. A far
lower common denominator. Fun and quirky, but still silly and not the
least bit serious.

dc
M4RV1N
2003-10-15 04:00:48 UTC
Permalink
JeffreyMeyer
"The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly."
Really?
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.
Name more than, say, ten American films of the '90s that are better
than JACKIE BROWN, then we'll talk...
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.

Again, there were things to like in "Jackie Brown," but in my view all of the
films above are far better.
QT is no intellectual giant like Kubrick, but he is a brilliant
director. No American director alive right now knows better how to
assemble a film than he does. Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson,
to name two other lauded directors, are utter frauds in comparison --
the former's work is precious, derivative, and insincere, the latter's
work is bombastic, derivative and hyper-emotional...
That's pretty tough. W-Anderson's production design is more sophisticated that
Tarantino, if his performances and stories are indeed weaker. PTA put just as
good a product together in "Hard Eight" as anything "Tarantino" has done so
far. His last two are inferior though.
And while Tarantino might not be a screenwriting genius (remember that
Kubrick always collaborated on screenplays) when he steals (and he
steals plenty) he generally admits it or refers you to the source: his
interviews are peppered with names he admires, his film credits always
feature "thank you"s to influences, and his own company releases the
work of favored directors on video.
This claim backfires in the worst way. For many people, the most notable
single thing about Tarantino is how he stole (totally unacknowledged,
originally) much of the content of "Reservoir Dogs" from the Chop Sockey "City
on Fire" (1989), and a short film has been released about this:

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0111705
On the other hand, Anderson and
Anderson both owe JD Salinger a huge debt for about a third of the
contents of MAGNOLIA and THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, yet how many critics
called them on it? Why is the first shot of BOOGIE NIGHTS, taken so
blatantly from GOODFELLAS (and who knows where Scorsese originally
stole it himself... Welles, probably) considered so clever? Why is
BOTTLE ROCKET not knocked for swiping so much from Godard? etc.
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.
At least Tarantino is drawing from *very* disparate sources and
combining them in genuinely surprising ways -- he might even be
considered the first director to make narrative films in "collage"
form.
The time tricks in "Pulp Fiction" are clever, but not new, and they don't make
it a masterpiece. The film's merits are clever dialogue (though there's far
too much mileage out the word "nigger"), and eccentric performances--but both
of those defy realism in an over-the-top manner like a lot of the Coens'
material. But then it's not as fun or funny as a Coen Bros. film, either.
Anyway, having said all that -- I was disappointed with KILL BILL, ha
ha! But it's about a hundred times better than that MATRIX shit...
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."
Mark Ervin
JeffreyMeyer
2003-10-15 12:10:36 UTC
Permalink
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
heist...
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...
Mikko Pihkoluoma
2003-10-15 18:39:06 UTC
Permalink
"JeffreyMeyer" wrote...
Post by JeffreyMeyer
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...
Oh dear lord... Posturing? Because in his films tragical things are
extremely hilarious?

PTA is not empathetic? But he's hyper-emotional?
Post by JeffreyMeyer
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
heist...
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...
Mikko Pihkoluoma
2003-10-15 18:46:39 UTC
Permalink
crapity crap... Ctrl+enter not a good shortcut

"JeffreyMeyer" wrote...
Post by JeffreyMeyer
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...
I have nothing against 'Kill Bill', but I don't think that the philosphical
content was dishonest or pretentious (well, if philosophy can ever be
non-pretentious) in any way... Like Marvey-o-boy said, it was rather well
dramatized (in Reloaded as much as in the first one) and thus intact with
the story and its themes...

Mikko
--
mikko dot pihkoluoma at welho dot com
Chris Cathcart
2003-10-27 06:07:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by JeffreyMeyer
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.
Better than -Jackie Brown-? Having just watched it (2nd time after
seeing it about 3 years ago), and being impressed but not floored, I
certainly don't have it come to mind when I think of top American
films of the 1990s. Ones that do come to mind:

Eyes Wide Shut, The Big Lebowski (your view of the Coens -- yeah,
well, that's just, like, your opinion, man, and I become more and more
convinced with each viewing of this ultimate love-it-or-hate-it
burgeoning cult film that it may very well merit the status of being a
masterpiece of film, with some help from top-notch collaborators like
Roger Deakins), Fearless, Jacob's Ladder, The Straight Story, Pulp
Fiction (hee hee heeeee), Henry Fool, King of the Hill, Election,
Heat, The Player, Short Cuts, Shawshank Redemption (Deakins again),
Good Will Hunting (arguably the best of '97 over JB), maybe even Lost
Highway, in addition to a number of others you both have mentioned,
and probably a bunch of others I can't think of at the moment. That's
16 right there, though. Stuff I have a like/revile relationship with,
like Breaking the Waves, would go above JB.
Post by JeffreyMeyer
I don't think Scorsese has made a good film since Goodfellas, or a
great film since King Of Comedy.
-Gangs of New York- doesn't qualify as "good." Hmmmm.....

I think Stealing Beauty is an
Post by JeffreyMeyer
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
heist...
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...?
And the Coens may have swiped a shot of the police chief of Malibu (a
real reactionary, BTW) straight from the shot of Ermey in FMJ after he
punches Joker. So what?
Post by JeffreyMeyer
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...
We're agreed on: Matrix is faddish and pretentious, along with Egoyan.
Not sure what else we might be agreed on.
JeffreyMeyer
2003-10-27 22:24:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Cathcart
Fearless, Jacob's Ladder,
You can't be serious? I can think of douche commercials (made by the
same directors!) that are greater works of art than these two...
Post by Chris Cathcart
Henry Fool, King of the Hill,
*cough*cough* Hal Hartley? Bwahahahaha! Soderbergh? He makes TV-movies
of the week, or afterschool specials for adults... plus, he's a
hypocrite, but whatever!
Post by Chris Cathcart
Election
Excellent choice, I had forgotten about this one.
Post by Chris Cathcart
Heat
A great director who makes dumb films, unfortunately.
Post by Chris Cathcart
Shawshank Redemption (Deakins again)
Are you pulling my leg? This is a Hallmark Card version of prison...
puh-lease! And Deakins is a great DP, but I don't see him directing
any films.
Post by Chris Cathcart
Good Will Hunting (arguably the best of '97 over JB)
Oh my Christ...
Post by Chris Cathcart
maybe even Lost Highway
Truly fascinating film, but everything he did (or tried) here, he did
to perfection in Mulholland Drive
Post by Chris Cathcart
I don't think Scorsese has made a good film since Goodfellas, or a
Post by JeffreyMeyer
great film since King Of Comedy.
-Gangs of New York- doesn't qualify as "good." Hmmmm.....
It's a film that spends three hours telling us exactly what to think
at every moment... perhaps Scorsese's worst film, even worse than
Color Of Money.
Post by Chris Cathcart
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Post by JeffreyMeyer
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...?
And the Coens may have swiped a shot of the police chief of Malibu (a
real reactionary, BTW) straight from the shot of Ermey in FMJ after he
punches Joker. So what?
Because lots of jokers on this board take Tarantino to task about
stealing, but never mention that Kubrick also did it. I could give two
shits about the Coens at this point -- they are the Ben & Jerry of
filmmaking.
Chris Cathcart
2003-10-29 06:25:02 UTC
Permalink
***@philipkdick.com (JeffreyMeyer) wrote in message news:<***@posting.google.com>...

[...]
Post by JeffreyMeyer
You can't be serious? I can think of douche commercials (made by the
same directors!) that are greater works of art than these two...
[...]
Post by JeffreyMeyer
*cough*cough* Hal Hartley? Bwahahahaha! Soderbergh? He makes TV-movies
of the week, or afterschool specials for adults... plus, he's a
hypocrite, but whatever!
[...]
Post by JeffreyMeyer
A great director who makes dumb films, unfortunately.
[...]
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Are you pulling my leg? This is a Hallmark Card version of prison...
puh-lease! And Deakins is a great DP, but I don't see him directing
any films.
[...]
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Oh my Christ...
[...]
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Truly fascinating film, but everything he did (or tried) here, he did
to perfection in Mulholland Drive
[...]
Post by JeffreyMeyer
It's a film that spends three hours telling us exactly what to think
at every moment... perhaps Scorsese's worst film, even worse than
Color Of Money.
[...]
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Because lots of jokers on this board take Tarantino to task about
stealing, but never mention that Kubrick also did it. I could give two
shits about the Coens at this point -- they are the Ben & Jerry of
filmmaking.
Nice. For every film or filmmaker you don't care for, you have an
insult, a condescension, a sneer. The original point under discussion
was whether a good, respectable, well-written, solid, but not
especially remarkable film fits into one of the top 10 movies of the
1990s. (Posed as a challenge to name 10....) Nearly every director
or film under the sun, as a result of the response to your challenge,
gets the snob-treatment. P.T. Anderson, director of some decent
movies but also overblown ones (I love [insert derogatory "criticism"
here] -Punch-Drunk Love-, BTW), is lambasted as a 20-something dork, a
fraud, a weasel. -Shawshank Redemption- is corn (who said it
wasn't?), and nothing but corn, Deakins' photography being the only
apparent virtue of the production. Hey, you're more than welcome to
your approach to film-criticism, but it doesn't make it all that
interesting or fun to actually discuss films with someone of that
attitude.

