Friday, April 13, 2007

In defense of Quentin

Well it happened. A little earlier than I imagined but still, it happened. The ugly mob is forming against Quentin Tarantino again because a guy has come out saying that he originally had the Grindhouse idea back in 2003. Here is the story, albeit a one-sided story.


To me it seems a little surprising (and yet not surprising at all) that this story has come out the week after Grindhouse was released. It's not like the double feature concept of Grindhouse snuck up on any of us. We've known it was going to be back to back movies for at least six months now. At least. But nonetheless, I'm not buying it. Why? Because I like Quentin Tarantino. Why? Because he makes interesting movies.

Why are we wasting one ounce of strength beating up on an interesting filmmaker when the Brett Ratners, Simon Wests, Nancy Meyers and Michael Bays of the world are out there making boring ass film after boring ass film and getting paid wildly for it. Doesn't make sense.

There aren't many filmmakers these days whose movies I look forward to. Scorsese, DePalma, Cronenberg, Anderson, Mann, Payne, and Tarantino are a few. For me, it's impossible to say that any one of Tarantinos movies have been a failure because he does what so few directors do. He doesn't treat me like an idiot. His stories are fun and interesting and his dialogue is smart and snappy. Every movie he makes is a reminder of how fun it can be to see movies. What an enjoyable time it can be to tell a story, to listen to good writing, to see interesting characters. And I just can't find the will or the strength to say anything bad about that. Hollywood is too screwed up for us to focus all our ill will against one of the good guys.

And yet if this story is true. If Tarantino did rip this idea off from a couple guys he saw at a party, then what we're witnessing is a director whose career is over at the age of 44. And if that's the case, then time will be a lot harsher to him than any of us could ever be.

9 comments:

Moviezzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil said...

I've been meaning to write about this and I still might.

As it is, their case is dubious at best. I'm not saying that if even parts of it are true, they paint Tarantino in the best light, although, by no means a new one.

From a legal perspective, I can't see they have a single legitimate argument. Certainly they can't have a legal claim on the idea of making a movie in a grindhouse style. Nor can they, despite their contrary claims, have a copyright on a title. I'm not sure how this old chestnut stays around, but when someone makes a serious legal claim to one it can't help make me deeply suspicious of everything they say.

Piper said...

It seems a bit thin to me too.

And the thing is, these guys aren't claiming its their idea. They introduced the movie saying it was a return to what they loved growing up.

It just seems that everybody finds QT an easy target.

Ray said...

I think he got the idea from them, but made it his own.

I don't think QT owes them anything in terms of royalties, etc. However, QT had better wake up and realize that the magic well of homage is drying up. He needs to start making actual movies again, and not freeze-dried derivatives of past films.

"Death Proof" really sucked.

Piper said...

Ray,

I agree that it would be nice to see him return to the days of Dogs and Pulp Fiction.

But I disagree that Death Proof sucked. I thought it was the strongest part of Grindhouse and was really impressed with the performances of Russell and Poitier.

It was not without its faults, but I did enjoy it.

Ray said...

"Death Proof" was in no way stronger than "Planet Terror." Unlike "Death Proof," "Planet Terror" had an actual storyline, actual characters, and some witty dialogue. "DP" simply had hot women prancing around and spouting some of the most self-conscious dialogue I have ever heard.

Let's not even talk about the "conclusion" of "DP." UGH.

Piper said...

Ray

Okay, first let's establish that you and I are pretty set in our opinions and nothing is probably going to sway us. Now just for shits and grins, lets debate it anyway.

I agree with you about the dialogue being a bit too indulgent and as far as actual characters go, I much preferred the first batch of girls to the second. But what I loved about Death Proof was that it didn't have a traditional story line. I had no idea where it was going to go. Planet Terror was fun and easy. I knew the second it started where it was going to go. With Death Proof I had no idea. And to dismiss Death Proof so harshly is to dismiss an incredible performance by Kurt Russell. At once "aw shucks" the next a cold blooded killer and in the end nothing more than a complete pussy. I thought that was pretty incredible.

And on a side note, how the hell does Rosario Dawson continue to get the sweet roles? I do not find her attractive nor a very good actress. Yet she turns up in Rodriguez movies, Kevin Smith movies and now QT movies.

Piper said...

Ray,

You have good points. I recently read an article at EW.com of all places that perfectly nails where Tarantino is right now in his career and where he should be.

I think the reason people bag on Tarantino so much is that they expect great things from him. More than an homage to bad 70s movies.

Check it out.

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20034720,00.html

Elijah Price said...

Piper,

I agree with most of what you say, but I wouldn’t put Nancy Meyer or Michael Bay in the same category as Ratner. Meyer is a average director who puts out feel good movies. Nothing more, nothing less. Bay is a great action director. Bad Boys was fun! I look forward to Transformers. Ratner, as I’ve said is a whore! Cronenberg hasn’t done much since Naked Lunch. A History of Violence was crap! I’m not sure how you can put him in the same category as Scorsese and DePalma but hey, it’s your blog. I think you should also mention Steven Soderbergh in the same vain as BDP and Scorsese.

As for QT ripping off an idea….that idea, in and of itself is a rip off! Seems all of Hollywood has become nothing more than a rip off. The issue isn’t who ripped what off, it’s become who can get away with it and do it better. (See Dan Brown)

At best the argument is weak. Granted, I don’t think QT is the directing God you might but I still feel I must defend him none the less. Just as I do not condone what Imus did, I think every director, actor, singer, etc should defend him.

At the end of the day, even if QT ripped the whole thing off, well, fuck…then I guess the millions in the bank will help comfort the guy!

EP