January 3, 2013

In defense of Quentin Tarantino

You hear endlessly about how the movie director is obsessed with low-budget 1970s junk films, but his default cinematographic style is old-fashioned classic, with a big budget Golden Age of Hollywood sheen. Many of his films look like Victor Fleming directed them, with David O. Selznick sending a flurry of memos to make sure the set looks perfect. 

Tarantino would have been a fine director of Technicolor films, which required a heavy three-strip camera and bright lighting. Tarantino likes to find the single best spot to place his camera and then leave it there. He's not exceptionally good at either moving the camera or at choreographing movement in front of the camera, but his camera is always planted pointing in just the right direction. 

No shaky-cam for Quentin. Not much grainy video, either. He interpolates a number of cheesy-looking segments, but his default look is grand.

He likes bright sunshine and rich colors. He's one of the few contemporary directors who doesn't believe that dark themes require dark palettes.

He likes nice scenery for the sake of nice scenery. In Texas, his German hero announces: We'll go north to the mountains for the winter and then we'll go to Mississippi after the snow melts (which he repeats three times because everything is repeated in the movie). So, then you see the cowboys picturesquely wandering around on horseback in six feet of snow with the sun rising on the Grand Tetons. 

Why not go to Mississippi in the winter and Wyoming after the snow melts? Wouldn't that be easier on the horses?

Because it looks nicer that way:

Like a late 1930s director, Tarantino figures the canyon country northwest of L.A. makes a reasonable substitute for just about anywhere that snow isn't required. Thus, the incredibly bad scene late in Django Unchained with Quentin, looking awful, doing a cameo as an idiot with -- for no apparent reason -- an Australian accent. It's supposed to be set in the mountains of Mississippi, but L.A. area viewers will be debating whether that's Malibu Canyon or Placerita Canyon standing in for America's least canyonish state. In either canyon, you can be sure of bright sunshine most days other than late spring, and, in the final analysis, isn't that what truly matters?

Tarantino's 1997 film Jackie Brown was the turning point in his career. It made a nice profit on its modest budget, and was well regarded, especially by those who hadn't much liked Pulp Fiction. He then turned his back, however, on making mature movies.

I have a vague theory that his lack of affection for Jackie Brown has to do with it being unspectacular looking. Tarantino did a good job of capturing what the South Bay area of L.A. looks like in spring -- soft and unthreatening, with some marine layer haze muting the sunshine, and a lot of fairly pleasant but mundane sprawl to look at. There's a running joke in the movie that the scary behavior of the characters isn't in accord with the mild-looking setting. The movie opens with a song about the mean streets of Harlem, but much of the action takes place in the Del Amo Fashion Center mall in Torrance.

But, Tarantino is not in business to make realistic-looking movies, he's in business to make movie-looking movies.

Encyclopedist David Thomson remarks somewhere that movie stills have more power to colonize the imagination than actual movie footage because the mind remembers still images better than moving images. Tarantino is one of the great creators of glamorous pictures, even if he's not all that at moving pictures.

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you see Kevin Drum's new article blaming lead for the 80s crime epidemic?

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

MQ said...

It's interesting that you mention Jackie Brown, because I always thought that movie was pretty clearly his best movie. It's really the only movie with mature, fully realized characters who interact in ways that aren't violent cartoons. It's very telling that he doesn't like it because he's never done anything so good again.

I guess you would have to put Pulp Fiction second even though it contained a number of Tarantino affectations that later became irritating, because it is just a spectacular tour de force. He hadn't gone full cartoon then yet either, although he was flirting with it he still had an authentic quality to his work.

Anonymous said...

He shows the upward mobility in the movie business. Non wealthy young man with no connections working a crummy job gets to become world famous and wealthy based on nothing but talent and grit

elvisd said...


"Mountains of Mississippi"?? You're not thinking of our flood levees, are you, Steve?

Thursday said...

Tarantino is still a great craftsman, but only his first two movies will last. Jackie Brown is boring and all the rest are cheap exploitation movies with great production values.

Ariston said...

Tarantino's comments on The Passion of the Christ are notable, here:

"I loved it. I’ll tell you why. I think it actually is one of the most brilliant visual storytelling movies I’ve seen since the talkies — as far as telling a story via pictures. So much so that when I was watching this movie, I turned to a friend and said, “This is such a Herculean leap of Mel Gibson’s talent. I think divine intervention might be part of it.” I cannot believe that Mel Gibson directed it. Not personally Mel Gibson — I mean, Braveheart was great. I mean, I can’t believe any actor made that movie. This is like the most visual movie by an actor since Charles Laughton made The Night of the Hunter. No, this is 15 times more visual than that. It has the power of a silent movie. And I was amazed by the fact that it was able to mix all these different tones. At first, this is going to be the most realistic version of the Jesus story — you have to decipher the Latin and Aramaic. Then it throws that away at a certain point and gives you this grandiose religious image. Goddamn, that’s good direction! It is pretty violent, I must say. At a certain point, it was like a Takashi Miike film. It got so fucked up it was funny. At one point, my friend and I, we just started laughing. I was into the seriousness of the story, of course, but in the crucifixion scene, when they turned the cross over, you had to laugh."

Anonymous said...

"He's not exceptionally good at either moving the camera or at choreographing movement in front of the camera, but his camera is always planted pointing in just the right direction."

KILL BILL was a mess. And Tarantino is just copying past masters. Even Ron Howard can do that.

Chief Seattle said...

Jackie Brown is a great film for showing regular people in so cal at a certain time in the early nineties. The plot is decent, but the real charm is just the easy, almost naive, carefree living. Thats been slipping away for a long time now. I didn't notice it much at all the last few times I visited.

