Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Hall Of Underrated Geniuses

A while back (if I was a different kind of blogger, I'd underline that phrase, and you could click on it and go find where), I talked about how bloggers all search (at least in the back of their minds) for that idea they can just go to, again and again -- Stuff White People Like, Julia Child's Recipies cooked by someone in a Nora Ephron movie, etc., etc. -- and I definitely feel like I know what mine would be: Things, or People, We all Admit are Great, but Which are in Fact Actually Underrated.  Or, more simply: Hall of Underrated Geniuses.  Or HUG, for short.  (Think is taken?  Shoulda gotten here in 1994...)

And actually, 1994 was a high point for my latest inductee.  Pulp Fiction. 

Now, at the time, I was not a fan of him who we call QT.  Not at all.  When I saw Reservoir Dogs, I was probably basically just so consumed with jealousy that I remember, at the end, when the two guys blew each other away (is that what happened?), I remembert a tremendous wave of righteous and totally characteristic (for late 20s me, anyway) feeling of moral superiority rise up in me.  As the screen went black and I sat, alone (ah! the late 20s!) in a movie theater, feeling the full effect of the totally disgusting scene I had just witnessed, I thought, "Aha!  The guy has no heart!  He hasn't lived!  Stupid video geek!" -- and I basically dismissed him.

But Pulp Fiction -- Pulp Fiction came a couple years later, and I had mellowed, maybe, or gotten happier anyway -- and by the time I saw it I was married, or about to be, to someone who recognized Reservoir Dogs for what it was - a truly original and brilliantly structured screenplay, storytelling prowess that just doesn't fall out of a tree -- and so I went to Pulp Fiction much more willing to hear what it had to say.

And I loved it.  From the moment that HUGE credit came down, I was totally hooked.  (Had problems, as always, with Tim Roth's American accent, but nothing's perfect.)  

Now, at the time, it was quite clear to me that Pulp Fiction was a REALLY GREAT movie, and I thought we all knew that.  Sure, it wasn't going to win best Picture, and a lot of people, especially in older generations (like the man I was working for at the time), thought it was immature and immoral and insulting (?), but for the most part, it made such a splash that I was quite sure we would all come in a few years to simply know: this was a GREAT movie.

And yet -- "Fargo"?  "Shawshank Redemption"?  Puh-lease! 

So, to cut to the chase -- the guy made Jackie Brown, which was quiet but fine and about a million times better than anything the Coen Brothers could touch - Kill Bill 1 and 2, both of which had things in it that haunt me to this day -- that 'silly thing' with Rodriguez which I didn't see but which probably isn't nearly as silly as they all say... and then Inglorious Basterds, which I just finished watching ten minutes ago and which is probably the most purely entertaining and gripping movie I have seen in years.  And brilliant on so many levels. 

Give it up for the guy.  He's the best we have, and he's running on all cylinders right now. 

And as it happens, it's still his birthday on the West Coast.

And what better present could he receive than this certificate:

OFFICIAL INDUCTEE, Hall Of Underrated Geniuses: Quentin Tarantino


1 comment:

Nick said...

That previous post can be found here: