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Cronenberg slags Tarantino's movies

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Cronenberg slags Tarantino's movies

Old 10-10-05, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt Millheiser
What cracks me up immensely is how much people are trying to state opinion as fact, or tout bullshit as reality.

I love Tarantino's movies, and to a point I agree with Cronenberg save for the fact that I don't think his comments are necessarily BAD things.
Excellent post, Matt.

Tarantino and Cronenberg approach filmaking in very different ways. Why does one have to be "better" than another? They're not trying to do the same thing.

Last edited by Bandoman; 10-10-05 at 02:15 PM.
Old 10-10-05, 01:58 PM
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Since it is a subject of much defense here, can someone please describe Tarantino's style for me?
Old 10-10-05, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by IanH
True Romance featured clips from a John Woo movie and raised more awareness of Woo's movies. (Sonny Chiba as well)

Tarantino often referenced or copied Woo's movies like the "standoff" between Mr. White, Nice Guy Eddie, and Joe Cabot in Reservoir Dogs.

I don't think its a coincidence that John Woo's movies started to gain acceptance among a wider audience after Reservoir Dogs and True Romance came out.
I don't think a Mexican standoff would cause people to go support John Woo movies. Reservoir Dogs is closer to Ringo Lam's City on Fire than any of Woo's flicks. How come Ringo Lam isn't as popular as John Woo?

Anyways, I understand your point but I just disagree.
Old 10-10-05, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
Since it is a subject of much defense here, can someone please describe Tarantino's style for me?
I'll take a few shots.

1. Incidental casual witty (to some) banter about TV shows,movies, sex, Lava soap, or food that seem out of place among criminals before or during moments of high tension. Many critics noted his style of dialog as being very specific to Tarantino. Some say that his characters were allowed to "breathe" and not seem to get stuck just furthering the plot or story. I read this somewhere so I can't provide any links.

2. Lots of hand held camera use documentary style and jump cuts. Some see parallels in the guerilla film making style of Godard in Tarantino

3. Non-linear storytelling/editing. Not that this wasn't pioneered before by the likes of Kurosawa but there was a resurgence of this type of storytelling in more mainstream movies due to Tarantino (IMO)

4. Lots of Retro References used in his Mis En Scene: TV/Movie, Fashion, Cars and Music.

5. Heavy references in his filmaking to classic, foreign, cult, or B Movies. (which seems to be Cronenberg's criticism of Tarantino.)

6. Explosive almost random violence that do not seem heavily choreographed. Almost as if the actors were improvising. At least thats the way it seems to me. Some say he copied the likes of Scorsese. But I think he has his own way of making it happen.


One reviewer's interpretation of "Tarantinoesque"

"Tarantinoesque."

It's a scary word, referring to a short glut of derivative films which appeared in the wake of Quentin Tarantino's landmark Pulp Fiction. Pop-culture postmodernism blending with gratuitous violence. Characters too clever for their supposed professions. Byzantine plot twists disguising a self-referential narrative. And guns. Lots and lots of guns. While Tarantino himself pulled this mixture off with brazen artistry, his imitators usually lacked the talent (or chutzpah) to follow in his footsteps. One would have thought that the trend died out a long time ago, but now comes The Way of the Gun to remind us how uninspiring Tarantinoesque can be.
http://www.flipsidemovies.com/wayofthegun.html

Last edited by IanH; 10-10-05 at 03:08 PM.
Old 10-10-05, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by RyoHazuki
Maybe I'm slow, but could you explain this to me?
When the Hong Kong action film boom started in the early nineties in the U.S. it was mostly restricted to art houses in major cities. Tarantino was one of the few American filmmakers that was publicly enthusiastic about those films. From the time Reservoir Dogs and True Romance first came out, up through Pulp Fiction the mainstream looked at him as this exciting new rebel filmmaker and people (college-aged people in particular) were interested in his influences. Tarantino made it a point to mention Woo in interviews and articles every chance he got, and that absolutely influenced people to seek out his films. You have to keep in mind, when Hard Target was released the mainstream saw it as a Van Damme vehicle, not a John Woo film. It wasn't until Broken Arrow, with the newly resurrected John Travolta (who was introduced to Woo's films by Tarantino) that Woo really broke out as a name director in the mainstream.
Old 10-10-05, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by William Fuld
When the Hong Kong action film boom started in the early nineties in the U.S. it was mostly restricted to art houses in major cities. Tarantino was one of the few American filmmakers that was publicly enthusiastic about those films. From the time Reservoir Dogs and True Romance first came out, up through Pulp Fiction the mainstream looked at him as this exciting new rebel filmmaker and people (college-aged people in particular) were interested in his influences. Tarantino made it a point to mention Woo in interviews and articles every chance he got, and that absolutely influenced people to seek out his films. You have to keep in mind, when Hard Target was released the mainstream saw it as a Van Damme vehicle, not a John Woo film. It wasn't until Broken Arrow, with the newly resurrected John Travolta (who was introduced to Woo's films by Tarantino) that Woo really broke out as a name director in the mainstream.
So how is that different from saying that Woo is popular in America due to Tarantino (which is what I took RyoHazuki to really be asking you), since it was presumably due to Tarantino, under this formulation of events, that Broken Arrow was even promoted as coming from Woo?