Anonymous said...

Crackie Brown was mature? rotfl.

Steve Sailer said...

The Gibson-Tarantino connectons are pretty evident, with, I think, more influence flowing from Gibson to Tarantino.

Auntie Analogue said...


"David Thomson remarks...that movie stills have more power to colonize the imagination than actual movie footage because the mind remembers still images better than moving images."

I'm not sure that Thomson is correct here, as there's no way to control the variables for such a hypothesis.

Back in the days of Hollywood epics, gorgeous books, chock full of glossy color and B&W stills from the film you just paid to see, also peppered with production stills devoted to the making of the epics, were sold in theatre lobbies. I had several such books (long gone now) and I can still recall some of the stills in them (some of which, to my surprise, showed up in some of these films' DVD special features) - but I can also recall vividly many moving images in the films themselves. Each time I now see a film that I enjoyed many years ago (sometimes four or five decades past), I'm astonished at how accurate they prove my visual memory of moving images to have been over the intervening years (I also recall snips of dialogue, though fewer of them and not as accurately as my recall of moving images).

I must say that I've disliked every Tarantino movie I've seen. To me Tarantino is a twelve year-old who never grew up, never matured beyond admiration for the lurid splash of comic book covers and panels. His onanism, his sort of whee!-see-my-ejaculation! sensationalism has always put me off.

Anonymous said...

Encyclopedist David Thomson remarks somewhere that movie stills have more power to colonize the imagination than actual movie footage

"What united them in deep spiritual kinship was their utter and absolute rejection of their pasts and their equally absolute devotion to their new country....something drove the young Hollywood Jews to a ferocious, even pathological, embrace of America. Something drove them to deny whatever they had been before settling here" (p. 4). Gabler believes that these Jewish leaders "colonized the American imagination" (p. 7). Over time, their films embodied American values; the irony is that they were made by people alienated from that culture. As Gabler concludes, "the Jews reinvented the country in the image of their fiction" (p. 7).

http://www.amazon.com/Empire-Their-Own-Invented-Hollywood/dp/0385265573

Anonymous said...

Derek Brown

I'm not sure mr. Sailer. Braveheart was released after Resevoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Whereas to my mind the Passion and Apocolypto could be evidence of some serious Tarantino influence on Gibson. This seems especially evident when you consider that Braveheart, which was a pretty gory movie, pales in comparison to Passion and Apocalypto.

The real difference is that Gibson's films are explicitly idealistic or at least non-nihilistic. Even Apocalypto which could have been nihilistic is "saved" at the end by the suggestion that the providential Spaniards. An analogy for Tarantino and Gibson might be Schopenhaeur and Nietzsche. Interestingly, in both cases the "nihilist" of the pair was of healthier mind than the idealist.


Really if you want to argue for Mel Gibson's influence in Hollywood, an interesting one might by Sasha Baron Cohen. Mel Gibson's blatant Anglophobia (Gallipoli, The Patriot etc.) could have been the precursor to SBC's ethnic score settling. But that is just spitballing I have nothing to back it up.

As an aside: I hate stuff like this but, when the Scotsmen gets hit in the butt with the arrow after mooning the Brits that is QT avant la lettre.

Anonymous said...

The most interesting thing about Tarantino, that no one ever mentions, is the fact that he is fascinated with the martial arts and martial artists and yet has never engaged in the martial arts himself.

His "Kill Bill" films are tributes to cheap martial arts flicks from the 1970s and early 1980s. The best part of his film is his depiction of Bai Mei, considered the greatest Kung Fu grandmaster ever(founder of Eagle Claw kung fu). He depicts Bai Mei as he is described by historical sources. He was capriciously malevolent, possesed of many vanities and affectations and a volatile temper, and a cold-blooded killer. He did kill dozens of people with his bare hands. So Tarantino did a great job there. Except that the real Bai Mei lived in the 10th century and thus would not be available to give Kung Fu lessons, and would never take a woman as a student.

Anyway, once Tarantino was a guest with Jean-Claude Van Damme, who is a genuine Shotokan karate black belt and a former kickboxer who won more than 20 bouts, on a talk show and JCVD invited Taratino to a friendly sparing session since he knew that Tarantino likes the martial arts. Well, Taratino became visibly TERRIFIED and declined the inviation. It was understandable since JCVD invited him right after talking aobut the fighting exploits of his youth and showing the audience several scars he had in his face from laerations and broken bonés.

I don't understand why the men who are the most fascinated by macho displays of dominance and power tend to be the most physically cowardly of men. Taratino made all those films worhipping fighters, but when he finally got the opportunity to engage in the real thing, he became pale with fear. What a wuss.

Anonymous said...

"Encyclopedist David Thomson remarks somewhere that movie stills have more power to colonize the imagination than actual movie footage because the mind remembers still images better than moving images."

This is BS and likely due to the fact that Thomson grew up relying on books with film stills. But this was no longer the case once videos became a reality.

But I know where he's coming from. When I really got interested in film as art around 1882-83, a lot of films I wanted to see weren't around. I relied on books and still images of certain films were seared into my mind, and I sort of imagined the rest of the film from those stills. Needless to say, I was disappointed when I finally saw some of the films. It's impossible to tell a film is good from stills as every film has some outstanding shots.
I saw the stills of WEEKEND(Godard), JULIET OF THE SPIRITS, and BRING ME GARCIA'S HEAD and expected masterpieces. They were much less that what I had assumed, hoped.

Also, Thomson came of age when movies were constructed more statically, as if block by block, shot by shot, image by image.
Since many shots were static and solid, one could imagine them to be a series of images. One could see a photo-play book of a John Ford movie and get the gist of it.

