Tag Archives: Django Unchained

Ennio Morricone: Farewell To ‘The Maestro’

When it comes to film-making, it’s usually the actors and directors who get most of the credit and acclaim. The composers of the music rarely get a mention, yet their work is often just as, if not more important. These composers have to tell a story, convey emotions and even further plots without using words, for the most part. Take the infamous shower scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho as example, do you think it would’ve been as effective without that screeching, nerve shattering music from Bernard Herrmann? Or would’ve Superman: The Movie been as effective without John Williams’ theme tune that screams ‘Sup-er-man!’ without even using words?

Some of the greatest films ever feature some of the finest and most memorable music, often from unsung or overlooked composers. Recently, the world of cinema lost one of its greats with the passing of Ennio Morricone and I’m taking the opportunity to remember the man known as ‘The Maestro’. Even if you don’t recognise the name, I guarantee you know at least one of his pieces of music, one in particular, a piece that is often whistled and referenced in many, many films.

ENNIO MORRICONE YOUNG

Ennio Morricone was born on the 10th of November, 1928 in Rome, Italy.  At the age of six, Ennio composed his first ever piece of music and learned how to play the trumpet. From then on, he fell in love with music and began writing more and more. In 1953 when he was twenty-five years old, Ennio landed a job writing tunes for radio shows which soon gave him the opportunity to write for TV and movies. In 1954, Ennio began composing music for films, though he was uncredited or often used the pseudonyms Dan Savio and Leo Nichols. 1961 saw his first credited film score with Il Federale (The Fascist). The early sixties was also when Ennio Morricone found fame with the film genre for which he would become most synonymous, the western, with 1963’s Duello nel Texas (Gunfight at Red Sands). But it was the following year in 1964 when he teamed up with director Sergio Leone when Ennio’s western score a really got noticed.

Due to budget constraints, Ennio Morricone couldn’t have a full orchestra for his music, so he had to improvise. Using a mix of whistles, whip cracks, the Jewish harp, various other sound effects and voices plus a few more conventional musical instruments, he created the score to Per un pugno di dollari, or to give it it’s English title, A Fistful of Dollars. This kick-started a hugely successful partner and friendship between Ennio Morricone and director Sergio Leone. Ennio’s music for the film was otherworldly, almost abstract it is structure, yet wonderfully melodic at the same time. A film score that would go down in history as one of the most influential ever made.

Two more films followed and they soon collectively became known as The Dollars Trilogy. 1965’s For a Few Dollars More saw Ennio Morricone’s experimentation with sound effects help cement his unorthodox and almost trademark style to creating music. But it was the third and final film of the three where Ennio’s music became immortal, and it is one tune in particular that is forever embedded into my brain. You know how I said everyone knows at least one Ennio Morricone piece of music? Well, this is that piece…

That one piece of music, that two minutes and fifty-five seconds of pure perfection from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is THE western score. Whenever I watch a film and there’s a stand-off between the good guys and the bad guys, I always instinctively hear that piece of music in my head. Some films have even used it, or a variation of it for similar good/bad guy scenes. It has become synonymous with stand-offs, a musical cue to let you know that some bad shit is about to go down. This is easily Ennio Morricone’s most famous piece and it has had a long lasting legacy through cinema and beyond.

Through the sixties and seventies, Ennio’s music could be found in plenty of westerns. But his music also appeared in dramas, thrillers, horror and all sorts of flicks. Exorcist II: The Heretic is the very, very bad sequel to one of the greatest horror films ever made. The film is universally hated by anyone with an ounce of film-taste, yet its music is often praised, music by Ennio Morricone. In 1979, Ennio was finally nominated for his first Oscar for his music from the romantic period flick, Days of Heaven. Alas, he didn’t win, losing out to John Williams for his amazing ‘Sup-er-man!’ theme.

Ennio Morricone’s music can be found in many films through the eighties and nineties, he just never stopped working. Sword and sorcery box-office bomb, Red Sonja. The amazing, The Untouchables. The Mel Gibson starring Hamlet and the taught thriller, In the Line of Fire all featured an Ennio score, just to name a few of his flicks. But of course, I can’t talk about Ennio Morricone’s scores and not mention one horror film in particular…

THE THING

Yes, the John Carpenter classic The Thing also has some of that Ennio music magic. One of the first horror flicks I remember seeing as a kid and one that has left a very lasting impression on me. That dog scene, man, that scene is the one single scene that got me so interested in horror films. I loved the gore, the effects, the fact it scared the shit out of me as a kid. But now when I watch The Thing, what hits me harder than the gore effects is the music. There’s this sense of hopelessness with the score, a feeling of dread and despair. Seeing as John Carpenter has always said that this film is an apocalyptic one, the music really works well to convey that foreboding feeling.

Ennio Morricone’s career never seemed to die down, he was popular and very much in demand as a composer for decades, even right up to today. One of his biggest fans was the writer and director Quentin Tarantino. Quentin had always wanted to work with Ennio many times over the years, but one obstacle or another always got in the way, usually a conflict of work patterns. Still, Quentin did use some of Ennio’s music for his films. Kill Bill (both parts), Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds all feature Ennio Morricone music. They were not original recordings though, just music taken from other films. Ennio did eventually write an original song, Ancora Qui, for a Quentin’s flick, Django Unchained. The film also featured three pre-existing pieces from Ennio Morricone’s extensive back catalogue. Their relationship blossomed and Ennio even presented Quentin with a Life Achievement Award at the International Rome Film Festival in 2013.

ENNIO MORRICONE QUENTIN

Then for his next flick, Quentin Tarantino finally realised his dream of having Ennio Morricone score an entire film. 2015’s The Hateful Eight saw Ennio provide music for the picture. Despite a stunning career spanning seven decades (at the time), Ennio Morricone never won an Oscar for his film scores. A total of five nominations between 1979 to 2001, but not a single win… until The Hateful Eight. Yes, finally in 2016, Ennio Morricone was nominated for and won the Oscar for Best Original Score, he was eighty-seven years old too. Ennio was the oldest person to win an Oscar at the time.

