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Jack's review of True Romance...

 
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MP Bartley
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:45 am    Post subject: Jack's review of True Romance... Reply with quote

Now, I like True Romance a heck of a lot, but this criticism in Jack's review:

Quote:
The characters speak attention-getting dialogue that makes you aware of both it and the film as such; the actors gamely try to make every italicized line their own but are at a terrible disadvantage because this spoken jive-drivel that pseudo-artsy types myopically deem as “colorfully distinctive” never comes off in a normal conversationalist manner. It sounds like scripted dialogue, not everyday speech,


is 100% correct, and my main bugbear with the film. Two moments stand out in particular. Firstly, Clarence's little speech about Sonny Chiba films and the second his later speech about Oscar winning films. The first is a smug attempt to demonstrate how much more he (as in Tarantino) knows about films than anyone else. The second is a transparent and crass attempt by Tarantino to show how cool and above mere award trinkets like the Oscars he is. Not that that stopped him accepting one years later, though.

Well said, Jack.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno, I think Clarence is Tarantino before Tarantino made it big. It's QT's fantasy projection of himself pre-Reservoir Dogs, a geek's wish-fulfillment reverie. So it's probably true to what Tarantino and others like him would've talked about in the Video Archives days.

Like I said in my review, the whole thing unfolds in a universe in Tarantino's head, sprinkled with glitz by Tony Scott as if Tarantino's fantasy had reached a Hollywood apotheosis by way of the director of Top Gun. It's a fun meta-movie, or "movie-movie" in the Tarantinoverse, a movie that the characters in his more realistic films would go and see.
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Jack Sommersby
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

M.P.

Thanks, man. I cringe when Clarence is hammering away at Lee, asking him twice if he think he looks like a blonde made up with peach ice cream, or something eye-rolling like that. And I dare anybody to aver that they'd go to a pimp's place chock-full of henchmen just to get their new girlfriend's frigging clothes. I mean, I don't require fictional heroes adhere to the most rock-solid of reality, but, sheesh, this was just too damn much -- especially from someone who lives in the worst crime-ridden city in the U.S. (Perhaps we're meant to infer that Alabama has unleashed some macho-macho in Clarence, and he's acting like one of the action heroes he's seen on the silver screen so many times, but it's still 100-percent, grade-A stupid!
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack Sommersby wrote:
I cringe when Clarence is hammering away at Lee, asking him twice if he think he looks like a blonde made up with peach ice cream, or something eye-rolling like that. And I dare anybody to aver that they'd go to a pimp's place chock-full of henchmen just to get their new girlfriend's frigging clothes.


Thing is, who's the narrator? Alabama. So of course she's going to make Clarence out to be the coolest, most heroic bad-ass ever. She only narrates at the beginning and end, but that's enough to assume we're getting the Alabama version of the story.

Granted, originally (A) there was no narration and (B) Clarence dies, only to be elaborately cussed out in the last scene by Alabama for being suicidally dumb.

So, as originally written, Clarence might be QT's fantasy projection but he's also probably a little crazy. He hears Elvis in his head and does what Elvis says, for Christ's sake. Either that or he's so Elvis-obsessed he uses Elvis as an excuse to back himself up when he needs some balls.

I dunno, I still have an unreasonable amount of fun with the flick. And the self-consciously hip dialogue, well, that's Tarantino. Always has been, always will be.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jackie Brown still remains my favorite of his films, and the dialogue, to my mind, is damn good and just doesn't have that attitude to it.

And, you know, there's a scene I still like very much in Romance: When James Gandolfini's Virgil questions Brad Pitt's Floyd as to Clarence's whereabouts, Floyd is so helplessly adorable on that couch that you get the feeling that if he were anybody else, Virgil would waste him so as not to have a loose end -- but not someone as dreamily and blissfully out of it like Floyd. It's really kind of sweet.

