Quentin Tarantino and Inglourious Basterds: Violence as MacGuffin

Friday, 22 May 2009

Tarantino is a passable though obvious director. By obvious, I don’t mean it in the simple, straightforward way someone like Orson Welles was obvious. Welles’s direction is only obvious after it’s explained. Until then it’s unnoticeable that there is direction.

As a writer Tarantino is a logorrhoeic autistic. Every nugget of charm he passes to his audience is delivered via a spray of basement-hipster, self-conscious movie-nerd, nutrient-depleted fare at best.

I watched the trailer for Inglourious Basterds months ago. It insisted before it was half done that Tarantino’s catalog, excepting those few bright moments, can be summed by the phrase Violence as MacGuffin.

That should be a good enough punch line but you’ve made it impossible to leave it at that. I’m glad there is enough freedom left for movies like this to be made. If Tipper Gore had ever been “First Lady,” it might be illegal. And it goes without saying that there are humans who adore torture porn. The question remains: How the fuck are there enough of them in the world to pay Brad Pitt’s paycheck for this bullshit?

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Re: Quentin Tarantino and Inglourious Basterds: Violence as MacGuffin

I've not seen the film, whereas I have heard friends and others express their concupiscence at the idea of a "NEW TARANTINO FILM!".
I think I'll have to watch it, just because I think when you know enough people that will doubtless rave and talk about it for months (if they love it, and it appears they will), well one can't just be left out and I'm sure there will be at least one or two fun bits in the thing.
For a while now I have wondered whether you ever read the Comic Preacher, a notoriously violent and profane display of, in my opinion, gloriously delicious storytelling.
One might argue that Preacher has its fair share of gratuitously violent parts, but I somehow think Garth is not as pompous or pretentious as Tarantino.
Another reason I was wondering if you like the comic is that a lot of times I've thought that Garth Ennis and you seem alike...especially in reading Ennis' written responses to readers' letters thoroughout the comic...that guy is direct and amusingly vitriolic.

By Jules on 23 May 2009 · 14:49


Re^2: Quentin Tarantino and Inglourious Basterds: Violence as MacGuffin

also, I've noticed I use the sentence "I somehow think" WAY too much...it's a weird, lazy way to say "I think" without havint to state why, and so when I said "I somehow think Ennis is not as pretentious as Garth", what I mean is, I think Tarantino is a master of showing that he loves movies and knows how to make them. He crafts them and tries to be a fresh voice in film, but somehow all his movies seem rather, well I don't know what other way to put it, but they feel like movies, whereas I see Ennis as an original voice pushing the way stories are told to new and strangely familiar limits. I love the basterd...

By Jules on 23 May 2009 · 15:25

A is A

Re^2: Quentin Tarantino and Inglourious Basterds: Violence as MacGuffin

I have a “Preacher” title on the shelf downstairs. I haven’t read it in… something like 15 years? Which was a time when I was reading much more of everything. I’ll pick it up tonight and return in the next couple days. I’ve always been an Alan Moore kinda guy. He’s able to pull apart violence into the abstract (Veidt) and the deeply, crazily personal (Rorschach and V for that matter which is both philosophically abstract and deeply personal).

I liked how you phrased the Tarantino thing: they feel like movies. He’s a total movie nerd so that’s natural and he’s obviously got amazing chops which is what makes me so mad at directors on his level. Many spend their time in self-indulgent, obvious tripe. For every film approaching genius there are five that are near unwatchable.

It’s not just Tarantino. Spielberg is by far the greatest offender. Spike Lee comes to mind too but he seems to be following the opposite arc. While most successful directors drift into permanent second-record syndrome, Lee is someone who was born to make movies and finally seems to be making them based on things other than growing up a short black kid around too many Italians and Jews. I hope he lives a long time. I’d love to see the films he makes in the next couple decades.

By A is A on 23 May 2009 · 16:23


Re^3: Quentin Tarantino and Inglourious Basterds: Violence as MacGuffin

I don't know how you'd feel about it, but if ye'd like, I can e-mail you the aforementioned piece of literature in full, beautiful, crisp pdf format...
just an idea.

By Jules on 23 May 2009 · 20:36


Re: Quentin Tarantino and Inglourious Basterds: Violence as MacGuffin

and I do like your taste, Moore is the shit, another god in my polytheism...

By Jules on 23 May 2009 · 20:41