The subject wasn't "name 10 movies of the '90s better than -Eyes Wide
Shut-," where pretty much every offering can be dismissed as not being
on par with a significant work of cinematic art. Nor is it, "name 10
movies better than -Dogma-," a ridiculous exercise considering how
easy it is to do. (<snob>Only high-schoolers and film-illiterates see
anything in it.</snob>) It was, "name 10 movies that are better than
[a well-made, well-written, but not groundbreaking or amazing film],"
and you got a reasonable answer. No need to assert your film-literacy
superiority via insults where an argument can be made.

JeffreyMeyer
2003-10-12 13:43:10 UTC
Permalink
"The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly."

Really?

Name more than, say, ten American films of the '90s that are better
than JACKIE BROWN, then we'll talk...

QT is no intellectual giant like Kubrick, but he is a brilliant
director. No American director alive right now knows better how to
assemble a film than he does. Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson,
to name two other lauded directors, are utter frauds in comparison --
the former's work is precious, derivative, and insincere, the latter's
work is bombastic, derivative and hyper-emotional...

And while Tarantino might not be a screenwriting genius (remember that
Kubrick always collaborated on screenplays) when he steals (and he
steals plenty) he generally admits it or refers you to the source: his
interviews are peppered with names he admires, his film credits always
feature "thank you"s to influences, and his own company releases the
work of favored directors on video. On the other hand, Anderson and
Anderson both owe JD Salinger a huge debt for about a third of the
contents of MAGNOLIA and THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, yet how many critics
called them on it? Why is the first shot of BOOGIE NIGHTS, taken so
blatantly from GOODFELLAS (and who knows where Scorsese originally
stole it himself... Welles, probably) considered so clever? Why is
BOTTLE ROCKET not knocked for swiping so much from Godard? etc.

At least Tarantino is drawing from *very* disparate sources and
combining them in genuinely surprising ways -- he might even be
considered the first director to make narrative films in "collage"
form.

Anyway, having said all that -- I was disappointed with KILL BILL, ha
ha! But it's about a hundred times better than that MATRIX shit...
JeffreyMeyer
2003-10-12 13:46:45 UTC
Permalink
"The praise heaped on this fellow a few years ago was silly."

Really?

Name more than, say, ten American films of the '90s that are better
than JACKIE BROWN, then we'll talk...

QT is no intellectual giant like Kubrick, but he is a brilliant
director. No American director alive right now knows better how to
assemble a film than he does. Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson,
to name two other lauded directors, are utter frauds in comparison --
the former's work is precious, derivative, and insincere, the latter's
work is bombastic, derivative and hyper-emotional...

And while Tarantino might not be a screenwriting genius (remember that
Kubrick always collaborated on screenplays) when he steals (and he
steals plenty) he generally admits it or refers you to the source: his
interviews are peppered with names he admires, his film credits always
feature "thank you"s to influences, and his own company releases the
work of favored directors on video. On the other hand, Anderson and
Anderson both owe JD Salinger a huge debt for about a third of the
contents of MAGNOLIA and THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS, yet how many critics
called them on it? Why is the first shot of BOOGIE NIGHTS, taken so
blatantly from GOODFELLAS (and who knows where Scorsese originally
stole it himself... Welles, probably) considered so clever? Why is
BOTTLE ROCKET not knocked for swiping so much from Godard? etc.

At least Tarantino is drawing from *very* disparate sources and
combining them in genuinely surprising ways -- he might even be
considered the first director to make narrative films in "collage"
form.

Anyway, having said all that -- I was disappointed with KILL BILL, ha
ha! But it's about a hundred times better than that MATRIX shit...
Steve O'Keefe
2003-10-14 05:27:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
I saw "Kill Bill" today and I'll agree it was pretty light in the
originality and story department. Although, remember that most of
SK's films were not original ideas. SK's choices in adaptations
revealed his interests, as do Tarantino's....it's just that the
"lifts" don't seem to do more than reveal Tarantino's interests. SK's
literary choices made much more involving cinema, IMO. ;-)

I haven't seen "Jackie Brown", but between "Kill Bill" and "Pulp
Fiction", I read Tarantino (QT) as something like a hip-hop music
producer or remixer, except that he samples cult & exploitation
movies. I'm sure if one dropped out all the snippets of songs and
cult movie lifts in "Kill Bill", there would be next-to-nothing left.
Repackaging of pulp genres is nothing new (e.g., Spielberg & Lucas and
their love of movie serials) but one 'critical' difference is that QT
is acknowledging and drawing attention to his sources.

I don't think this is without reason. I can't help but think of a pop
star like MC Hammer, who took Rick James' "Superfreak" and reworked it
into "Can't touch this". "The Hammer" (a pop reinventor/re-packager)
was dismissed by music critics while the song flew up the charts. I'd
bet if "The Hammer" had Rick James and James Brown dancing in the
video or singing backup, it would have received more critical
approval. This is not unlike QT bringing along Sonny Chiba & David
Carradine along for the ride in "Kill Bill". If QT were to not
acknowledge or draw attention to his sources, "Kill Bill" would likely
be dismissed as a rip-off, but to acknowledge his sources (and so test
the knowledge of movie fans & critics) draws critical approval - even
while the work is a repackaging. Seeing the overwhelmingly positive
reviews for "Kill Bill" makes me wonder if it is really this easy to
beguile movie critics into their validations. I can, however,
understand why young audiences would find "Kill Bill" unique and cool
- "Can't touch this!".

What I did like about "Kill Bill" was, as with "Pulp Fiction", QT's
disregard for narrative timelines. He arranges the scenes he has
written to play out in a cinematic tempo, while the scenes are
non-linear. This may be as easy as QT writing scenes as chapters and
deciding, "The big fight in the tea room has to be the climax of part
one" and having it edited so - but it's refreshing in any case. I
don't know how well non-narrative shuffling plays out over
repeat-viewings...I quickly became tired of my "Pulp Fiction" DVD.

I enjoyed "Kill Bill" movie best when it went insanely over the top,
as when (SPOLIERS A--HEAD) Lucy Liu makes her point at the executive
meeting and the martial arts choreographer (and the editor and sound
designer) went to town for scenes like the "Battle Royale"
schoolgirl's ball-and-chain attack. There was also a scene near the
end where Lucy Liu and Uma Thurman were facing off and we hear the
soft sound of wooden water well...but then I stopped myself and
thought, "I bet that's taken from some movie".

QT is a very skilled director and writer, and I'm just trying to come
to terms with why this being treated as a serious film, since it
really has nothing to say except "I watch a lot of movies". I also
suppose film critics can say that...with authority ;-)

Regards,

Steve
Mike Jackson
2003-10-14 06:04:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve O'Keefe
Post by Mike Jackson
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
I saw "Kill Bill" today and I'll agree it was pretty light in the
originality and story department. Although, remember that most of
SK's films were not original ideas. SK's choices in adaptations
revealed his interests, as do Tarantino's....it's just that the
"lifts" don't seem to do more than reveal Tarantino's interests. SK's
literary choices made much more involving cinema, IMO. ;-)
I saw on TechTV's "The Screen Savers" today that Kill Bill will soon be a
video game which pretty much sums it up for me.

I do enjoy seeing QT on the TV when he does the odd talk show shot because
he's one step away from being that nut Crispen Glover to me, but that's just
the sideshow freak fan in me. I thought Jackie Brown was okay, but nothing
to rave about.

I have zero interest in seeing Kill Bill. From the trailers I've seen it all
before. All it seems to be missing is a bunch of ZAP and POW graphics over
the fighting to have homaged everything.
Post by Steve O'Keefe
I haven't seen "Jackie Brown", but between "Kill Bill" and "Pulp
Fiction", I read Tarantino (QT) as something like a hip-hop music
producer or remixer, except that he samples cult & exploitation
movies. I'm sure if one dropped out all the snippets of songs and
cult movie lifts in "Kill Bill", there would be next-to-nothing left.
Repackaging of pulp genres is nothing new (e.g., Spielberg & Lucas and
their love of movie serials) but one 'critical' difference is that QT
is acknowledging and drawing attention to his sources.
I wonder if QT's name is an in-joke just for those initials?
Post by Steve O'Keefe
I don't think this is without reason. I can't help but think of a pop
star like MC Hammer, who took Rick James' "Superfreak" and reworked it
into "Can't touch this". "The Hammer" (a pop reinventor/re-packager)
was dismissed by music critics while the song flew up the charts. I'd
bet if "The Hammer" had Rick James and James Brown dancing in the
video or singing backup, it would have received more critical
approval. This is not unlike QT bringing along Sonny Chiba & David
Carradine along for the ride in "Kill Bill". If QT were to not
acknowledge or draw attention to his sources, "Kill Bill" would likely
be dismissed as a rip-off, but to acknowledge his sources (and so test
the knowledge of movie fans & critics) draws critical approval - even
while the work is a repackaging. Seeing the overwhelmingly positive
reviews for "Kill Bill" makes me wonder if it is really this easy to
beguile movie critics into their validations. I can, however,
understand why young audiences would find "Kill Bill" unique and cool
- "Can't touch this!".
But Steve, it's just chicks, swords and buckets of blood with a beat you can
dance to, if you're a mind to.