But motion, flow, rhythm, and 'beat' became more central with the rise of Spielberg and his generation. Seeing a photoplay book of RAIDERS would be pointless. Though RAIDERS has many well-composed shots, its magic is in the musicality of the image wedded to sound effects.

Today, Spielberg's style seems classic compared to all the staccato rhythmic editing in movies like GLADIATOR and BOURNE movies. But Spielberg contributed to this as well with SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the style of which is employed in every action film.





Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure mr. Sailer. Braveheart was released after Resevoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Whereas to my mind the Passion and Apocolypto could be evidence of some serious Tarantino influence on Gibson."

Tarantino doesn't owe much to Gibson.

His main influences are Leone, Woo, Godard, Wong Kar Wai, Seijun Suzuki, Fuller, Scorsese, etc. In a way, he's like a debased version of Kon Ichikawa. Ickikawa was pomo before pomo. Versatile, irreverent, perverse, mischievous, etc. But he was also one of the greatest masters ever and highly sophisticated.

Nothing Tarry did has done can come near this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh6iHHCEBto

-------

Suzuki was maybe the greatest b-movie director:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tccE1fB1nFk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45jzeIecakg

--------------

Some great b-thrillers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuQ4b_fI0Ro

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhTbyQkNfEE

Anonymous said...

I don't see any reason to suppose a Gibson-Tarantino influence or the converse. I wish to read more specifics. Maybe Steve can make another post out of that.

Anonymous said...

Did you see Kevin Drum's new article blaming lead for the 80s crime epidemic?

That's an interesting article in light of Razib Khan's posting from today and Steven Pinker's book on violence...

What do you think, Steve?

dana said...

regarding the power and beauty of movie still--for any film fans who haven't seen this yet--a stunning collection of slightly animated movie still gifs i could look at forever:

http://iwdrm.tumblr.com/

Anonymous said...

i absolutely loved pulp & dogs.

killbill was a letdown and the abefoxmangoespostal movie was just awful. so awful i dont plan on seeing django.

Anonymous said...

Other than the great dialog, the thing I always loved most about Tarantino's movies was the ambiance. It's this wonderful amalgamation of various motifs of 50's/60's/70's pop-culture condensed into an undeniably American setting. Mid-Century Modern architecture, muscle cars, surf music, Elvis, drive-ins, diners, desert highways a la Route 66, etc. The first time I saw Pulp Fiction, my friends and I weren't really sure whether the movie was taking place in the 1990's or the 1960's? But if a restaurant like "Jack Rabbit Slim's" really existed, I'd eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there every day. It's like a Cramps album come to life... hosted by Joe Bob Briggs. It made me pine for an America that was gone before I was born, and probably never existed..... at least not simultaneously.

I think he hit his peak with "Grindhouse". I have never felt like I've gotten my money's worth from a trip to the multiplex more so than when I spent 4 hours watching this masterpiece with all of the fake trailers, classic 70's drive-in snack bar commercials and assorted retro-awesomosity. Unfortunately, it didn't make a lot of money. This came as no surprise, since I've never understood why anyone other than me and a handful of other retrophiles even like his movies.

I didn't like "Inglorious Basterds", because it took place in Europe and was entirely devoid of comprehensive retro America. I had hoped that by making that movie, he'd forever be in the good graces of his "Hollywood overlords", and then he'd be free to make glorious drive-in shlock for the rest of his life. That said, I'm really not excited about "Django". I'll wait 'til it comes out on DVD.... at the library.

Power Child said...

That's good stuff, Steve.

It's worth noting that Tarantino's also surrounded himself with an impressive crew. Quickly culling the IMDB "crew" listing, Django's DP Robert Richardson, production designer J. Michael Riva, and most of the post production keys have jaw-dropping resumes. All would have each contributed a lot, creatively, to the film's look.

Anonymous said...

"Tarantino’s favorites have always been middle-aged movie tough guys.

You mean baby boomers, the last demographic that is still movie oriented in its tastes. Anyone under 30 needs to understand the characters in Tarantino movies are bogus and not in a Hollywood movie magic sort of way. It is not just Tarantino, the movie Goodfellas featured a middle aged if not older Joe Pesci playing Tommy DeSimone who died at age 29. Actually the whole Sopranos thing was directed at middle aged Italian and other white middle managers. Today Italian Americans are really not tuff unless they are cops and then only because the government assigned them a badge and gun.

Anonymous said...

...regular people in so cal at a certain time in the early nineties... the real charm is just the easy, almost naive, carefree living. Thats been slipping away for a long time now. I didn't notice it much at all the last few times I visited...

Yeah, I crossed paths with that classical diner/luncheon/siesta* culture in SoCal.

[Also the old-school Eisenhower (Mad Men) era department stores (a look and feel upon which Nordstrom tried to base their brand), with lots of late Art Deco architecture and elevator doormen and acres and acres of perfume and jewelry and shiny glass and mirrors.]

Part of what made Pulp Fiction so jarring was the hold-up scene which interrupted that lazy luncheon/siesta feeling in the diner.

Fast forward two decades, and it's really hard to imagine how the old SoCal diner culture could have withstood the collapse in White fertility rates and the onslaught of the reconquista.



*When I say "siesta" - in the old days, there were legions of [otherwise perfectly self-sufficient] folks in SoCal who didn't seem to do anything for a living - they always seemed to have plenty of spare time to hang out in a booth at a diner, shooting the breeze and sipping on a cup of coffee and chewing some toast & scrambled eggs at the weirdest times of the day.

Almost as if they were intentionally thumbing their noses at the very idea of a "9-to-5" lifestyle.