DJ

Last edited by djtoell; 10-10-05 at 05:04 PM.
Old 10-10-05, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by djtoell
So how is that different from saying that Woo is popular in America due to Tarantino (which is what I took RyoHazuki to really be asking you), since it was presumably due to Tarantino, under this formulation of events, that Broken Arrow was even promoted as coming from Woo?

DJ
Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but I think there's a clear difference between public awareness and popularity. Tarantino was partially responsible for introducing Woo to mainstream America. Woo's own talent was responsible for his popularity.
Old 10-10-05, 09:56 PM
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Mainstream America wouldn't know John Woo from John Schmendrick. Maybe some film geeks might have gotten to know Woo through Tarantino. Many others were already well-versed long before PULP FICTION. Hell, I distinctly remembered when HARD TARGET came out in the summer of 93 -- a good year before PULP FICTION -- and the ads prominently touted that the film was directed by "international acclaimed action director John Woo" (something along those lines.) Tarantino sped things up a bit, but Woo WAS known long before T became a household word. And by T I mean Tea Leone.
Old 10-10-05, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
Since it is a subject of much defense here, can someone please describe Tarantino's style for me?
Tarantino fits squarely in the Scuzz genre -- a genre populated by such films as Things to Do in Denver When Your Dead, U-turn, 2 Days in the Valley, and a few others. many feel this genre peaked and died in 1996.

Originally Posted by IanH
I've never tried to argue who was better or tried to use "popularity" as the basis for determining the quality of a director.
really? they way i read it was that you were using his mainstream appeal to validate his worth as a filmmaker.
Old 10-10-05, 10:54 PM
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Cronenberg really does nail Tarantino in that quote. I don't think he's slagging him at all, he's just stating what QT does, and how Cronenberg doesn't operate in that same frame of mind at all and how it doesn't interest him.

I love QT's flicks, they are lots of fun and have great snappy dialogue. I am also a huge Cronenberg fan. His movies have a distinct style and pace that no one else really matches...sure, half the time you feel like you're on a bad acid trip and are left wondering "what the fuck was that?" but to me, that's what make some of his films so great. 2 different styles....1 not better than the other. Just different...and frankly, that's OK with me.

MATT
Old 10-10-05, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
Tarantino fits squarely in the Scuzz genre -- a genre populated by such films as Things to Do in Denver When Your Dead, U-turn, 2 Days in the Valley, and a few others. many feel this genre peaked and died in 1996.
If you just don't like Tarantino and "Tarantionesque" movies I have no argument against that. That's your aesthetic judgment. The fact is he is the father of that derogatory term "Scuzz" genre. Of course other artistic endeavors like film noir, the works of Raymond Chandler, punk rock, Jackson Pollack, and of course Cronenberg's own films were also looked down on by certain snobs as a "lesser art form". Because they chose to reflect the darker aspects of life. Everyone has their limits and tastes and that seems to be yours.

And as one reviewer I already quoted said

"While Tarantino himself pulled this mixture off with brazen artistry, his imitators usually lacked the talent (or chutzpah) to follow in his footsteps."