Granted the chicks are easy on the eyes and all but is there a compelling
reason not to wait to see this muck on TNT in a year or two for free? I
think not.
Post by Steve O'Keefe
What I did like about "Kill Bill" was, as with "Pulp Fiction", QT's
disregard for narrative timelines. He arranges the scenes he has
written to play out in a cinematic tempo, while the scenes are
non-linear. This may be as easy as QT writing scenes as chapters and
deciding, "The big fight in the tea room has to be the climax of part
one" and having it edited so - but it's refreshing in any case. I
don't know how well non-narrative shuffling plays out over
repeat-viewings...I quickly became tired of my "Pulp Fiction" DVD.
If I won one of those keep all you can grab in 60 second contest thingys I
might grab that, but it would be very low on my dash through a store and
dependent I'd gotten everything else I wanted first. Buying it is out of the
question.
Post by Steve O'Keefe
I enjoyed "Kill Bill" movie best when it went insanely over the top,
as when (SPOLIERS A--HEAD) Lucy Liu makes her point at the executive
meeting and the martial arts choreographer (and the editor and sound
designer) went to town for scenes like the "Battle Royale"
schoolgirl's ball-and-chain attack. There was also a scene near the
end where Lucy Liu and Uma Thurman were facing off and we hear the
soft sound of wooden water well...but then I stopped myself and
thought, "I bet that's taken from some movie".
If someone bets you a lot of money, take that bet I'm certain you'll win it!
Post by Steve O'Keefe
QT is a very skilled director and writer, and I'm just trying to come
to terms with why this being treated as a serious film, since it
really has nothing to say except "I watch a lot of movies". I also
suppose film critics can say that...with authority ;-)
Regards,
Steve
Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I shall reserve my money for adding something
more to my interest to my DVD collection. I just picked up the new version
of "Fargo" and find it more to my speed you betcha.

I think the entertaining alternative to Kill Bill for me will be to wait for
the E! True Hollyweird Story when we finally learn who QT had to give a
reach around to get a job in the movies.
--
The older a man gets, the farther he had to walk to school as a boy.
Steve O'Keefe
2003-10-14 23:41:39 UTC
Permalink
***@hotmail.com (Steve O'Keefe) wrote:

2003-10-13 19:27 EST
Post by Steve O'Keefe
I read Tarantino (QT) as something like a hip-hop music
producer or remixer, except that he samples cult & exploitation
movies.
2003-10-13 23:56 EST
"Quentin is a mad alchemist, the film equivalent of a music producer
building insanely catchy dance tracks out of samples from old songs."
http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=16297

Nice to know AMK is being read. That's what happens when one starts
talking about samples...they get sampled ;-)
s_o_keefe
2003-10-14 18:15:39 UTC
Permalink
I may have been in error with AICN's time stamps vs. my
newsreader time zone - that AICN review was posted about 90
minutes BEFORE my AMK comments. Mea culpa!

Regards,

Steve

...actually:

2003-10-14 01:27 EST
Post by Steve O'Keefe
I read Tarantino (QT) as something like a hip-hop music
producer or remixer, except that he samples cult & exploitation
movies.
2003-10-13 23:56 EST
"Quentin is a mad alchemist, the film equivalent of a music producer
building insanely catchy dance tracks out of samples from
old songs."
http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=16297
Tak
2003-10-17 15:41:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Dickinson
The greatest genre picture ever made.
Matthew
Self-indulgent movies are only worth watching if the "self" being
"indulged" is worth knowing. Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini, Akira
Kurosawa, Alejandro Jodorowsky... these are minds worth knowing, minds
that have thought deeply and differently, minds that dared to explore
uncharted psychic terrain.

Quentin Tarantino, on the other hand, is just a talented, ambitious,
ADHD-suffering video store geek who had the self-possession to make
the most of opportunities that came his way.

He deserves his great success, but he's not in the pantheon. Not even
close.

Not yet, anyway.

TAK
"Ribbed... for her pleasure."
Matthew Ryder
2003-10-18 03:38:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
Revenge fantasies must be the
central daily passage of talented video store clerks all over Los
Angeles.
Quentin Tarantino, on the other hand, is just a talented, ambitious,
ADHD-suffering video store geek who had the self-possession to make
the most of opportunities that came his way.
Jesus! Lay off the 'video store employee' ad hominem already! That
one's been done to death. Tarantino's now worked in the film industry
for over twelve years! Who cares if he once did time in some fucking
video shop?
Tak
2003-10-19 07:38:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Ryder
Jesus! Lay off the 'video store employee' ad hominem already! That
one's been done to death. Tarantino's now worked in the film industry
for over twelve years! Who cares if he once did time in some fucking
video shop?
It's not a matter of his resume', it's a matter of placing his work
within a specific cinematic context. The term "video store geek" - as
opposed to, say, "video store employee" - is less a comment on humble
origins than it is a comment on QT's identification with and
enthusiasm for formulaic or "genre" movies, and the rather base nature
of the cinematic appetites he attempts to satisfy.

Tak
s_o_keefe
2003-10-19 15:58:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tak
Post by Matthew Ryder
Jesus! Lay off the 'video store employee' ad hominem already! That
one's been done to death. Tarantino's now worked in the film industry
for over twelve years! Who cares if he once did time in some fucking
video shop?
Well, don't ad hominems usually stem from some conflict of
interest? For example: "Of course you'll say video store
employees are underpaid - you're a video store employee!",
not disparagement ("You're a video store employee, you can't
be a movie director.") Maybe I'm mistaken.
Post by Tak
It's not a matter of his resume', it's a matter of placing his work
within a specific cinematic context. The term "video store geek" - as
opposed to, say, "video store employee" - is less a comment on humble
origins than it is a comment on QT's identification with and
enthusiasm for formulaic or "genre" movies, and the rather base nature
of the cinematic appetites he attempts to satisfy.
Tak
I agree with that, and I also think it was Mike Jackson's
take on QT being able to lift from so many sources, since QT
would have had an extensive knowledge of the renowned "Video
Archives" catalogue from having worked there.

Regards,

Steve
Mike Jackson
2003-10-19 21:28:57 UTC
Permalink
Jesus! Lay off the 'video store employee' ad hominem already! That one's been
done to death. Tarantino's now worked in the film industry for over twelve
years! Who cares if he once did time in some fucking video shop?
Well, don't ad hominems usually stem from some conflict of interest? For
example: "Of course you'll say video store employees are underpaid - you're a
video store employee!", not disparagement ("You're a video store employee, you
can't be a movie director.") Maybe I'm mistaken.
I'm mystified why an offhand comment has struck such ire. Look, great for
QT, he's a Hollywood big shot, he's made his millions at least if he's had
someone guarding this henhouse full of cash that is.

If people want to see his stuff and think he hung the moon, fine. To me it's
stupid and a tad disturbing, but then what isn't in cinemas and on TV - or
for that matter in the halls of power the whole world round?

America seems to be a place consumed with a a need for revenge right now and
what fits the bill better? Ah-nold is going to terminate debt in
Cal-ee-forn-ja right? Right! Hell if Clint needed the money what a better
time to come out of retirement with Dirty Harry, The Nursing Home Years? I'm
flabbergasted That Stallone has dusted of Rambo already.

I guess I'd be more impressed if QT had found a way to work some man-eating
dinosaurs and time traveling robots into the plot of "Kill Bill". Why not
some alien marauders from outer space while he was at it? Did Hugo Weaving's
contract prevent him from ever reprising the role of menacing guy in a tie
and snazzy glasses bit in another movie? Larry Fishburne and his pez-nez too
busy recuperating to be in this one? Why stop short of tossing in the
kitchen sink?

It used to be that in Hollywood they didn't throw their garbage away, they
made it into television shows. Now they put it on the big screen.

As soon as I figure out how to do it all you little people can kiss my ass
too!
It's not a matter of his resume', it's a matter of placing his work within a
specific cinematic context. The term "video store geek" - as opposed to, say,
"video store employee" - is less a comment on humble origins than it is a
comment on QT's identification with and enthusiasm for formulaic or "genre"
movies, and the rather base nature of the cinematic appetites he attempts to
satisfy.
Tak
I agree with that, and I also think it was Mike Jackson's take on QT being
able to lift from so many sources, since QT would have had an extensive
knowledge of the renowned "Video Archives" catalogue from having worked there.
Regards,
Steve
Well, you don't have to have a video store card or be a video store
'employee' to have seen a lot of films, you just need cable. I haven' seen
much of the Hong Kong cinema stuff cause it's not often on TV that I notice
but QT seems to have watched the stuff by the arm fulls. I guess his cinema
education filtered mostly through whatever was in stock wherever it was he
worked, HK stuff being prevalent in the inventory. Sometimes I wonder how
apocryphal this video store clerk stuff was. Where and how long did he work
in some video store?