Don't ask me how they were making their money though - but maybe that's just what a culture fueled by pervasive small business enterprises looks like [or looked like, back before the elites declared war on normal people] - folks working when they wanted to, and lounging in the diner when they wanted to, and taking a stroll on the beach [or a hike in the hills] when they wanted to.

Anonymous said...

In an earlier era in Hollywood I guess Tarantino would have been a well respected director but would have kept his odd fetishes almost entirely in the closet. That hypothetical supports the argument in favour of a more repressive cultural climate. Tarantino might have made better films if he'd kept that darker part of himself to himself.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Really if you want to argue for Mel Gibson's influence in Hollywood, an interesting one might by Sasha Baron Cohen. Mel Gibson's blatant Anglophobia (Gallipoli, The Patriot etc.) could have been the precursor to SBC's ethnic score settling."

What about Gibson casting a Jewish actor (Jason Isaacs) as the malevolent British officer in The Patriot? X2?

"When I really got interested in film as art around 1882-83, a lot of films I wanted to see weren't around."

How old are you?

"Today, Spielberg's style seems classic compared to all the staccato rhythmic editing in movies like GLADIATOR and BOURNE movies. But Spielberg contributed to this as well with SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the style of which is employed in every action film."

Spielberg was doing innovative stuff with action editing way long before Saving Private Ryan. Check out 1971's The Duel.

Anonymous said...

russia unchained

Hubert R. McDuffie said...

Tarantino's movies are boring, simple-minded, politically-correct drive-in trash. Apart from Pulp Fiction, which I really liked, none of his movies have been worth sitting through. Tarantino is essentially a moron making movies to impress other morons.

Londoner said...

I don't know whether (sadly retired) New York music critic Mark Prindle is known to any iStevers, but his scathing review of one of King Crimson's more tedious records ends with:

"Let me say one thing in Robert Fripp's defense.

Nah, screw him. He's a douchebag."

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6abZMrwMpI

Class-based gangster revenge tale. Prole gangster takes on aristo-gangsters.

Anonymous said...

The mountains of Missisippi?

What mountains?

Anonymous said...

"It's interesting that you mention Jackie Brown, because I always thought that movie was pretty clearly his best movie."

RD is his best.

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=11429

Anonymous said...

"Tarantino's comments on The Passion of the Christ are notable, here:"

In a nutshell, it's excessive. A crucifixploitation film.

Anonymous said...

Passion of Christ.

Giberation Theology.

Londoner said...

Anonymous at 12:05 - "after mooning the Brits"

You mean the English.'Brits' encompasses English and Scots, not that it's a term that would have had any currency or relevance in the 13th century anyway.

Anonymous said...

"You hear endlessly about how the movie director is obsessed with low-budget 1970s junk films, but his default cinematographic style is old-fashioned classic, with a big budget Golden Age of Hollywood sheen."

Yes, but Tarantino isn't doing this because he is brilliant and has figured out cinematography for himself. The recipe has already been invented and highly trained technicians do most of the work. And all this sheen is for nothing since the resulting movie sucks, sucks, sucks! He thrives because the mode of the movie going public, as Steve has already pointed out, is an illiterate (Hispanic) teenage male who likes action, violence, and slang dialog. And Tarantino slips it all past the corporate media critics by choosing his bad guys according to PC principals. A violent video game is infinitely more entertaining than a QT movie.

jody said...

killing white people is not acceptable, not in real life. but in art, it's okay, it's allowed because of the White sin of slavery.

Anonymous said...

Thursday said, "Tarantino is still a great craftsman, but only his first two movies will last. Jackie Brown is boring..."

As most of the posters here agree, Jackie Brown is Tarantino's only mature work, and it is the one that will last. The first two seemed fresh and exciting when they came out but don't hold up well. They now seem flashy and empty and mean - but of course that would appeal to a callow cad like you lol.

Anonymous said...

Garbage in ,garbage out!

Anonymous said...

"but in art, it's okay, it's allowed because of the White sin of slavery."

No, that's just an excuse. After all, whites can also be credited for ending slavery.

What it really comes down to is WHO CONTROLS THE MEDIA?

After all, why did the US government no nothing about Israel's oppression of Palestinians but bomb the hell out of Serbia over Kosovo? Serbs can't mistreat Albanians but Jews can mistreat Pallies.
And why did we support NATO bombing of Gaddafi but turn a blind eye to violence in Bahrain?

In the past, whites had more power, and Jews were respectful of that power. And so, Jewish Hollywood wasn't harshly critical of slavery. Jews made GONE WITH THE WIND, a lush valentine to the Old South. And Jews funded all those Westerns were Indians are killed.
And we have all those movies where Muslims are killed all over the place.

And there was a time when 'black savagery' was excuse enough to kill a whole bunch of them.

As a child, I got a kick out of watching ZULU where whites kill a bunch of blacks. Later, my dad told me about nasty British Imperialism, and in middle school, I was rooting for the blacks to kill the whites when I saw it again.
Now, I'm rooting for the whites again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1csr0dxalpI

(I must say BLACK HAWK DOWN was almost like a remake of ZULU. I was thinking... how did they get away with this? I guess it's okay as long as they're Muslim blacks. And the killing of the nasty Indian in Mann's LAST OF THE MOHICANS was one of the most intense use of violence in recent times. And Mann's movie with Tom Cruise was like cool badass Last of the White Man taking on multi-culti America. He shoots not only whites but a whole bunch of browns, yellows, and even kills a Jazz negro.)

Anonymous said...