So others seem to find some value and worth in Tarantino's movies. I also agree that there have been some really poor imitators like some of the movies you mentioned. But movies like "Snatch", "The Usual Suspects", "Out of Sight", and some of Tony Scott's more recent films have also been interpreted as being "Tarantinoesque" as well. And I quite like them.

really? they way i read it was that you were using his mainstream appeal to validate his worth as a filmmaker.
I don't think I was using his mainstream appeal to validate his worth as a filmaker. Instead I was saying that he used his mainstream appeal/popularity/influence to expose lesser known movies, genres, and directors to the public at large and other filmakers. He's an enthusiast. Whether you share in his enthusiasm in his films or references isn't the point. The point is he has made a pretty significant mark as a director with certain qualities that affected film and popular culture. I've also repeatedly said popularity shouldn't be the measure of a director but that his influence on other films, other filmakers, and the public at large is one fair measurement. Modern filmakers were inspired by what they gleaned from Tarantino and applied some of it into their own work. Directors often admit other directors like Fellini, Ozu, Ford, or whomever have influenced their own films. Directly or Obliquely. Why? Because there was something about those filmakers that made them stand above the rest. And they either stole, payed homage, copied their techniques, or aesthetic qualities. (And please, don't misunderstand me. I'm not equating Tarantino to Fellini) Maybe some directors were just opportunists and did it because it was an easy way to tap into an untapped market. Or maybe there really were some valid artistic viewpoints by Tarantino that other filmakers wanted to acknowledge and use.

Hate his movies. But give him some credit where credit is due. Thats all I'd like some of you to be convinced of. That he is more than what I feel to be Cronenberg's ungenerous, short sighted, oversimplification of him.

Last edited by IanH; 10-10-05 at 11:49 PM.
Old 10-10-05, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by William Fuld
Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but I think there's a clear difference between public awareness and popularity. Tarantino was partially responsible for introducing Woo to mainstream America. Woo's own talent was responsible for his popularity.
Well, popularity is type of public awareness, specifically a positive type. But popularity cannot exist without awareness; by definition, one cannot be popular unless the public is aware of one's existence. Woo's talent can't really get the sole credit for his popularity, either, as his talent alone never brought him to the level of popularity he attained at times subsequent to the awareness he eventually achieved, and which you credit to Tarantino. By that calculus, and assuming Woo's talents didn't increase to any significant degree in the years between Hard Target and Broken Arrow (and surely any talent achieved later could not retroactively improve HK films such as Hard Boiled, where fascination with Woo typically lies), the tipping point in making Woo popular in America was the public's awareness of him. If that awareness was the work of Tarantino, then removing Tarantino from the equation would have to kill Woo's popualrity, or at least delay it to a point where it would need to arise elsewhere, if it were to ever happen. So if you choose to credit Tarantino with making the public (or whatever relevant segment of it we're discussing) aware of Woo to a degree significant enough to point out, then he must also get credit for a very significant portion of making Woo popular, as well.

Saying that Tarantino made the public aware of Woo (or helped do so a significant degree), but didn't make him popular (also to significant degree) would indeed be splitting hairs to the point of baldness, killing the entire proposition set forth in the first place.

DJ
Old 10-10-05, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt Millheiser
Mainstream America wouldn't know John Woo from John Schmendrick. Maybe some film geeks might have gotten to know Woo through Tarantino. Many others were already well-versed long before PULP FICTION. Hell, I distinctly remembered when HARD TARGET came out in the summer of 93 -- a good year before PULP FICTION -- and the ads prominently touted that the film was directed by "international acclaimed action director John Woo" (something along those lines.) Tarantino sped things up a bit, but Woo WAS known long before T became a household word. And by T I mean Tea Leone.

FWIW From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quentin_Tarantino
towards the bottom

Tarantino was one of the few filmmakers pushing for Chinese action filmmaker John Woo to make an American film. When a studio executive once said "I suppose Woo can direct action scenes." Tarantino replied "Sure, and Michelangelo can paint ceilings!"
That film being Hard Target. John Woo didn't get instantly famous (or really that known)after Hard Target came out. It took years as more and more people discovered his Chinese films on video and as is lexicon filtered through popular culture.

Last edited by IanH; 10-11-05 at 12:04 AM.
Old 10-11-05, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by djtoell
Saying that Tarantino made the public aware of Woo (or helped do so a significant degree), but didn't make him popular (also to significant degree) would indeed be splitting hairs to the point of baldness, killing the entire proposition set forth in the first place.