ENNIO MORRICONE OSCAR

What’s also amazing is that Ennio Morricone continued composing music into his nineties. In fact, the animated, The Canterville Ghost (based on the Oscar Wilde short story) to be released later this year features the last of his original scores.

Ennio Morricone died on the 6th of July, 2020 aged ninety-one due to complications after suffering a fall.

ENNIO MORRICONE B&W

“If you scroll through all the movies I’ve worked on, you can understand how I was a specialist in westerns, love stories, political movies, action thrillers, horror movies, and so on. So in other words, I’m no specialist, because I’ve done everything. I’m a specialist in music.”

– Ennio Morricone

Tarantino, The Woman Hating Misogynist?

I didn’t mean to do a Quentin Tarantino week of articles, it’s just kind of turned out that way. I only planned on doing my look at the best scenes in QT’s movies, but then the idea of looking at Tarantino video games came about and then this article just popped into my head after reading a Tweet from a self-proclaimed feminist on how Quentin Tarantino is a woman hater.

I sat there reading the Tweet scratching my head trying to work out what this person was on about. I have watched Quentin Tarantino pictures since Reservoir Dogs back in 1992 and him being a misogynist has never entered my mind. So after a little research, it seems that several people are accusing QT of being a misogynist (do a quick interwebs search and you’ll find plenty of articles and videos making such a claim). I managed to backtrack the whole thing to a scene from his new flick, Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood Dance

Now, I’ve not yet seen the film, I’m going to watch it over the weekend. So I can’t directly comment on the scene in question. But from what I gather, it involves two women getting severely beaten up and in graphic detail. I’ll offer my view on the scene and the film as a whole after I’ve seen it. But I do want to address this whole Quentin Tarantino supposedly being a woman hater…

Okay, so I’m not going to sit here and attempt to bullshit you readers like others are doing covering this very subject. I’m not going to be selective in my pickings of evidence, I’m not singling out just one scene and only one scene to make a point, I’m going to go though all of his directed films and aim to be honest.

Yes Tarantino depicts violence toward women in his films, often bloody, brutal and graphic too. Just look at the scene in Kill Bill where Uma Thurman’s very pregnant ‘The Bride’ get’s the shit beat out of her during the wedding rehearsal, both in live action and animation. There are other instances in his pictures where women are beaten, even one’s he hasn’t directed. See True Romance for another example, a film QT wrote. Here, there’s a scene where Alabama Worley (Patricia Arquette) gets smacked around and bloodied by Virgil (James Gandolfini). And yes, I’ll also bring up The Hateful Eight here with it’s numerous scenes of violence toward Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy Domergue at the hands of John Ruth (Kurt Russell).

Women get beat up in his films and I’m sure that his latest, Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood will be no different. I’m more than willing to believe that what I’ve heard about there being a scene where two women get beaten up is true. I believe this because Quentin Tarantino is famed for his use of excessive violence, he’s been at it for almost thirty years… so why are people only now bringing this up as a negative?

Yeah I know the whole #metoo movement along with QT’s working relationship and friendship with Harvey Weinstein does not really help matters here. And yes I’ll even bring up his idiotic comments about Samantha Geimer, the 13 year old rape victim of Roman Polanski (comments he did apologise about). Yet sill, I’m scratching my head over this whole thing. Is Quentin Tarantino a woman hating misogynist? The short answer is no. The longer one needs a little more detail applied.

Well for my first bit of evidence, I need to quickly cover what Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood is about. Aside from the main plot, the film is set against the backdrop of the Charlie Mason/Sharon Tate murder and if you know your Hollywood history, then you know that things got a little violent and bloody. So if QT is revisiting a piece of history and a particularly violent piece of history… why should he shy away from it, why should he censor himself when depicting actual events? Plus I also hear that the scene in question where two women are beaten up also involves a male character getting the shit beat out of him too. Which leads me nicely to my next point.

Tarantino does show violence toward women in his flicks, there’s no denying that. But you know what else he shows? Violence toward men. He doesn’t discriminate against one sex over the other, he just uses violence as a way to advance the plot, it’s a storytelling device. Who is at the end of that violence is depicted by the story that is being told and not by the person getting beat up. You’ve seen Reservoir Dogs right? Pretty much a 100% male orientated film, aside from a scene with a female civilian being shot, it’s all males. Remember the most infamous and controversial scene of the film too?

Reservoir Dogs Ear Scene

Yup, it’s the ear cutting scene were a young kidnapped cop is tied to a chair, beaten, tormented, tortured, cut with a razor before having their ear hacked off and then doused in gasoline and almost set alight. Now just refresh my memory here but what sex was the cop? Not female right? Aside from the previously mentioned female civilian being shot, all the violence in this one is toward men.

How about we take a look at Pulp Fiction next? Can you think of any graphic violence toward women in this one? Nope. A young guy called Marvin (male) gets shot in the face, in fact several males get shot in the film. I suppose I could bring up the rape scene… oh yeah, it’s a male being raped isn’t it? The violence toward men in this one greatly outweighs the violent acts toward women eh? Not seeing a lot of this misogyny so far.

He’s next film, Jackie Brown is a wonderful tale about a plan to bring some illegal money over the Mexican boarder. It’s a simple story done really well. But I’m not here to explore the film’s plot, this article is looking at just how much of a woman hater Tarantino (supposedly) is. So let’s look at all the violence toward women. Well there’s the scene where Melanie Ralston (Bridget Fonda) is shot by Louis Gara (Robert De Niro)… and that’s it really. Just to equal that out a bit, later in the flick Louis is shot and killed by Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) who also shoots and kills Beaumont Livingston (Chris Tucker) and is then shot and killed at the end of the picture by Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton). Now have you been keeping count of the violent acts in this one? Because there are far more toward males than female characters.

Jackie Brown.jpg

While I’m here, let’s just take a look at the titular character, Jackie (Pam Grier) herself. She is depicted as a strong-willed and a very astute character. It is Jackie who comes up with the plan that leads to the demise of the film’s main antagonist. Then there is my favourite scene in the film, where Ordell comes to kill Jackie, but she cleverly turns things around and gets the upper hand, she is written as being in control over the men in the film. What kind of misogynist writes such a strong female character with power over males?

