03 February 2009

True Romance

You know how sometimes you totally love something, like a band or a tv show, and then someone points out some aspect of it, and suddenly you can no longer ignore this glaring flaw and it's ruined forever? I think that's sort of what happened to me with Quentin Tarantino. Ever since I saw this awful movie, Sleep With Me, I have this new awareness of Tarantino's dorkiness that I can't shake. Tarantino didn't actually write Sleep With Me, but he has this cameo as a guy at a party who is obsessing over, I believe it's Top Gun? and how it's the greatest movie ever made. It's kind of clever, and kind of amusing, and then suddenly, it's like, click, wait a sec - this guy is a total dork. I don't actually want to listen to him talk. Warning: by continuing to read this entry, you risk sullying your own impressions of Tarantino.

I bet if I had seen True Romance 10 years ago, I would have thought it was totally awesome. But watching it last night, I couldn't really get over how gratuitous and self-indulgent it was. Tarantino loves to do this thing where he gets a bunch of characters in an extremely tense situation, and then introduce an absurd digression. Everyone is facing off, guns pointed at each other, and suddenly, they start arguing over some random unrelated issue. The first few times, it's hilarious and brilliant, but I dunno, now I just roll my eyes. Same goes for the general dorkiness, the obsession with Elvis, kung fu movies, etc - it's become a cliche. Move on dude.

Thinking of gratuitous, Patricia Arquette's breasts should be credited on their own in this film, because oh my god, they get SO much screen time. Again, I'm not really complaining, I don't really mind looking at them, but after awhile it was like OK ENOUGH ALREADY. 

The violence, by now, seems passe. C'est la vie. 

Actually, the other thing that bugged me about it was the somewhat hamfisted plot development. I had just been talking to someone about detective fiction and how it operates - the need for visible and decipherable clues - so this was admittedly at the forefront of my mind, but it drove me crazy. IT'S SO OBVIOUS. We're watching, and I'm like, dude! Don't leave your driver's license there! 5 minutes later, it's "how did we know who it was? He left his driver's license there." Likewise, Christian Slater writes the phone number on a scrap of paper and you're like, well, now you're screwed. 5 minutes later, the bad guys are wondering how to find him, and whadya know, there's the scrap of paper with the phone number and blatantly spelled out here's where i am guys! information. This isn't an unreasonable way to make a movie, but here it's just so clunkingly obvious that it made me absolutely crazy. 

Actually, the best thing about this movie was not Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, or even Brad Pitt - it was James Gandolfini. My god he's amazing. The scene where he's torturing Patricia Arquette is fabulous. He's so fantastically evil, and so charming, it gives you the shivers. 

Still, all in all, a decidedly overrated movie.


Nick said...

Totally agree. If you really want to kill your enjoyment of Tarantino go rent Sukiyaki Western Django. Again, didn't write or direct but he's in it. It's even worse because it's an homage to Django (one of the best shitty westerns ever) and it totally fucks up. Man. It sucks. Kung fu and westerns a fine idea, but man...horrible.

culture_vulture said...

Oh wow, it's that bad, eh? Damn. I had my doubts, but I was planning on giving it a try. Hmmm.

Keith Sikora said...

Just out of curiosity, have you ever seen any episode of The Sopranos? James Gandolfini is off the hook.

culture_vulture said...

Oh totally. I only saw the first three seasons or so, but he was amazing.