To me what he's doing is closer to "Kentucky Fried Movie" than anything his
is collaging his movies from. He's so successful because he's hit on all the
basest things that please an audience.

There's nothing like an entertaining body count to pack them in.

If I need to see a bad movie, I don't need to leave the house and pay for
it. For example right now there's the hilariously bad Clint movie "White
Hunter, Black Heart" on right now on WGN. I wonder if John Huston's ghost
haunted Clint for the stunningly bad impersonation? This is more than enough
reason for me to be cagey about seeing "Mystic River"...
--
"No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."
-- Jane Wagner
Padraig L Henry
2003-10-22 17:06:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tak
Quentin Tarantino, on the other hand, is just a talented, ambitious,
ADHD-suffering video store geek who had the self-possession to make
the most of opportunities that came his way.
Tantrum Quarantino? Who's now become Quantum Turdnutrino?
Mike Jackson
2003-10-18 04:39:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Ryder
Post by Mike Jackson
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
Revenge fantasies must be the central daily passage of talented video store
clerks all over Los Angeles.
Quentin Tarantino, on the other hand, is just a talented, ambitious,
ADHD-suffering video store geek who had the self-possession to make
the most of opportunities that came his way.
Jesus! Lay off the 'video store employee' ad hominem already! That
one's been done to death. Tarantino's now worked in the film industry
for over twelve years! Who cares if he once did time in some fucking
video shop?
Gee, sorry. Did we strike a nerve or what? You working long hours at
Blockbuster or something?

I mean come on, when I first saw the trailer for this movie last summer
people laughed at it. I haven't seen the actual film but the trailers look
so stupid and juvenile I almost can't believe someone would green-light it,
save for the front office fantasies of having another movie like "The
Matrix" to build crap like video games around.

Oh yes, there is a video game in the works. I can only imagine the
incredible realism of arterial spray...

I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
--
"I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize."
-- Stephen Wright
Matthew Ryder
2003-10-18 07:29:16 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 23:39:40 -0500, Mike Jackson
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Matthew Ryder
Jesus! Lay off the 'video store employee' ad hominem already! That
one's been done to death. Tarantino's now worked in the film industry
for over twelve years! Who cares if he once did time in some fucking
video shop?
Gee, sorry. Did we strike a nerve or what? You working long hours at
Blockbuster or something?
Okay, I'll admit it: I do find it annoying when holier-than-thou
'cineastes' parrot out the creaky old
'ex-video-store-geek-thus-beneath-contempt' line . Just like it annoys
me when critics dismiss Kubrick's films as cold or misanthropic
because they've heard he's this creepy eccentric anal-retentive
hermit. Let's all close our eyes to the actual art and instead wallow
in media-hyped stereotyping of the artist!

It's an absurd criticism anyway. You might as a well attack an author
for having once worked as a librarian.
Post by Mike Jackson
I mean come on, when I first saw the trailer for this movie last summer
people laughed at it. I haven't seen the actual film but the trailers look
so stupid and juvenile I almost can't believe someone would green-light it,
save for the front office fantasies of having another movie like "The
Matrix" to build crap like video games around.
I haven't seen the film yet, but I've admired Tarantino's other work.
Kill Bill is getting rave reviews from the vast majority of critics,
so you'll excuse me if I disregard your appraisal (based as it is on a
viewing of the trailer).

It seems I'm alone on AMK in appreciating the new generation of
talented filmmakers such as the Coens, Tarantino, Wes and PT Anderson,
Aronofsky, Payne, Tykwer or Von Trier (to name a few).
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Rich, coming from a trekkie.

Matt.
Magic7Ball
2003-10-18 22:26:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Ryder
It seems I'm alone on AMK in appreciating the new generation of
talented filmmakers such as the Coens, Tarantino, Wes and PT Anderson,
Aronofsky, Payne, Tykwer or Von Trier (to name a few).
No, you're not alone. All of these guys show potential in the way of
creating a masterpiece (I hear Dogville IS a masterpiece).
Simon Howson
2003-10-19 05:21:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Magic7Ball
Post by Matthew Ryder
It seems I'm alone on AMK in appreciating the new generation of
talented filmmakers such as the Coens, Tarantino, Wes and PT Anderson,
Aronofsky, Payne, Tykwer or Von Trier (to name a few).
I would add James Gray, and the Australian Ivan Sen, see his debut film
Beneath Clouds.
Post by Magic7Ball
No, you're not alone. All of these guys show potential in the way of
creating a masterpiece (I hear Dogville IS a masterpiece).
How can you HEAR that a film is a masterpiece without having seen it?

Simon Howson
PT Caffey
2003-10-19 02:23:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Ryder
Okay, I'll admit it: I do find it annoying when holier-than-thou
'cineastes' parrot out the creaky old
'ex-video-store-geek-thus-beneath-contempt' line . Just like it annoys
me when critics dismiss Kubrick's films as cold...
By the way, this is what Tarantino does, too. While admiring
individual Kubrick sequences, Quentin regards Kubrick's work as cold,
hypocritical and fraudulent.
Post by Matthew Ryder
It's an absurd criticism anyway. You might as a well attack an author
for having once worked as a librarian.
How is it absurd to point out the nature (or limits) of a filmmaker's
"education"? "Video store clerk" is just a handy metaphor for a case
of artistic imagination oversaturated with context-free, indelible
imagery from a thousand bad chop-sockey and crime flicks.
Post by Matthew Ryder
It seems I'm alone on AMK in appreciating the new generation of
talented filmmakers such as the Coens, Tarantino, Wes and PT Anderson,
Aronofsky, Payne, Tykwer or Von Trier (to name a few).
As far as I know, the other filmmakers you've listed have never been
employed as video store clerks, so they're okay. I'll see their
movies.
Post by Matthew Ryder
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Ain' it the truth.

PT Caffey
Mike Jackson
2003-10-19 03:00:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by PT Caffey
Post by Matthew Ryder
Okay, I'll admit it: I do find it annoying when holier-than-thou
'cineastes' parrot out the creaky old
'ex-video-store-geek-thus-beneath-contempt' line . Just like it annoys
me when critics dismiss Kubrick's films as cold...
By the way, this is what Tarantino does, too. While admiring
individual Kubrick sequences, Quentin regards Kubrick's work as cold,
hypocritical and fraudulent.
Hmm, where has he talked about Kubrick? I haven't really kept up with him
talking about anything since the early days of his fame where interviews
with him seemed to consist of a lot of grinning, head nodding and arm waving
while he pretty much said noting of substance.
Post by PT Caffey
Post by Matthew Ryder
It's an absurd criticism anyway. You might as a well attack an author
for having once worked as a librarian.
How is it absurd to point out the nature (or limits) of a filmmaker's
"education"? "Video store clerk" is just a handy metaphor for a case
of artistic imagination oversaturated with context-free, indelible
imagery from a thousand bad chop-sockey and crime flicks.
Well I guess I started this. I know I shouldn't be so hard on a millionaire
and worry I might be hurting his feelings. If you're out there reading, or
even paying someone to index all mentions of you everywhere, gee I'm sorry.
I want Quint to know sometimes I say things without thinking of the feelings
of others and it really pains me and I weep over it during long winter
evenings. I'd tell Quint to keep his chin up, but then he might think I'm
just kidding him some more...
Post by PT Caffey
Post by Matthew Ryder
It seems I'm alone on AMK in appreciating the new generation of
talented filmmakers such as the Coens, Tarantino, Wes and PT Anderson,
Aronofsky, Payne, Tykwer or Von Trier (to name a few).
As far as I know, the other filmmakers you've listed have never been
employed as video store clerks, so they're okay. I'll see their
movies.
There's a nice new DVD version of Fargo out there by the Coens in case any
of you haven't schlepped through a video store lately. I love that film you
betcha.
Post by PT Caffey
Post by Matthew Ryder
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Ain' it the truth.
PT Caffey
Anyone seen "Mystic River"? Is it worth all this hype it's getting or is it
just Oscar pandering by Clint?
--
"We are each entitled to our own opinion, but no one is entitled to his own
facts."
-- Patrick Moynihan
s_o_keefe
2003-10-19 05:50:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Anyone seen "Mystic River"? Is it worth all this hype it's getting or is it
just Oscar pandering by Clint?
I think "Mystic River" is worthy of the hype (and it's a
good a non-glam antidote to "Kill Bill"). I thought it was
the best Clint Eastwood film I've seen (not that I've seen
them all, by any stretch). Nice, slow-burn character
development throughout with generous helpings of actor bait;
most characters have their tearful crisis (close to Oscar
pandering). It falls into plot contrivance for the
"whodunit" ending, but has a GREAT unspoken thematic finale.
The only problem I had was with some controversial subject
matter being initially skirted, then later spit-out
unsympathetically (you'll know what I mean if you see the
movie). The big-name actors fall right into their vivid
characterizations through excellent dialogue by Brian
Helgeland, who adapted "L.A. Confidential" (which I love).

