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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 10.17.2003 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Mark, not that ratings are very relevant on this board, I'm curious as to why you gave it a perfect score, but admitted that you hated the fact that it was split? Doesn't this deserve a deduction?


Random questions: Does an "A" or "Four Stars" signify perfection? Is there such a thing as a perfect film? If there is, do we know how to define it? Can an imperfect film still deserve a perfect score?

(I would answer, no, no, no, and yes.)

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 10.17.2003 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Random questions: Does an "A" or "Four Stars" signify perfection? Is there such a thing as a perfect film? If there is, do we know how to define it? Can an imperfect film still deserve a perfect score?

(I would answer, no, no, no, and yes.)[/quote]

I would answer no, no, yes, yes. But it seems as though some of the flaws those who give it a perfect score are rather big. I would go for the red light/green light yellow light system if I didn't already have so many bucket graphics made...I dunno how I'd use popcorn for that one. Haha.
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 10.18.2003 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Random questions: Does an "A" or "Four Stars" signify perfection? Is there such a thing as a perfect film? If there is, do we know how to define it? Can an imperfect film still deserve a perfect score?

(I would answer, no, no, no, and yes.)



Same answers.

I've unoffically dubbed my system as the Irrelevant Rating in Stars (I.R.I.S.).
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 10.18.2003 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's great.

Time to lead a movement for change.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.18.2003 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does an "A" or "Four Stars" signify perfection?

No, I think it signifies a movie of exceptional quality.

Is there such a thing as a perfect film?

Only if there are other examples of "perfect art," like in painting, prose, poetry, song, etc. Besides, it seems to me that perfection is reliant on objective, predetermined criteria. A perfect diamond, say, would be one without flaws of any kind. In art, what may be a flaw to one viewer may be positive or irrelevant to another.

If there is, do we know how to define it?

I suppose it would be a movie that affects everyone exactly the same way, regardless of age or era. It would have to be a movie that imparts profound emotion and insight, and never got old or stale, regardless of how many times it was viewed. An impossibility, in other words.

Can an imperfect film still deserve a perfect score?

Yup, or, as I mentioned, a score that denotes exceptional quality.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.18.2003 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Besides, it seems to me that perfection is reliant on objective, predetermined criteria. A perfect diamond, say, would be one without flaws of any kind. In art, what may be a flaw to one viewer may be positive or irrelevant to another.


Night Watchman, your elaborations coincide with my thoughts precisely. I especially feel that your distinction that "objective" perfection may apply to concrete artifacts (such as diamonds) but not to art is of the utmost significance. Indeed, "what may be a flaw to one viewer may be a positive to another." Well-stated.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.18.2003 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Night Watchman, your elaborations coincide with my thoughts precisely.


Well, they say great minds think alike. Although I have no idea what that saying has to do with us. Wink
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koot
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PostPosted: 10.18.2003 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I grew up on a diet of Shaw Brothers action movies in the 70s, as well as the period after that when the martial arts directors like Yuen Ho Ping (KB, Matrix Reloaded) came out and started a genre on their own with Jet Li, Jacky Chan etc. I was amused that Quentin Tarantino used the Shaw Brothers' opening sequence to start this movie.

If you want more of similar action sequences, check out the films of Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung, and Liu Chia Liang. You will not be disappointed.

To the list of influences, add The Samurai TV series. Here is where heros can smite a multiple attackers with one move without himself getting barely barely scratched!!

beltmann wrote:
Yeah, the influences are endless. I was most struck by the Shaw brothers, Suzuki, and De Palma, as you mentioned, fRp. (The Daryl Hannah sequence absolutely screamed "De Palma," especially Dressed to Kill.)

To add to your list, I'd mention Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu is even mentioned in the end credits' RIP section!), Naked Killer, Ringo Lam, Akira, Kurosawa (especially the exploding heart in Sanjuro), Takeshi Kitano, Ozu, Mizoguchi, Oshii, Chen Chi-Hwa, Lo Wei, Ching Siu-Tung, The Heroic Trio, Tsui Hark, and even a little bit of Wong Kar-Wai. I guess the list could go on indefinitely.

Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.19.2003 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

koot wrote:
If you want more of similar action sequences, check out the films of Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung, and Liu Chia Liang.


I'll second that, especially Tsui Hark. Good places to start (in rank order): Peking Opera Blues, Once Upon a Time in China I and II, and Green Snake.

Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 10.20.2003 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Armond White says Tarantino and Kill Bill are racist:

http://africana.com/reviews/moviestv/mtv20031010bill.asp

:roll:
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matt header
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PostPosted: 10.20.2003 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate his use of "the n word" (although I think there's very little, if any, of that in "Kill Bill"). But I don't buy into the fact that he's "hoovering-up" the lower-class urban art forms (blaxploitation, kung-fu) and ignoring the social implications of those genres. He's emulating them; would a critic deem Neil LaBute "sexist" for replicating a rather feminist, male-mysoginist point of view? When the Bride kills Vernita, it's not "a black woman butchered by a white woman," and I doubt very much that Tarantino is "aiming for pain." "Kill Bill" exists outside of the realm of social "substantive human dilemmas"; it is an exercise in style and abstraction, and I don't think Tarantino is misappropriating a culture that's not his.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.20.2003 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has Mr. White even seen any of Tarantino's movies, or has he only heard about them second-hand from black alarmists? Reservoir Dogs has more to do with HK action movies than blaxplotation, and he seems to forget that Bruce Willis is even in Pulp Fiction, nearly forgets John Travolta is in it, and is oblivious to the moral and spiritual tranformation of Sam Jackson's character, instead viewing him as "a figure of single-minded, craven, remorselessness." Wha-? Note, also, how he tap-dances around Jackie Brown.

As far as Tarantino?s use of "the n-word" in Pulp goes, well, the word and its use are not something Tarantino made up. It is in hip-hop culture, and I've personally witnessed its use among black friends and co-workers. In fact, several years ago, my wife worked graveyard at Denney's. One of the crew was a black woman from Louisiana. "Nigga" was a word in her lexicon used to address close companions, and before long, not only was she addressing my white wife and another white waitress as "nigga," my wife and the other waitress took to address her as "nigga."

There is a portion of the intellectual community that believes that while African-Americans artists can incorporate or criticize so-called "white" culture, Caucasian artists are not allowed to even observe so-called "black" culture.

African-Americans in this category tend to be as overly conscious of skin color, and as bigoted as any whitey they're criticizing. Take for instance White's claim that Tarantino's presentation of black culture by way of black-aimed films from a certain era "[forsakes] such issues as social inequality, historically-determined class roles, genuine spirituality and injustice." Notice how he slips "genuine spirituality" into there? I suspect he's making reference to the Afrocentric notion that blacks are more "spiritually developed" than whites, a mentality I've both read about and encountered personally, which is a reaction to the old racist belief stemming from the bible that black people tend to be more interested in the mundane aspects of life than the spiritual.

And check out the casual little bit o' racism packaged in outrage when White complains that Fox's character in Kill Bill "is a typical example of Hollywood cannon fodder. It's another bait-and-switch role, used to lure black filmgoers to a movie and then be conveniently dispatched to appease white racist distaste." Of course Taratino learned from the financial failure of Jackie Brown and "wasn't about to repeat the mistake of asking mainstream movie audiences to take a black person's emotional life seriously." Switch "mainstream" with "white" (Because who else could he be talking about? Asians? Latinos?) and I think we've got a pretty good model of Armond's white stereotype.

White?s assessment of Tarantino is more than a little contradictory as well; after all, is QT ?exactly like a black teenager watching Shaft, Three the Hard Way or The Chinese Connection, unconcerned with how movies portray substantive human dilemmas,? or is he a white filmmaker who would ?[ask] mainstream movie audiences to take a black person's emotional life seriously?"

