Really Quentin Tarantino? Really?

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I began the last semester by complaining about Quentin Tarantino, so I figure that’s as good a subject as any to start off this one.

I was on the Internet looking up various things that don’t particularly matter when I came across an interesting headline from way back in August.

On an episode of CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” Tarantino participated in an interview with Tracy Smith to promote his (then new) film, “Inglourious Basterds.” He said,

“I have sibling rivalry with Orson Welles … I don’t think he’s that good. All right? I have sibling rivalry with him and Stanley Kubrick.”

At this point in the interview, Smith asked Tarantino if he was serious or if he was joking.
“I am being funny … I do admire them. But I also think I do have sibling rivalry with them.

They’re not all that. All right?”

So let me get this straight, Mr. Tarantino: You think that Orson Welles and Stanley Kubrick, two of the most influential and provocative film directors of all time (and who, I may add, are my two favorite directors of all time), are “not all that”?

What does that mean, exactly? You don’t think they themselves were great people, or maybe you don’t think their movies are as good as others claim? If it’s the latter, then you’re a fool. Orson Welles was a man who had every obstacle known to man thrown his way, and yet time and again managed to rise above hardships and deliver a masterpiece that nobody appreciated until a decade or two later, when it was too late. Everyone screwed him over, and yet he never stopped loving the cinema and the magic he could create with it.

And Stanley Kubrick was a perfectionist, there is no getting around it; people have used it as a negative label in describing his method, but the fact remains that he was a perfectionist. That means he made sure that every shot was perfect before allowing it to be a part of his film. If that isn’t “all that,” then I don’t know what is.

Second of all, your choice of the words “sibling rivalry” indicates that you seem to think you’re on the same level as these two great men.

So not only do you insult their work, but you compare yourself to them as an equal? That is pure bollocks, Mr. Tarantino; bollocks and hubris on your part. You’ve never done anything original in your life. I know, strictly speaking, that there are no original ideas anymore, that every story that could be told has been told, and that there’s nothing new under the sun. But at the very least, it’s your job to disguise it enough to make it seem new, and you can’t even do that. You shamelessly borrow elements from films the world over and patch them together rather than find your own voice to unify them. And no film you’ve ever made can be differentiated from the others; they all look the same. Exactly the same! You could never hope to compare to obviously greater artists like Welles and Kubrick.

And, since my last column, I have seen “Grindhouse.” Dear lord. All you had to do was create an homage to the cheesy exploitation movies of the 1970s and you would’ve been fine. That’s what Alex Rodriguez did, and it’s what you were supposed to do as well. But you couldn’t, could you? Because that would have required you to step out of your comfort zone and create something that didn’t have the patented “Tarantino look” to it. Instead, you chucked the semi-faithful-to-the-original-plan exploitation flick you were making and abruptly changed to the same old Tarantino bupkis. You even removed the faux scratch marks halfway through the film, for God’s sake.

Damn you, Quentin Tarantino. Damn you for squandering the promise of your early work with films that mimic them exactly. The world praised “Pulp Fiction” for its originality and innovation, but now every time a new film of yours comes out, “Pulp Fiction” diminishes in value as I become that much more painfully aware of just how generic it truly was.
In closing, I want you to know that when “Inglourious Basterds” failed to win any Golden Globe Awards save for Christoph Waltz (which I wholeheartedly admit he did deserve, no thanks to you), I laughed out loud for pure joy.
 

 

Trey Treviño is a sophomore CTV major. He can be reached for comment at ttrevino@smu.edu.

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