July 4th, 2012

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Tarantino/Rodriguez: Reservoir Dogs

When Mr Rodriguez was whisked off to Sundance for the premier of his breakout flick, El Mariachi, there was another filmmaker whose big movie was about to debut at the same festival: Mr Quentin Tarantino with Reservoir Dogs. The two met at the fest, and their collaborative bromance was born. Tarantino's original plan for the film was very similar to what Rodriguez did with El Mariachi: kinda DIY, incredibly low budget, relying on friends and favors. But then somehow the script ended up in the hands of Harvey Keitel, who we now know as Mr White, and who also served as a producer. And the rest is history.

Reservoir Dogs is prolly my favorite Tarantino film, but that is not a distinction I make lightly. I love so many of his movies, that it really feels like Sophie's Choice picking a fave. I choose Dogs because it's gritty, dirty, and tough. The dialogue is snappy and raw. The blood flows freely. Im equally afraid and in awe of the characters. You want more info, just check out what I wrote about Dogs for my Top 100 project.

While Dogs may not have done well at the box office on its initial release, it's been such an influence on indie film. Yeah, it may have taken the mainstream time to warm up to it, but you see echoes of its style in any heist or bad guy drama that's come out since.
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Tarantino/Rodriguez: True Romance

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine comes up to me. "There's this movie you hafta see, but you hafta TRUST ME on this. I dont want you looking it up, just promise me you'll trust me and watch it. It's called True Romance." I give her a look with the utmost skepticism. This friend is known for her love of romantic chick flicks, the sappier the better. And we know that for me, well, frankly that's not my style. I tell her I'll consider the film if it crosses my path, but since I've always got a rather large queue of movies I wanna watch, and she is neither a trusted movie advisor nor a boy I'm trying to impress, it just went on the backburner. Every so often, the subject would come up again, but I'd brush her off. Eventually I break her "dont look it up" rule and I IMDB it very quickly. I basically just look at the cast and notice Christian Slater and Brad Pitt. Intriguing, but not enough. Some time later, I'm on a certain favorite director's IMDB page and I notice a little something under the writing credits. The next time I see this friend, I run up to her "Why the \m/ did you not tell me that Quentin Tarantino wrote True Romance?! That should have been your opening arguement!" "You looked it up?! I told you to trust me!!" Anyways the film went on my Christmas wish list (turned out being my final list, since my Daddy was always the one responsible for it).

While yes, I prefer ass kicking over a love story, I rather like Tarantino's idea of romance. The tagline says it all "Stealing, Cheating, Killing. Who said romance is dead?" Clarence and Alabama have such a light and fun and carefree relationship. Normally, if I see characters getting married within a week of knowing each other, my logical side kicks in and I think it's a horrible idea. With these two, I'm rooting for them. I love that they just jump into things.

But it's still a Tarantino flick. You've got thugs and drugs and guns and naughty words. You'll notice it's not 100% true to QT's style. It's got his fingerprints all over it, but there were some rewrites and changes at the hands of director Tony Scott. IMDB tells me that it was originally non-linear and that the ending was different. It's got some ties to his other films. Alabama is mentioned in Reservoir Dogs (it was originally intended that she had a thing with Mr White). And it looks like Inglorious Basterd's Bear Jew Donnie Donowitz has a son on the character list here.

Yeah so the title may be a turn off for the target audience of this film. Clearly, cause I fell victim to that. But I do think it's quite fitting. It doesnt mean I'm gonna trust said friend's movie advice, cause next thing I know she'll have me watching The Notebook or some \m/ like it, but this one was a good call.