Monday, 21 January 2008

Tarantino: The New Benny Hill

WARNING: This Post Is NOT About Writing or Advertising.

Woke up this morning, feelin' fine. There's something angry on my mind. Last night I watched a new film that's a load of shite (oh, yeah!) Something tells me I should've turned it off (something tells me I should've turned it off!)

The film in question is Quentin Tarantino's new poo-poos, Death Proof, which in fact, I did turn off halfway through and foolishly bothered to finish watching at 7.30 this morning, but only because Rosario Dawson's in it and I've recently worked out I fancy her quite a lot. Anyway, words cannot begin to describe how catastrophically, profoundly rubbish this film is. But I'm gonna have a good go.

First of all, I dislike Tarantino's films immensely. Nevertheless, I've open-mindedly sat through all of them wondering if I'll get it, hoping that the penny will drop and I'll understand the genius I'm assured he's meant to be. But I now face the inevitable: this is never going to happen.

Tarantino is a hack who pays "homage" to the films and movie genres he loves. And unfortunately for us, the films he loves are all rubbish. But he gets away with this by playing his Irony Card. This means he gets to make shallow, cynical, self-indulgent horseshit and pretend it's sophisticated. But we're not talking Pop Art here. This isn't Andy Warhol's Factory. This is earnest, sweat-and-tears film making. Young Quentin works hard to produce this shit. And the reason he needs to work so hard is because he has all the imagination of a toad.

Quentin Tarantino looks like a vegetable. He speaks with a "lithsp." He looks and sounds a bit like a 6 year-old trapped in the body of sex-tourist. So it's particularly alarming whenever he casts himself in his films. Which he does all the time, often as a hard-man. But he's a runt and a spastic. Weird!

In the same way that Kill Bill was a "homage" to those ten-a-penny (HMV is full of 'em), modern-day martial arts films, Death Proof is Quentin's "homage" to "grindhouse." Grindhouses were cheap, populist flea-pits showing badly made boobs-and-guns-and-monsters double-bills in an attempt to cram the punters in at a time when everyone watched TV instead of movies. If this is the underground cinema of America (as Quentin would have us beleive) then the Carry On films are our counter-cultural equivalent.

Death Proof's companion piece is Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror. As Rodriguez is generally a far more original, witty, not to mention competent film maker, Planet Terror looks set to be an altogether more positive experience: a full-on post-Tromaville schlock-horror blockbuster. See, when I saw the trailer for Planet Terror I thought, hey that looks funny - like a Toxic Avenger meets John Carpenter thing. God. If only I'd seen a trailer for Death Proof.

So, what is Death Proof then? Well, Quentin would have you beleive that it's a cross between a Russ Meyer film and someting like The Hitcher. In fact, this is exactly what it should have been. Instead though, it's Sex and The City meet's Wacky Race(s) There's actually only one car chase in it and that happens right at the end. If you get that far. For two hours you get nothing but some quite attractive women talking about sex like 14 year old chavs outside an off license. They talk and they talk. They laugh and talk. They get drunk and they talk. Some men try and hit on them. They talk some more. They get drunk some more. They talk. I think one of them does a bit of a sexy dance. They're all talking again. Then suddenly Kurt Russell kills them all very quickly. But we meet some more women who talk about sex. They talk and they talk and then I turned it off.

So what's the point of this fucking monotonous cine-mong? Well, none. The only person benefitting from it is Quentin because it's his show. He gets to tell the girls exactly what he wants them do. And he wants them to wear tight shorts and uplift bras. He wants to personally hold the camera as it tracks up their quivering thighs. He wants them to kick and fight like saphhic gladiators and he wants them to talk about the kind of forgotten movies real women wouldn't give a two-ounze turd about. He wants to ogle and breath at them from behind the lens (see above) and he wants the men to call them "fucking bitches" and beat them and kill them.

Tarantino has hidden his arch, slightly sinister brand of misogyny behind this gloss of shallow irony for too long. He's a one-trick pony and a dirty old man. His films aren't homages at all. They're febrile excursions into his sexual and cultural immaturity. In fact, he's the Benny Hill of cinema. And Benny Hill was shit. Even when I was about six.

If there's one thing worse than sexism, it's nostalgia. And Uncle ("Chase-Me-You-Fucking-Bitch!") Quentin is a serial offender.

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