Friday, May 22, 2009
WHY I HATE QUENTIN TARANTINO
PLEASE QUENTIN, ALLOW ME!!
I’ve been taking swipes and Quentin Tarantino pretty much since his career started. I’ll admit I was impressed with Reservoir Dogs but once the Pulp Fiction hype started to consume the world I just lost all interest. Pulp Fiction wasn’t a great movie, it was okay, some it was kind of fun but by and large it was an exercise in being cool as opposed to telling a good story. The more I watched Tarantino in interviews and read about him the less I liked him.
With the upcoming release of his “Inglorious Bastards” movie I’ve been even more revved up about hoping he’ll fail. According to the hack director himself this movie is his crowning achievement, the best movie he’s ever written or directed, some kind of pinnacle of his career. I’m hoping that if it fails miserably he’ll just stop making movies and become a footnote to film history like any other passing trend. With the venom flying so freely many have asked me exactly why I hate Quentin Tarantino. Want to know? Here’s why.
My hatred of Quentin Tarantino is basically two fold. The first part of this is simply that his movies are essentially rip offs of other great films, a fact he largely ignores. To me Tarantino is like a mildly amusing cover band that’s being heralded as the great new savior of rock n roll. He also spends entirely too much time trying to make his movies cool, stylistic and hip, which dates them almost instantly.
Some it dates very obviously such as the dialog flow of Pulp Fiction and some just in feeling like Jackie Brown. Not being able to have an original thought or execute a movie that doesn’t have to be plugged into the “times” makes most of what he does lack any kind of universal feel. He doesn’t communicate anything to the audience except “look how fucking cool I am”.
Let’s start with Reservoir Dogs, which I was always a fan of until I saw City On Fire a Japanese film that came out years before. Tarantino essentially ripped his movie off from that film almost directly. City On Fire focuses on a cop involved in a heist who becomes close with his criminal friends, especially one specific character.
The film’s star Chow Yun Fat plays the cop who doesn’t want to betray his criminal brothers and the film ends with Mexican standoff that Tarantino lifts almost entirely for Reservoir Dogs. Not to mention that the cop torture scene is a rip off of another movie titled The Big Combo. So essentially this movie was a hacked up version and rip off of other films.
When Tarantino was asked about this he said he doesn’t rip movies off, they are an ”homage” to the original. Wow, that’s a pretty cheap copout. “Oh no sir I didn’t counterfeit this money, it’s an homage to real cash”. Tarantino also tried to take some kind of creative credit for the heist never being seen in Reservoir Dogs but the truth came out later that it was simply a budget problem. Even then Tarantino is trying to soak up any and all glory he can deserved or not.
Then came Pulp Fiction, the movie that did more to destroy independent film than just about anything other force out there. Why do I say that, well, I’ll get into that later. First of all Pulp Fiction was heralded as some breakthrough in cinema because….gasp….it was edited out of order. Tarantino did that with Reservoir Dogs and he’s not anywhere near the first to attempt it. People also tried to attach how it had these great adult themes but really it was just a film that made everybody look cool.
Nobody had any depth to their character or any development; they simply strutted around reciting cool dialog. You left the theater not caring about any of the characters in it but mainly reciting lines from it. While there is a place for those kinds of movies for the public (and Tarantino) to try and make it more than it was just became ludicrous. I’ve also left out how clunky, stupid and unnecessary Bruce Willis’s whole part was, it literally stops the film dead in its tracks.
Back to how it crippled independent film. With the arrival of Pulp Fiction Independent Film went from the melting pot of new ideas to a style, a way of doing things that made them “independent”. For years after Pulp Fiction we had to deal with pop culture snappy dialog films featuring a car, a gun, bad guys being funny and shootouts. It was also the start of high profile celebrities wanting to cement their “street cred” by being in these lame movies.
Instead of Tarantino renouncing this as any true fan of underground culture would he embraced his new Coolest Guy We Know status with famous people. Tarantino also managed to kill off Samuel L. Jackson the actor and replaced him with Jules his character from Pulp Fiction. Jackson has been phoning in some variation of that part in all the films he’s done since.
What followed was Jackie Brown, which Tarantino took from Elmore Leonard’s amazing book “Rum Punch”. In true Tarantino fashion he decided he knew how to make it better so he slaughtered, dissected and mouth raped the book in order to try and make his very own blaxploitation movie and it sucked. The movie dragged on endlessly without ever coming to a point. It’s nice when movies have points, I like that a lot.
