RARA-AVIS: Re: Out of Sight, Leonard, Tarantino

Kevin Smith (kvnsmith@colba.net)
Thu, 23 Jul 1998 09:26:34 -0500 Well, there seem to be an awful lot of thumbs waving in the air, directed
to the heavens, for Out of Sight. Thanks for the reviews, guys. Honey, can
your mom come over and watch the kids?


>If i want to read fiction, i'll steal it from a crippled newsboy! (Is
>that hard-boiled enough?)

Man, that's just beautiful. I think I'm gonna cry. Bring back Brennen!

>I enjoyed Out Of Sight; it may have been the only character-driven summer
>movie. Didn't even mind the happy ending. But I noticed many people had
>trouble with the flashbacks. Oh, well. Leonard doesn't do well in film;
>a tough translation perhaps.

Hmmm....granted there are some turkeys (Stick, Touch, Cat Chaser,some of
the Pay TV adaptations, etc), but I think Leonard's books have provided the
source for a few pretty good flicks. I remember enjoying Hombre, Mr.
Majesyk (honest!), 52 Pick-Up, and more recently I definitely enjoyed Get
Shorty and Jackie Brown. The continuing interest in Hollywood in Leonard's
books is finally paying off after a string of pretty lame efforts.

>I have a thoretical question to ask. Over the last weekend someone
>suggested that the American PI is a coyote figure: marginalized,
>opportunistic, shifty, etc. Any thoughts?

Hmmm...from Lone Wolf to Coyote? I dunno, are they referring to the genre
or the characters? Certainly such anti-hero eyes as Loren Estleman's Ralph
Poteet fit the bill, but most P.I.s are more along the line of resourceful
and relatively ethical, rather than opportunistic and shifty, and some of
'em are downright Dudley Do-Rights. Who said it, and in what context?


>With people being slammed by so many disparate images these days via
>advertising and music-video-influenced narrative editing, it's a bit
>surprising to me that movie audiences have trouble with flashbacks.

Actually, I just read a bit recently about how children's IQ's have risen
gradually but consistently in North America over the last few decades, and
one theory is that it's all the visual stimulation of films, television,
videos, computers, electronic games. Now if we can just get 'em to read....

>Part of the reason Tarantino became a cinema darling, despite whatever
>flaws his films exhibit, is his willingness to play with storytelling
>structures and step away from the linear model.

Good comment about film editing, and it's refreshing to hear someone say
anything nice about Tarantino. Like a few other up-and-comers, I think he
bears watching. So far, he's done three very different, but equally
challenging films. It's interesting to watch the see-saw of opinion about
him, before and after the success of Pulp Fiction. And, of course, he's
such an opionated, over-the-top yahoo that he's become something of a media
darling too.


>This is true. But (Tarantino) is such a master of distortion and
>exageration that
>he simply cannot let a good story tell itself (yes I know). He has
>worked with very strong material deserving of more thought and subtlety.

Well, who wrote Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction? I thought it was
Tarantino. I wonder how Tarantino would go over on this list if he were a


>the latter film, IMHO, while a bit overindulgent of the actors, is underrated
>and quite restrained for Tarantino.

Then again, they were actors worth indulging. I think it's a sign he's
developing his craft, rather than giving us Pulp Fiction 2, 3, 4, etc.
After Pulp Fiction, I think he realized he had to make a "smaller" film.
Like I said, watch this guy. He may be a lover, but he ain't no dancer.

>Anthony Dennison, who some may remember as Crime Story's Ray Luca, holds the
>option on James Ellroy's Dick Contino's Blues, and has penned his own
>adaptation. Dennison of course is interested in portraying the musician, but
>says he'll step aside for the right production. 10 years ago, who'da thought
>Dennis Farina would become the bigger star?

Luca sounds about right for Contino. BTW, Farina will be starring in a TV
show that spoofs the old 1950-60's swinging dicks P.I. like Tony Rome and
Shell Scott. It's called Buddy Faro, and it sounds promising (then again,
in July, all the new shows sound promising).

>Kevin Smith on posting fiction: "But maybe we should have someone ask every
>now and then. That was fun." I laughed right out loud at that one. Thank
>you, Kevin.


Kevin Smith
The Thrilling Detective Web Site

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