I swear i'll be writing more in 2014

Monday, September 12, 2011

Will Tarantino Ever Make Another Pure Drama?

Maybe the appropriate question is "Should", but my quick answer to that question would be yes, so let me address this one. 

When QT (and I use QT not to sound like some douche movie-hipster who feels like he's boys with a director he's never come close to meeting and never will, but because it's much easier to write than his full name) broke through with Reservoir Dogs, he wasn't the same director he is today.  Like all first timers, he had to prove himself.  What he created was his best pure film because at that point, it would've been quite campy to use the gimmicks he uses nowadays.  He wanted to prove he could make a great crime drama and didn't disappoint.  What made his film stand out so well was his dialogue, something he's been great at his entire career.   The great dialogue was in fact the "gimmick" but it was so well done it could hardly be considered as such. 

By the time he broke through to the mainstream film fan with Pulp Fiction, he had no problems with gimmicky film making.  I won't point out the examples because it's been done to death, but they've become a fixture in all his movies since Dags. 

When I made it to the theatre to see Inglorious Basterds (my current, last great movie I ever saw in the theatre title holder), I thought he may be going for the pure drama again.  The conversation between the Frenchman (the correct nomenclature because he's French, whereas, is Chinaman still rude even if the person is from China?) and the Jew Hunter is tense and seems like a classic WW2 drama in the making.  I was so excited as immediately into this film I'm thinking, wow, this will be QT's finest piece yet! 


Richard Dawson gives me the first strike, as if I answered "Making Whoopy" as something a husband and wife do more the longer they're married on his game show.  The Jew Hunter pulls out that really large pipe and the viewer has no choice but to laugh.  It completely breaks the tension, some Nazi's come into the room, shoot through the floorboards and kill some Jews (after that fantastic rat vs. squirrel speech) and it's not nearly as dramatic as it would've been without the pipe.  Is QT trying to lessen the blow?  Probably not, he's just a sucker for comedy amidst tragedy. 

The movie then gets to the next chapter which isn't nearly dramatic, but quite entertaining with Brad Pitt coining the term, "Merican."  It's now when Richard Dawson tosses the next question at my family asking, "Name something people have in their living room."  Well, rug, TV, couch are all on the board already, and my rich Uncle says "VCR" (remember Dawson is hosting so this is the late 70s).


Damn it you stupid rich Uncle!  Not many people have VCR's yet, don't you know how to play the Feud!  In Chapter 2 alone, QT creates wrestling heels with Hugo Stiglitz and the "The Bear Jew."  These are fun characters for a QT movie, but all hope for a pure drama is now pretty much lost.  Throw in the Hitler character for more comic relief and there's no choice but to see this film as nothing but a Tarantino movie, which is both a high compliment, and a put down. 

What's good from all of this is that the movie can't really undo itself anymore, so when Michael Myers appears, it's not that out of place.  The scenes between the film theatre owner who's surprisingly not Uma Thuman (and thankfully not), and the "heroic" German soldier give the film a great drama, as does the underground shootout scene and "King Kong" conversation. 

When QT decides to use a modern song as the background for preparation for the theatre massacre …


 … it would've seemed more out of place than a June bug in a pitcher filled with lemonade (yes, I've lived in the south for nearly 20 years), but due to all of his previous transgressions, even though its mildly irritating, it's doesn't hurt the film.  He does what we all want to see, Hitler get shot Sonny Corleone-style and all the Nazi higher ups and richers go down in flames. 

Tarantino knows what he's doing.  He's living in his world, and his films are a product of that world, and it's popcorn entertaining fun for the viewer.  He's not trying to be anybody he's not.  He may never make a pure drama ever again because it may be out of his safety zone (and this will be the reason he won't win a Best Picture Oscar until well after he's past his prime a la Scorsese), but he's going to probably make many interesting pictures along the way.  This will be a blessing and a curse for a very long time.  

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