And check out this statement: "As with the Jackson-Travolta pairing in Pulp Fiction, Tarantino is incapable of portraying realistic black/white relationships; he retreats into his own screwy blaxploitation fantasy." So Tarantino's screwy blaxplotation fantasy is that a black man and a white man can work together as professional colleagues (regardless of the profession), and not be bothered by the other's race?

Again, consider his recounting of a scene in Kill Bill: "QT's juxtaposition of domesticity and surreal violence only leads to a vicious shocker: Vernita's daughter arrives home from grade school in time to watch her mother nailed to the kitchen cabinet by a knife. It takes a near-idiotic mentality to detach this scene from its sociological and psychological horror and then laugh." I agree with White?s assessment of the mentality of anyone laughing at this scene, but only because 1) laughter is not a part of the scene?s motivation, and 2) I have never encountered anyone who has laughed at it. That, coupled with the fact that his description of the scene is wrong on at least two points (which are significant when you consider how he wants the reader to regard the scene) suggests to me White has either not seen the movie, profoundly misremembers it, or is unconcerned about its actual events and tone. I think any one of those possibilities make him utterly unqualified to comment on it.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 10.20.2003 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree - your response to Mr. White's writing seems a lot more supported and emphatic than the original writing itself.

As for my dislike of "the n word," I suppose I'm not really criticizing Tarantino's use of it (although I originally said that I was) - as you said, he is only replicating a term that has been added into everyday use, especially in hip-hop culture. I guess I'm just depressed about the fact that it has become commonplace at all: it has become a catchphrase in the vernacular when it was originally a reprehensible term used to condescend to African Americans. That, to me, is what's sad.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.20.2003 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure how I feel about the "n-word" as used in hip-hop or certain areas of black culture, other than something akin to intellectual interest. I get the feeling Tarantino's the same way. His movies display an obvious fascination with words and language. I think when the character he plays in Pulp Fiction, who is married to a black woman, says the word, he is using it in the same way Jackson's character uses it. He seems to be a guy "in-between" white culture and black culture (or, at least, the area of black culture that uses that word), and has appropriated certain views from the latter. Eric Stoltz's character, on the other hand, is using the word derogatorily ("Am I a n--? Are you in Inglewood??), and obviously so are Zed and Maynard. (I don?t think any of the other white characters uses the word at all.) I think one of the thing's Tarantino is doing in Pulp Fiction is playing with a society's racial self-awareness, and seeing where it matters in social interactions and situations, how it matters, and to whom. I think this is the mistake most critics of Pulp Fiction make; Tarantino is not using the n-word, his characters are. It?s the fact that the narrative is non-judgmental about the word itself and how the characters use it that perturbs most of the movie?s detractors.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 10.21.2003 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Night Watchman, your dissection of White is of course dead-on, especially in your implication that White himself is flirting with racism. By refusing to see Tarantino's characters as anything but symbols of their race, he devalues their humanity. That kind of superficial reading may have been socially relevant 20 years ago, but we're beyond that now.

Of course, this is the kind of loony analysis White has been producing for years. It may be irresponsible to suggest, but is it possible that White's age plays a role in his response? I don't think my generation--and certainly not younger kids--first look at these characters in terms of their skin color; our experiences with race relations transcend such surface coding. I think Night Watchman's comments regarding the assimilation of hip-hop culture into the "mainstream" is quite significant--for us, and for Tarantino, too, multiple races and multiple cultures are givens, and that makes us color blind. Kill Bill says more about that than about racism.

As for the n-word, I would never use it, due to the negative connotations I and much of society associate with it. Yet words only have power if we assign them power. If the power, meaning, and usage of the word is evolving in certain segments of the population--and the corresponding dialects--then that's simply proof of the organic nature of language. It's the difference between prescriptive and descriptive linguistics: one arbitrarily prescribes what's "right," the other sees language as constantly in flux, and describes what's happening. (I'm obviously a descriptivist, and that's why I'm the rare English teacher who loves slang words, which are, of course, merely terms that help expand the ways we can express ourselves.)

Eric
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