So let’s get into one I’ve already mentioned, Kill Bill. As previously covered, yes Uma Thurman’s character (important to remember it’s a character, not real) is beaten. And yet that very same character is the driving force of the entire flick, she is the strongest character in the whole damn thing. She goes out and get’s bloody revenge on those who wronged her, both female and male. And if you really want to keep a body count, she is far more violent toward males in the film than females. just look at the Crazy 88 fight for proof, the most violent scene in the whole film. In that one single scene, the female kills more male characters in a few minutes than all the other violent acts combined. Again, looking worse for the males than the females. Just as with Jackie Brown, if QT was such a woman hating misogynist, why create such a strong female character that kills so many males?

Up next, Death Proof. Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to 70s exploitation cinema. Now given this film’s influence of 70s exploitation cinema, there’s bound to be some pretty obvious mistreating of females, that’s what those flicks were like they were exploitative, especially toward women. They used violence and sex to sell so this is the prefect opportunity for QT to really push his misogynistic agenda. I suppose we could look at the film’s first main violent scene, the big crash. Yes we see four women get brutally killed in graphic detail, blood, guts and limbs fly in an orgy of violence and it’s the women who are displayed in said violence. Misogynistic right? Well let’s look at the latter half of the film…

Death Proof End.png

It’s the second half where a new set of female victims for this deranged killer are set up. Without getting into the plot details too much. After the best car chase ever filmed where the female characters take control and fight back against the male, they ram his car off the road. The male is then punched in the head a total of thirty seven times within thirty seconds, he get’s the shit beat out of him by the females. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the roundhouse kick and a boot to the skull that kills him… but for some reason, when calling out QT’s supposed misogyny, feminists seem to conveniently forget about scenes like this and his strong female characters. Oh and let’s not forget just how kick-ass and ballsy Zoë Bell (female) is in the film.

Do I really need to carry on with the rest of his films? Well there are only three more left and next is the WW II epic, Inglourious Basterds. Largely a male cast but I guess the two main female characters would be Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark and Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus. Now there’s very little violence toward women in this one, a lot toward men mind you. I guess in the interests of fairness I should bring up that Bridget is chocked to death by a male. But what about Shosanna? You know the female who comes up with the plan to kill the highest ranking Nazi officers and even Hitler himself… or are we just supposed to forget that like Jackie Brown, it’s the female who is the brains in the film?

Django Unchained is set during a dark piece of American history, the slavery era. So with such a terrible subject to cover, this would be the perfect opportunity for Quentin Tarantino to display his despicable misogyny. I mean he could have had woman after woman after woman beat and tortured and just use the excuse of ‘that’s the kind of thing that happened back then’… but he doesn’t. Just as with his other flicks, the violence in this is much more male centric. Now, I’m not claiming there is no violence shown toward female characters, because there is. However, with such a subject matter of slavery, I would request any feminist to point out to me five acts of violence toward women in this film. Can’t think of any can you? Maybe one, maybe two at a push but five? No chance. Now look at all the violent acts toward male characters… dozens of them from ‘mandingo fights’ to a male slave being torn apart by dogs. Even a horse gets shot in the face in the opening, don’t know if the hose was male or female to be honest. But the point is that the violence toward males in Django Unchained vastly outnumbers any towards females.

Okay so last film now The Hateful Eight and as I covered at the start, yes Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy Domergue is punished through the film more than once. She gets punched and slapped around by male characters. But EVERYONE get’s punished in the film, both male and female. There are some pretty brutal deaths regardless of sex in the flick. Samuel L. Jackson even gets his ‘black dingus’ shot off. So let me just break this one down. The woman hating misogynist, Quentin Tarantino, wrote and directed a scene where a male character literally gets his manhood taken away, the very symbol of being male. Or what about the scene where Tarantino has a man walk butt-naked through the snow, do the feminists calling QT out for his misogyny have an explanation for that?

The Hateful Eight Major 2


 

So is Quentin Tarantino a woman hating misogynist? No. It’s more a case of feminists being manipulative idiots who pick and choose selective ‘evidence’ to create an argument that doesn’t exist and refuse to look at the bigger picture. I don’t get it, I really and honestly do not get calling out Tarantino as being a woman hating misogynist when his films have consistently and continually showed far more violence towards his male characters over females. If anything, it’s males who should be kicking up a fuss and arguing that he is extremely guilty of misandry. His flicks depict far more violence toward males than females, he has had a male character being raped, one being tortured another being beaten and killed by women, one having his pecker shot off, one being killed by dogs and countless other violent acts aimed at male characters… many, many, many more violent acts where men are the victims as apposed to females. As a writer/director who has written several very strong and intelligent female characters, for a misogynist, Tarantino is really, really fucking bad at it.

My views and opinions on his new flick, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood will be done over the weekend after I’ve seen it. But I expect violence toward women AND men in the film.

Tarantino Video Games, Why Aren’t There More?

Still really looking forward to going to see the new QT flick this weekend. After my article looking at my favourite scenes in Tarantino movies, I began to wonder why there haven’t been many games based on his movies. Seriously, some of QT’s pictures would make really interesting games, you’d think there’d be loads of them. Yet name three games based on his flicks… you can’t can you?

Now, there was a game based on one of his movies. Reservoir Dogs, released in 2006. But I wanted to look into why more of his films haven’t had the video game treatment, offer a few suggestions and even uncover some interesting tit-bits. But before all of that, I guess I’d better take a look at that previously mentioned Reservoir Dogs game.

Reservoir Dogs Game

Developed by Volatile Games and published by Eidos Interactive. The game follows the same plot as the film with a rag-tag group of criminals carrying out a diamond heist that goes wrong. The gameplay mixes up third person action with drivings sections. Now, the film didn’t actually show the heist go down, nor did it show most of the aftermath of the heist. But what gaps are in the film are filled in via the game. As an example, Mr Blonde turning psycho and going on a killing spree is mentioned in the film but we never see it. Well in the game, you not only see what was left to our imagination in the film, you get to play it.

