Posted by: markfender | November 10, 2015

Quentin Tarantino

The problem with Quentin Tarantino’s movies are that he likes to monologue.

quentinBack when he was good, that meant having odd conversations about Royal McCheese and Madonna songs, in the middle of gangster movies. That’s cute and all, because it gave a character to criminals and ne’er do wells that hadn’t been seen. But, they were fairly short snippets of the film. And, he had a gift to making memorable characters that you wanted to see monologue. When Samuel L. Jackson explains his philosophy of life with made-up Bible verses, it’s mesmerizing to watch (it probably also doesn’t hurt that he’s pointing a gun at someone and the audience doesn’t quite know which way he’s going with his long, rambling speeches.)

But, even those good films, he still wasn’t immune to boring monologues. Does anyone care about Esmarelda Villalobos? I didn’t think so.

He’s gotten worse. The point I knew that it was over was while watching Jackie Brown. My only takeaway from that movie was “How the hell do you fuck up Elmore Leonard?” Instead of the short, quippy dialogue that Leonard is famous for, we got long speeches and staring into space while some ’60s music plays. It pretty much soured me on watching any Tarantino for the rest of time.

And yet, for some unknown reason, I watched Django Unchained. And Quentin’s latter-day monologues are in full force. After the moment that DiCaprio’s character discovers that Django and and Schulz are lying to him, he comes back into the dining room, ready to confront the “heroes.” And then he gives a long, rambling speech that goes on for way too long before finally revealing that he knows the truth (and then shit hits the fan, as the audience has been expecting for the last hour and a half). Yes, he puts the monologue in a tense situation so that the audience is just bracing for the final twist, and, yeah, that ratchets up tension. And, yes, Tarantino’s smart enough to hire really good actors to deliver his speeches. But that doesn’t forgive that his dialogue is all one-sided.

Jackson and DiCaprio can deliver those long rambling speeches and it almost works because they’re the critical moment of the story. But, when those speeches aren’t all that important and don’t add to the story, Quentin still won’t cut them. Does anyone care about his section in Four Rooms? Because I could give a fuck what Quentin Tarantino thinks of Cristal, or his recollections of old Twilight Zone episodes.

So, yes, you caught Quentin Tarantino monologuing. Again.

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