Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A revolting piece of shit

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  • 3410,

    One of the biggest laughs I've had at the movies in recent times was the last line of Inglourious Basterds. As Brad Pitt's ridiculously mush-mouthed (and, curiously, largely absent) Lt. Aldo Raine again carves a swastika into the face of another hapless Nazi, Tarantino has him turn to his offsider and describes the wound -- in a clearly autobiographical move -- as "my masterpiece".

    Ha. Dude, there was so much wrong with that film. You're delusional if you think that was a masterpiece.

    His career has been essentially been an uninterrupted downward slide from the breath of fresh air -- ironic, I know -- that was Reservoir Dogs. The more success he achieves, the more bloated become his works, culminating in a two-part film that was a triumph of style over substance; that barely contained enough story for one feature. It's certainly no Novecento.

    And then Inglorious Basterds, which, to my mind, contained one good scene followed by hours of badly structured and morally inexplicable rubbish.

    Pah! Frankly, I thought it was so divorced from a coherent meaningfulness that I can't really feel that it even deserves much analysis. He's not fit to lick Scorcese's boots, nor to even suck on Leone's bootlaces.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Pharmachick wrote:

    I actually replied to B Jones, 30 March 12:10 (page 1) ... errrrmm apologies: seems the "reply" function on this site is not quite how I'm used to it working

    Yes, it would be good if it automatically included quote text when you hit reply.

    Thanks for the Hansard tip, the online databases I've looked at are mostly post-80s and wouldn't cover Marilyn Waring's time, plus I think you need a subscription which I don't currently have. My patience for sleuthing ran out about there, and I was trying to prod Jonty into citing his Marilyn Waring quote. It has the feel of an urban legend.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    They might, but it wouldn’t make much sense. There are virtually infinite liberties, so how do you argue from a position of “full restrictions”? Each prohibition would need to be argued for.

    It could be worked. A large list of what's allowed, a number of the things being worded in an open way. Adding or taking away things from this list would require argumentation. Lists of rights are basically this already, and considered to be a workable foundation of many a constitution.

    It seems to me a bit like saying that someone could establish God must exist because you don’t have an argument to prove he doesn’t.

    Can't see the equivalence, really. You might have to elaborate.

    Again, I tend to think that the presumption of liberty is important, but I don't see that is obvious, a simple numbers game based on the near infinity of possible liberties. There's also a near infinite number of ways that liberties can be restricted. So what? For me the more compelling thing is that I consider liberty to be an important good. But other people think it's not so much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • bronwyn,

    What Deborah said.

    Plus: this hasn't been the only thread that's been filled with posturing recently. Doesn't make for particularly interesting discussions.

    tamaki makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Frankly, I thought it was so divorced from a coherent meaningfulness that I can't really feel that it even deserves much analysis.

    To the "art" thread with you..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19697 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    To the "art" thread with you..

    Thanks, but no. I learned my lesson on Wallywood.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    He's not fit to lick Scorcese's boots,

    Well, it was no Gangs of New York.

    Protip: It's not a film about Germans, it's a film about genre. A genre. The American World War 2 film. Kill Bill isn't about substance, it's about film, which has no substance, being nitrates on celluloid.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    It's not a film about Germans, it's a film about genre. A genre. The American World War 2 film. Kill Bill isn't about substance, it's about film, which has no substance, being nitrates on celluloid.

    IMO, Tarantino is to Leone and Scorsese -- his obvious models -- as Herman's Hermits are to the Beatles; ie an aping of the general style, done less competently and almost completely devoid of heart and brains.

    Kill Bill may not be about substance, but does that mean that it shouldn't have any?

    It's not a film about Germans, it's a film about genre. A genre. The American World War 2 film.

    I didn't notice. Pray tell, what does IB have to say about that genre?

    To me, QT always gets it ass-backwards. Instead of bringing epic granduer to visceral "street" material, he just ends up marrying Art-house wank to boring, pointless (and naff) retro style exercises.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Scorcese

    Scorsese, people. Scorsese.