Maybe Tarantino movies are all revenge of the zombie movies. In zombie movies, it's okay to hack, shoot, or blow up any numbers of zombies in whatever manner possible since they're supposed to be dead.

Tarantino is like a moral zombie making movies where moral zombies kill people.

Anonymous said...

killing white people is not acceptable, not in real life. but in art, it's okay, it's allowed because of the White sin of slavery.

And the Holocaust...

Anon87 said...

OT: But related to a common Steve theme:

Bill James on Clubhouse Confidential, with the awesome Brian Kenny. What I was hoping would make it on MLB.com was the previous few minutes, where James is asked about steroids and he basically says "no one knew or could have guessed". This segment occurs after that discussion, where James says Bonds is out of the HoF for now, but shockingly and inconsistently says Clemens is in. There is a pause where Kenny I think has to compose himself and is trying to pick his words nicely because I suspect he is shocked as well.

James on Clubhouse Confidential

DaveinHackensack said...

"(I must say BLACK HAWK DOWN was almost like a remake of ZULU. I was thinking... how did they get away with this?"

Zulu is a fantastic movie, about probably the most heroic small unit action in the history of the British Army. That the Zulus were black and the British white isn't terribly relevant; the Brits also fought whites in South Africa (the Boers).

Black Hawk Down is a relentlessly depressing movie that, while technically well-filmed (effects and so on) wastes an all-star cast and doesn't do justice to Mark Bowden's book. Bowden explains the folly of the mission creep in Somalia and gives you a sense of how daunting it was to rapidly organize a relief force out of the Star Wars Cantina of UN forces; the movie doesn't really do either. It's just lots of shooting and shockingly realistic gore, and then it's over.

"And the killing of the nasty Indian in Mann's LAST OF THE MOHICANS was one of the most intense use of violence in recent times."

By another Indian. The last 20 minutes or so of Last of the Mohicans was spectacular -- hardly any dialogue, just action, violence, vengeance, and loss. BTW, the actor who played the "nasty Indian" as you call him also appeared as one of the cops in Michael Mann's Heat.

Anonymous said...

"By another Indian."

By a handsome 'Aryan'-looking Indian who is like a brother to a white guy. He tries to save the white woman from the UGLY and nasty Indian. It's like white indian saving white woman from indian indian.

Paul Mendez said...

Encyclopedist David Thomson remarks somewhere that movie stills have more power to colonize the imagination than actual movie footage because the mind remembers still images better than moving images.

35 years later, when I try to remember the faces of people I went to college with, it seems I can only remember them clearly if I've seen them in a photo. Even if I saw the photo 35 years ago, too.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

I don't understand why the men who are the most fascinated by macho displays of dominance and power tend to be the most physically cowardly of men. Taratino made all those films worhipping fighters, but when he finally got the opportunity to engage in the real thing, he became pale with fear. What a wuss.

This happens all over the place and in lots more significant ways than with a degenerate movie director.

Start with your national leadership, both left and right, following the neo-con prescriptions for world domination, but almost utterly devoid of military experience amongst its members.

The chickenhawk syndrome has been with us forever. But only recently has it become a virtue and true manhood a vice.

As to the topic thread, I don't see why anyone lets a nickel of their hard earned money go to anything related to Hollywood.

MQ said...

in the old days, there were legions of [otherwise perfectly self-sufficient] folks in SoCal who didn't seem to do anything for a living - they always seemed to have plenty of spare time to hang out in a booth at a diner, shooting the breeze and sipping on a cup of coffee and chewing some toast & scrambled eggs at the weirdest times of the day.

"The Big Lebowski" is of course a great movie about SoCal in the early 90s and the 'no visible means of support' phenomenon...although the shadow of capitalist rapacity falls across it in the form of the other Lebowski, who ironically turns out to be a deadbeat as well.

Anonymous said...

"You hear endlessly about how the movie director is obsessed with low-budget 1970s junk films"

He likes them as raw materials to work with. It's like how 60s rockers created elaborate music by drawing inspiration from cruder forms.

Crude/raw works may sometimes be more promising because they can be fine-cut into gems. They can be made into just about anything, which is why godard loved hollyood b films. He could rework and reimagine them as he chose.

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_01/final_2012_results042198.php

DaveinHackensack said...

"By a handsome 'Aryan'-looking Indian who is like a brother to a white guy. He tries to save the white woman from the UGLY and nasty Indian. It's like white indian saving white woman from indian indian."

"Aryan-looking"? You mean Nordic? I dunno about that. Anyhow, here's the handsome young Indian you're thinking of, Uncas, played by Eric Schweig. Problem is, he's not the one who kills the bad Indian, Magua, played by Wes Studi. He tries to, and kills a handful of Magua's men, but Magua kills him. The good Indian who kills Magua is Uncas's father Chingachgook (left), played by Russell Means.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Start with your national leadership, both left and right, following the neo-con prescriptions for world domination, but almost utterly devoid of military experience amongst its members."

What about John McCain?

Jason Hops said...

So, Tarantino makes a movie about slaughtering Whites, whom he portrays as Evil, and the review talks about how pretty the scenes were?

Steve isn't lying when he says race doesn't mean much to him. You can slaughter Whites in film (as a prelude to ...) and he just notices the color schemes.

Whiskey said...

Believe me, there are no mountains in Mississippi. It's at best, rolling hills in the northern part of the state, quite pretty and perhaps even beautiful, but nothing like California. Not at all.

Tarantino is a miserable director because he cannot tell a story. Not even a little bit. Consider Pulp Fiction. What a mess.

I was told for years it was awesome, finally saw it, and was unimpressed. The movie relies totally on bravura performances by John Travolta and to a lesser extent, Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames, with Samuel L. Jackson doing his usual tired schtick (which at that point was not so old and tired).

