Stephen Speicher

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

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  1. 1. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

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120 posts in this topic

Quick Stephen, start a South Park thread!

(This'll get really wierd if Stephen hates South Park.)

Ok, explain how you can like all the grossness and gore in South Park, but not in Kill Bill. In fact it may be even worse in aspects in South Park!

Fred Weiss

I only love the show when they hit the mark, I'd say they do this about 40% of the time. But when they do, it is quite a ride!

It was actually the grossness and gore that kept me from even watching South Park in the first place.

It wasn't until I was goaded into watching the movie that I realized that all the grossness and language served as an absurd juxtapostion to (usually) bring home some point that the creators want to bring out. A lot of times I agree with the "message" of the episodes, although they are usually only against something.

There is also the fact that there are good characters in South Park. It is usually Kyle or Stan that hold the moral line against the maniacal Cartman, or the whole town.

That fact with one other: when this show is "on" it is just damn funny. It is also mindblowingly outrageous, I cannot believe what I am seeing or hearing sometimes. All of this, however, is (when it is at its best) serves to illustrate some very recent, relevant point. Take last weeks episode that dealt specifically with the Terry Schaivo "right to die" issue. Or the week before when they dealt with some people's need to change themselves going too far: the teacher gets a sex change, Kyle gets a "negrodomy" so he can play basketball, and his father ends up as a half man/half dolphin. Take away the message of the show, and you would have nothing; that is because that is what they start with.

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I'm with Thoyd Loki on this one, I have to say. I can't beat his play-by-play review, but I can add this: We all know that Tarantino knows exactly what he's doing as a writer and director. That's what makes the elements that Stephen likes so very stunning to him. And that's also why I am so disgusted. Because every time this man smears the ultra-violence in my face, it's with a reason and for a purpose. It's not like on South Park. South Park uses disgusting imagery to make the point that a given thing is disgusting. Tarantino doesn't think that the violence, profanity, etc in his movies is disgusting. He likes it. He gets his jollies off of it. I see in him the particular kind of pervert that flashes his privates to people in the park, only he's figured out how to do it to millions of people.

I did feel a bit like Alex in A Clockwork Orange when I saw this one, my stomach just as sick as his. I walked out.

This is not to say that Stephen is wrong about his ability to select characters, or fashion plot or to stylize. But you have to have a strong stomach. I was able to watch and enjoy Pulp Fiction before I saw this movie, because I could pretend that maybe the violence wasn't the point. Maybe it was just there to make me hate the villains and root for the hero. (oops, what hero?) I was wrong, and upon realizing my error, I can no longer watch any of his films.

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I did feel a bit like Alex in A Clockwork Orange when I saw this one, my stomach just as sick as his. I walked out.

Oh, and I realize the irony of using a movie with disturbing imagery to put down a movie I don't like because of its disturbing imagery. :)

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Inspector, are you saying that violence as such is inherently wrong somehow, or only that you cannot stand much of it? You have stated that it's the latter, but also seem to be implying the former by saying that the movies are excessively violent, which wouldn't make sense unless you meant that an excess of violence is inherently wrong.

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Inspector, are you saying that violence as such is inherently wrong somehow, or only that you cannot stand much of it? You have stated that it's the latter, but also seem to be implying the former by saying that the movies are excessively violent, which wouldn't make sense unless you meant that an excess of violence is inherently wrong.

No, no don't get me wrong here. It's all in how the violence is presented. What the message is about violence qua violence.

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No, no don't get me wrong here. It's all in how the violence is presented. What the message is about violence qua violence.

For example, see the movie Soldier. I think that the way violence is handled in that movie is a proper contrast. It's plenty violent, but does not offend me in the way Tarantino does. I'm no sissy.

Mind you, I speak as a former fan of Tarantino. (few things will beat the scene where Bruce Willis is moving in to rescue Ving Rhames and he selects a series of increasingly brutal weapons, knowing that the perverts in the next room deserve nothing less...) Perhaps my disgust is multiplied by the nature of my revelation regarding his character... that he is in fact one of those perverts.

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I'll make a personal example. One of my favorite recent movies is The Punisher, which is exceedingly brutal, especially toward the end. In the context of the movie, one of the reasons such a strong emphasis is made on violence is to make a point about violence itself, that in the right situation it can be a terrible but yet awesome thing to behold; no matter how painful it looks, when done by the right person, against the right person, in the right way, it can be sweet, in some sense. Here is where the aversion to violence comes into play - people who are sensitive to blood and pain may rightly turn away from movies like that, but they cannot say that the movies are wrong, merely that they themselves cannot completely handle the movie's message in the way it chooses to portray it.