- Steve
Mike Jackson
2003-10-19 13:00:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Anyone seen "Mystic River"? Is it worth all this hype it's getting or is it
just Oscar pandering by Clint?
I think "Mystic River" is worthy of the hype (and it's a good a non-glam
antidote to "Kill Bill"). I thought it was the best Clint Eastwood film I've
seen (not that I've seen them all, by any stretch). Nice, slow-burn character
development throughout with generous helpings of actor bait; most characters
have their tearful crisis (close to Oscar pandering). It falls into plot
contrivance for the "whodunit" ending, but has a GREAT unspoken thematic
finale. The only problem I had was with some controversial subject matter
being initially skirted, then later spit-out unsympathetically (you'll know
what I mean if you see the movie).
I liked Eastwood's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" which mostly
condensed the book nicely, but most of his movies I've seen suffer pretty
much from not being very visual, but then there are lots of movies like that
out there. Most of this stuff doesn't seem to have a compelling reason to be
seen on a big screen to me.

I'm surprised that he seemed to try to get away from the same milieu that he
minded for so many years as an actor, but I'm suspicious of these things
that look to be done because they'll make him look like a good guy in the
history books. This movie looks like it was designed to be a bid for Oscar
seriousness from all the sappy commercials for it. Tim Robbins looks like
he's doing it for the Oscar angle too. He hasn't had much luck in several
years of picking good roles like that "Mission To Mars" crappola though I
give him credit for for at least picking the role that got him out of that
stinker early. From crap like that, this one and "Arlington Road" it seems
like he's picking scripts on the basis of playing the buggerer or buggeree.
The big-name actors fall right into their vivid characterizations through
excellent dialogue by Brian Helgeland, who adapted "L.A. Confidential" (which
I love).
- Steve
I have to depart company with you "L.A. Confidential" which I thought was a
bad rip-off of Chandler novels and other film noir without ever getting in
the vicinity of what made that stuff enjoyable. I thoroughly hated that
film.

I heard this guy Helgeland talking about the script for MR on a PBS thing
Elvis Mitchell hosts last weekend (caught the show a few times and can never
remember the name of it) and I wasn't much impressed with him. He talked
about writing that stinker with Mel Gibson from a few years ago, "Payback" I
think it was. He sounds like the Hollywood hack for hire to me. The more I
heard him talk the less I wanted to see this Eastwood thing until it pops up
on TNT or something. Still I guess it's a better living than I'm making at
the moment.
--
"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity."
- David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"
s_o_keefe
2003-10-19 15:33:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
I liked Eastwood's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" which mostly
condensed the book nicely, but most of his movies I've seen suffer pretty
much from not being very visual, but then there are lots of movies like that
out there.
Hmm, I was disappointed by "Midnight in the Garden of Good
and Evil", but "Mystic River" is a fairly cinematic, and was
photographed and art-directed to sustain a visual dampness,
which was appropriate.
Post by Mike Jackson
I have to depart company with you "L.A. Confidential" which I thought was a
bad rip-off of Chandler novels and other film noir without ever getting in
the vicinity of what made that stuff enjoyable. I thoroughly hated that
film.
Wow, I consider "L.A. Confidential" to be one of the few
near-perfect Hollywood films of the 90s. Helgeland
co-adapted James Ellroy's novel (which explains the
noir/Chandler vibe), and Ellroy did plug "L.A.
Confidential", so I would guess Helgeland and Hanson didn't
piss him off. That screenplay also won the adaptation
Oscar, which I'm sure made everyone involved happy.
Post by Mike Jackson
He sounds like the Hollywood hack for hire to me.
Helgeland has written in the horror genre for the most part,
and he also directs ("Payback"/"The Order"/"Knight's
Tale"...oops!). From what I've seen with "L.A.
Confidential" and MR, his adaptations for the screen are
top-notch - he can delineate characters quickly and nail
elaborate plot expositions though tight dialogue. I'll
agree the "cop talk" one-liner banter can get tiring, though.

Regards,

Steve
Mike Jackson
2003-10-19 19:34:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
I liked Eastwood's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" which mostly
condensed the book nicely, but most of his movies I've seen suffer pretty
much from not being very visual, but then there are lots of movies like that
out there.
Hmm, I was disappointed by "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", but
"Mystic River" is a fairly cinematic, and was photographed and art-directed to
sustain a visual dampness, which was appropriate.
Visual dampness Gracie? Is the film shot through a mist of KY Jelly for her
pleasure? Are they playing Misty for Clint? What does than mean?
Post by Mike Jackson
I have to depart company with you "L.A. Confidential" which I thought was a
bad rip-off of Chandler novels and other film noir without ever getting in
the vicinity of what made that stuff enjoyable. I thoroughly hated that
film.
Wow, I consider "L.A. Confidential" to be one of the few
near-perfect Hollywood films of the 90s.
Okay, you know we mostly have agreed on films we like but this one always
mystifies me, as does some people's love of Michael Mann. At least he hires
a good DP which is what I think makes everyone confuse him with a good
director of good films. I don't get the praise for "LA Confidential", I
really don't. To me this movies is about 1,000 times below "Chinatown" which
I don't think particularly high of either.

What is it with this stupid film? Is it the vague homoeroticism of Spacey
Crowe and that other dweeb Guy Pearce? Is it something off the record, on
the QT, and very hush-hush? To me it was hokey on every level, something
lifted from every other better film noir that was done better, so much so
that it made me never want to read anything by Ellroy. Of course I'd feel
the same way about Chandler if I'd seen only the botched Bogart version of
"The Big Sleep".

I'd like to hop in a time machine and beat the shit out of Faulkner and
Howard Hawks for that mess. At least Faulkner had the excuse that he was a
raging drunk doing it for the money to fall back on. It was going so well
and then falls apart when they jettison the whole ending and reason the book
was called the Big Sleep in the first friggin' place. The 1945 cut of the
film was clearly better before it was gutted and sexed-up for Bacall in the
more widely known 1946 version so I see some of the reason for how they
ruined the story but the question remains, what the fuck were those guys
smoking?

Poor Raymond Chandler was fucked every time Hollywood came calling. Of
course the low point has to be that POS Robert Montgomery did to "The Lady
in the Lake". It's truly astonishingly bad. It has to be seen, really
endured to see how bad a film can truly be. Had Chandler murdered Montgomery
for this film no jury on Earth would have convicted him.
Helgeland co-adapted James Ellroy's novel (which explains the noir/Chandler
vibe), and Ellroy did plug "L.A. Confidential", so I would guess Helgeland and
Hanson didn't piss him off. That screenplay also won the adaptation Oscar,
which I'm sure made everyone involved happy.
I take nothing about the Oscars as an endorsement of anything good or
enduring about actors, writers or films. I'm not sure I can put my finger on
exactly when the thing became a pure popularity contest between grease balls
becoming self congratulatory of the money they were spending but it's been
relevant of nothing for a long time.

To me the film was all over the place. Is it gritty realism or film noir?
The two are kind of mutually exclusive. "Chinatown" just barely snuck one in
under the wire for this genre for me and everyone should be well advised to
leave it alone from here to the end of time. I watched "LA Confidential" to
the bitter end and I couldn't help thinking I'd rather be watching "The
Maltese Falcon" or "Out of the Past" the whole time.
Post by Mike Jackson
He sounds like the Hollywood hack for hire to me.
Helgeland has written in the horror genre for the most part, and he also
directs ("Payback"/"The Order"/"Knight's Tale"...oops!). From what I've seen
with "L.A. Confidential" and MR, his adaptations for the screen are top-notch
- he can delineate characters quickly and nail elaborate plot expositions
though tight dialogue. I'll agree the "cop talk" one-liner banter can get
tiring, though.
Regards,
Steve
"A Knight's Tale"? That thing that had rock music with guys in armor in the
middle ages? I saw that thing once or twice for a few minutes before I
pulled the plug on HBO forever and I couldn't believe what I was seeing was
actually committed to film! I did take one thing away from that Helgeland
interview that was positive in that in his version of "Payback" Mel Gibson
was killed at the end of the film, a stand on the script that he says was
fired for. It was the only thing that would have made that film better.

I guess what you and others take for these 'quick character delineations' I
take as wooden and one-dimensional. At this point the idea that LA cops and
pols are corrupt bad guys is almost only suitable subject matter for Leslie
Neilson and his naked cops and no one else. It's just been done to death.
--
"I went to a museum, and it had all the heads and arms of the statues that
were in all the other museums."
-- Steven Wright
s_o_keefe
2003-10-19 20:57:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Visual dampness Gracie? Is the film shot through a mist of KY Jelly for her
pleasure? Are they playing Misty for Clint? What does than mean?
The movie looks damp throughout: the print is timed towards
the greys and blues, the streets are watered down as it it
has rained before every scene, the paint on houses is
cracked from moisture. It's well done, except for a few
shots where the highlights are timed down to the point where
characters begin to vanish (thinking the lady police officer
who asks Kevin Bacon out, but you can't see here eyes under
the shadow of her police hat).
Post by Mike Jackson
I guess what you and others take for these 'quick character delineations' I
take as wooden and one-dimensional. At this point the idea that LA cops and
pols are corrupt bad guys is almost only suitable subject matter for Leslie
Neilson and his naked cops and no one else. It's just been done to death.
With novels that sprawl with many characters, like "L.A.
Confidential" and MR, and have to be converted to a two-hour
format, the characters must be established quickly and
vividly. Those nasty "quick character delineations" are
mandatory to get the audience up to speed with the
characters inter-relationships that take chapters and
chapters to establish in a novel. Some characters may be
left as one dimensional players in the process, but that's
the way the adaptation process goes. As far as "L.A.
Confidential", the lead characters of Bud White, Ed Exley
and Lynn Bracken all had strong inner motivations, and the
time was taken to establish each of their back stories.

