Monday, November 9, 2009

Tarantino Refund

For a change of pace, here's some random entertainment news: Quentin Tarantino, through the Japanese distributor for Inglorious Basterds, is offering refunds to anyone who finds the movie so boring that they walk out on it. One question: why was this only offered in Japan, for this movie? I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of audiences elsewhere might have wanted that deal too.

Now to be fair, I haven't seen the movie, partly because war movies don't really interest me, and partly because I think Eli Roth is a psycho in real life. However, I have seen Tarantino's last three movies, on the big screen, and they not only bored me plenty of times, but so many scenes overstayed their welcome that I think the only reason the studios didn't recut any of them is because they usually make money. Take the Kill Bill movies for instance -- good stories, fine action scenes, great soundtrack, but there were so many sideplots that had nothing to do with the main story. Not only that, but there were quite a few scenes that made their points, and kept on going anyway.

Death Proof is an even better example; decent acting for an exploitation send-up, good soundtrack, and the chase scene might be the best I've ever seen... but the entire first half of the movie didn't even need to be there. Even in the shorter version wedged into Grindhouse, we spent a good forty minutes hearing a group of stuck-up women babble about absolutely NOTHING, before getting wiped out and replaced with a group of slightly-more likeable stunt-women who babble about... mostly nothing. Honestly, if you search for the chase scene on YouTube, you've pretty much got the best part of the movie right there.

Now look, I agree that Tarantino is clever as a storyteller, and for movies that are usually giant homages they do feel more fresh than much of what comes out of Hollywood, but Midas he ain't. He loves to hear himself write, and his sense of focus and pace are TERRIBLE. Maybe the only thing he's done since Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction that I've liked, is that CSI episode he did a few years ago -- maybe because television is rigidly timed. Maybe he did learn some lessons since then, but I think I'll wait for the DVD before I find out -- that way I might only waste $5 instead of $12. That's it for me.

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