Monday, October 13, 2003

Geek Film Making

Aaron Haspel takes on the subject of Kill Bill in particular and Quentin Tarantino in general, and is somewhat less generous than myself.

He writes, "If your local video parlor is anything like mine, it is staffed by film junkies who pride themselves on knowing the good bits of every movie. They can quote at length from more movies than you and I will ever see and are at sea if you ask them what any of those movies is actually about. They are all writing screenplays. If a major studio ever greenlights one the result may resemble Kill Bill."

I have no argument with his assessment of Tarantino, he is a maker of genre films and is often derivative to the extreme, but I would say that the very reasons Aaron dismisses Tarantino as a "video clerk auteur" are some of the reasons I enjoy Tarantino. His elevation of Low Brow to High Style is oddly endearing. Quentin is the geeky guy you hung out with, or possibly were in college, he is the ultimate video clerk. He is a geek film maker who makes movies for film geeks.

His talent is not in plotting, he is not a visual stylist as a director, and Roger Avery may deserve credit for some of the best dialog in Pulp Fiction. But as I've argued before his talent is as a story teller and a structuralist. Many of the great stories are twice told tales. Tarantino tells them in new ways, playing with the structure, putting them into a different vernacular. Not to make too close a comparison, but many artists have painted the Madonna, and many of my favorite Beatles songs could be labeled pastiche.

Read Aaron's article here.

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