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Basically, all the reasons I love American Psycho and its satirical power are lost in many of the (non-American Psycho) movie and scene references made by Quentin Tarantino in his non-fiction movie book Cinema Speculation. All the things I despise about explicit, forced messages is what I hate about movies like Barbie (even if the messages are correct and important, as they are in Barbie).

And I’m aware I’m comparing my tastes to Tarantino’s. Really, why begin Part 2 with American Psycho as opposed to the satire Natural Born Killers (original script penned by Tarantino)? And what the heck does Barbie have to do with anything? And Money Pit’s probably in my top 20 movies of all time, so what does that mean? (It means I’m ignoring some very corny aspects because it’s a comedy.)

But that’s my point! And it should be Tarantino’s point! An explicit one to make!

Points being …

These movies are flawed but worth it because BLANK.

These movies have great moments but are flawed because BLANK.

As I mentioned in the last article, there are many repeated problems, similar flaws, with Tarantino’s movie references. And as I search for and get a gander at the pictures, I usually feel like I’m watching daytime-TV programming. Disappointing, forgetful flicks with a few biting moments or premises.

Some movies, the viewer is against the white man. Others, you’re rooting for the lead against a gang of goons. Which should or shouldn’t be predominantly black in the many-movement 70’s era? Part of Tarantino’s point. And a well-made one: to be true to life and issues. Tell it like it is. Minority groups need a voice. And they can be just as violent as anyone else. They have a right to be. It doesn’t have to be a race thing but a human rights thing.

There are also the ones where the youth of then was fed-up and probably better off without their elders (or just better people in general).

But then there’s the macho-man thing. Almost every movie he mentions is littered with it.

Now, I’m not claiming Tarantino is sexist by any means. Many of the movies he mentions root for women. Sometimes men. Sometimes neither.

Maybe (for sure) I’m all over the place to make connections, to make sense of Tarantino who, truly, isn’t all over the place with his first non-fiction book. He’s done a fine job.

And I’ll return to The Hunting Party, assuming there’ll be a few fresh ideas inside a sexist, bad movie. Maybe the awkward, message-sending editing in that first 90 seconds will fit with other explicit ideas.

I just wish Tarantino would have offered some more entertaining movies.

For you, I recommend the following movies which I did not know before reading Quentin Tarantino’s Cinema Speculation.

SIDENOTE: I know you don’t know what I’d already seen before I read his book, but oh well. These are the rare ones I’d hardly heard of but enjoyed. (Caged Heat had just enough moments to qualify while Bitter Rice, apart from poor rain simulation, was a mighty classic. And I’m as surprised as you are that two of Charles Bronson movies made the list, because I don’t really care for him.)


Lords of Flatbush

Caged Heat

Crimes of Passion

Mr. Majestyk

Hard Times (1975)

Bitter Rice

I would not recommend movies directed by John Flynn or Ken Russell as Tarantino does.

NOTE: Truth be told, I finished The Hunting Party and can only describe one of the vital scenes as a depiction of conceptual rape. (Yeah, see what I mean? Too oxymoronic to be thought provoking. The human wants to increase pleasure and decrease pain, which can get confusing with S&M and wanting a little pain with sex, but no one wants to be raped. A common myth that one ever would.)

FINAL NOTE:  I was going to write a paragraph or an UNarticle rhetorically asking what right I have to criticize other people’s work on a self-made website but will instead make a comment that the book had “then” instead of “than” on one of the pages. Just a surprise, is all. Quentin, it happens to the best of us. (And apparently with editors.)

Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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