There was an interesting mechanic in the game were you could act professional, not kill people and keep damage to a minimum or you could go full psycho and kill anyone you saw. Taking hostages was a key element as you could force the police to drop their weapons so you don’t have to kill them. You get the general idea. Depending on how you played, professional or psycho, the game’s ending would change.

On paper, Reservoir Dogs was a great idea. To take the film’s plot and expand on it, showing events we only hear about in the flick. But to be honest, it was a dog to play. Stiff controls, bland levels and highly repetitive. The game received mostly average reviews at the time and it was hard to argue against them. The game is very, very average. A great idea just poorly executed.

And you know what, that’s just about it for Quentin Tarantino movie based games… well okay, there is one more. Released in 2017 was yet another game based on the same movie. Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days.

Where as the previous game was directly based on the film, this one is more ‘inspired by’ the movie and takes a lot of creative license. I’ve not played it so can’t really comment, but it hasn’t had very good reviews. From the trailer, it looks a bit bland to me. A top-down shooter with some kind of rewind feature.

So that’s it, only two games based on his movies and they were both Reservoir Dogs too. Officially anyway, there are several fan-made games that exist based on other QT’s flicks. See, this got me thinking, why have there not been more Tarantino movie based games? Most people seem to think it’s because his flicks are dialogue heavy so wouldn’t translate to a game very well. I’d just like to go back to the first Reservoir Dogs game, based on a movie that is 90% dialogue. But it worked, okay so the gameplay was a little stale, but as I said, on paper it was a great idea. In the hands of a better and more experienced development team the Reservoir Dogs game could’ve been brilliant. Imagine if Rockstar had made it? I mean, look at what they did with The Warriors game from 2005, it was amazing.

Anyway, my point is that with a little effort and imagination, a dialogue heavy movie could work as a game. So with that in mind, I’m going to pitch a few QT movie game ideas. Reservoir Dogs has been done (twice), so I don’t feel the need to cover that one, but what about his other flicks?

Pulp Fiction

I didn’t see this one as an action game but more of a graphic adventure one. I was thinking something along the lines of the now defunct Telltale Games type of titles. Imagine a slower paced adventure where the choices you make change and affect the story. What if Vincent didn’t mange to save Mia from the overdose and Marsellus came after him? What if Jules decided not to leave the life of a hitman? If Butch didn’t go back to stop Marsellus from being raped?

You could play through the game following the plot as in the film, or you could stray from the script and see alternate scenes and dialogue. Make your own Pulp Fiction.

Jackie Brown

Okay so I don’t have much for this one. It’s a tricky one to turn into a game really. The best I could come up with was a prequel telling the story of Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara’s relationship. It is mentioned in the flick that Louis had just gotten out of jail after serving time for armed robbery. There are a few references that he and Ordell use to be close friends and got up to some criminal activities together before Ordell got into gun-running.

Jackie Brown Ordell

So there could be something there. Perhaps a third person cover/shooter game following the criminal lives of a younger Ordell and Louis? Could even be co-op, think something along the lines of Army Of Two or Kane & Lynch… only good.

Kill Bill

Come on, how is Kill Bill not a game already? It’s basically a video game in film format. You controlling ‘The Bride’ going on her rip-roaring rampage of revenge travelling the world as she tracks down those who killed her unborn baby. This is perfect game fodder. A mix of shooter and swordplay, see the Shadow Warrior games as a great example of how to do it.

Well here’s the thing, there very nearly was a Kill Bill game. It was in development but ended up being cancelled around 2005-ish. It was being developed by Black Label Games and an early demo even existed showing some basic moves from the game…

There’s enough material in Kill Bill to make an epic title. You don’t even have to be bound by the movie only. How about a game that follows the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad before the events of the film? An origin story of Bill himself and his falling out with Hattori Hanzō? It could be a huge, expansive game that builds on what is already in the films as well as incorporate the flick’s main story.

Death Proof

A game about driving American muscle cars really fast and killing people? This could be amazing. Again, you don’t have to be bound by the story of the game and could explore Stuntman Mike’s obsession with killing beautiful women with his car, how/why did he began doing it. I was thinking it could even have an online element. An asymmetrical multiplayer game where one person plays as Stuntman Mike with the others as his victims trying to escape. Think Friday the 13th: The Game but with fast cars.

Or how about a game where you play as Stuntman Mike just doing stunts? There already have been stuntman games with Stuntman and Stuntman: Ignition and they were pretty damn good too. So how about playing as Stuntman Mike before he turned homicidal and just worked as a stuntman making T.V. shows and movies?

The film has the greatest car chase caught on film, I’m sure a game could be made based off the last chase alone.

Inglourious Basterds

How a game based on the idea of a bunch of crazy World War II soldiers trying to kill loads of Nazi’s and Hitler does not exist is beyond me. Yeah I know there already are plenty of WW II based games… but none based on QT’s flick.

Inglourious Basterds Aldo

Could be a team based thing where you play alone or with friends controlling the various ‘basterds’ each with differing strengths, weaknesses and skill sets. Doesn’t have to be based solely on the flick either, I’m sure the basterds have been on several other missions through the war. Get some creative licence in here and there could be a great WW II game blending fiction with fact to create an alternate universe where the Inglourious Basterds stopped the war.

Django Unchained

Red Dead Redemption is one of my all time favourite games and it’s definitely my favourite game released in the last decade. Being a cowboy has never been so damn awesome. I want more cowboy games and yet they are pretty thin on the ground.

Why not a game inspired by Django Unchained? I don’t think we need one that follows the plot of the film, but how about a sequel game that tells what Django got up to after the film’s credits rolled? He’s a freed ex-slave turned bounty hunter . Yeah I’d love to play a Western (or Southern as QT calls it) bounty hunter game. Some kind of open world thing where you travel from town to town taking on bounties and having to bring them in dead or alive. Of course the game doesn’t have to be solely about being a bounty hunter and could explore Django’s relationship with his wife and how he becomes a descendant to the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks… Shaft!… cos QT has said that this is the case.

Django Unchained Django

Throw in other gameplay elements and build the story. Basically what I’m proposing is Red Dead Django.

