Thursday, September 20, 2007

One of us is an idiot

I recently sat through the latest Quentin Tarantino film, Death Proof, which was released as part of a double feature called Grindhouse initially, but for some reason has shown up on DVD a full month before its twin.

As I sat there, narrowing my eyes at yet another of his scenes in which characters yammer on and on in ways which do not in any way advance the plot, and only illuminate character in such a way as to tell you that Mr. Tarantino believes they are the embodiment of his definition of cool, I realized something:

One of us, Mr. Tarantino or myself, is an idiot.

I should say straight off the bat that I am perfectly willing to believe that the idiot is me. I, after all, do not have legions of fans and millions of dollars. People do not throw money at me to pursue my dreams.

So it may very well be that I am the idiot, unable to comprehend with my tiny mind the subtleties of Mr. Tarantino's work. Perhaps there are intricate things going on that I just fail to catch.

It is a little hard to find oneself idiotic from your own point of view, however, so rather than simply conceding defeat, I shall explore the possibility that it is not me.

I detect a pattern in his films, a diminishing return. Reservoir Dogs was good, Pulp Fiction slightly less so, and on and on for more than a decade until I find myself watching two hours of Kurt Russell as a man who kills attractive women with his tricked-out stunt car for no apparent reason whatsoever. The attractive women have seemingly endless stretches of time that they fill with meandering dialog. This takes up most of the two sections of the film. Kurt Russell appears in the rest, and sometimes joins in on the yammering.

Maybe I'm just growing soft. Stylized violence for its own sake does nothing for me. And all the "cool" dialog just serves to remind me that I am watching a film about people who I would not like very much, who do not seem real to me. Even people who behave like his characters in real life do not seem real to me.

Still, assuming for a moment that Mr. Tarantino is the idiot among us, he is not entirely without his talents. He makes a nice mix tape, for example. Perhaps he could do this professionally?


Graeme K Talboys said...

It's not you that's the idiot. I've always thought him a talentless hack. The only thing he seems to do well is persuade others to part with money and fawn over his execrable movies.

Lazy Perfectionista said...

I saw him on a talk show last week, and thought he is probably in need of some meditation and introspection (to put it politely). No grown-up should get THAT excited and shouty about everything.

Unknown said...

I will agree on the Reservoir Dogs and Pulp count and after that will happily join the idiot club. Kill Bill - twice? Oh please.
Wasn't there some other grotesque thing as well - Dusk til Dawn?

No, rest easy Mr Moon, Tarantino is a twit with a funny mouth.

Reading the Signs said...

I've never been able to watch any of his films, Mr. Moon, because of having a bit of an allergy to the violence. Good to see that perhaps I haven't been missing out too much.

Rick said...

Hmm... a small philosophical quibble: even if the entire population of the world hated Tarantino's films, it wouldn't logically follow that he was an idiot. The same goes, by the way, even if it could be objectively ascertained that Tarantino's films were all shit. Oh, and ditto for anyone who doesn't like or "get" his movies--they're not necessarily idiots either (i.e. if it could somehow be objectively proven that, say, his movies were art of the highest order).

Personally, I think it's his dialogue that makes the early movies interesting, but ruins Kill Bill. I haven't seen the latest.

Unknown said...

Frankly, I've never found a need to watch movies portraying the twisted nature of humanity - I see it all around me everyday. The idiots are the ones who lap up Tarantino's brew of insanity.

The Moon Topples said...

Kyklops: True enough, the things you say. Of course there is no objective standard for the use of the word idiocy either. I just know that I was sitting there watching the film and I felt that either I was, or he was, and this is was I presented.

Unknown said...

Well the review on Radio 4 for this movie was even more damning than yours Maht. In anycase, the moral of the story seems to be buy the soundtrack and ignore the film. Oooh, oooh and ooh, have you seen the trailer for the Dark Knight? No, I'm not in the least bit excited at all. I'm calm, calm ...

Taffiny said...

I think I saw pulp fiction. Stylized and violent is all I can remember (and dancing, I think).

My concern, is that I feel this way about so many movies (like you, I just don't get it) (I feel bored and restless while they are on, not lost, transfixed, entertained) (so many have characters now a days that I do not like. Who act in ways I find unbelievable, illogical). As a wannabe writer, and a person who has always loved stories, I find this very disconcerting, extremely upsetting. Have I fallen out of love with the medium, or do all the movies I have seen as of late, just s*ck?

They are as you say, a good way to find music. I am relieved from regret, over wasted time and money, as I go to itunes and hit download. Finding songs that seem to carry more content, more feeling, and atmosphere than the movies which I heard them in.