Compare/contrast the time-skewing stuff in say, "the Limey" or "Memento," both films that like Pulp Fiction played around with time and sequence and flashbacks, and the story and characterization are much, much stronger.

Tarantino basically relies on casting. He's like Joss Whedon, whom he resembles -- cast the most charismatic actors you can find (and LA is loaded with them) and write some pop-reference stuff, and hope its "cool enough" to attract fans.

[Tarantino had apparently some patronage help, he did not get where he was on his own, just as Parker and Stone from South Park had a videotape passed around and championed by stars like Clooney to get their first gig at Comedy Central.]

Re Tarantino and violence. The late actor Charles Durning was once asked about it, and his quote was something along the lines of the real thing doesn't look impressive but feels terrifying. Given that he survived the Malmedy massacre and was one of the few in his glider unit to survive, fighting his way back to the beach at Normandy, he would know. Bruce Lee, a man who personally fought guys in real, non-tournament fights, (and figured his techniques then were not good enough to end them quickly) also felt that the real thing did not look spectacular on film.

However, it has been a dictum that if you want peace, prepare for war. No country or man who has been weak has ever survived on his own save protection from someone or something stronger. You can be wise or foolish about violence, but you can no more abolish it and profitably embrace pacifism than you can "diversity" and multicultural utopias. That's just human nature.

David said...

>Encyclopedist David Thomson<

Don't put that nut in the same category as Diderot. "Movie critic" or "culture writer" would be more accurate. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide is not an anthology.

Anonymous said...

"Problem is, he's not the one who kills the bad Indian, Magua, played by Wes Studi."

You're right. It's his pa who done killed Mugly. But before Nordindian got killed by Mugly, he killed a bunch of Mugly's men to save the girl. And Chief Daniel Day Lewis killed a bunch of Indians too.

In fact, most of the violence in the movie is about Hawkeye and the good indians killing bad indians to save white folks.

Anonymous said...

In the Charlie Rose interview, Tarantino sounds so boring, so PC, like he's teacher's pet in history class where kids are assigned to read Howard Zinn.
He's a phony.

Anonymous said...

baumy is right about actor's revenge.

http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=9088

gumm unchained said...

Perfect title for Tarry's new movie.

TRUE SHIT.

Anonymous said...

Ugly, Ugly, and the Ugly.

Anonymous said...

Bronanza

Anonymous said...

Jarmusch was there first with Ghost Frog and Dead Man(bad movie but great ending).

Anonymous said...

Also the old-school Eisenhower (Mad Men) era department stores (a look and feel upon which Nordstrom tried to base their brand), with lots of late Art Deco architecture and elevator doormen and acres and acres of perfume and jewelry and shiny glass and mirrors.

Bullock's, I Magnin, The Broadway - walking into one of those stores was like stepping into a time machine and being instantly transported back into your grandparents' era.

I'm telling you - Nordstrom is riding a desperate tsunami of Boomer longing for anything that can help them [even just for a few precious minutes] to pretend that they have been whisked away to a better, more hopeful, more whiteopian zeitgeist.

Steve Sailer said...

"Nordstrom is riding a desperate tsunami of Boomer longing for anything that can help them [even just for a few precious minutes] to pretend that they have been whisked away to a better, more hopeful, more whiteopian zeitgeist."

In Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, Joaquin Phoenix works for awhile in a department store in 1949 that's just a dream.

Anonymous said...

Tarantino lost me (forever) in the trailer when it became clear he was calling a major character Broomhilda.

Anonymous said...

"So, Tarantino makes a movie about slaughtering Whites, whom he portrays as Evil, and the review talks about how pretty the scenes were?"

I wonder if Sailer is spoofing gays. Gays would notice such things while ignoring all else. Though Tarry isn't gay, he is gayish in a way. And his films after RD have a lot of windowdressing.

As for the violence, there's a lot of who-whom-ho-hum here.
If this movie had been about a white guy wronged by other whites, and the white guy killed a whole bunch of whites, would we care? It's an issue because a black guy is killing whites.
Personally, I was offended by all those movies where good white Americans killed all those evil white Russians in Hollywood movies of the 90s.

Anonymous said...

I liked "Death Proof." I like 70's B-movies and Death Proof was the perfect carsploitation flick. Same with "Kill Bill" and the various genres it samples. They're great homages, and the shots are, as Steve said, beautifully set up. I'd even go so far as to say that "Basterds" wasn't that bad, when viewed purely as an homage, not a story.

But sadly, that's all Quentin's good at. "Pulp Fiction," his least homage-y flick to date was just violent, pretentious noise. I'd expect his new one is similar.

Truth said...

"I was told for years it was awesome, finally saw it, and was unimpressed. The movie relies totally on bravura performances by John Travolta and to a lesser extent, Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames, with Samuel L. Jackson doing his usual tired schtick"

LOL, Jackson's "schtick" was tired in 1994, but Travolta's wasn't?

ben tillman said...

Believe me, there are no mountains in Mississippi. It's at best, rolling hills in the northern part of the state, quite pretty and perhaps even beautiful, but nothing like California. Not at all.


The state's high point is like 850 feet, so you are right.

Nostalgic Futurist said...

The film is pretty bad, worse than I thought, very caricatural and not that interesting. It's sad, because for a director that idolized Sergio Leone, I would have expected Tarantino at least to make a good spaghetti western.

Unfortunately, Tarantino is no Sergio Leone.

I agree with those who said that Jackie Brown is his best film. Or maybe not his best film, but at least the only one that has something close to real characters and some human warmth to it.

