Avocado Weekly Movie Thread (7/23)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood comes out in theaters this week (which, hauntingly, is close to the 50th anniversary of the Tate murders).  Pulp Fiction is celebrating its 25th and Ingluorious Basterds is celebrating its tenth.

So yes, Avocado, it’s time we talk about Quentin Tarantino.

The Simpsons writers caught the zeitgeist of what people in the 90‘s thought Tarantino was about.

That answer may be vertabim. In one interview, Tarantino said of the violence in his movies:

“My answer is the easiest answer in the world, to me: It’s just a movie and that’s the way I feel! However, while I do not believe there is absolutely any correlation of people seeing a movie and going out and acting it out in real life, and as an example, people go, ‘Well, what about the Borgias? There were no movies back then.’ Well, even more important, what about Tokyo? It’s the safest city I’ve ever been in, and they have the most violent cinema I’ve ever seen. However, how much society and the image we see go hand-in-hand, I don’t know the answer to that. However, I do know that I’m a good person, yet I grew up watching ‘The Wild Bunch’ and ‘Deliverance’ on a double-feature when I was 11 years old. All right, you know?”

“So the bottom line is, my No. 1 responsibility is not to society at large; it’s to my characters. And to be true to them. If you had to stop and think what some idiot might do after seeing the movie, you’d never do anything.”

Tarantino inspired a bunch of imitators, but no one could really catch the lightning in a bottle of quirkiness, characters, song selection, and homages. A lot of them are forgettible, like Lucky Number Slevin, Shoot ‘Em Up, and a host of low-budget capers that clogged up the video rental aisles. (From Reservoir Dogs to Jackie Brown, it looked for a while there that Tarantino would be sticking to crime capers.) Takashi Miike, a great director in his own right, tried to make one with Sukiyaki Western Django. He came off as more an imitator than having his own voice. Matthew Vaughn often dabbles in the same mix of a classic oldies soundtrack and tongue-in-cheek brutal violence with The Kingsmen movies and Wanted. Guy Ritchie was pegged as a Tarantino imitator for a while due to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Now he’s the Guy who directs crowd pleasers like Aladdin.

Do I want to see Tarantino do a live-action Disney adaptation of, say, The Rescuers? Hell yes I do.

Tarantino loves to take genres that most people have forgotten — spaghetti westerns, blaxploitation films, Hong Kong action movies, grindhouse — and repackage them for new generations to enjoy. This is why a certain generation of hipster filmmakers were greatly influenced by him… Tarantino is nerdy. Nerdy for films that you probably haven’t even heard of. In a world where crime movies were supposed to look like Scorcese and where film references were supposed to point to classic references like Casablanca or Hitchcock, Tarantino’s movies feel like they were made from a coked-up weirdo who used to work at a video store.

It’s trash cinema.

It’s art.

It’s a string of quirky indy movies with a big budget that nevertheless get both fairly large box office numbers and critical praise.

It’s film just as well known for their long, talky digressions as they are for their shocking moments of violence.

Today’s prompt: What is the your favorite Tarantino movie? And on the flip side: If you’re not a fan, what turns you off?

As always, talk about movies you’ve seen lately!

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