"Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs"

Discussion in 'General Film Discussion' started by J-Sun, Mar 9, 2012.

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    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    Reservoir Dogs for, I think, the second time - a Jacobean bloodbath about authenticity and loyalty that makes Pulp Fiction look like a big budget, peaceful walk in the park. If you hate Tarantino, you'll probably hate this but if you have any interest in his movies, then this is not to be missed and, if you just want to see a maybe brilliant kind of unpretentiously existentialist/nihilist atypical gangster flick set almost entirely in a warehouse, then it's worth a look. It has the same "complex thugs" and the same "how'd he get that cast?" and the same "fractured out of sequence narration" of Pulp Fiction but is more than just a practice run for it. PF is still the masterpiece in my book, but RD is good.
     
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Re: What was the last movie you saw?

    RD is better when it comes to actors work, the heist than PF imo. Although recently i saw he took complete scenes in that warehouse from City of Fire a Hong Kong film.

    Tarantino was awesome gangster film, dialogue director in the 90s even in Jackie Brown. In his recent films he feels like a parody of himself. Kill Bill was the last i enjoyed because of his old style.
     
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    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    Re: What was the last movie you saw?

    "Actors work" like performances delivered? I dunno - the guys in RD were pretty amazing but everything down to Stoltz and Arquette and even smaller parts were a blast in PF. Both are great there. And, yeah, I'll agree that RD was definitely more focused - as far as having a pure and (relatively) simple heist/gangster flick it is better but one of my favorite things in PF is the endlessly quotable lines - I think I'd deliver it in out-of-order snippets but I think I could probably write down most of PF from memory - while RD has great concepts and visuals it has far fewer memorable lines, I think.

    Oh, and the soundtrack. PF has one of the best soundtracks ever and, while I get the point, the RD soundtrack is awful. :D

    As far as the scenes, how close were they? I've heard he "stole a Mexican standoff from a Chinese film" or something which strikes me as silly - the whole thing of it being a "Mexican standoff" in a "Chinese flick" says it's common property. But, yeah, maybe the scenes are taken in detail. Thing is, Tarantino is kind of like a mashup thing - he steals from everybody but makes new stuff out of it all and, AFAIK, he'd be fine with people stealing from him - I haven't heard of him suing anybody for a scene or anything. And, most important to me, he shows me things that I wouldn't see otherwise - I'd never heard of most of the stuff he's swiped from but, by virtue of his doing so, now I have heard of them :)

    As far as "even in Jackie Brown", I agree that that's probably the least of them - still watchable. As far as post-Kill Bill, I actually liked aspects of Death Proof, too - probably the next least of them and a little aside from the rest of his work to that point - but that's the last I've managed to see.
     
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    Interference

    Interference Destroyer of Words

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    Re: What was the last movie you saw?

    Reservoir Dogs was, I seem to remember, his first major feature film and is a stand-out piece of creativity. Coming almost straight out of film school to make this, he naturally homaged every influence he could think of, including smoke-hazed chats with his mates, I've no doubt.

    Genius needs to feel relaxed, perhaps, and Hollywood pressures don't only come from the Studios and their executives. Careers can fluctuate. But I think that the best Tarantino is still to come, if he ever gets it together enough to remember why he loves film. And stops insisting on pretending to be an actor :D
     
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    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    Re: What was the last movie you saw?

    It was - and that's a good point.

    Amen. :D
     
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Re: What was the last movie you saw?

    Actors work i mean as you said its a like a play its set mostly in that warehouse people talking. The actor have more chance to do their best, they make or break the film. Not as many flashy lines as PF, that film had more scenes changes, more film making going on. RD simply story that became more because of the actors. Man Tim Roth dying in the car,warehouse was something in how much he made out of a gunshot. Some immense actors in that film.

    Hey I know Tarantino takes from everywhere. He mentions many noir writers as influence, other directors. RD reminded me of Richard Stark heist novel that was very similar style and then i saw him in interview saying i wanted a Stark like heist story. He knows his genre well.

