Holy shit did I ever love this movie. I was absolutely mesmerized from start to finish, to a point where I barely felt the time go by, which is saying something for a 3-hour film (I didn’t even want it to end). With everything Tarantino so fresh in my mind, although I still can’t say that he manages to create something that makes us forget Pulp Fiction (which he probably never will, because that film was just too damn groundbreaking on so many fronts), I think I can safely say that, in my eyes, The Hateful Eight is the best film he’s made since, and in some ways, it’s maybe even a better film. Other than the fact that it’s an extremely dialogue-heavy film, and sure, it gets bloody, I think it’s also a film that doesn’t feel overly Tarantino-esque. I was never really thinking that I was watching a Tarantino movie (like I would with all his other films), instead, I was just enjoying an engaging western with fantastic characters and a story that I did not know where it would end up. Can’t recommend it enough.
And with this, my Tarantino marathon comes to an end (until of course I watch The Hateful Eight). As with Inglourious Basterds, I’d only watched Django Unchained once, and so didn’t remember it as much as I did all the other Tarantino movies I’ve watched over the last few days. Also, I seemed to remember sorta liking it, but didn’t have especially strong feelings about it, but for some reason I found myself really drawn in this time. I’d say it’s my favorite Tarantino film since Pulp Fiction. It’s also the only Tarantino film where I found myself welling up at one point (when Christoph Waltz’s character tells Django that he’d like to partner up with him, and then help rescue his wife). Some say it gets too crazy near the end, but I think the ridiculous violence suits the character, and what you feel all these people deserve. If there’s one thing that becomes obvious as you watch all of Tarantino’s movies, it’s that he’s obsessed with the idea of revenge, and, well, even though you’d think Basterds would be the apex, considering it puts an end to the Nazi regime, there’s something more direct and personal about what you go through while watching all of Django.
Considering the number of times I’ve watched Tarantino movies in general – especially Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, which I had even on VHS – it was fun watching Inglourious Basterds again because I had only watched it once (and same goes for Django Unchained). I really enjoyed it, much more than I remembered enjoying it, and it was so fun to take in Christoph Waltz’s fantastic performance again – he truly steals every single scene he’s in. I was also taken aback when David Bowie’s “Cat People” was used for one sequence – I didn’t remember that at all, and it works so perfectly in the context.
Watching Kill Bill Vol. 1 tonight, I think I’ve never enjoyed it so much. I remember that when it originally came out, although it felt more satisfying as a Tarantino film than Jackie Brown did, it almost felt too Tarantino-esque, like he was starting to parody himself. As outlandish as Pulp can come off as, it still feels grounded in some way. Here, we’re watching a cartoon (and I’m not talking about absolutely fantastic animated sequence about the origin of O-Ren Ishii, which I still think could have been made into its own movie). But for some reason, to me, time has been kind to this movie, and I found myself enjoying it way more than I have in the past – although I’ll say that for me it only started when we hit Okinawa and Sonny Chiba, whose performance I’ve always loved. But yeah, from that point, I just soaked it all in. I didn’t remember the House of Blue Leaves sequence as being so long and fun. And I wish every movie had a character called Johnny Mo. One thing that still bugs me though is that he uses so many different kinds of typefaces during the opening titles.
I never really liked Jackie Brown. Watching it again now, it’s easy to see why. After the amazing innovative 1-2 punch of Dogs and Pulp, he follows up with what feels like such a “regular” movie. I won’t go so far as to say I actively dislike it – and I actually quite enjoyed watching it again now, for what it is – but it just still feels like such a letdown compared to those first two films. But there are some highlights, like the really great performance by Robert Forster.
Although it’s also been quite a while since I last revisited Pulp Fiction, I was worried heading into it that it would be too familiar, and not as good as I remembered. Well, quite the opposite, not only did I enjoy this almost as much as when I watched it (over and over) back in the day, it’s really amazing to see what Tarantino was able to achieve on only his second film – and as much as I can say I like all of his movies, I don’t think he’s ever been able to surpass Pulp Fiction. I hear some people say that Reservoir Dogs is a superior movie, but I couldn’t disagree more. As exciting and enjoyable as it is, Dogs is too raw, it’s still Tarantino exploring the medium, seeing how he can subvert it. Pulp Fiction is a masterclass in structure.
I still haven’t seen The Hateful Eight (and I do want to see it), but in the meantime I’ve decided to revisit all of the films Tarantino has directed, in order. I of course have fond memories of Reservoir Dogs – and it remains my favorite movie soundtrack (not score) ever – but it’s a movie I hadn’t revisited in at least a decade or more, so I wasn’t sure how it would stand up now. Well, it’s still an insanely enjoyable movie, and hasn’t lost anything – although now I notice Tim Roth’s iffy American accent more.
First Brad Pitt, now it’s Quentin Tarantino’s turn to appear in ads for Softbank. Unlike Pitt’s CMs, Tarantino will be joining the “cast” of the regular series of “White Family” ads (named after one of the mobile provider’s plans) as a wacky uncle. The video above, courtesy of The Japan Times, shows a preview. Via Japan Probe.
How’s this for a promotion: Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds opens in Japan on November 20, and the distributor is offering a money-back guarantee during the first four days of release. This means if you leave the film within the first hour of the film, you get your ticket refunded. Not a bad way to promote the film. Via Japan Probe.