(By the way, anyone out there who's seen the extended version of Death Proof yet prefers the theatrical version? Well, chalk me up as one of them. I don't know; I just couldn't fucking stand Zoe Bell, a nonactress with the most grating voice since Jennifer "My Voice Could Shatter Glass" Tilly.)
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brianorndorf
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Jack's review of True Romance... Reply with quote

Quote:
The characters speak attention-getting dialogue that makes you aware of both it and the film as such; the actors gamely try to make every italicized line their own but are at a terrible disadvantage because this spoken jive-drivel that pseudo-artsy types myopically deem as “colorfully distinctive” never comes off in a normal conversationalist manner. It sounds like scripted dialogue, not everyday speech,


Man, this is exactly how I felt about the upcoming POS "Juno."
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, here's that dialogue exchange I was trying to call attention to (thank goodness for imdb.com):

Clarence Worley: Eliot, do I look like a beautiful blonde with big tits and an ass that tastes like French vanilla ice cream?
Elliot: What?
Clarence Worley: I said do I look like a beautiful blonde with big big tits and an ass that tastes like French vanilla ice cream?
Elliot: No.
Clarence Worley: No. Okay, then why are you telling me all this bullshit, huh? You wanna fuck me?


Good gracious. I'm a formally trained actor, and even I couldn't deliver something as numbskull as this.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering its a dressed-up re-working of a much more successful, simplified dialogue bit in Pulp Fiction (Is Marcellus Wallace a bitch?), I'd say he went to the well a few too many times with this particular phrasing. Maybe its a writer's flourish, as I notice certain strings of dialogue are often repeated throughout his films, much like catch-phrases of action heroes like "I'll Be Back", or other such personalizations for audiences familiar with the style and type of material.

Me, I tune in for the Walken/Hopper scene and then I'm usually on to greener pastures. Though I will say the Bronson Pinchot stuff is also good for some chucks. Nice, entertaining film overall, but not often revisited.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack Sommersby wrote:

(By the way, anyone out there who's seen the extended version of Death Proof yet prefers the theatrical version? Well, chalk me up as one of them. I don't know; I just couldn't fucking stand Zoe Bell, a nonactress with the most grating voice since Jennifer "My Voice Could Shatter Glass" Tilly.)


I haven't bothered with the extended, since the shorter version bored my ass off.

Zoe Bell has a great presence, and she's a fun interview subject in Double Dare, but she isn't an actress by any means. It was gallant of Tarantino (a fan from her Xena stuntwoman days) to write her a speaking role, but she needed to be up there with three other nonactresses. As it is, she stands out because she's just untrained in that respect. When she's on the hood of the speeding car, she's phenomenal and in her element, but elsewhere she just feels wrong. Also, we know why she's there: so she can do the big stunt near the end. It's essentially gimmick casting.

Of course, none of that would matter if Tarantino had had the stones to go all the way with the grindhouse conceit and cast the movie across the board with bad actors. In which case (and also with Planet Terror) we'd realize just how bad the films actually are, without Kurt Russell and without the state-of-the-art special effects in Planet Terror.

Which is why I felt the closest thing in the whole Grindhouse experience to the true grindhouse spirit was Eli Roth's Thanksgiving trailer. It was cheap-looking and badly acted (even by Michael Biehn, obviously coached to deliver his line poorly). That's accurate grindhouse.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As someone with a royal Zoe Bell crush, I thumb my nose at you. Yeah, she's a bit rough in Death Proof, but it works to her advantage, especially when she gives that little "I'm OK!" jump.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David Cornelius wrote:
As someone with a royal Zoe Bell crush, I thumb my nose at you. Yeah, she's a bit rough in Death Proof, but it works to her advantage, especially when she gives that little "I'm OK!" jump.


Anything physical, she's golden. But she's non-actressy in a way that stands out when you put her with, say, Rosario Dawson. Now, Dawson is no Streep, but she's good within her range.

Tarantino is usually an actor's director and very generous with them. With Zoe he probably said something like "Just be yourself, since you're playing yourself." But that doesn't quite work within the context of what the other actors are doing. She's "natural," but everything else in the movie is heightened and unnatural. Tarantino was probably so jazzed to put Zoe in a speaking role that he didn't care that her style of "being" onscreen in the dialogue scenes is different from the other actors.
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Jack Sommersby
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zoe, if you're reading this, no offense, babe, but in that scene where you're begging your friend to take that car out to do that on-the-hood stunt, you were so quintessentially grating, I wanted to just sock every last iota of snot from your nose.

(Oh, did I mention how unpleasant I can be during the holiday season?)


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