    He complete stole scenes from the hong kong film. How they were standing close to each other, how some of the scenes start and end. Its not a homage thing like in John Woo, Johnny To gangster films made their characters look, copy a movement from Jerry-Pierre Melville noir film from the 60s.

    I was surprised when i saw RD and the exact copy in some that was the HK film. I bet he knew it was a cult classic in HK and not big Chow Yun-Fat, other gangster film from HK western fans knew better and would see what he did.
     
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    Moonbat

    Moonbat Luna tick

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    It's funny you say it is like a play because, I think, they are making a stage version of it.
     
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    HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Iago with a Blackberry

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    I adore Reservoir Dogs. One of my favourite films. The closeness of it, the confined spaces, the relatively small cast makes for a chance for the dialogue to just sizzle and spark. Tarantino is not without his faults, but damn, when he gets the dialogue going, he is brilliant. I love that it takes place after what in other films would be considered the main event. That's not what concerns us. It's the fallout we need to see. Inspired.

    Plus I love Steve Bruscemi to tiny, tiny bits and can watch him endlessly.

    It's also got one of my favourite continuous shots from a film (yes, I actually have favourite continuous shots, I think they are a real test of everyone involved in the scene and a very welcome relief to the choppy, shakey amalgamation films seem to fall back on these days). Mr Blonde walking out of the warehouse, to his car, and back. So understated. We don't need to follow him, the shots could be cut. But sometimes you just don't need to hurry these things, particularly at that particular, infamous part of the film. It's just empathising his nonchalance, his complete lack of feeling, without anyone needing to say a damn word.

    Yeah, maybe I'm a bit of a fan.
     
  9.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Early Tarantino like this film makes me wonder why didnt Tim Roth do more films like them. Seeing him in Lie To Me was a bit sad after seeing his 90s films.

    Steve Buscemi was so different in this film, he looked younger than he was in his roles like this. Some fidgety about him. Talk about having matured and become totally his character Nucky in Boardwalk Empire. Im glad he has a quality role these days too.
     
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    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    I see what you're saying - I still think the PF performances are great, too, but you're right that (a) there's more to obscure them and (b) if they weren't so great, you'd be less likely to notice. It is true that, in RD, it's all performance - if it isn't there, it's obvious and there's nothing to take its place. So, yeah, I'd bet as an actor you'd definitely have more of a "live without a net" feeling and really have to deliver. Roth definitely has the weight of it, but I also like Keitel's (of course) and also Buscemi's. In a way, he did a particularly fantastic job because he almost elevates his third-level character to par with the top two without distracting from Roth/Keitel or hamming it up or anything - he's just becomes the "professional" - the sane psycho. :)

    I dunno - he would have had to know it was Chow Yun-Fat. Either way, you got me curious but it is very obscure - Wikipedia and Amazon want it to be a book or music or something and if you specifically locate the movie, you get people complaining about both the dubs and subtitles so maybe I'll never know after all. (Subtitles drive me nuts even when good but they beat dubs - but this is why I almost never see non-English films, unfortunately. I think the only one I actually own is Das Boot - which is dubbed, but at least usually by the actors themselves.) Also it sounds worse as its more a straightforward-sounding police procedural
    (though with an undercover cop in a heist gone wrong)
    and with a romance/domestic subplot. Still, I'll keep it in mind - thanks.

    I wrote the above about Buscemi to Conn before I read your post because I was replying to him but got distracted. I haven't seen him in enough things to say he's a favorite but he's one of the best things in Fargo (which didn't entirely work for me as a film overall) and it seems like I've seen him in something else where he was good and I obviously agree with you that's he's great in RD.

    I hadn't thought about it that way - in retrospect, I probably "felt" about it that way but hadn't consciously realized that was what was going on. I look forward to keeping your thoughts in mind the next time I see it. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  11.  
    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    So now I miss your post replying to Hoopy. :) Lie to Me was that TV show where he played a sort House-but-different-no-really kind of character right? I suppose for a TV show it was okay but I only watched an episode or two. I'd agree that he didn't seem to have anything on "Orange" or "Ringo".
     
