Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Palin is the new black

Check out this snippet of a scathing review of Quentin Tarantino's upcoming Inglourious Basterds:
It’s amazing to me that some fellow Jews who were so indignant about Sophie’s Choice (by which I mean the Styron novel — arguably his best — and not the hollow Pakula movie) can give Tarantino a free ride on this one, presumably under the theory that this boy should be allowed to enjoy every last drop of his all-American fun, even at the expense of real-life Holocaust victims. As far as I’m concerned, whatever Tarantino’s actual or imagined politics might be, he’s become the cinematic equivalent of Sarah Palin, death-panel fantasies and all.

I heartily encourage this trend of using Palin as a conversational placeholder for the paranoid, divisive style. As for the movie itself, it looks to be a lot of meh. Tarantino has his gifts as a filmmaker--he has a style that works for him, he can write dialogue--but I think he peaked with Jackie Brown. That was his most "felt" film, I think, and the first one he made that showed a more mature vision at work. His work since then has shown him mostly abandoning the human element that made his early work watchable, and delving ever-further into genre pastiche. Basically, his early movies were about people and his later movies were about style. That distinction might be too clear-cut, but I think it's essentially right. And it's made him a much less interesting artist in the Aughts.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.