The Hateful Eight

Okay I admit, I got nothing for this one. Despite the fact The Hateful Eight is basically Reservoir Dogs wearing a cowboy hat with it’s minimal cast and locales. It’s story based on tension and deception… I still have nothing. You can’t really do a retread of the Reservoir Dogs game because that used the idea of the heist as it’s basis, but there is no heist in The Hateful Eight. What you have in this flick is several people taking to each other and no one trusting the next guy… and coffee drinking.

Maybe you could make an action game exploring the Domergue gang before Daisy was captured? I dunno, that’s all I got here.

So this is where I originally ended the article, but as I read through it, I realised I forgot a film that would make an awesome game…

From Dusk Till Dawn

Now I know he didn’t direct this one, but he did write and star in it. As with previous suggestions, there are multiple games that could be made here. A prequel looking at the Gecko brother’s criminal career. One directly based on the events in the film itself with all hell breaking loose at the Titty Twister, an OTT vampire game. But instead of ending like the film does with Seth leaving for El Wray, he stays on and explores the temple under the bar to end the vampires for good. I was thinking something along the lines of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver with a large, expansive locale to explore while killing numerous vampires in all sorts of gruesome and ingenious way, using the scenery, etc.

From Dusk Till Dawn Seth


So that’s it, my suggestions on how Quentin Tarantino movies could be turned into games… but there’s more. See, as I researched this I found something interesting. QT himself has a bit of a history with video games. I’m sure many of you remember the whole CD-ROM revolution of the 90s. There was a period fairly early on in the decade when CDs became the got to format for games when there was an influx of FMV games. These titles were often pretty poor excuses for games that held little to zero gameplay and just showcased full motion video (FMV). Horrendous titles like The Daedalous Encounter, the Make My Video trilogy and of course I can’t help but mention Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties.

Well a certain film writer/director got in on the CD-ROM/FMV video game craze in the 90s and made his own game. No not Tarantino but Steven Spielberg with his effort called: Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Chair released in 1996. It was a bare basic ‘game’ where you are given a load of film clips and have to edit them together, choose camera angles, etc to make a ‘film’. So what does this have to do with Quentin Tarantino?

Well one of the clips you can edit…

Yup, that’s QT himself ‘acting’ in a clip from a shitty FMV game. The game was released in 1996 but apparently the footage was filmed in the early 90s before Quentin hit it big with Reservoir Dogs. He did this (along with selling film scripts) to help raise funds for his first film.

And yes, that is Jennifer Aniston too.

 

What’s In A Name? The Character Connections Between Tarantino Movies

I am a self confessed Quentin Tarantino fanboy. From his first full length movie that was Reservoir Dogs to his most recent picture, The Hateful Eight – I’ve enjoyed all of his films for very different reasons. Hey, I even liked Four Rooms.

Over the years, Tarantino has made films that all seem separate and yet he always throws in little nods, references and connections via his shared universe that he was doing long before Marvel got in on the act. Using his own made up products like Red Apple cigarettes in all of his films as one example of many.

red-apples

He has even extended his shared universe into the works of other directors like Robert Rodriguez, Tony Scott and even Oliver Stone… most of the time because Tarantino has had a hand in there somewhere from a writing/producing perspective. But it is in character names and possible connections where his shared universe really comes to light. From main characters to secondary ones and even off screen characters – all of his films are connected in one way or another via his characters. But there is more than one movie universe going on within his movie universe. Confused? I’ll let Quentin himself explain…

There is actually two separate universes. There is the realer than real universe, alright, and all the characters inhabit that one. But then there’s this movie universe. So From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill, they all take place in this special movie universe. So when all the characters of Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, when they go to the movies, Kill Bill is what they go to see. From Dusk Till Dawn is what they see.

Got it? There is a ‘real’ movie universe and a ‘movie’ movie universe going on within Tarantino’s movie universe and characters from his ‘real’ universe can go to see moives from his ‘movie’ universe within that ‘real’ movie universe. So here, I’d like to make as many of the connections as I think I have found from his moives as a writer, director or producer. I’ll start with what I think is a very interesting connection.

There will be SPOILERS ahead for pretty much every Quentin Tarantino film.


Mia Wallace Played Beatrix Kiddo

You remember that scene in Pulp Fiction where Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) are out enjoying a $5 milkshake? Mia Tells Vincent that she is a struggling actress and shot a pilot for a TV show called Fox Force Five. If you listen to the description of the main characters in that show that Mia gives – they sound pretty familiar. Okay so they are not exact and water tight, but those characters sound a lot like the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad from Kill Bill. The blonde one was the leader – (Elle Driver?), The Japanese fox was a kung-fu master (O-Ren Ishii?), the black girl was a demolition expert (Vernita Green?), the French fox’s speciality was sex (Sofie Fatale?). And what type of character did Mia play in Fox Force Five… the deadliest woman in the world with a knife… or possibly a sword?

As Tarantino said that the characters from Pulp Fiction could go to the movies and watch Kill Bill, what if that Fox Force Five TV pilot got picked up but adapted and turned into a movie instead and that movie was called Kill Bill? And what if struggling actress, Mia Wallace was the one who played Beatrix Kiddo A.K.A The Bride? Sounds reasonable right? I mean you have to admit that they do look a lot a like too…

The Vega Brothers

Now this one is already pretty well known as Tarantino himself has spoken about this several times and even said he wanted to make a Vega brothers movie prequel a while back. But for those not in the know, Mr Blonde A.K.A Vic Vega (Michael Madsen) and Vincent Vega from Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction respectively are in fact brothers.

Yes, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are officially and canologicaly connected and even if he never made his proposed Vega Brothers flick, Tarantino still says these two films are directly connected. He never revealed much about his Vega Brothers picture, but he did say this…

I did think about the idea of the Vega brothers, taking place before the movies when like Vin was in Amsterdam and his brother Vic/Mr Blonde comes and visits him, and their adventures.

