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Tarantino vs. "Tarantino-esque."


#1

Hey folks. I’m a huge Tarantino fan. I’m also an aspiring film critic. I reviewed Joe Carnahan’s film “Smokin’ Aces” on my website, and in the review I discussed the difference between Tarantino and “Tarantino-esque.” If you’re interested, please visit my website when you get a chance. It’s called heyallright.com. You can click this link http://www.heyallright.com/Moviereviews.html



Here’s to Quentin Tarantino. Can’t wait for Grind House.



-Theo


#2

QT has a certain style and personality and when other people try to adapt it, its doesnt always come off well. QT is a post modern auteur, so when modern filmmakers (his contemporaries) try to do scenes like him or adapt his methods it just makes their stuff so obsolete and forgettable. At least it is to me. I just get turned off by it. I think its because it shows that Hollywood at its core is so small minded, that they have to glob onto whatever is seen to be the coolest and regurgitate it over and over. Also See: Remakes


#3

Matthew Fox’s character was far from the only likeable character in the movie! What about Jason Bateman and Jeremy Piven?


#4

I think it’s easy for someone to get ideas from Tarantinos movies. Not just because they’re “catchy”, but because they work.


#5

Stuntman, thanks for checking out my article. In response to your post, the Jason Bateman scene was the only scene in the movie that made me laugh. But I thought it was an absurd character, and I thought Piven was an absurd character also. Absurd is OK if the movie is funny, but this movie wasn’t funny to me, in spite of how hard it tried. The thing about Tarantino, his assassins and gangsters behave like real people. Think about Jules and Vince. They just happen to be gangsters. Otherwise, they’re totally normal dudes. Matthew Fox’s character was the only person in Smokin Aces that seemed like a real person. Otherwise the movie tried too hard to be off the wall. That’s my opinion, anyway. Thanks for your feedback, and thanks for checking out my article.


#6

You do have some good points, but I dont think that Piven’s character was absurd at all. Why do you think it is so absurd?

I read your other articles too, I like getting other peoples opinion on movies;)


#7

Stuntman thanks. That’s very cool of you to check out all my reviews. I’ll do my best to explain why I didn’t believe in Piven’s character. I don’t think the filmmakers really illustrated how he got away with being so abusive with everyone around him. They almost did. There’s a scene where he’s trying to convince his bodyguard that he’s got the situation under control, that he’s essentially an illusionist, making everyone see what he wants them to see. If he had succeeded, in that scene, in convincing the bodyguard, his character would have made more sense. But all he did in this movie was fail. He was pathetic, which doesn’t jive with how much power he had throughout the film. I liken him to Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode 1. That movie is awful for a lot of reasons, but one reason is that the villain, Darth Maul, doesn’t do anything. He looks mean. But he doesn’t go around exerting force on the movie. Compare him to Darth Vader in the original Star Wars. Vader goes around choking people and scaring the heck out of everyone in the movie. Now that’s a real villain. So in Smokin Aces, I think it would have been a much better movie if Piven had gone around manipulating people (successfully.) It would have made him a much more formidable character, and it would have made more sense to me that all these other people allow him to be so abusive. Anyway, that’s my opinion.


#8

Well I haven’t seen Smokin’ Aces, though I will at some point I’m sure. But going back to the original question (Tarantino vs. “Tarantino-esque”) its a mixed bag. A blessing and a curse. On the one hand Tarantino’s films have inspired people to mix things up a bit in their films, not break the usual rules and conventions of film, on the other hand people just copy his style. Badly.



Oh that reminds me, friend and I was in a shop looking for a drum kit, when I spotted this-







Its a poor quality pic I know, but the film is called Rain Dogs- it was about the ‘perfect’ crime gone wrong. Even the logo was similar. This hasn’t much to do with this topic I remebered seeing it and had to post it.



This if anything is inspiring to me, this guy who made Rain Dogs, got a review in The Times and the film was SHIT. For some of us on this site thats gotta be a good sign, it means we get can reach similar heights, only with a GOOD film.



Yayness.


#9

You can’t beat the original.


#10

Little late to this party but what the hell. I happen to have just seen Smokin’ Aces. Not bad. Not sure how Tarantinoesque it is, but I have some thoughts on the subject.



From the first time I saw Pulp Fiction and the buzz went into full swing, I’ve felt at odds with most Tarantino fans. They have always dwelled on the violence, the nonlinearness, the bad language, and the pop culture references. These things may have been popularized by QT, but they are far from the main interest in his movies. I think understanding Tarantino and his approach to genre takes understanding the difference between characters and plot. Cliche, yeah. But true.



For one, most post modern movies that try to ape Tarantino - movies about the genre; movies that reference themselves - result in cold clockwork. Smokin’ Aces is an example. The humanity has been left out of these movies for the most part, and the emotion, if present at all, is written as symbol. By that I mean the emotion is cliche - an image of the real thing but not the real thing. Tarantino does the opposite. Though his movies rely heavily on the trappings of the genre and even the genre types, QT’s one focus of realism is in the behavior of the characters. So when you journey through Vincent Vega’s story - truly the oldest story in the book - you are presented with genuine emotion. The situation is unlikely, but if it did happen, this is what it would be like to be in it. Most filmmakers give you the EFFECT or the EVENT. Tarantino skips over the EVENT and gives you the reaction - the emotion.



This approach also seems to inform the structure. An example is how Vincent Vega receives information necessary to the story and how we the audience receive it. The information comes as it does in life, through an anecdote, AFTER Vincent has agreed to go on the date. We find out when Vincent finds out that perhaps he shouldn’t have agreed to take the boss’s wife out on the town. A Tarantino imitator would have shown the story being told to Vincent, invoking the ever-present “show-don’t-tell” rule.



Lastly, QT’s approach dictates how events unfold. It’s easy to imagine how a lesser storyteller would get Butch back in his apartment to get his watch. Imagine a life-or-death movie situation where Butch has to get back to the apartment by such and such a time or a bomb goes off. Tarantino makes the situation emotionally real by making the situation real. Butch has this girlfriend who he told to get the important items from the apartment, and she forgot! Why? Because they haven’t been together that long and because reminding her simply slipped his mind. It happens.


#11

Sooo… you liked Smokin’ Aces, right?


#12

Sure, I liked it. I just thought it was a pretty cold movie. That said, as a mechanical movie, it worked pretty well. I was like, “All these hitpeople are on a collision course. Collide already!”