Regards,

Steve

"Accentuate the Positive" - Artie Shaw
Mike Jackson
2003-10-19 21:40:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Visual dampness Gracie? Is the film shot through a mist of KY Jelly for her
pleasure? Are they playing Misty for Clint? What does than mean?
The movie looks damp throughout: the print is timed towards the greys and
blues, the streets are watered down as it it has rained before every scene,
the paint on houses is cracked from moisture. It's well done, except for a
few shots where the highlights are timed down to the point where characters
begin to vanish (thinking the lady police officer who asks Kevin Bacon out,
but you can't see here eyes under the shadow of her police hat).
Well, I have "White Hunter, Black Heart" spooling away on the TV right now
to remind me just how low Clint can go so I think I'll skip this one all the
same. I think Clint has zero to tell me about growing up and living in a
working-class neighborhood with peeling paint.
Post by Mike Jackson
I guess what you and others take for these 'quick character delineations' I
take as wooden and one-dimensional. At this point the idea that LA cops and
pols are corrupt bad guys is almost only suitable subject matter for Leslie
Neilson and his naked cops and no one else. It's just been done to death.
With novels that sprawl with many characters, like "L.A. Confidential" and MR,
and have to be converted to a two-hour format, the characters must be
established quickly and vividly.Those nasty "quick character delineations"
are mandatory to get the audience up to speed with the characters
inter-relationships that take chapters and chapters to establish in a novel.
Which is a reason for me to say, why bother? Look at a choking back-story
that "The Shining" was saddled with in it's book form. Kubrick just tossed
it all away and went to the core of the story and even that he wisely
rewrote.

Would it have helped to know why Wendy's parents were so fucked up and how
that made her the way she was? Why it colored her and Jack's marriage? All
that's in the book and frankly it's a bore. So is much of the history of the
Overlook and the book is chock full of the history of the Overlook. It
doesn't advance the story. Zing - there it went and good riddance. That's
the sort of stuff King held against Kubrick and the sad part is he's clearly
incapable of getting the point. He writes such backbreakingly heavy books by
not being able to get to the point.
Some characters may be left as one dimensional players in the process, but
that's the way the adaptation process goes. As far as "L.A. Confidential",
the lead characters of Bud White, Ed Exley and Lynn Bracken all had strong
inner motivations, and the time was taken to establish each of their back
stories.
Regards,
Steve
"Accentuate the Positive" - Artie Shaw
Bless you for being able to. I'll just save my seven bucks and be
curmudgeonly. I think I'd rather spend my money on that book you just
mentioned in another post.
--
"Painting, n.: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather, and
exposing them to the critic."
-- Ambrose Bierce
dc
2003-10-19 17:27:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Anyone seen "Mystic River"? Is it worth all this hype it's getting or is it
just Oscar pandering by Clint?
I think "Mystic River" is worthy of the hype (and it's a good a non-glam
antidote to "Kill Bill"). I thought it was the best Clint Eastwood film I've
seen (not that I've seen them all, by any stretch). Nice, slow-burn character
development throughout with generous helpings of actor bait; most characters
have their tearful crisis (close to Oscar pandering). It falls into plot
contrivance for the "whodunit" ending, but has a GREAT unspoken thematic
finale. The only problem I had was with some controversial subject matter
being initially skirted, then later spit-out unsympathetically (you'll know
what I mean if you see the movie).
Mystic River is THE movie of the year. Brilliant. Agonizing,

dc
s_o_keefe
2003-10-19 16:13:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Well I guess I started this. I know I shouldn't be so hard on a millionaire
and worry I might be hurting his feelings.
I should add that "Kill Bill" has narrowly lost the no. 1
box office position in its second week by a remake of "The
Texas Chainsaw Massacre". It makes one wonder if it was
interest in extreme violence, or interest in Tarantino, that
made "Kill Bill" the big ticket last week.

Regards,

Steve
Matthew Ryder
2003-10-19 05:58:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by PT Caffey
Post by Matthew Ryder
Okay, I'll admit it: I do find it annoying when holier-than-thou
'cineastes' parrot out the creaky old
'ex-video-store-geek-thus-beneath-contempt' line . Just like it annoys
me when critics dismiss Kubrick's films as cold...
By the way, this is what Tarantino does, too. While admiring
individual Kubrick sequences, Quentin regards Kubrick's work as cold,
hypocritical and fraudulent.
Source, please. I find this assertion highly unlikely. I've read
several interviews with Tarantino in which he sings Kubrick's praises.

(Here's a QT quote that'll surely get your hackles up:

"I don't think Stanley Kubrick was condemning violence in Clockwork
Orange. He wanted to film that stuff. It was cinematically exciting.
He loved mocking "Singin' in the Rain.")
Post by PT Caffey
Post by Matthew Ryder
It's an absurd criticism anyway. You might as a well attack an author
for having once worked as a librarian.
How is it absurd to point out the nature (or limits) of a filmmaker's
"education"? "Video store clerk" is just a handy metaphor for a case
of artistic imagination oversaturated with context-free, indelible
imagery from a thousand bad chop-sockey and crime flicks.
Yeah, but Tarantino is just as comfortable referencing French New Wave
as he is the abovementioned "bad chop-sockey and crime flicks". It's
this seamless mix of high and low cultural influences that give his
films their edge.

(An example from Pulp Fiction: black gangster Jules has a partner
called Jimmy who provides him with a safe-house when there's a bloody
accident in the car. Jules et Jim, geddit?)

One of the "crime flicks" that QT pays homage to in Reservoir Dogs is
indubitably Kubrick's The Killing.

Tarantino has an encyclopedic knowledge of film, born of thousands of
hours of viewing. He always wanted to be a film critic and he's
apparently voraciously consumed hundreds of books on film history,
theory and criticism.

Add to that his twelve years experience in the director's chair and
he's far better "educated" than most film school professors.
Post by PT Caffey
Post by Matthew Ryder
It seems I'm alone on AMK in appreciating the new generation of
talented filmmakers such as the Coens, Tarantino, Wes and PT Anderson,
Aronofsky, Payne, Tykwer or Von Trier (to name a few).
As far as I know, the other filmmakers you've listed have never been
employed as video store clerks, so they're okay. I'll see their
movies.
That's big of you. But you do know that Joel and Ethan Coen started
out by editing B-grade horror flicks, right? So I guess they're out
too. Now let's start digging up dirt on the others, and maybe we can
further reduce your filmwatching burden.

Matt.
Alan Andres
2003-10-19 14:47:42 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 07:58:42 +0200, Matthew Ryder
Post by Matthew Ryder
Post by PT Caffey
By the way, this is what Tarantino does, too. While admiring
individual Kubrick sequences, Quentin regards Kubrick's work as cold,
hypocritical and fraudulent.
Source, please. I find this assertion highly unlikely. I've read
several interviews with Tarantino in which he sings Kubrick's praises.
The current issue of The Neew Yorker has a profile of Tarantino, "The
Movie Lover" by Larissa MacFarquhar. He is quoted talking about
Kubrick in a lengthy paragraph on page 148. The summary above
accurately describes his reactions to Kubrick's films, and A CLOCKWORK
ORANGE in particular.
dc
2003-10-19 17:26:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Ryder
Post by PT Caffey
By the way, this is what Tarantino does, too. While admiring
individual Kubrick sequences, Quentin regards Kubrick's work as cold,
hypocritical and fraudulent.
Source, please. I find this assertion highly unlikely. I've read
several interviews with Tarantino in which he sings Kubrick's praises.
The current issue of The Neew Yorker has a profile of Tarantino, "The
Movie Lover" by Larissa MacFarquhar. He is quoted talking about
Kubrick in a lengthy paragraph on page 148. The summary above
accurately describes his reactions to Kubrick's films, and A CLOCKWORK
ORANGE in particular. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


So here is the truth about Tarentino? He calls Kubrick "fraudulent?"

Kill Bill is clever and entertaining, (not in same class as Pulp Fiction)
but designed to be viewed on few brain cells. He thinks Kubrick is "cold"?
But he he kills off hundreds of people with out a tear. and the heroine is
cold as a rock. (good performance by Thurman and Lui) It has no depth
whatsoever, it is simply here and now effects and quirky
weirdness--videogame nonsense. Not much better then the last Lara Croft
thing.---very similar. With Oliver Stone style camera movement and editing.