Its a very sketchy idea at best but it was enough to get me thinking – if the film was to be a prequel that would have been set in Amsterdam and involved the Vega brothers, aside from drugs, what else is Amsterdam famous for? Diamonds. What were they stealing in Reservoir Dogs? And what exactly was in that damn briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Its a rough idea but I’m sure Tarantino must have been thinking about linking everything together. What if Vic and Vincent stole diamonds in Amsterdam, brought them back to America where they were sold and Vic then got involved in a heist to steal them back once more? Then what if those diamonds that were taken by Mr Pink at the end of Reservoir Dogs ended up in a briefcase in Pulp Fiction?

The Dimmicks

Its possible that the Vega brothers may not be the only siblings sharing the Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction canon, what about Jimmie (Quentin Tarantino) and Lawrence Dimmick (Harvey Keitel) A.K.A Mr White? Now – as far as I have researched, Tarantino has neither confirmed nor denied that these two are related, but within this shared universe, why not? Bothers, cousins or other. Its possible right?

You remember Jimmie from Pulp Fiction right? He’s the fella that was not too happy about deceased gentlemen of colour being stockpiled within his vehicle shelter – who clearly has connections to the criminal underworld if he is friendly with hitman Jules (Samuel L. Jackson). Jimmie’s last name is Dimmick. Mr White from Reservoir Dogs reveals his real name is Lawrence Dimmick to a dying Mr Pink. But if they are related then I have one question. Why doesn’t Jimmie mention there is an uncanny resemblance between his sibling Lawrence and the guy that has been sent to help clean things up Winston Wolf?

Scagnetti And Scagnetti

This is an unusual one as only one of these characters are actually shown on screen – the other is only quickly mentioned in passing and many people miss it. Detective Jack Scagnetti (Tom Sizemore) from Natural Born Killers sports an impressive quiff and an unstable personality. He may be a lawman, but he’s not exactly on the right side of the law either. A good guy with bad tendencies. When Mr Blonde is catching up with old friends in Reservoir Dogs – he mentions his parole officer is someone called Seymour Scagnetti, who apparently is not a nice guy either. Does being a bad-good guy run in the family?

Paula And The Dentist

Dentist, Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) was born in Düsseldorf, Germany but moved to America where he took up the rather profitable career of being a bounty hunter. It has been theorised that sometime in the 1850s, Schultz married a younger woman who outlived him as Dr. King Schultz is killed during the events of Django Unchained. Then later in Kill Bill, Beatrix Kiddo is burred alive in grave – and the name on the grave? Paula Schultz. Even more so, the chapter from the film it titled; ‘The Lonely Grave Of Paula Schultz’ and she would have been lonely if she died a widow. Maybe Dr King Schultz and the unseen Paula were married within this universe? Plus, the dates on the grave seem to add up too…

The War Hero And The Bandit

Back in Pulp Fiction and Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) tells a young Butch Coolidge (Chandler Lindauer) a little about the Koons heroic family history and a lovely story about a very important watch. Yet it seems that not everyone in the Koons bloodline may have been quite as upstanding as their family think. In Django Unchained while Dr King Schultz is training Django (Jamie Foxx), a wanted poster is shown for the Smitty Bacall Gang and one of the gang members is called; Crazy Craig Koons. I wonder if this Koons family member also placed timepieces in hard to reach places?

The Cops And The Bandit

That very same wanted poster from Django Unchained reveals yet another name, Gerald Nash who is wanted for murder. It seems that Gerald must have had children at some point because during Natural Born Killers a re-enactment of a murder of a police officer is shown and the name of the dead cop? Gerald Nash. But that is not all, doesn’t the name Nash sound familiar? What if I said this other Nash was also a cop? Still unsure, then lend me your ear. The kidnapped cop from Reservoir Dogs that Mr Blonde plans on torturing while listening to Steeler’s Wheel is named Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz) and Tarantino has confirmed that Natural Born Killers Nash and Reservoir Dogs Nash are in fact cousins.

Maynard The Bigoted Family

Maynard (Duane Whitaker) from Pulp Fiction is the owner of a pawn shop… and has a perverse hobby that involves a gimp, a corrupt security guard and underworld crime boss being… well just watch the film. He seriously seems to have several problems, but if you have a racist/bigot bloodline then what do you expect? But what bloodline is this? Well during the awesome Candyland shootout in Django Unchained – an unnamed, rifle toting racist screams out “Ain’t no (insert racial slur towards black people here) gonna kill Maynard!”. After which, said self-proclaimed Maynard is brutally shot to death by Django in a satisfying orgy of blood and bullets.

Clarence And Lawrence’s Shared Love

True Romance is a great love story flick. A love story full of drugs, vengeance, guns and plenty of dead bodies…but a love story none the less. Aside from having one of my all time favourite movie scenes ever where Clifford Worley (Dennis Hopper) and Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken) engage in an intense game of cat and mouse. The film also features another possible Tarantino connection. The hooker with a heart of gold, Alabama Whitman/Worley (Patricia Arquette) seems to have had a life before True Romance where she teamed up with Lawrence Dimmick from Reservoir Dogs as Mr White reveals that Alabama was his ex-partner. So if she was his ex-partner, after the break up – did she fall into prostitution to make ends meet and finally find love with Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) later?

The Nazi Killer And The Film Director

Sticking with True Romance, Clarence tries to sell the cocaine he acquired to a film director called Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek). During the events of the film, Lee is putting the finishing touches to his latest in-movie flick; Coming Home In A Body Bag 2, a sequel to his hit Vietnam film that Clarence is a big fan of. But what if Lee got inspiration for his war movies from members of his own family? Maybe Sgt. Donny ‘The Bear Jew’ Donowitz (Eli Roth) from Inglourious Basterds and his Nazi brain-bashing ways played a hand in Lee’s film career?

Another Nazi Killer And His Great, Great Grandfather

Inglourious Basterds featured a lot of Nazi killing… a hell of a lot. One of the best and most intense scenes in the flick took place in an underground tavern where English Army officer Lt. Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) goes undercover as a German officer and things go badly. It seems that bloodshed and gunfights in enclosed places is a family trait as Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth) from The Hateful Eight can attest to. But how are these two characters linked? Well Oswaldo Mobray is just an alias as his real name is actually ‘English’ Pete Hicox and he is the great, great grandfather of Archie.

