Monday, April 16, 2007

The Grindhouse Debacle

It was at the end of Death Proof that I came to the following conclusion – Quentin Tarantino needs a girlfriend.

Grindhouse has been out for two weeks now and it's official - the film is a bomb. There's been some outcry from the film-making community, and a lot of speculation as to why it failed - audiences who walked out not knowing it was a double feature, the 3 hour+ run time limiting turn over. Frankly, I think it failed for a couple of obvious reasons: it's a violent niche flick that isn't all that good. Not a very big market of people looking for that.

A lengthy comment about the film over at Film Brain essentially echoes my own feelings:

Simply stated, Tarantino can't write dialog for women to save his life. Listening to the palaver of the two disparate groups of women in the film – be it about making out or muscle cars – you'd think the screenwriter had never actually spent time with women. This isn't Quentin trying to write intentionally bad dialog, à la The Cheerleaders – the style is identical to that of his earlier films, except that unlike the nameless hoods of Reservoir Dogs, or the multitude of characters in Pulp Fiction, the women in Death Proof aren't characters at all, they're merely character types; agents for Tarantino's excursions into violence and vengeance. In past films, even minor characters (Gogo Yubari, Honey Bunny) had a certain three-dimensional quality to them. None of that is to be found here. (Unless of course you consider liberal use of "Nigga' please" as character defining.)

Several of the lengthy dialog scenes go absolutely nowhere, fizzle out, or are otherwise pointless. For example, Kim and Zoe's story about the ditch in Thailand – neither funny, revealing, nor particularly interesting, its function (as far as I can tell) is simply to prepare us for Zoe's miraculous survival later in the film. Where's the payoff we've come to expect from such setups?

1 comment:

twisted-pirate said...

You make some okay points, but as a woman I have to point out that there was nothing wrong with the womens dialogue. To me at least it was believable, but maybe you're one of those guys who think chicks only talk about make up and pointless shit like that. I dunno and I don't really care either. I love Death Proof, it's funny, sorta scary, definately creepy and especially Zoë makes it worth watching.
Did it perhaps hurt your ego that the chicks get their pay back in the end? I can't believe that would be it, we (men and women of my college) we laughing our heads of at the final scenes after all.
Ofcourse it's pretty much pointless to argue about taste. You didn't like it, I did. Big deal, but that line about the womens dialogue...I dunno, it sorta felt like a pinch on the butt, "good nice girls" and all that.
I'm sorry if you find this offensive or anything, I just wathed the film for the second time about an hour ago, and I got such a nice kick out of it. Can't get "Chick Habit" out of my head.