Pulp Fiction seemed original at the time, but I'm not sure it holds up well today. Kill Bill had a few good scenes but was too long.

Mr. Anon said...

"DaveinHackensack said...

Spielberg was doing innovative stuff with action editing way long before Saving Private Ryan. Check out 1971's The Duel."

"The Duel" was a neat little movie. Very well made. Spielberg made some magnificent movies in the 70s - Jaws, Close Encounters - then seemed to throw his talent away in the 80s with all those kid movies (save Raiders, which was good), then came back in the 90s as a master craftsman of film, which I suppose he had always been. I'll generally watch anything he directs, even his weaker efforts like "Munich", simply for the pleasure of watching a well made movie.

Marc B said...

"Other than the great dialog, the thing I always loved most about Tarantino's movies was the ambiance. It's this wonderful amalgamation of various motifs of 50's/60's/70's pop-culture condensed into an undeniably American setting. It's like a Cramps album come to life..."

That has always been my favorite thing about early Tarantino films as well. Too bad it was all for affectation. Apparently, he has no appreciation for the values of early 20th century America, just it's "lines". Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, which I missed when it was on TV, were also influencing the popularity in the aesthetics of my favorite era long before Mad Men.

I found the same thing was true of scenesters during retro rock explosion that emerged in the mid-1990's that I suspect Pulp Fiction had some influence in reviving. Unfortunately, most participants were already too far indoctrinated by Leftism to do more than play dress up and blast some cool riffs with vintage gear. Still was a great time, just not a tribe interested in the revival of traditionalism I yearned for.

It's always a good day in the Sailerhood when the Cramps and Mark Prindle's site are mentioned in the same thread.

Anonymous said...

A couple of comments:

Arm chair martial artists are extremely common among a lot of the young men I've known. As actual physical fighting among young white men has declined due to stricter rules on bullying and white parents' increasing distaste for any kind of violence we've seen a huge upsurge in cartoonishly violent movies, video games etc.

The few physical fights I have seen in person have not been cinematic. Ironically, dramatic movies and love stories are likelier to have realistic looking fist fights because idealizing the violence to the point of dance choreography isn't essential to the plot.

I also agree with everyone who says that Quentin is an arrested 12 year old. He is the Peter Pan of the modern era, obsessed with cartoonish violence and buckets of blood with little to no imaginative interest in women.

Gloria

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9ekc-CX4zA

Another KILL THE RUSSIANS movie. I'll bet it won't mention that many 'Russian' crime figures have been Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Anon sed:
No, that's just an excuse. After all, whites can also be credited for ending slavery.



Slavery was officially outlawed when protestant politicians managed to overcome resistance in the British parliament. This fits since the British were the main proponents and benefactors of slavery in the modern era. Of course many parasites made a lot of money on the side, but slavery could only exist because it was politically sanctioned by a major power. So it was up to that power to end the immorality of its actions, which then also put the other benefactors out of business.

All civilization developments during the last 2000 years come from Christianity. It does not suit many people, but it is a fact. Where Christianity is rooted out through state policies, aggression by other religions or media-induced social decay, the result is resurgence of barbarism.

BEER said...

Whiskey sez:
1. Tarantino is a miserable director

2. However, it has been a dictum that if you want peace, prepare for war.


From Whiskey's rant I can conclude 2 things:
-Tarantino is not Jewish
-Whiskey turns a piece on directing into agitprop for Neocon militarism. Of course if everyone follows his advice we end up with an arms race. But as long as Israel and to a lesser extent the US are militarist he is OK with that. THe sheer unabashed ethnocentrism of that mentality is astounding.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I was offended by all those movies where good white Americans killed all those evil white Russians in Hollywood movies of the 90s.

I wasn't. They were traitors to their race, including the human race too. The only ones I have any sympathy for were the ones "just following orders" rather than true card-carrying commie rats. This applies to real life as well as the screen.

Anonymous said...

Quentin Tarantino obviously has a genetic disorder leading to malformation of the face. I'm guessing Crouzon Syndrome. This syndrome is associated with learning disabilities.

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1280034-overview

Jeff said...

"Other than the great dialog, the thing I always loved most about Tarantino's movies was the ambiance. It's this wonderful amalgamation of various motifs of 50's/60's/70's pop-culture condensed into an undeniably American setting. Mid-Century Modern architecture, muscle cars, surf music, Elvis, drive-ins, diners, desert highways a la Route 66, etc. The first time I saw Pulp Fiction, my friends and I weren't really sure whether the movie was taking place in the 1990's or the 1960's? But if a restaurant like "Jack Rabbit Slim's" really existed, I'd eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there every day. It's like a Cramps album come to life... hosted by Joe Bob Briggs. It made me pine for an America that was gone before I was born, and probably never existed..... at least not simultaneously."

I've never been able to put my finger on why I enjoy his films so much until I read that paragraph. Creating that "ambience" takes a lot of genius and hard work.

Mr. Anon said...

"Whiskey said...

Believe me, there are no mountains in Mississippi."

I think Steve knows that already. His mention of said mountains was intended facetiously.

Mr. Anon said...

"Hubert R. McDuffie said...

Tarantino's movies are boring, simple-minded, politically-correct drive-in trash. Apart from Pulp Fiction, which I really liked, none of his movies have been worth sitting through. Tarantino is essentially a moron making movies to impress other morons."

Well said. Pulp Fiction was a well made movie. Wholly imoral, but well made. As for the rest of his "oevre", Tarantino just seems to be not-very-bright clod, interested in style over substance, who peddles degenerate trash.