The Dead Texas Ranger With A Long Life

Texas Ranger Earl McGraw (Michael Parks) first appeared in From Dusk Till Dawn – where he was quickly executed via a bullet to the head. But you just can’t keep a good Texas Ranger down as he resurfaced in Kill Bill where he was joined by his son Edgar McGraw (played by Michael’s real-life son James Parks). The McGraw family kept on growing when Earl popped up again in the Death Proof and Planet Terror combo of Grindhouse. This time around Earl and Edgar were joined by Dr Dakota Block née McGraw (Marley Shelton) the daughter of Earl and sister of Edgar.

Quentin Tarantino Part III

Well lets just dive right into it and take a look at his new film.

TH8

The Hateful Eight: Not too much is known about the film right now, it is still being filmed as I write this.
But the basic synopsis is: In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception.

With an impressive cast of: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks and others.

The film is said to be set in the same universe as Django Unchained, but not connected plot wise.
Could we see the return of Django even if only for a cameo?

The film already has me excited and I can not wait to go and see it.

While the official relased date is Christmas 2015, it’ll only be initially released in select cinemas with a full release set for early 2016.
Some have suggested this is due to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will definitely be the big Christmas hit this year. But as I said in part I, I couldn’t care less about Star Wars.
So due to some “creative marketing”, I’ll have to wait until 2016 to see the film.

Still, seeing as not too long back, Quentin decided to not make this film thanks to a leaked script on the internet. I think I can wait until early 2016 to catch this flick…but it’s going to be a long wait indeed.

QT 2

So what is my favourite Quentin Tarantino film?
Though one to answer as I don’t have one favourite. So I’ll just offer my own opinion on his films so far instead.

Reservoir Dogs: This film is to Ringo Lam’s City on Fire (1987) what Sergio Leone’s Per un pugno di dollari (1964) was to Akira Kurosawa’s Yôjinbô (1961). With it being an unofficial remake. What a movie Reservoir Dogs really is, especially for a first time director…of a full theatrical feature. A heist film without a heist with 90% of the film just being dialogue with most of the film set in an empty warehouse. But it really showcased how great Tarantino is at writing his characters. This one set the bar high with many copycats trying to make similar films for years after, yet only Quentin himself could nail and even beat the high standards set by Reservoir Dogs.

Pulp Fiction: For quite a while, this was my favourite Tarantino film…but that was during the mid-late 90s when he only had 2-3 films to his name. Pulp Fiction is still one of the very best films made to date from anyone and again had other writers and directors tying to “out Tarantino” Tarantino with other similar films attempting to cash in on the character led, crime genre were the bad guys were the focus. Pulp Fiction is a simply awesome film, I’m even close to saying the best film made in the 90s.

Four Rooms: I can not stress enough how overlooked this film is. While not all four stories are great, the film as a whole is a fun watch. But Quentin Tarantino’s segment is really worth watching, full of that snappy dialogue, with interesting characters. Tarantino’s, The Man From Hollywood story is the final tale of the four, and I can safely say…they saved the best till last.

From Dusk Till Dawn: I still remember the first time I saw this flick and was lucky enough to not have it spoiled for me pre-viewing. Talk about yer great film twists eh? I really do not want to talk too much of this one in case some of you readers have not yet seen it. As I said previously, this is a film you need to know nothing about before seeing it. Just go watch it, don’t research it, don’t look at a cast-list or even read a synopsis…just go watch it.

Jackie Brown: I never did like this one when I first saw it…and I can’t remember why. However, the film has definitely grown on me over the years and now think it’s great. Not one of Quentin’s best films I admit, but it’s still pretty damn amazing and I find myself enjoying the film much more now than I did previously. Jackie Brown is a wonderful homage to crime “blaxploitation” cinema of the 70s, starring the queen of “blaxploitation” herself the amazing, “whole lot of woman” and sexy Pam Grier.

Kill Bill: Remember when I said Pulp Fiction was my favourite Quentin Tarantino film for a while? Well this is the film that made me change my mind. An expertly observed and executed love letter to classic Kung-Fu flicks. While the plot is as basic as it gets, with its all too simple revenge driving force. Kill Bill ends up being so much more thanks to Tarantino’s love for the genre and his (again) amazing writing/directing. You can always tell when the director loves and respects a genre, and this film displays that love and respect in every scene. I also feel this film was a turning point for Tarantino as his writing seems more “dynamic” and this is a trait that follows on from this point on.

Sin City: If you are reading this Paul, remember how long it got you to get me to watch this film? Seriously, it was a good 3-4 years. In all honesty, I never did like the look of this film back then, which was party why I never got round to watching it. Then one summer day (after getting tattoos) I relinquished and picked up a copy of Sin City on DVD and watched it that very day…and it hit me like a sledgehammer to the head. A truly stunning film is so many regards and while Quentin only directed one scene, it’s a great scene in a great film.

Death Proof: This one was a nice surprise, I never really knew what to expect with this one. Tarantino’s slice of 70s style exploitation cinema in this Grindhouse double bill was really good fun and with the underused Kurt Russell in the lead role, makes this one a must watch even if you are not a Quentin fan. That crash mid way through and car chase at the end are some of the best stunt work I’ve seen in recent years…and it was all practical, no CGI. It is a “stupid” film I admit, but it is “stupidity” done with panache.

Inglourious Basterds: Is this really a “masterpiece” as Brad Pitt’s Lt. Aldo Raine says? Well you remember when I said Pulp Fiction was my favourite Quentin Tarantino film for a while, and then replaced that with Kill Bill later? You can see what’s coming here can’t you? See, this is why its so damn difficult for me to chose a favourite Quentin Tarantino film…cos for most part they are all my favourites. Inglourious Basterds is one of the best films I have seen in the last 10 years from any writer/director. This is what The Dirty Dozen (1967) would have been like if Quentin Tarantino had directed it. It’s violent, it’s tense, it’s full of memorable characters and dialogue. Yes, it is a masterpiece.