Tarantino was so busy showing how AWESOME he was for being down with Pam Grier he decided to leave the actual movie making to chance. He also decided to extend his rip off (excuse my homage) trip to include even the credits, which were ripped off the Graduate. Jackie Brown’s name was ripped off of a seventies pulp novel and even the poster was paying….uh…”homage” to Grier’s older films like Coffy.
As if all of that wasn’t bad enough we were then introduced to perhaps the greatest testament to film masturbation I have ever seen: Kill Bill. This was an 84-minute B grade revenge movie stretched out over two films. Yep TWO FUCKING FILMS where nothing went on at all for the entirety of both movies. Call me old fashioned but aren’t samurai assassin revenge flicks supposed to have action in them? Sure the club sword fight and kill scene was cool but mostly this movie was talktalktalktalktalktalktalk. I couldn’t remember if it was a movie or an insurance seminar.
It was also the proof that Tarantino had lost his way entirely when it came to movies. All he could do now was try to make things so over the top you forgot he couldn’t direct worth shit. See a funny thing had happened during this time, independent film had become more personal, more intimate. It was starting to head back to movies about people and stories, neither of which Tarantino is any good at. From the start of the movie where Uma Thurman escapes in a giant yellow and pink car called The Pussy Wagon (yuk yuk) the film does nothing but try to stuff images down your throat so you’ll be too punch drunk to see that nothing is going on here at all.
Along the way Tarantino has put in some decent writing work, I will give him that. True Romance was a great script (though I’d like to know how many changes were made to it) and From Dusk Till Dawn was an interesting script that was mauled by fellow cool-rather-than-talented director Robert Rodriguez. Granted Natural Born Killers was one of the worst scripts ever written and Tarantino’s directing of Deathproof in Grindhouse was so bad I almost wondered if he was awake during the filming.
The next fold to my dislike of this man is his ego, which is out of fuck control. He is so conscious of how everything makes him look, how cool he’s seen by the world that it forces him to believe his own hype. His overly high paced interviews where he laughs at his own jokes and tries to drop a thousand movie references in thirty seconds are douche chilling almost to the point of no return. Anytime anything becomes cool in the eyes of pop culture Tarantino is they’re yelling about how he was always into that.
The Eli Roth era of awful horror movies became popular and Tarantino jumped on that bandwagon. When comic book movies became all the rage he wanted to show how down he was with comics, though in every interview he’s ever done he always talked about he never did anything but watch movies. Not one mention of this love of comics until comic book movies were cool then he was into it to. When he started running around referring to himself as a “geek” I finally got to experience what throwing up in my mouth was all about.
If anybody says anything about him he doesn’t like Tarantino turns into a giant baby. He spits on people, screams at them, threatens them (usually behind much security), he does everything but grab a bottle and lay on the ground crying. His ego is such that all he does is calculate how to make himself look cooler all the time. He’s counter public opinion if it’s cool to be counter public opinion e.g. his rant on how awesome Britney Spears is. He couldn’t even pick a pop star with actual pipes; he just grabbed who ever was on the cover of US Weekly.
He constantly drops the names of who he hangs out with, who thinks he’s a genius and then he adds this vomitous false humility that’s nearly too much to bear. Tarantino is the loser with no social skills who does the popular crowds homework so he can run with them. That would be fine if he didn’t keep trying to play this “I’m so underground” game. Everything about him is so fake and so calculated I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d been built in the basement of the major movie studios as their pretend rebel.
Which brings me to Inglorious Bastards. First of all it’s a rip off…..dammit, forgot, an homage….to a 1978 Italian movie of the same name. In that movie soldiers battle Nazis, in Tarantino’s version soldiers battle Nazis but in a different way. The best is that while the structure and bones of his movie are lifted straight from another film he won’t shut up about how hard this script was to write and how it’s the absolute best thing he’s ever done.
That’s like being able to color inside the lines and then hold the picture up and brag about what you’ve drawn. It makes no sense. Plus, and I know this is petty, but did you see him dancing around the red carpet at Canne? If that doesn’t prove that this guy’s entire life is to try and be super cool I don’t know what does.
Tarantino is a charlatan, a trickster. Everything he does is smoke and mirrors. He’s so in love with his own voice he doesn’t shut up and his own writing to the point that scenes in his films go on forever and ever and ever. He is the perfect idol for the new Hater generation where if you point out anything negative about a celebrity you’re just a “hater”.
Using that ideology Tarantino has managed to wedge himself into an area that allows for nothing but hero worship. The guy is a leech, sponging off popular opinion and pop culture and then trying to regurgitate it as his own work. Tarantino can’t write a film, he has to create an event. Essentially he’s a human marketing campaign who brings new meaning to the words “Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain”.
That is why I hate Quentin Tarantino.