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    paranoid marvin

    paranoid marvin Run VT Erroll!

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    The greatest thing for me about Tarantino is his ability to take actors who are largely 'past it' and make them shine; who'd have thought Travolta would have been capable of that performance in PF? Also having seemingly free access to Harvey Keitel was a major plus point.

    As for the music in RD being bad; are you kidding?? Little Green Bag, Stuck in the Middle, Fool for Love, MAgic Carpet Ride etc are fab songs. The CD is excellent.

    RD is a great film; as has been said the supposedly 'main part' - ie the heist - is hardly featured; it's all about the build up and aftermath. The difference with PF is that that film has plenty of quotable lines, whilst RD is more about the memorable conversations. Who can't listen to the ' Like a Virgin' speech and not raise a little smile? Or the discussion over tipping the waitress?

    Loved Jackie Brown as well, and although Dusk til Dawn is entertaining , none of his other films have matched those 3.
     
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    HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Iago with a Blackberry

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    I have a habit of violently attaching meaning to everything I see and read! Hazards of a literature and film theory background. It's only my take on it anyway, and it's just generally a really nice shot. Such technical aspects shouldn't be overlooked when making films.

    I think what makes a good film great is those unconscious things. My seminar leader had a theory that the genre of film should be connected to feeling (horror, romance, suspense), and the rest (western, sci-fi, etc) is just setting. A really good film will grab you by the raw emotions and pull you along, and it's those moments you remember the most, the ones that stay with you, when you leave. Everyone remembers that torture scene for being so visceral, but also because of Mr Blonde's attitude and our disbelief that he's actually dancing around as he does it. You don't take note of how you're feeling at the time, but you can bet your ass it'll stay with you because of it!

    You didn't like Fargo?! *massive gasp* Another film I love, mostly for how incredibly understated it is. And Marge Gunderson. Dear, dear Margie.

    If nothing else about the music, you definitely can't listen to Stealers Wheel in the same way. Amma right?

    And ohmigod, I watched From Dusk Till Dawn so many times in the school summer holidays, I could practically quote it.
     
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    J-Sun:

    I like Keitel, Buschemi's acting in RD alot too. Those 3 carried the film really well for me. Im a big Buschemi fan today thanks to Boardwalk Empire and im ashamed to hear you and Hoopy talk about Fargo. I havent seen it despite i adore Coan films.

    Also dont get me wrong about Pulp Fiction i think its awesome, cool film. I just find the simple way RD was done to be so convincing. Still i need re-watch his early films.
     
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    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    No doubt about that. :) As far as the film theory, that was really interesting. I have no theory or education behind films - I basically just "watch flicks" - but that's some interesting stuff to think about.

    Well, it'd be fair to say I mostly did. It's a "good" movie and I was always interested while watching it but after it was over, contemplating the ending, I just didn't ultimately like it like I might have. Spoilery stuff:
    I just found the ending too "comfortable", sort of. The good decent people triumph over the evil guys and go back about their business with most of us not noticing the simple quiet heroine-ism that allows them to live their good lives. I mean, that's a fine message (if that is the message) but I just found a little too affirming of the status quo or something. Maybe I'm wrong and/or not making sense, but that's the way I recall it hitting me. But Marge (that's McDormand's character, right?) was great, I agree. Favorite line from the film, though, was actually Buscemi's - something like "You should see the other guy". That's how you make the old joke all shiny and new. :D

    Well, despite it not being my favorite, I could definitely recommend it at the same time as it's very well done and probably would strike a lot of people more favorably overall than me.

    Gotcha - I think it's safe to say we both love at least both his first films. :)

    -- Oops - forgot this:

    Not me - that just completely amazed me.

    That's a good point about the entire conversation vs. particular lines. I actually thought he might have been trying a little too hard on the "Like a Virgin" bit and it seemed a little out of place, but the "tip" conversation was perfect.
     