I guess this is Tarentino's Honesty, "I am just a videostore clerk" He has
that right. Wonder what he says about Stone in that article?

dc
s_o_keefe
2003-10-20 05:32:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by dc
So here is the truth about Tarentino? He calls Kubrick "fraudulent?"
The article isn't online, so I checked it out at a corner
store this evening. QT calls SK a 'f*cking liar' regarding
(what QT sees as) SK having an anti-violent stance, and
claims SK was totally aroused by filming Alex and the
Droogs' rape & violence in the first 20 minutes of ACO
(which QT loves). The interviewer summarizes QT
appreciating SK's films, but QT not being really interested
in them.

I think the misogynist/violent hypocrite angle on SK was
done to death around 1972, wasn't it? The revelation on ACO
sounds about as fresh as QT delivering the newsflash on "Top
Gun's" homoeroticism in Roger Avery's "Sleep With Me".

Regards,

Steve
JeffreyMeyer
2003-10-18 11:25:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Films *with* martial arts: Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon

Swords: Barry Lyndon, Spartacus

Time travelling robots: 2001

Films without any of those things: My Dinner With Andre

Take your pick, and enjoy!
Mike Jackson
2003-10-18 19:22:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Films *with* martial arts: Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon
I'm at a total loss to remember someone kung fooing their way around in
Spartacus or Barry Lyndon and the only bit I can remember in FMJ was the
camera thief and Joker hoofing at each other for what five seconds?
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Swords: Barry Lyndon, Spartacus
Appropriate to their time periods. In our century gangland thugs would
simply wire a car to blow, not take on an or even keep an army of sword
wielding thugs.
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Time travelling robots: 2001
I don't recall that HAL ever time traveled.
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Films without any of those things: My Dinner With Andre
I wonder if I saw that one while you were still in diapers?
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Take your pick, and enjoy!
Nice try though.
--
"What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I
definitely overpaid for my carpet."
-- Woody Allen, "Without Feathers"
David Kirkpatrick
2003-10-20 13:33:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Films *with* martial arts: Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon
And Killer's Kiss was about a boxer as was Kubrick's first short, Day of
the Fight. (I won't comment on DotF because I havent' seen it.)

In each of these films the glamor of combat is downplayed and the
brutality and offensiveness (or ridiculousness) of it emphasized in one
way or another. Or to put it less subjectively, the violence is rooted
in realism, not in fantasy. Perhaps Kubrick violence and Tarantino
violence come closest in a comparison of Clockwork Orange and Natural
Born Killers.
Post by Mike Jackson
I'm at a total loss to remember someone kung fooing their way around in
Spartacus or Barry Lyndon and the only bit I can remember in FMJ was the
camera thief and Joker hoofing at each other for what five seconds?
Is a martial art only an art if it is Asian? The gladiatorial combat in
Spartacus and the fistfight, duels and swordplay of Barry Lyndon would
classify as martial arts in my vocabulary. Maybe what makes them
relatively invisible is the way they are presented as having an accepted
role in conventional society (thereby showing how brutal society itself
is), whereas Asian-style martial arts usually appear to be a kind of
occult knowledge possessed by a cult of outlaws or mystics having a
pragmatic streak.

But that one-time kungfu-ism in FMJ is interesting, now that you mention
it. Is Kubrick symbolizing something when he portrays a martial art-ist
as a camera-thief? Something akin to your complaint, perhaps?
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Films without any of those things: My Dinner With Andre
Also: My Orgy With Victor, My Film Between 8 and 9, My Opinions About
Charles Foster Kane, and a few others.

David
Mikko Pihkoluoma
2003-10-19 09:54:12 UTC
Permalink
"Mike Jackson" wrote...
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by Matthew Ryder
Post by Mike Jackson
I think that's the
"video-rental-store-clerk-turned-director-paying-homage-to-
never-having-an-original-thought" genre.
Revenge fantasies must be the central daily passage of talented video store
clerks all over Los Angeles.
Quentin Tarantino, on the other hand, is just a talented, ambitious,
ADHD-suffering video store geek who had the self-possession to make
the most of opportunities that came his way.
Jesus! Lay off the 'video store employee' ad hominem already! That
one's been done to death. Tarantino's now worked in the film industry
for over twelve years! Who cares if he once did time in some fucking
video shop?
Gee, sorry. Did we strike a nerve or what? You working long hours at
Blockbuster or something?
I mean come on, when I first saw the trailer for this movie last summer
people laughed at it.
People laugh at it, because it is *supposed to be* funny.
Besides the teaser trailer of 'The Shining' I think 'Kill Bill's trailer is
one of the best I've ever seen.
Post by Mike Jackson
I haven't seen the actual film but the trailers look
so stupid and juvenile I almost can't believe someone would green-light it,
Me neither, but it's still loads of fun if you want to have fun instead of
conservative complaining.

I'm all against the trite that fills the hip-pop-culture of our day and age,
but I can't resist talented trite. Even if it's filled with blood and
massacre that I usually find morally problematic. I'm also capable of
accepting that Quentin may never "grow-up", but I DON'T want to ignore the
fact that he's talented and capable of quality films such as Jackie Brown.

Who else got the feeling 'Kill Bill' was Tarantino in Takashi Miike (another
relentlessly juvenile but talented filmmaker) mode?

Mikko
--
mikko dot pihkoluoma at welho dot com
Mike Jackson
2003-10-20 20:24:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Films *with* martial arts: Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon
And Killer's Kiss was about a boxer as was Kubrick's first short, Day of
the Fight. (I won't comment on DotF because I havent' seen it.)
Neither have I. I kind of like it that way because with it and Fear and
Desire I have two Kubrick films that are always out there, perhaps forever
that will always be new to me. Someday...
Post by David Kirkpatrick
In each of these films the glamor of combat is downplayed and the
brutality and offensiveness (or ridiculousness) of it emphasized in one
way or another. Or to put it less subjectively, the violence is rooted
in realism, not in fantasy. Perhaps Kubrick violence and Tarantino
violence come closest in a comparison of Clockwork Orange and Natural
Born Killers.
Maybe, but I'm not sure that NBK has much of a point. Nothing can get me to
watch that film twice whereas ACO is a Gordian knot of epic proportions that
you can never unravel no matter how many times you watch it. If you clocked
the ultra-violence in ACO with a stopwatch I'd be surprised if it comprised
more than 10% of the films running time, something you can't say about this
other crap.
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Post by Mike Jackson
I'm at a total loss to remember someone kung fooing their way around in
Spartacus or Barry Lyndon and the only bit I can remember in FMJ was the
camera thief and Joker hoofing at each other for what five seconds?
Is a martial art only an art if it is Asian?
I'm not sure that boxing or sword fighting in movies is quite the same as
guys doing impossible movies aided by wires that have been painted out in
post.

I think audiences thrill to this stuff because of the ghost of Bruce Lee
whom I'm sure would have made short work out of Muhammad Ali's otherwise
excellent boxing skills.

The idea of the almost invincible fighter that Asian martial artists have
pretty much insures that people associate the term martial arts with those
styles of combat and everything else is a distant second.
Post by David Kirkpatrick
The gladiatorial combat in Spartacus and the fistfight, duels and swordplay of
Barry Lyndon would classify as martial arts in my vocabulary.
Maybe in the remotest technicality but Kirk or Ryan's performances in arms
isn't all that much of the respective films like it is in modern FX &/or
revenge fantasies.
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Maybe what makes them relatively invisible is the way they are presented as
having an accepted role in conventional society (thereby showing how brutal
society itself is), whereas Asian-style martial arts usually appear to be a
kind of occult knowledge possessed by a cult of outlaws or mystics having a
pragmatic streak.
Right. I mean look at how they are used in movies like "Matrix", "The One"
or this latest trailer for "Kill Bill". Characters do leaps Olympians can't
do, perhaps the only thing we haven't seen is what it looks like when a guy
chops a mountain down with the edge of his hand.
Post by David Kirkpatrick
But that one-time kungfu-ism in FMJ is interesting, now that you mention
it. Is Kubrick symbolizing something when he portrays a martial art-ist
as a camera-thief? Something akin to your complaint, perhaps?
I've never thought deeply about it. I suspect that the thief is exerting a
passing personal knowledge of whatever style of Asian marital art that move
represents, probably more than enough to kick Joker's ass but nothing
remotely impressive in the Bruce lee fantasy range.

