Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Direct Me, Please

Well, at least Steve Buscemi made it out alive. I don't exactly know why, but Reservoir Dogs wasn't really my cup of tea. Even though I've thought about it all week, I still can't put my finger on what about the film didn't appeal to my tastes. Perhaps it was the excessive violence, the crudeness, or the drawn out discussions about nothing that matters. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't find any of the characters relatable or likeable. Who knows, it could be a combination of all these factors--which I usually don't mind in a film--in a way that didn't strike me as cool.

I think one big thing that alienates me from most of Quentin Tarantino's work is that he and I don't really share the same idea of cool. As we see in Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino has an uber-masculine outlook on cool, with all of his big cars and big guns and big talking characters. It's all very in-your-face and violent, with loads of pop culture thrown in somewhat arbitrarily. Tarantino took a lot of things he thought were cool, from music to styles to ways of killing of characters, but I didn't really relate to much of it. I do have to give Tarantino his props for his new and stylistically cool direction style, but I think that like M. Night Shyamalan, he should leave the writing for someone else to do. Shyamalan isn't a direct comparison, as his films are absolutely nothing like Tarantino's and I tend to like his earlier work better (with Tarantino I would rather watch his later films), but I think his direction style is much better than his writing. He is also another director that should stay the hell out of his own movies. Seriously, QT and MNS, you are much better behind the camera, believe me.

I also tend to compare Tarantino to another writing and directing powerhouse: the duo that made their name big in the 1990s, Joel and Ethan Coen. The Coens, like Tarantino, have made their names synonymous to some with a few of their more macho flicks like Fargo and The Big Labowski, both of which are favorites of mine. These movies also use a lot of violence and can get pretty crude in places, but I found the writing both entertaining and shocking, which I didn't really get in Reservoir Dogs.

Maybe it's just a matter of personal preference, but I think that Quentin Tarantino and I will have to agree to disagree on our views of cool, at least for now.

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