Now to bring it back to Tarantino - I've seen Pulp Fiction, Jacky Brown, and the first of the Kill Bill movies. Though these movies are definitely not sense of life movies, as Stephen said, they do have a very strong element of the stylized and the exceptional. Tarantino's great achievement in today's moviemaking is - none of his characters are regular two-bit joes. They are all out of this world, exceptional characters, larger than life in whatever role they play, good or bad. I mean the speeches he gives to his characters are absolutely astounding, almost philosophical - for example the speech in the diner in the last scene of Pulp Fiction, which was magnificent.

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Free Capitalist, I agree totally with everything you just said. If you can see that that does not at all contradict what I said above, then you understand me.

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Then are you saying you can't stand the violence (which doesn't make you a sissy!), or are you saying that there's something inherently wrong with the way Tarantino uses that violence?

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I'll make a personal example. One of my favorite recent movies is The Punisher, which is exceedingly brutal, especially toward the end. In the context of the movie, [..]

FC, which Punisher are you talking about? The one starring Dolph Lundgren, or the one with Tom Jane?

Surely you must mean the one with Lundgren. The one with Tom Jane was a huge joke!

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Tom Jane! Dolph Lundgren version was moody, depressing, and ultimately meaningless. Tom Jane's performance was Justice Incarnate, and his body matched it too; I loved it. Maybe I should ask to put that movie up for a vote...

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Tom Jane! Dolph Lundgren version was moody, depressing, and ultimately meaningless. Tom Jane's performance was Justice Incarnate, and his body matched it too; I loved it. Maybe I should ask to put that movie up for a vote...

I can't believe I'm reading this from you, FC. Unbelievable! :)

I thought that Lundgren's Punisher was more philosophical: a man consumed by vengeance can only end up depressed. Which is why it made sense: rather than keep on living, he chose to destroy interminably.

Jane's Punisher was a comical cartoon. From the first deaths till the last, I was in stitches. And I wasn't the only one. The entire audience laughed their heads off. I can't say more because I'll be a spoiler.

The only good elements of the Jane version were the "rules" he listed which are in the source material (The Punisher is a comic book hero) anyway.

But, no matter. Hey, to be is to be individual. :)

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Yes, but while a hero consumed by vengeance cannot be truly happy, he can kick butt, remain heroic, and continue to be a tower of character and principle, which is what Jane's Punisher was for the entire movie, untarnished. Lundgren's Punisher basically was a pathetic wretch, and I couldn't decide whether to feel more pity for him because of his tragedy, or pity for him because of the the sewers that were his home. You cannot feel pity for Jane's Punisher - maybe at first yes, but in the end he remains standing, to kick some more butt, and that's really admirable. As you can see, I don't shy away from the sentimental :) In fact I think it's great, even in "guy movies". Maybe even especially in "guy movies", if done properly.

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My apologies to anyone reading up to the last half-dozen or so posts in this thread. I attempted to move discussion of The Punisher here to the thread for The Punisher. Unfortunately, there seems to be a bug when moving posts right after the first post in a thread that has a poll. So, I had to move The Punisher discussion back here, and, in doing so, some of the last posts may not be in proper order.

Sorry if things do read perfectly well as a result of this. But, please, any further discussion of The Punisher belongs in the thread for that movie, not here.

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Then are you saying you can't stand the violence (which doesn't make you a sissy!), or are you saying that there's something inherently wrong with the way Tarantino uses that violence?

[i won't be able to post much as of now, as work has started to frown on it]

The latter. It has been my evaluation since Kill Bill vol 1 (I haven't seen vol 2) that Tarantino puts violence on the screen for the sheer perverse joy of it. Violence for violence's sake; the gorier and more horrible the better. There were plenty of examples of this in Pulp Fiction, Resevoir Dogs, and even Jackie Brown, but Kill Bill just takes it farther and starker, so that it was painfully clear.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

[i won't be able to post much as of now, as work has started to frown on it]

The latter. It has been my evaluation since Kill Bill vol 1 (I haven't seen vol 2) that Tarantino puts violence on the screen for the sheer perverse joy of it. Violence for violence's sake; the gorier and more horrible the better. There were plenty of examples of this in Pulp Fiction, Resevoir Dogs, and even Jackie Brown, but Kill Bill just takes it farther and starker, so that it was painfully clear.

Kill Bill vol. 2 is much lighter on the violence than vol. 1. There were two parts of vol. 1 that truly bothered me, the first being the opening scene where she's shot in the head, the second being where she kills the two semi-necrophiliacs [Neither one of these scenes came close to Passion of the Christ though, the violence in that movie literally made me sick to my stomach]. I wouldn't say that vol. 2 is more light-hearted, but it is much less blatantly violent, and overall, more enjoyable.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

I apologise for reopening a thread that no one may be interested in any more, but I just joined this forum and was appalled that this [i can't find adjectives bad enough] movie got so many positive reviews, even on an Objectivist forum. I'm not talking about the movie's 'sense of life,' I'm talking about the movie's sheer stupidity and perverseness.

