When Tarantino Failed

Despite the promise of stylistic mayhem, pop culture infused dialogue and a killer soundtrack. I haven’t gone to see Quentin Tarantino’s latest film. Normally a new Tarantino flick wouldn’t get past the opening weekend without my seat in a theatre, but not this time, and I wasn’t the only one.

Grindhouse has garnered critical praise but audiences aren’t buying it. Dropping out of the box office top 10 last weekend it’s moving into flop territory. As I haven’t seen it I can’t pass judgment on the quality, but I can tell you why I didn’t go: I didn’t care.

If Tarantino wants to indulge in nostalgia for an obscure film genre that was considered schlock the first time around he can, but I don’t have to pay for it. Rick Groen wrote in The Globe and Mail recently that Tarantino is at his best when making art from trash but recently he’s no longer elevating the trash but wallowing in it. The movie appears to be Tarantinoesque, a repetition of what he’s done before. Sassy women? Check. Hard-nosed criminals? Check. Obscure cultural references and a revivalist soundtrack? Double check. It feels like I’ve seen it all before.

Perhaps it is all for the best and he’ll come back with something original in a couple of years. He’s gone through these self-indulgent phases before – remember Four Rooms and From Dusk ‘Till Dawn? Of course I will probably rent it when it comes out (which will likely be sooner than later), but let’s ignore that as it kind of suck some of the life out of my rant.

So come on Tarantino, you left that video store a long time ago. Let it go.


  1. I just saw Grindhouse and I loved it, although Tarantino's Death Proof is definitely the lesser of the so-called double bill. The problem I have with the movie is that Tarantino has to indulge us with his pop culture dialogue instead of what I assume most of us paid to see car chases and ultraviolence. It makes me wonder if he gets the whole grindhouse genre. I fear he doesn't. Rodriguez certainly did--Planet Terror could have come straight from the Seventies.

  2. I am willing to eat my words should it turn out to be great, but that won't be until the DVD comes out. Normally I'm excited about a Tarantino release, but this left me cold. I guess I'll see.