    Carry on.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Scuse.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    what does IB have to say about that genre?

    It should have something to say? What, like an easily digestible message so that you can walk out of the theatre thinking 'oh that was saying that the World War 2 film of the 50s and 60s exalted American participation in war and acted as propaganda for the new American empire by glorifying violence and transforming the enemy into cartoon characters.'? Is that the sort of thing you mean? Because it doesn't have one of those. What it's doing is using the forms of the genre to play out a revenge drama, and dabble in ideas about the malleability of history and how history can become subject to art. Also, very cool scene in the underground tavern. I found it entertaining and useful to think with, personally.

    Kill Bill may not be about substance, but does that mean that it shouldn't have any?

    No, but it doesn't mean it should, either. If you walk into Tarantino's 4th and 5th feature length film expecting substance I guess you have a greater belief in the human animal's capacity for change than I do.

    I happen to disagree that Scorsese is an 'obvious model'. I don't even think there's a 'model', just pastiche of, yes, Leone, but also Akira Kurosawa, Russ Meyer, the blaxploitation flicks and countless others. He makes films about films. No heart, of course. But why does it need it? Or brains for that matter. It's about splicing, and surfaces. And, at the end of Inglourious Basterds, combustibility.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Also, very cool scene in the underground tavern.

    I'd have cut it by at least 40 minutes. Seriously.

    He makes films about films

    Really? Pastiche, I can agree with but " about films"? He does rip off other films, but that's not the same thing.

    It's about splicing, and surfaces. And, at the end of Inglourious Basterds, combustibility.

    You've lost me there.

    If you walk into Tarantino's 4th and 5th feature length film expecting substance I guess you have a greater belief in the human animal's capacity for change than I do.

    Ha ha. Fair call.

    On the plus side, he does of course write some cracking dialogue.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Well, it was no Gangs of New York.

    Which is a bad thing, exactly how? I will defer to nobody in my adoration of Saint Marty, but when he make a load of crap (Gangs, The Departed, Shutter Island) he doesn't half arse around. (Then again, two of my favourite - and much under-rated IMO - Scorsese flicks are After Hours and The King of Comedy, which the man himself says he isn't really satisfied with. So what do I know?)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    Craig: I was being ironico.

    You've lost me there.

    Kill Bill is several genre films spliced together -- a Western, a Hong Kong action flick, some anime, some other stuff. He shot new film, with his own actors etc., but it's really every film he's ever loved, spliced together. As I said, there's little substance to any of it, he's just toying with the history of cinema. In Inglourious Basterds, he's doing the same thing, but staying within one genre; the WW2 film of the immediate post-war era. But it's still about joining together movies together. What he does, though, is SPOILER ALERT use that history of film to put pressure on history itself. As he said in some interview, what if a film could rewrite history? So, he uses his film to take the ultimate revenge that everyone really wants to take on the Nazis, by having a beautiful jewess kill them all in an inferno. And she does it by exploiting the combustibility of film -- by setting hundreds of reels of old film on fire. More than a medium, film becomes a weapon. And all this takes place in a film that's a weird pastiche of a whole lot of WW2 films. I think it's an interesting exercise in genre, and an almost utopian way of asserting the power of film in an age when we're abandoning the physical object itself for digital reproduction.

    I don't think Scorsese ever did anything like that.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Thanks, but no. I learned my lesson on Wallywood.

    Forget it, 3410. It's Chinatown.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    He shot new film, with his own actors etc., but it's really every film he's ever loved, spliced together. As I said, there's little substance to any of it, he's just toying with the history of cinema.

    ... which, as an idea, makes as much sense as putting all of my favourite foods in a blender and expecting the result to be a great meal instead of a grotesque inedible mess.

    So, he uses his film to take the ultimate revenge that everyone really wants to take on the Nazis, by having a beautiful jewess kill them all in an inferno. And she does it by exploiting the combustibility of film -- by setting hundreds of reels of old film on fire. More than a medium, film becomes a weapon.