Django Unchained: Remember when I said Pulp Fiction was my favourite Quentin Tarantino film for a while…and so on…? Yup, this is one of “those” Quentin Tarantino films, one that changes my opinion…again. I grew up watching the Spaghetti Western genre, ever since my older brother, Robert introduced me to Clint Eastwood and the “Dollars Trilogy”. I love this genre, and so does Quentin…and you can tell when watching this picture. A great modern Western is a tough film to get right, I can only think of two truly great modern Westerns. Clint Eastwood’s, Unforgiven and this film right here.

So there you go, I can’t chose a favourite Tarantino film, its just impossible for me to do so. All of his directing efforts have been great, whether they be full feature films, a short story or even just one scene. Everything he does has so much polish and style to it.

QT 4

Why do I enjoy Quentin Tarantino films so damn much?
So many reasons…

1) His characters, they always seem so “real”, multi dimensional with depth and a purpose. Those characters always seem to stay with me over the years and are fondly remembered. They are never over or underused and they always seem integral to the plot even if it’s a small character with little screen-time.

2) His writing, from the stories he creates…and “borrows” to the dialogue he comes up with. How great is that “Royale with cheese” chat in Pulp Fiction? But why is it so great and memorable? really, it bears no relation to the plot of the film. It’s just two friends chatting shit, and I feel that is why his dialogue works, as it’s not “movie speak”. It really sounds and feels like how people genuinely talk to each other. All of his films have an instance of a “Royale with cheese” chat. His stories are always interesting and far deeper than they first appear too.

3) His music, how is it that Quentin Tarantino always selects the best and most apt music for his films? Have you ever watched one of his films, heard the music and felt that it does not work…even when the music is anachronistic like the use of Cat People (Putting Out The Fire) by David Bowie (1982) in Inglourious Basterds which is set in during World War II. Yes, completely the wrong decade…but that song was so damn apt, it would have been an offence not to have used it. Every tune he selects seems to be just as important as getting the right actor to play a part.

4) His comedy, yes you read that right…comedy. Not too many think of Quentin as being a funny writer/director…but he really is. All of his films have comedy in them, even if you don’t realise it at first. Often his comedy is very subtle and will pass you by, but it is there. He’ll also use dark comedy that many people miss. Sometimes his use of comedy is so obvious, you don’t even think about it. I watched all of the films mentioned here before writing this up (yes, even My Best Friend’s Birthday) and all of them had some form of comedy in them that made me smile or even outright laugh.

5) His actors, remember when everyone forgot about John Travolta? Who was Samuel L. Jackson before Pulp Fiction? Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Christoph Waltz, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Pam Grier, Michael Keaton, and so on. Now of course not everyone in his films were a nobody or forgotten about pre-Tarantino. He’s attracted some big name stars too, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Jamie Fox, Michael Fassbender and others. But even so, he still always manages to bring back a forgotten actor or a new name and give them the spotlight…and make it work too.

6) He’s a genre man, he makes the kind of films he grew up and enjoyed watching. He is a fanboy and his films prove as much too. From his “homages”, in jokes, references and even some of the actors he chooses. Everything is selected and pandered to perfectly fit into the genre he is trying to capture. While he does have his own unique style, his films are also very different from each other. Heist film, Kung-Fu/Samurai revenge flick, Spaghetti Western epic, Gangster/thriller picture…he’ll have a go at anything as long as it’s a genre he loves.

7) His violence, probably the biggest thing Quentin is (in)famous for. But he does not just throw in violence for the sake of having violence. Often, he makes us, the viewer, “earn” that violence. Anyone remember the “ear cutting scene” in Reservoir Dogs, remember the controversy, remember how graphic it was? The great thing about that scene is the simple fact that is was not graphic at all, in fact the camera pans away to look at a blank wall…yet people always “remember” how violent that scene was. This is the mark of a truly great film-maker, one that can make you see something that is not there.
But my favourite part of the whole “ear cutting scene” is actually something more jovial and deeply dark at the same time. I’m talking of Mr. Blonde putting the radio on and dancing around to Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel. It’s a great, light and “bouncy” song and Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde dancing around is a joy to watch…but somewhere in the back of your head, you know things are going to get really bad, really quickly and the whole dancing thing just makes what is to come next even more disturbing…even though you do not see “it” happen.
Of course he’s not always as “subtle” with his violence, the Crazy 88 fight from Kill Bill for example. But even here, you are teased before the big showdown. From when The Bride first enters The House of Blue Leaves, the whole scene is dragged out (in a great way) to make you wait for the vengeance fuelled blood rage that is about to come.
But I think my personal favourite piece of foreplay to the violence comes from Inglourious Basterds. That one particular scene in the German basement bar. The way Quentin slowly unfolds this undercover plot that we, the audience all know is going to go wrong, we all know its gonna end in (lots of) bloodshed…yet we are teased for what seems like hours. It’s like Quentin is saying to us, he knows you want violence, he knows you want to see some dead Nazis…and possibly some dead good guys too. But, you have to wait, and wait and wait. He makes it almost unbearable to the point you can not take your eyes of the screen so much so you do not want to blink. It’s “magical” movie making at it’s finest.
But I can not end this point without mentioning the slow-motion gun fight near the end of Django Unchained. Its so beautifully shot (and again pre-teased to us the audience), its like watching a ballet of violence.

So, what is next for Tarantino after the release of The Hateful Eight?

Well Quentin has hinted he plans to retire. I think this is terrible if true, but on the other hand. If Quentin Tarantino honestly thinks he had nothing left to offer, then maybe retirement is the best thing for him?
I’d rather Tarantino going out on top then keep making films he no longer enjoys making. But either way, it’ll be a sad day in film-making if/when Quentin Tarantino decides to end his amazing career.

But come on QT, you have more to come after The Hateful Eight…right?

QT 3

Quentin Tarantino:As far as I’m concerned, digital projection is the end of cinema. The fact that most films aren’t presented in 35 mm means that the world is lost. Digital projection is just television in cinema. I’m very hopeful that future generations will be much smarter than this generation and realize what they lost.”

Thank you for joining me on my Birthday (dependent on when you read this) and for reading my fanboyism of one of the worlds biggest film fanboys, Mr. Quentin Tarantino.
Now…”let’s go to work”.

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