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Agree or Disagree?

Paul O'Brien:

I'd never heard of a grindhouse before, and nor have most other people. With scratches, missing reels, fake trailers and other assorted gimmickry, Tarantino and Rodriguez have produced a nostalgic tribute to something for which virtually nobody has any nostalgia, outside the most hardcore film geeks. You can't sell a film on that basis.

Tarantino's always been big on film references, or the outright recycling of ideas from other people's films. But in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, he uses them to tell a story. The references and homages in those films are never allowed to overshadow the main point of the film. They're either easter eggs, or source material where Tarantino has found a good plot point or storytelling idea that he decides to recycle. This is fine.

Kill Bill, on the other hand, I have real trouble with. It's still got a lot going for it, but watching that film, I'm left with the impression that Quentin Tarantino wants to show me his video collection for three hours, and he's going to hit me repeatedly with a sledgehammer until I agree that it's just fantastic. Kill Bill isn't much good, judged as a story. It doesn't have the great dialogue of the earlier films. It works as a visual spectacle, but that's about it, unless you find the mere quoting of films to be an absolutely thrilling way to spend an evening. I don't much like it.

Grindhouse sounds alarmingly like more of the same, only much, much worse. I can't honestly say I've got the slightest interest in seeing it. He got away with this once with Kill Bill, but gimmicky homages are a dead end in the long run.

By fnord12 | April 30, 2007, 1:53 PM | Movies


i think paul o'brien's losing it.

First up, Mr. O'Brien isn't taking into account that Kill Bill is a martial arts movie. Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and Reservoir Dogs are all crime drama. In crime drama the story is set up through the dialogue and is punctuated by scenes of graphic violence. On the other hand, snappy dialogue is never a main component of martial arts movies.

Secondly, it goes too far to say that Kill Bill has no plot. There is a plot, its just very simple. If you want to check out what a movie with no plot looks like, rent "House of 1000 Corpses". Actually, I can't even make that claim, because the movie starts out with a plot but just degrades into random acts of violence and mayhem.

Kill Bill is about "The Bride" and her quest for vengeance upon her former squad of deadly assassins and their leader, Bill. You don't really need much more than that.

Lastly, I make it a point not to comment too much on films I haven't seen. I can tell you 2 things about Grindhouse. First and foremost, Tarantino and Rodriguez missed one important aspect of grind house type movies: they're cheap. "Grindhouse" cost about $53 million to make, and had to have scratches and sound errors digitally edited in to get the effect they were looking for. They should have just bought an old camera and shot with whatever crappy film they found. It also helps if you cast B-movie actors who work for peanuts. Take a page from Roger Corman: The only movie he ever lost money on was the movie he did because he wanted it to be artistic and spent too much money on.

Secondly, my sources say that "Deathproof" performs what I'd like to call a "plot loop". A good example is Olaf Ittenbach's "House of Blood", where the plot is complete at the half way point in the movie, so they introduce a new cast of characters and do it all over again. I'll have to watch the movie to see if this is true, but it�s a sad, sad day when anyone replicates something from an Olaf Ittenbach movie.

Oh, and for anyone who doesn't know, Olaf Ittenbach is Uwe Boll's evil less talented sidekick. Yeesh!

on behalf of martial arts movies, i protest your claim that they have no snappy dialogue.

i can't think of any examples now, but i recall laughing at the way things are phrased all the time.

The best I've got off the top of my head is Jim Kelly's line from Enter the Dragon.

"Man, you come right outta a comic book."

Then Han killed him.

there's your problem right there. you're watching american martial arts movies. watch the chinese ones. those are snappy.

I have. It turns out that Jet Li is one of the funniest people on the planet when given a chance. I've also seen bits of "The Five Deadly Venoms" and a handful of other foreign martial arts films.

Unfortunately, my interests always stray back to horror movies. Like "Rinne" or "Reincarnation", one of the recent Horrorfest movies. You'd like it. There's a scene where a girl is attacked in some library stacks by ghosts.

I've got pictures of it, if you want to see. ^o^