DJ
So be it, because I do believe Tarantino is removed from the equation after the point where he's influenced someone to see the movie. At that point the audience's reactions are dictated by their own personal responses to the work, not from anything outside of it. Tarantino is no more responsible for a positive reaction (popularity) than he would be a negative one (unpopularity).
Old 10-11-05, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by IanH
If you just don't like Tarantino and "Tarantionesque" movies I have no argument against that. That's your aesthetic judgment. The fact is he is the father of that derogatory term "Scuzz" genre. Of course other artistic endeavors like film noir, the works of Raymond Chandler, punk rock, Jackson Pollack, and of course Cronenberg's own films were also looked down on by certain snobs as a "lesser art form". Because they chose to reflect the darker aspects of life. Everyone has their limits and tastes and that seems to be yours.

So others seem to find some value and worth in Tarantino's movies. I also agree that there have been some really poor imitators like some of the movies you mentioned. But movies like "Snatch", "The Usual Suspects", "Out of Sight", and some of Tony Scott's more recent films have also been interpreted as being "Tarantinoesque" as well. And I quite like them.
so.... you're calling me a snob? if you say so. not everyone has been given the same opportunities to develop their appreciation for art. as in life, some people are more sensitive and able to see deeper than others. there's nothing wrong with having a refined appreciation for anything. that aside, who said the "scuzz" genre was an inherently derogatory label? 2 Days and Thing to Do were held in pretty high regard (not by me, but...) if i remember correctly.

Originally Posted by IanH
Hate his movies. But give him some credit where credit is due. Thats all I'd like some of you to be convinced of. That he is more than what I feel to be Cronenberg's ungenerous, short sighted, oversimplification of him.
admittedly, i'm not a fan of tarantino. but i'm even less a fan of cronenberg. i find what i'm looking for in kieslowksi, tarkovsky, bergman, antonioni, rohmer, dardenne, david gordan green, lynne ramsey, and lukas moodysson. there is a humanity and a spiritual dimension absent from tarantino and cronenberg's work that leaves me cold. but, i don't have a problem with QT's inclination for the art of collage. come to think of it, i wouldn't be surprised if the anti-Tarantino crowd are the same people that don't think rap and hiphop are legitimate forms of music because the beats are sampled from recognizable songs.
Old 10-11-05, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
so.... you're calling me a snob?
I think we're all guilty of that to one degree or another including myself.

that aside, who said the "scuzz" genre was an inherently derogatory label? 2 Days and Thing to Do were held in pretty high regard (not by me, but...) if i remember correctly.
I thought it was because I thought those movies were so shitty. LOL.

if you say so. not everyone has been given the same opportunities to develop their appreciation for art. as in life, some people are more sensitive and able to see deeper than others. there's nothing wrong with having a refined appreciation for anything.

admittedly, i'm not a fan of tarantino. but i'm even less a fan of cronenberg. i find what i'm looking for in kieslowksi, tarkovsky, bergman, antonioni, rohmer, dardenne, david gordan green, lynne ramsey, and lukas moodysson. there is a humanity and a spiritual dimension absent from tarantino and cronenberg's work that leaves me cold. but, i don't have a problem with QT's inclination for the art of collage. come to think of it, i wouldn't be surprised if the anti-Tarantino crowd are the same people that don't think rap and hiphop are legitimate forms of music because the beats are sampled from recognizable songs.

I think we all have the capacity to appreciate or love everything to one degree or another but sometimes we're just not ready for it at certain points in our lives. As we change as people and as we feel different needs we come to appreciate different things. Sometimes we misinterpret things. Sometimes our prejudices and tastes get in the way of appreciating different aspects or dimensions. For instance some of the more famous films by Bergman, some by Godard, and Fellini's post Neo-Realist films leave me cold but I'm not about to attack them as "overrated". For now I give them the benefit of the doubt because I watched them with impatient eyes. There must be something that made people notice but I feel no need to trash them. I guess because few people watch them anyways.

And although I disagree with your assessment that QT and Cronenberg's films lack humanity and a spritual dimension I can't convince you of something that you do not feel or the filmaker "failed" to communicate to you.


Random thought but,

I actually wish I had more time to watch movies I might hate.

Last edited by IanH; 10-11-05 at 11:43 AM.
Old 10-12-05, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by scott1598
i'm done. you of little mentality. you have to live with yourself. i don't.

I'm getting very close to being done with you. Maybe you should consider using the ignore function.
Old 10-13-05, 11:47 AM
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This entire thread cracks me up!

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