I had once heard that he got into directing because he wanted to be an actor. Nobody else would cast him in a role because he is an unphotogenic, oafish, stupid, unpleasant creep (although, admittedly, that hasn't hurt Jack Black's career). But he could cast himself in his own movies.

Steve Sailer said...

"Ironically, dramatic movies and love stories are likelier to have realistic looking fist fights because idealizing the violence to the point of dance choreography isn't essential to the plot."

The fist fight between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in "Bridget Jones" is particularly realistic. Both of them are winded after 30 seconds and neither one has much of a plan for how to fight or ability execute his plan if he had one.

Anonymous said...

"Believe me, there are no mountains in Mississippi."

But isn't there a mountain-sized Negro who wuvs a wittle white mouse?

Anonymous said...

"I wasn't. They were traitors to their race, including the human race too. The only ones I have any sympathy for were the ones "just following orders" rather than true card-carrying commie rats. This applies to real life as well as the screen."

You moron!! I said of the 90s!!!
I can understand anti-Russian hostility during the Cold War.
But communism was over, and Russians were no longer enemies. But Hollywood made every Russian out to be some gangster thug who should be blown away. (It never seemed to mention that many Russian gangsters were actually Jewish.)

Anonymous said...

In a way, Tarantino is undermining liberalism.

WWII, Holocaust, and Slavery used to be sacred subjects to be treated with sobriety and respect.
Tarantino has southparked and Howardsterned them into circus clown acts that can made fun of, mocked, postmodernized, MTV-ized, and etc.

I mean did anyone hate Hitler in IB? He was like a funny looney tunes character.
And the killing of Jews in the beginning part of the film was like Spaghetti westerns meets Bugs Bunny.

It's almost like Mel Gibson's INQUISITION number.

Anonymous said...

In other words, Tarantino is de-sacralizing the sacred cows of Jews, blacks, and liberals.

He's allowed to make his crazy movies because he makes PC claims--and I'm sure he believes them--, but what kind of anti-slavery movie has any value when kids are cracking up at n-words and seeing history as some kind of cartoon?

Anonymous said...

Kill Bill

Smite White

Anonymous said...

In fairness Truth I think part of the praise Travolta got for Pulp Fiction was that he developed a new schitck. Which he promptly wore out in Face Off.

Anonymous said...

Because Russia post cold war was a gangster state which tends to lead to a lot of gangsters congregating there. You Russophiles should try being Catholic that would give you something to really be sensitive about. What is the depiction of your average American on Moscow tv.

Anonymous said...

"Because Russia post cold war was a gangster state which tends to lead to a lot of gangsters congregating there."

Do they hurt Americans? Why the animus?

Besides, there are plenty of Jewish crooks and gangsters in Israel, so why don't we have movies where Jews are killed by the bushel?

And Africa has tons of mass murderers. So, why doesn't Hollywood feature black villains who should be blown away?

My beef is not with negative depiction of bad Russians. It's with using Russians as dehumanized target practice. Since so many white Americans love to see white Russians as subhuman scum to be blown away, why complain when white Americans are blown away by blacks.

Btw, isn't it funny that Jews are funding both anti-russian and anti-white-american movies?

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

But Hollywood made every Russian out to be some gangster thug who should be blown away. (It never seemed to mention that many Russian gangsters were actually Jewish.)"

Sssshhhh. We are supposed to pretend not to notice that.

Anonymous said...

Mark B, it sounds like we had very similar experiences in the mid-90's. Every now and then, after enough alcohol, I' d hear a rockabilly chick, surf guitarist or hot rod enthusiast say something espousing radical traditionalism or race realism. They were too few and far between. The ones I' m still in contact with seem to have been mugged by reality, which was probably inevitable. Regardless, I believe I could drink high balls with you, sir. Maybe we should save a seat for Jeff, and the ghost of Lux Interior.

TGGP said...

Is comment moderation actually enabled? Because judging by the urls, anonymous 9:51 just linked to porn. Possibly gay porn.

TGGP said...

Also, I was ready to jump in defense of Fripp/King Crimson but I see that the review was for "Beat". I couldn't remember a single song from that album if you asked.

Anonymous said...

"This fits since the British were the main proponents and benefactors of slavery in the modern era."

Nope. (Points at Brazil)

The initiators, main proponents and main beneficiaries of slavery came out of Portugal but weren't Portuguese.

They were the same people who ran the slave trade in both captured Europeans and Africans for the Arab rulers of Spain and after the reconquista fled a revenge-seeking inquisition to Portugal where they first set up slave plantations on the Portuguese-owned islands along the west coast of Africa, then later Brazil and the Spanish colonies in Latin America then finally to Jamaica and Rhode Island where the slave markets were closed on their religious holidays.

Big lies.

Anonymous said...

"Also the old-school Eisenhower (Mad Men) era department stores (a look and feel upon which Nordstrom tried to base their brand), with lots of late Art Deco architecture and elevator doormen and acres and acres of perfume and jewelry and shiny glass and mirrors.

Bullock's, I Magnin, The Broadway - walking into one of those stores was like stepping into a time machine and being instantly transported back into your grandparents' era.

I'm telling you - Nordstrom is riding a desperate tsunami of Boomer longing for anything that can help them [even just for a few precious minutes] to pretend that they have been whisked away to a better, more hopeful, more whiteopian zeitgeist."



If that's true....then why did that generation deliberately( With help from the previous generation as well ) destroy all that was around,and any hope of it surviving to the future, in the 1960s and '70s,with all the hallucinogenic drugs,everything Hippie,turning colleges into Hate Whitey centers,Race Quotas,demonize everything White of their parents-grandparents,etc,generations, anti-White movies,etc,etc? You can't destroy such a past, then expect it to be there for the future!!!!