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    HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Iago with a Blackberry

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    Luckily I can still turn it off -- mostly! -- otherwise I might drive myself mad by keeping up a constant monologue while watching films. But it's what I love about films -- that they can keep you talking endlessly about every little bit and all the aspects of it, be it fan, theorist, critic, maker, casual watcher, other.

    I also feel a little bit preachy (it's getting late, I'll be packing up my soap box shortly!), but another thing we really got hammered with was the aspect of Desire as the driving point of a film -- the character's desire moves the plot and the film ends when they do or do not have it. In Dogs, it's the desire to find out who's the rat and what's going to be done with them. In Fargo it's the money (which gives it that driving 'race' force)...but not for Marge. For her, it's to get back to her home life with her husband, pretty much summed up by her getting into bed at the end and talking about the small stuff. It's quaint and fluffy, but in an otherwise really quite brutal film at times, it's also rather...well, nice!
     
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    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    Warning: spoilers in post (and likely succeeding posts, if any).

    Don't worry about any soap box - many posts are "yep" and "nope" - sometimes some energy and detail are great.

    I get what your saying on Fargo. Given the brutality of the film I guess I wanted a sort of more searching look into the lunacy but it was kind of swept under the carpet but, as you say, that's what a lot of people would like to do with it. So I will agree that Fargo's always in control of itself and does what it wants to do - it's a technically good film.

    As far as RD, I'll agree that desire is a prime motivator in plot terms but, in a sense, it always is. I think the thing about RD that's most interesting is, like I say, the authenticity and loyalty aspects, about which I started rambling before deleting a bunch of it. :eek: I need to think about it all some more first. But, primarily, where Fargo ends up with everything tidied up and dismissed, RD ends with everybody shot to smithereens and all the questions still hovering. I think that's why I found it more satisfying.

    That is interesting though - I think other than violence and Buscemi, there's no direct connection to the two films, but they do make an interesting study in contrasts. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of Fargo, so it's all from memory and it's been awhile. Amazing how much seems to still be sticking so far, though.
     
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    HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Iago with a Blackberry

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    I read the script to Fargo before seeing the film, and at the time, I was all "what is this? There's hardly anything here!" I just didn't get it, it was so sparse. But it worked so well on the screen! Hardly anyone is a big talker in the film, which means what they do say has so much more weight, even the most every day and normal conversations. I love the accent. And I think I just generally get the feel that it's just a bit too...cold...in Brainerd for anyone to waste energy worrying about things!

    And yeah, when I was chatting on about desire, it's something that should ideally be driving all films.

    Leaving the audience with questions at the end certainly means they'll leave/finish the film with it lingering in their minds for a long time after, and talking about it endlessly. Gah, the ending to Inception! What a way to leave us hanging! And because of it, it's definitely memorable. I love that we cut to black before finding out what really happens at the end of Dogs. Although a large part of me really hopes that Mr Pink just gets arrested, rather than shot to pieces by the police!

    Another film by the inimitable Coen brothers that stars Steve Bruscemi (though, from a fan point of view, he is massively underused) is The Big Lebowski. It has their trademark stand-out characters and brilliantly understated and layered dialogue. It's hard to place it in terms of Fargo and Reservoir Dogs, but it's certainly less violent, but still somewhat dark. Very enjoyable.
     
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    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    Funny you should say that - in part of what I cut, I was going to say that I figured the off-stage gunfire is him getting shot down but, on the other hand, he shot his way out of the bungled heist so the gunfire could as easily be him getting away again. And while, from a realistic point of view, he "should" be shot down or jailed, from a fictional, thematic view, you could make a case for it to make sense for him to escape. :) As far as arrest though, I guess it's possible, but I doubt it. Pink might be arrested (as an independent character) but I doubt Tarantino would let him be.

    As far as the other references, I haven't seen either of those movies, unfortunately.
     
  20.  
    HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Iago with a Blackberry

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    Ooh, you should definitely try Inception, it's one of the best films of recent years. Christopher Nolan is another crazy mofo director who seems to do no wrong.

    And yes, the ultimate part of me hopes Mr Pink escapes entirely, but as you say, this is a Quentin Tarantino film after all....
     

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