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Tarantino is Wasting His Talent

April 13, 2007

Mark Harris, of Entertainment Weekly, has written a great column about how Quentin Tarantino has been making homages to bad movies not many people really liked–or watched–for going on a decade and a half now. I couldn’t agree more; Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are masterpieces but everything after (I’ll exclude Grindhouse, because I haven’t seen it yet) has been of dubious quality. The movies are too long, the dialogue needs serious editing, the storytelling isn’t remotely as tight, well-paced and inventive as his first two films. Worst of all, he seems to have completely lost the knack for creating believable characters. His movies aren’t about people anymore; they’re about B-movie cliches, and while that might be entertaining, it makes it hard to care.

My favorite line from Harris’ column?

His fixation on 1970s subgenres has now lasted longer than the 1970s themselves.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. bro permalink
    April 13, 2007 8:35 pm

    I wont try to defend the indefensible (i.e. Jackie Brown) but I stand by Kill Bill 1. It’s a terrific action movie, and the fight staging and cinematography are astounding. Maybe it doesnt have any characters as memorable as Jules or Mr. Blonde, or the clever dialogue of Dogs and Fictions, but the fight scenes and various character intro sequences more than make up for it. Kill Bill 2 was necessarily padded (and suffers for it) since there was only originally supposed to be one movie, but I’d be interested in seeing his original vision. It seems to me you and Mr. Harris are being a little harsh, since Tarantino has only directed 3 1/2 films since the two masterpieces.

  2. April 14, 2007 6:09 am

    True enough, but those first two films gave a glimpse of such an enormous talent that one can’t help but be disappointed by the films that have followed. If we didn’t think he was a once-in-a-generation kind of directorial talent, potentially on the level of Coppola or Hitchcock, we wouldn’t be complaining about his more recent movies. Luckily, directors often keep their sharpness well into their 60s so Tarantino has several decades to cement his reputation. (Although, by the same age, Scorsese had made Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and Raging Bull, and Coppola had made both Godfathers, The Conversation and Apocalypse Now, so Tarantino better get busy.)

  3. April 15, 2007 6:34 pm

    The best thing about “Grindhouse” is the fake coming attractions, which (as far as I know) weren’t directed by Tarantino or Rodriguez. So, for me, it’s another Tarantino disappointment.

  4. bro permalink
    April 16, 2007 7:31 pm

    I just saw Grindhouse, it certainly does not go in the masterpiece column, but i’m happy to say it’s not another jackie brown. That being said, I can fairly safely say that I will never see Grindhouse again, because as enjoyable as it was, there was absolutely no substance in either half. Certainly that’s intended, but still does not lead to repeat viewings. Perhaps it would make a difference if I (or based on the disappointing box office, the movie-going public,) were more familiar with the crappy zombie or car movies they’re referencing.

  5. May 13, 2007 6:53 pm

    I agree with “bro”. I loved Kill Bill, and for someone who had never seen a Tarrantino film, I was admittedly dubious. But, I will say, it made such an impact on me that I went out and rented Pulp Fiction and Resevoir Dogs. I won’t say – as some would – that he is the greatest american film maker, but I did love that particular set of films (KB 1 and 2).

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