I've only seen Kill Bill vol. 1, so I can't comment on vol. 2. However vol. 1 was enough to put me off Tarantino films for life. To me, this movie was insulting. To quote Inspector, "I see in him the particular kind of pervert that flashes his privates to people in the park, only he's figured out how to do it to millions of people." I couldn't agree more. I see Tarantino as a man who never developed mentally beyond his schoolboy years, and now he's inflicting his infantile fantasies upon millions of viewers, and the astounding thing is that most of them like it!

This movie revels in sheer barbarism, with the unashamed glee of a pig wallowing in filth. Gutter language is used pointlessly, for instance in the beginning when "The Bride" fights Vernita Green. The drama of a woman horribly wronged finally getting to extract her revenge is reduced to a b*tch-fight between two trashy women. What a tremendous waste of an opportunity.

And how is the fight resolved? Not by any display of skill on the Bride's part, but by sheer chance. Green shoots at her and misses. Wow, what a climax. Never seen that one before. Incidentally, in the real world, in the time it takes for the Bride's cup of coffee to fall down and for her to kick it, a trained gunman would have loosed off several shots. Beatrix would have died, and the world would have been much better off.

And here's a question: If she wanted to avoid killing Green before her daughter, perhaps she could have called at a time/place when/where she could be sure Green's daughter wouldn't be around for a while? Does Tarantino want me to believe that The Bride, a professional assassin, didn't bother to do even that much research on her mark? The movie is full of this kind of moronic oversight.

A minor diatribe on realism: Uma Thurman isn't remotely athletic. Portraying her as a superhuman fighter is pathetic. The funny thing is Thurman looks like she just recovered from a coma. She looks like that all the time. As for the fight scenes: seeing her in this movie reminded me of The Avengers, specifically a scene where Thurman's and Fiennes's character are fencing. She blocks a blow of Fiennes' with her sword that's she's literally dangling between her finger and thumb. Don't tell me that's 'stylisation.' That's either utter ignorance or a sneering contempt for the audience's intelligence. Let her do superhuman feats, fine, but at least choose an actor who'd be remotely believable in those fight scenes.

If an Arnold Schwarzenegger character skewered a man with a sword and raised him aloft with the tip, that too arms extended, I'd snort. When Uma Thurman does it it's way beyond funny and has dropped off into the absurd. Leave alone cutting through a dozen pairs of legs simply by twirling the sword around--as if the legs were made of cottage cheese. The rapidly increasing popularity of these kinds of fight scenes leads me to conclude two things: (1) with the advent of CG, movies are being made by geeks with no idea of real fights, and (2) the vast majority of the public is so far removed from physical exercise and the merest understanding of physics to notice.

The whole movie screams "schoolboy fantasy." Cheesy music, infantile acting, Japanese schoolgirls, puerile sexual jokes, it's all there. The scene where Lucy Liu's character is walking down a corridor with her gang, with that cheesy music playing, what is that? Is that supposed to be cool? Funny? Tongue-in-cheek? It's neither. It's just stupid.

I could go on and on, but this movie and Tarantino have already wasted too much of my life.

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Just so the thread for this marvelous movie does not end on a negative note, if you have a use for a beautiful Hattori Hanzo sword, you can get some here. Bill himself (David Carradine) has signed a few.

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Despite my disgust with Tarantino's politics and my very much disliking Pulp Fiction, I give the Kill Bill movies thumbs up. Several sequences make the movies much more than just glorified chop suey.

The closing sequences present, in a positive light, two aspects of Romantic fiction that "make" the movies for me. The first is the positive presentation free will vs. determinism (or here, an inherited nature.) Beatrice's attempt to change her life is contrasted against Bill's claim that she is "a natural born killer" who can never change. Another is the idea that happiness can be achieved. The closing sequence, showing Beatrice joyously escaping with her daughter, after having struggled against great odds, is a positive presentation of both choice and the possibility of happiness. Compare this presenation with the end of a thoroughly malevolent universe film, Chinatown.

Another aspect I enjoyed was the presentation of the idea that man made objects, in this case the swords, can be worthy of respect and awe for the skill involved in their creation. A minor touch I very much liked was Beatrice turning back to seek Hanzo's permission to touch the swords, acknowledging that they were his creations and property.

Finally, there is the obvious positive presentation that the "bad" guys aren't going to get away, that justice will be served. (I admit that Beatrice's profession may make her also a "bad" guy, I viewed this overall as a presentation not letting a wrong go unpunished.)

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Forgotten from just above: Another element I liked was the presentation of being responsible for your actions. There isn't any of the modern whining about "It wasn't my fault, I didn't do it, it was like that when I got here (quoting Homer Simpson)." Neither Bill anor his brother try to weasel out of what they did. Bill acknowledges this to BB as he tucks her in.

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