    Okay, but only literally so. To me, the power of film (film as a weapon, if you like) is in its ability to change how people see the world. I suppose you could say he's confronting our ghoulish fantasies, but to me it just looks like he's indulging his own. So, we want our guys to punish the bad guys. At heart, how is that different from the average Duke-Wayne-M16s-the-Japs opus?

    he's just toying with the history of cinema.

    To what end, I keep asking myself? I guess it's "fun" for some; I just find it pointless. I'd definitely spend a lot of time at Quentin's Drive-In, if such a thing existed, but his films? Supremely annoying, in a way I can't yet quite articulate.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I think it's an interesting exercise in genre, and an almost utopian way of asserting the power of film in an age when we're abandoning the physical object itself for digital reproduction.

    An interesting analysis too. Most of what you say is true, I guess I just didn't find his pastiche interesting. There's a point where homage is simply unoriginal. I wonder if QT draws so much inspiration from 1970s film that he'll respond to the question "What will happen when your audience decides that's one homage too many?" with "I won't even notice because I'll be too busy looking good ".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    he's just toying with the history of cinema.

    To what end, I keep asking myself?

    I've been asking myself that for years. Glad to discover that someone else doesn't get the point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    a miserable little essay by playwright Louis Nowra

    I haven't read it, but the opening episode of First Australians which aired tonight on Māori TV, was pretty good, and a Louis Nowra was credited as writer...

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    he's just toying with the history of cinema.

    To what end, I keep asking myself?

    I've been asking myself that for years.

    Self gratification. Sometimes that's all an artist does it for.

    Forget the high morals of Aldo, and his basterds, they just liked killing people and so does QT on film.

    I finally got around to watching Inglourious Basterds over easter and refused to get sucked in to the whys and wherefores. I just let it ride over me. Overall i'd give it 3 mehs out of 7.

    One thing i did notice though, is just how much better an actor Brad Pitt is compared to Tom cruise, but that was evident in Interview with a Vampire.

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    No, but it doesn't mean it should, either. If you walk into Tarantino's 4th and 5th feature length film expecting substance I guess you have a greater belief in the human animal's capacity for change than I do.

    Reservoir Dogs is one of my favourite movies ever. There's a pile of substance in that movie. Fantastically written from the reverse side of the story. Kill Bill was awful IMHO, partially because it was a tribute to awful movies which didn't tend to have substance to start with. I haven't seen his latest, but if it's no good then it seems fairly easy to graph his descent in a linear line from Dogs downwards.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    It could be worked. A large list of what's allowed,

    Each point on such a list would surely have to be argued for in the first place.

    Can't see the equivalence, really. You might have to elaborate.

    The objection to following that approach is that it is not reasonable to be expected to believe in something (be it God or whatever else) just because it might be difficult or impossible to prove it doesn’t exist. We’d be left believing in everything. The onus of proof is on the person making the positive contention, and it’s accepted they can’t just turn that around. Advocating a particular law restricting certain behaviour seems the same to me: to argue for its justification only by pointing out it hasn’t been refuted is analogous to saying: “well you tell me why God doesn’t exist, then.” By that thinking, any law would be justified until proven otherwise. It’s impractical, and illogical, as some laws would contradict others (‘all people shall work to gain income for six days and pray on Sunday’ contracts ‘all shall work to gain income six days and pray on Saturday’, and both contradict ‘women shall not work at all except in the home’.)

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    For the record, I don't think any of those works (King's video, or the movies Chris mentioned) should be banned.

    There do seem to be issues with how seriously a special effects of this nature are taken. I often wonder if NZ's geographical distance from 'the action' somehow blurs the line between reality and on screen material.

    he might not have given the 100% politically correct answer. But, really, please don't compare it to a video featuring the consequence-free slaughter and dismemberment of women.

    This has been troubling me a little. Firstly to clarify, I was comparing the video with Scribe's answer, I was comparing the video to some of these hiphop guys real world activities. I won't bring it up again. but I think these some of these 'old schooler's actions have spoken louder than their words at times.

    But coming back to the main thing that troubles me about this discussion; The reaction to the video is obviously largely a question of taste. And I have no qualms about it not being hosted here, or that people find it offensive, I've still not seen it. but people are making claims about misogyny, and I have no doubts that it conveys misogyny, but is the misogyny considerably worse than that shown in some of those alcohol ads where we see a woman, drinking, drunk, raped. Without repercussions.

    Certainly the violence may be more graphic (more fake blood and pig's intestines), but is the misogyny any worse?

    Countless ads, which while not so graphically violent, illustrate the same kinds of attitudes toward people.

    One can maintain the alcohol ads are done for a better cause than promoting music, that's noble. But after a significant exposure to this violence and misogyny has their been any significant success in attitudes to drinking?

    Mr McKenzie says that while the number of vehicles stopped during the operation was somewhat lower than those previously tested, the ratio of drivers over the legal limit had increased.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/national-news/3481830/Over-60-drink-drivers-nabbed-in-Auckland

    An 18-year-old who drove with a breath alcohol level nearly seven times over the limit for a person her age, then crashed head on into another car, was fined when she appeared in the Gore District Court yesterday.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/court/3502222/Driver-was-seven-times-over-limit

    some mayor...
    etc etc

    If not, to what extent could videos of that nature contribute to the notion that this misogyny and violence is acceptable viewing?

    I'm not excusing anyone or being apologist. I just feel in context of what the Government presents as public service advertising in New Zealand, that you're left with a very thin hair to split.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    The Departed

    "The Rat stands for obviousness!”

    I thought it was so divorced from a coherent meaningfulness that I can't really feel that it even deserves much analysis.

    Well, the critic at Amoeblog is of a different view.
    I’ve linked to it last time Inglourious Basterds was discussed. I don’t agree with every point he makes, but it’s interesting and takes on the common criticisms of the film (morally dubious, the title characters aren’t in it enough etc).

    Landa appeals to the Americans' utilitarian ethos by cutting a deal: he'll let the bombs go off, thereby ending the war a little sooner, if he gets to live out the rest of his life as a war hero on Nantucket Island, instead of the war criminal that he is. Thus the Clark Gable/Gary Cooper hero role played by the movie's big star, Brad Pitt, is morally reduced to sitting on the sidelines, brokering a deal with the narrative's most evil Nazi. Not quite "hooray for our boys."

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Advocating a particular law restricting certain behaviour seems the same to me: to argue for its justification only by pointing out it hasn’t been refuted is analogous to saying: “well you tell me why God doesn’t exist, then.” By that thinking, any law would be justified until proven otherwise.

    Perhaps but this thinking about legislation isn't about the justification of it, just the specification. And sometimes it's more practical to specify what freedoms you do have than it is to specify all of the restrictions. That is why when someone is arrested they are told what they are allowed to do, not what they are not allowed to do. The reason? Because the list of what they are not allowed to do is far, far longer.

    For a lot of folks, this idea of a specification of rights seems like a really good idea. I'm personally not so much of a fan, thinking laws do a better job, and the assumption that if it's not illegal, then it's allowed, ie a right. This is because I think, like you, that freedom to do as you please is an important good.

    But other people can easily be found who take the opinion that this freedom is earned, rather than a natural right, that it needs to be clearly specified which freedoms you have, and in what circumstances. I can see that in a lot of cases this is quite practical, particularly if the list of things you are not allowed to do is getting extremely lengthy. The reason for these freedoms sometimes needs to be given, it is not natural to assume they are good without discussion. For example, the right to bear weapons does not strike me as a gimme. Nor does laws against bearing them. Basically there is no automatic "default" position. I've got my position, but I can't just put onus on other people because of it. All positions need to be argued for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

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