Quentin Tarentino

I’ve seen two of his movies now - Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Before, I hadn’t. I attacked Kill Bill for looking stupid (which I still believe, but I’ll rent it anyway), and for the most part, I’m not really expecting anything.

I had heard all of this hype surrounding Quentin Tarentino’s work - how incredible he is. And he’s a great director, and a cool actor, but for the most part I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

Reservoir Dogs is a cool and interesting movie. I like watching the events unravel, and the conclusion of the movie is kinda disappointing. Like, I’m not even really sure what happened. I couldn’t tell what was going on, because what you were hearing wasn’t what you were seeing. Like, you’re looking at Mr. White, but I can’t tell if what you’re hearing is going on outside the warehouse or inside.

Pulp Fiction is a better movie, but the ending was a little off kilter. Like, it just ends. There is no real ending, it just ends. It was kind of a let down.

Anyway, I really feel like there’s some mad philosophical insight to these movies that I’ve missed, some deeper reasoning - because that’s just what it feels like. But I missed it. So if someone could explain to me, then that’d be great.

I’m not a huge Tarentino fan, but I have to reccomend Four Rooms as well.

Pulp Fiction is a great movie. I’d write my plot analysis, but I am too tired.

“Four Rooms” isn’t really a Tarentino flick- yeah, he has some writing credits to it, but he didn’t direct it.

“Pulp Fiction” is just supposed to end. To be honest, not much happened in that film, but it’s still great. What do you think is in the suitcase, Sorc? :slight_smile:

Gold, I think. From the glow on peoples faces, that’s all I can really think of.

You gotta think deeper into it then that. :stuck_out_tongue:

My friend somehow tied religion in with Pulp Fiction. I should have him hop on here and describe it sometime (in spoiler tags).

THat it would be his soul in the breifcase? Heard it before.

No I don’t. Nothing in the movie requires me to think deeper into anything, so why should I suddenly have to for one minut aspect of the movie?

Yeah, it’s someone’s soul in the briefcase- that’s what I thought. But it doesn’t matter, really. I’m damned sure it was purposely made so you wouldn’t know. =p

Can somebody say… foot fetish?

oh man I’m so posting in this thread tomorrow when I’m rested.

Tarantino = modern era film god.

What I thought is, that Marsellus is the devil. His combination for his suitcase was 666. When that Miracle happened, Jules saw it as a message from god, and stopped walking on the path of crime. Vincent ignored it, and got killed by Butch. Now the interesting thing is, I think that machine gun is Marsellu’s gun, because when Butch sees him on the streets, he is holding 2 meals, leading to the hint that Marsellus was with Vincent in the appartment, but went to grab some food.

Its hard to understand what made Reservoir Dogs and Pulp fiction so creative back in the day because the things that made them creative have been assimilated into the mainstream. If you look at the dialogue that movies had before Reservoir Dogs, and then look at Reservoir Dogs dialogue, Reservoir Dogs seems groundbreaking. The plot of Pulp Fiction was weird as hell in 1994, I guess, but now its not that out of the ordinary.

As for symbolism or deeper meaning, I really don’t know. My opinion is that its usually fruitless to try to intellectualize the themes of movies; movies make you feel and if they’re really good they make you reflect upon your own life.

As Curtis said, it’s difficult to trace Tarantino’s impact now because his influences have already permeated the current themes of film to an incredible degree. But to pick it apart a little…

There were a number of factors that made Tarantino’s first two films stand out and propel him to the forefront of modern directors on a wave of applause and controversy.

  1. His apparent realism with how he writes characters’ dialogues, the situations they’re placed in, and what they discuss. Jules and Vincent talk about Burger King, Reservoir Dogs opens with an analysis of a pop song. I don’t think any guy can hear Joe talk about how everyone would want to be Mr. Black and not find it hilariously accurate.
  2. His unusual and constant use of profanity and violence in his movies to the point of possible excess; such as RD’s most famous scene where Mr. Blonde tortures the police officer. The graphic nature of his films received a lot of criticsm from some, but for others they help enhance the realism or believability of his works.
  3. Their shoestring budgets. Reservoir Dogs was largely financed by Harvey Keital (as far as I know) and put together for under a million dollars. Pulp Fiction likewise was made for under 5 million or something
  4. His interweaving of pop culture (particularly 70s pop culture) and geek humor into his movies and into innocuous situations (“What is the Fonz!?” “He’s cool.”)
  5. His directing style is heavily influenced by previous great filmmakers, but he is smart and knowledgeable enough to both give nods to his predecessors but also forge his own distinctive style. The fixed camera shots, long shots, steadily increasing faceups, trunk shots, etc etc. He’s known as the movie buff’s director.
  6. His narration style, riddled with flashbacks and out of sequence segments, was also relatively groundbreaking. That has really changed the way modern noir or modern heist movies especially are narrated.
  7. His rags-to-riches tale. Tarantino dropped out of high school and was working at (where else) a video rental store when he sold his script for Reservoir Dogs.

now, what makes Tarantino particularly brilliant are a few other factors. Despite the purported realism of his films, they really are quite absurd. Despite the realism of his dialogue, it’s too quick and snappy and “Tarantinoesque” than how people usually talk. Jules recites extended biblical quotations before capping someone. When Mr. Blonde tortures the officer, it’s to Stealer’s Wheel. Butch goes from baseball bat --> hammer --> chainsaw --> samurai sword. Even the “real” elements of the films are completely unreal. As realistic as the tipping and Madonna discussion is at the beginning of RD, it’s also ridiculous. Ringo and Honey Bunny’s discussion of robbery is both smart and absurd.

Another one is how well and how deeply he sketches his characters. No one is wasted, no one is thrown in purely to move on the plot. You get the feeling from his works that everyone there is a true person, someone with a life of their own apart from whenever they show up on screen. This is done both by either chance uses of flair (Zed, the taxi driver) or through relentless or even passing uses of character development (Jimmy, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blonde). No character is wasted by Tarantino and you get the feeling that he loves all of them.

It’s also important to keep in mind how huge the movies were in terms of advancing other actors. Harvey Keitel was a respected old actor, and Bruce Willis was a superstar giving an “indie” film a try, but otherwise the casts were either new actors, bit players, or has-beens who ended up getting a second shot. Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Buscemi, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, John Travolta, etc.

As for interpretations, the prevailing one for Pulp Fiction is that what was in the suitcase was Marcellus’ soul. The glowing, the bandage on the back of his head, certain veiled comments etc., make it the most prevalent analysis. I think the most important symbolicy info to take from PF is Jules’ final dialogue with Ringo. That’s really the most important metaphysical conclusion in that film; followed closely behind by Butch’s decision to save Marcellus despite having tried to kill him just before. RD is more about people and their inability to trust or work with each other.

But here’s why I like both RD and PF…and Kill Bill and even Jackie Brown too :stuck_out_tongue: The characters are awesome and incredibly human. This isn’t Keyser Soze robbing the jewelry store, it’s people who read comic books as kids, or who like 70s music, or who don’t tip, or who do drugs, or who hate having their car messed up, or who are in love, or who aren’t, or a psychopath, or an informant. Their interactions with each other are incredibly genuine and earnest. And while the movies can feel too postmodern to have any sort of singular meaning or even a purpose to be taken from them, I think there are good points and observations about life and people that can be taken from them.

And most importantly: Tarantino just <b>really</b> knows how to tell a story.