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How to Defend Quentin Tarantino

What critics who attack the director's borrowings miss

And let's not ignore Tarantino's many talents that constitute actual directing. I love his always-confident, never intrusive camerawork; his pacing, which allows scenes time to breathe without losing momentum; his uncanny ear for music. In recent years, he has revealed an aptitude for expertly staged and choreographed action sequences. And did you ever notice the 20-year trail of great performances he has coaxed from undervalued or forgotten actors? Career bests for everybody from John Travolta to Pam Grier to Chris Tucker. He turned character actors like Steve Buscemi and Samuel L. Jackson into household names. He made icons out of an Austrian actor previously unknown in the U.S., and even the dad from Free Willy. He knows how to pick those guys and how to bring out the best in them.

Where'd he get all that from? City on Fire?

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17 comments
Harmonica
Harmonica

You are no more creative for referencing these rip-off's background as Tarantino is for effectively implementing. Nowhere did you address his lack of creativity or his non-contribution to ANY genre of film, besides "sampling".

You ripped-off Brian de Palma's storytelling technique in Femme Fatale... 


dshkflsdgs
dshkflsdgs

Fuck you ALL!! DJANGO FUCKING RULES BITCHES!! I just saw it, it was FUCKING AWESOME!! One of the best movies EVER since KILL BILL AND PULP FICTION AND RESERVOIR DOGS OMG SO AWESOME!!1 HE DESERVES OSCAR!!

JPMcMahon
JPMcMahon

Tarantino proved that he could make a pretty great straight narrative film adapted from a literary source; 'Jackie Brown' from Elmore Leonard's 'Rum Punch'. I know that it has elements of blaxploitation films in it, but Leonard thought it was the best adaptation of any of his novels ever made. But Tarantino obviously isn't interested in making that kind of movie now. Is it so bad that he is making movies that have favorite elements that he is basically sharing with other film buffs that like the same kind of stuff that he does? Or, like white blues musicians in the 60s and 70s, that he is encouraging others to go seek out the original source material? I haven't seen D'jango yet, but in 'Inglorious Basterds', I think that Tarantino even went a step further in his cinephilia and snuck a crypto-documentary about the Nazi film industry into the movie. That, and the scene set in the fucking basement cafe are kind of what he is all about. The long scene with the card game with the soldiers, SS man, Basterds, and movie star was better than the wild, brutal gun fight that ended it. Fascinating, long set pieces of dialogue, and movie references, punctuated by  violence. That's his style, and I'll take it over the other crap out there any day.

Skyrim22
Skyrim22

Basically, he gives wannabe filmmakers hope that if they steal all the right moments from other movies, they too can make a movie!

He makes crusty critics who are too full of themselves to recognize their own stink feel young and hip and clever and relevant again.  It's just silly tripe.

f_abdic
f_abdic

Why defend him? He made three really good movies - his first three--
even if they're mostly collage/pastiche/re-interpretation, but they had
some new clever angle to it -- and then he made crap that got
attention because of his reputation-- but he did make a lot of money.
And it's still better than 'Taken 2,' which made more money than any of
his movies -- future will tell how he will be remembered (and many of
those films he has  referenced/borrowed/quoted from as well).

Binkconn
Binkconn

Who cares who he steals from? What about Django barely rising above the level of a particulary chatty episode of the Dukes of Hazzard? Crap.

Turtletub
Turtletub

Not really sure I agree with this.  Borrowing versus rip off is a
matter of degree and intent.  An homage tends to be intentional.  An
"influence" can be unintentional.  Some of the examples given were
"influenced" by the stylistics of past films but not necessarily
intended to be an homage.  If intentional, an homage can either be done
to pay respect to what came before, to use the familiar in a new context
and thereby create meaning, or simply to borrow its style.  When an
homage is done simply to borrow style, it teeters on a lack of
originality.  But some individuals like Tarantino take the 'homaging" to
a degree where many times it's just done, not to add meaning, not to
make a comment on cinema itself, but simply because it's expected or it
can make the moment -- "cool."   David's use of Christ's arm from "La
Pieta" in "The Death of Marat" is an homage to Michelangelo, to give
meaning to Marat as a "Christ type."  But David's style is still his
own.  Tarantino is not really an auteur -- he's a pop parodist.  And in
this sense, he's not original either -- parodying the careers of
Godard/Suzuki as well as their styles.  His parodying would work even
less in a culture that was familiar with his references BEFORE his
movies come out.  I have been a Django fan since the 60s, and I
tried hard to get people to watch the 66 original (I love Italian
directors from the 60s) after "Kill Bill" but everyone was caught up on
Tarantino's constant referral to "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" as
his favorite spaghetti western to take this seriously.  Then "Django
Unchained" come out and suddenly, everyone's an expert on Corbucci
(though they haven't seen his other films).   What intrigues me about
this is that I found the use of Corbucci's score to be offensive (even
with Nero making a cameo) because that score is iconic and specific to
"Django" and I'm such a fan of the original that it was jarring.
However, most Tarantino fans don't care because they see it as "hip and
cool"  But how would you feel if an Italian director used "The Star
Wars" theme as his theme for an Italian space opera?  And how would you
feel if the director got away with it because everyone thinks he's
"cool"?If American audiences and critics were more familiar with
his sources, they'd probably see his work as that of a pop cartoonist,
similar to Simpsons writers... and they'd probably get tired of it
sooner.  Unfortunately his work at this point and his style are getting
sillier and sillier (and I'm a Tarantino fan), and the community of film
critics have grown soft and easy on Tarantino for all the wrong
reasons.  Tarantino's movies can best be summarized by a line of his own dialogue -- they are wax museums with a pulse.

voxpop80
voxpop80

WOW, Vern..that's tellin' 'em.

timmyrobot
timmyrobot

@CesarPelli - I have been reading Vern's reviews for well over 10 years, and he often references his life before he started writing, so I'm pretty sure he's older than 20.

And Vern is in no way saying that new stuff is better than old stuff.  He is simply and specifically saying that Tarantino's stuff is often better than the films he is referencing.  I definitely agree with that - Tarantino has a way of imbuing a "genre piece" with real characters that elevate any silliness and give the film real depth, whether the story is crazy or not.  He is a master filmmaker that wears his influences on his sleeve but doesn't let them override his own unique and awesome voice.

But that's just my opinion.

Anyways, Vern's not 20.


CesarPelli
CesarPelli

I really love lectures from 20-year-olds on why contemporary culture is really so much better than the old stuff. This is an argument designed to flatter the ignorant and I'm sure it will be met with widespread approval and huzzahs.

joeybot
joeybot

@Skyrim22 Wow, it's almost like you didn't read the article.  

So are you a frustrated filmmaker/writer, becauseI ususlly find them to be the whiniest when it comes to Tarantino.

JPMcMahon
JPMcMahon

The Great Silence! Klaus and QT would have been a match made in heaven. 

joeybot
joeybot

@CesarPelli So to sum up your argument, "I'm old and bitter and I'm positive I'm so much smarter than everyone else."

studiesincrap
studiesincrap topcommenter

@CesarPelli Perhaps you might enjoy some lectures on reading comprehension, because you sure as shit displayed none of that here. 


emob
emob

@CesarPelli Congratulations to completely and utterly missing the point.

 

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