Here the thief has done something cowardly, rush by and steal a camera and
at the end what does it say about him pulling the move? Is he reasserting
his manhood in acknowledgement that circumstances have reduced him to
stealing to survive? Is he VC seizing a chance to garner valuable
intelligence that might be contained on Joker's camera? Is he just a pompous
punk pulling a feign to keep Joker from pursuing? Joker's response of
feigning his move back says fuck it, I can get another camera. Is he pissed
or impressed that the kid did something so slick? He seems to embody a flash
of hate and humor about it at the same time. It's another classically
ambiguous Kubrick moment.
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Films without any of those things: My Dinner With Andre
Also: My Orgy With Victor, My Film Between 8 and 9, My Opinions About
Charles Foster Kane, and a few others.
David
I wonder what the porno version of "The Matrix" looks like? In the porno
version of "Kill Bill" do the chicks run around waving dildos at each other?
At what point do the various reductionisms of the reductive spawn things so
absurd that they come back to the most important point left out of the thing
they are drawing on?
--
"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are
still thinking."
-- Jerry Seinfeld
David Kirkpatrick
2003-10-21 20:52:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Films *with* martial arts: Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon
And Killer's Kiss was about a boxer as was Kubrick's first short, Day of
the Fight. (I won't comment on DotF because I havent' seen it.)
Neither have I. I kind of like it that way because with it and Fear and
Desire I have two Kubrick films that are always out there, perhaps forever
that will always be new to me. Someday...
Post by David Kirkpatrick
In each of these films the glamor of combat is downplayed and the
brutality and offensiveness (or ridiculousness) of it emphasized in one
way or another. Or to put it less subjectively, the violence is rooted
in realism, not in fantasy. Perhaps Kubrick violence and Tarantino
violence come closest in a comparison of Clockwork Orange and Natural
Born Killers.
Maybe, but I'm not sure that NBK has much of a point. Nothing can get me to
watch that film twice whereas ACO is a Gordian knot of epic proportions that
you can never unravel no matter how many times you watch it. If you clocked
the ultra-violence in ACO with a stopwatch I'd be surprised if it comprised
more than 10% of the films running time, something you can't say about this
other crap.
Well, I do think it has somewhat of a point, about media exploitation,
but it is a fundamentally superficial point. Whereas ACO continually
points back at the center of human nature or the human condition, NBK is
more centrifugal. What meaning it does have, concerns how things are
falling apart in a society where pop culture and media structures have
no moral center. NBK is wall-to-wall violence because it is
wall-to-wall fission, whereas ACO has the fusion of creative and
destructive forces at its core. ACO is a cycle of explosive reaction
and repressive reaction, whereas NBK is more like a spiral of violence
(like various revenge stories) that never invites a calm moment of
reflection. At best, it viscerally communicates the valid message of
information overload -- but is this message really necessary or useful?

I'm led to this hypothesis. Many lesser filmmakers strive for
seriousness by finding ways to express problems, whether social or
existential. But often the key to a great work of art is that it is an
exploration of a solution, especially a false solution. ACO is more
about the Ludovico technique than the social problems that inspire it;
FMJ is about modern warfare as a proposed solution to ancient problems;
Dr. Strangelove is about the side effects of various problem-solving
strategies such as MAD; 2001 is about problem-solving itself (and all
its side effects): technology and discovery; The Shining is not about
Jack's suffering, but about his deluded strategies for solving his
problems. Barry Lyndon is not about the endemic insecurity in Redmond's
world, although it is often alluded to, but about the dynamics of his
quest for security.

Everyone has a basic awareness of problems that face us in the modern
world; where the real controversies lie is with the proposed solutions
with which we are also acquainted. Think of how many films are
presented as though they are intended as a cure for apathy. Then
consider how certain great films, such as those by Kubrick, seem to be
posed to curb enthusiasm. Even Dr. Strangelove can be viewed this way.
It's not as though people didn't worry about the Bomb before Dr.
Strangelove; its commonly reported effect was to dehypnotize people
from their own despair. Arguably, its obvious message is to distrust
the rationalistic voices of the establishment, to challenge dehumanized
solutions to an essentially human problem. To look beyond reports of
the Bland Corporation.

The fact that Kubrick gives short shrift to backstories might be taken
as evidence that he is more interested in critiquing solutions rather
than problems. Whereas stories centered around either revenge motives
or pathologies associated with deprived childhoods tend to produce a
more passive, predictable reaction in the viewer or audience.

David
Mike Jackson
2003-10-21 22:38:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Films *with* martial arts: Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon
And Killer's Kiss was about a boxer as was Kubrick's first short, Day of
the Fight. (I won't comment on DotF because I havent' seen it.)
Neither have I. I kind of like it that way because with it and Fear and
Desire I have two Kubrick films that are always out there, perhaps forever
that will always be new to me. Someday...
Post by David Kirkpatrick
In each of these films the glamor of combat is downplayed and the
brutality and offensiveness (or ridiculousness) of it emphasized in one
way or another. Or to put it less subjectively, the violence is rooted
in realism, not in fantasy. Perhaps Kubrick violence and Tarantino
violence come closest in a comparison of Clockwork Orange and Natural
Born Killers.
Maybe, but I'm not sure that NBK has much of a point. Nothing can get me to
watch that film twice whereas ACO is a Gordian knot of epic proportions that
you can never unravel no matter how many times you watch it. If you clocked
the ultra-violence in ACO with a stopwatch I'd be surprised if it comprised
more than 10% of the films running time, something you can't say about this
other crap.
Well, I do think it has somewhat of a point, about media exploitation,
but it is a fundamentally superficial point. Whereas ACO continually
points back at the center of human nature or the human condition, NBK is
more centrifugal.
I was gonna say merry-go-round, but pray continue...
Post by David Kirkpatrick
What meaning it does have, concerns how things are
falling apart in a society where pop culture and media structures have
no moral center.
Oh, Walter Cronkite, where are you now?
When everything's gone wrong somehow!
Post by David Kirkpatrick
NBK is wall-to-wall violence because it is wall-to-wall fission, whereas ACO
has the fusion of creative and destructive forces at its core.
Are you getting nuclear on my frontal lobe here?
Post by David Kirkpatrick
ACO is a cycle of explosive reaction and repressive reaction, whereas NBK is
more like a spiral of violence (like various revenge stories) that never
invites a calm moment of reflection. At best, it viscerally communicates the
valid message of information overload -- but is this message really necessary
or useful?
Bless you David, you are far too kind. Like I said, crap. I think Woody
Harrelson should stick with the yuk-yuk roles myself.
Post by David Kirkpatrick
I'm led to this hypothesis. Many lesser filmmakers strive for
seriousness by finding ways to express problems, whether social or
existential.
This is colloquially known as going for the "money shot".
Post by David Kirkpatrick
But often the key to a great work of art is that it is an
exploration of a solution, especially a false solution. ACO is more
about the Ludovico technique than the social problems that inspire it;
FMJ is about modern warfare as a proposed solution to ancient problems;
Dr. Strangelove is about the side effects of various problem-solving
strategies such as MAD; 2001 is about problem-solving itself (and all
its side effects): technology and discovery; The Shining is not about
Jack's suffering, but about his deluded strategies for solving his
problems. Barry Lyndon is not about the endemic insecurity in Redmond's
world, although it is often alluded to, but about the dynamics of his
quest for security.
If only Kubrick could have worked some more explosions and gnarly
decapitations in there he would have really done some box office!
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Everyone has a basic awareness of problems that face us in the modern
world; where the real controversies lie is with the proposed solutions
with which we are also acquainted.
All solutions can now be achieved by paying Bechtel and Brown &
Root/Halliburton copious quantities of cash.
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Think of how many films are presented as though they are intended as a cure
for apathy. Then consider how certain great films, such as those by Kubrick,
seem to be posed to curb enthusiasm. Even Dr. Strangelove can be viewed this
way. It's not as though people didn't worry about the Bomb before Dr.
Strangelove; its commonly reported effect was to dehypnotize people from their
own despair. Arguably, its obvious message is to distrust the rationalistic
voices of the establishment, to challenge dehumanized solutions to an
essentially human problem. To look beyond reports of the Bland Corporation.
Fat chance. Please report for assimilation. Resistance is futile and
punishable by indefinite confinement in Guantanamo Bay Re-Education
Facility.
Post by David Kirkpatrick
The fact that Kubrick gives short shrift to backstories might be taken
as evidence that he is more interested in critiquing solutions rather
than problems. Whereas stories centered around either revenge motives
or pathologies associated with deprived childhoods tend to produce a
more passive, predictable reaction in the viewer or audience.
David
They also tend to produce a shitload of money at the box office.
--
"Ninety percent of baseball is half mental."
-- Yogi Berra
Padraig L Henry
2003-10-22 17:06:47 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 21 Oct 2003 17:38:41 -0500, Mike Jackson
Post by Mike Jackson
"Ninety percent of baseball is half mental."
-- Yogi Berra
While the remaining tenth is fifty percent mental.
JW Moore
2003-10-23 21:03:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Jackson
Post by David Kirkpatrick
Post by JeffreyMeyer
Post by Mike Jackson
I'd just like to see one major motion picture for a change that doesn't
involve martial arts, swords, wizards or friggin' time traveling robots for
a change.
Films *with* martial arts: Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon
And Killer's Kiss was about a boxer as was Kubrick's first short, Day of
the Fight. (I won't comment on DotF because I havent' seen it.)
Neither have I. I kind of like it that way because with it and Fear and
Desire I have two Kubrick films that are always out there, perhaps forever
that will always be new to me. Someday...
I recently saw F&D for the first time and ... well, it would have benefitted greatly from
better acting and lowered expectations on my part. Glimpes of greatness, but no more.

~~Jack
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