RARA-AVIS: Re: Torture Porn

From: uplandharmabooks ( uplandharmabooks@yahoo.com)
Date: 05 Jul 2007

It's kind of late in the debate, but I'm going to put in my two cents as well.

I realize that all the cool kids (not just here, but almost everywhere) are complaining about Tarantino. I'm certainly no film or fiction scholar, but I'm going to revert to my youth and be the dork who stands up for the kid being picked on (both Tarantino and the level of violence and sex in today's hard-boiled fiction).

Tarantino has readily admitted several times that he makes genre films and he has never hidden his influences. He's quite well versed in the history of those films and filmmakers, understands exactly what made them great and takes it a step further, which is what any artist worth his/her salt does. And, imho, he does what he does very well; the guy is one of the best dialog writers around, his camera work is very good, his characters are fleshed out, and the plots, while sometimes simplistic, are well worked and keep me interested. Is he (the dreaded phrase) "self-aware"? Yes, and admittedly so, it's his intention to make genre pictures, but this may not always be a bad thing. The violence in his movies is nothing worse than what he's influenced by and is often tame in comparison to many films coming out today. The violence is nothing new; and attributing the violent flicks (or books) of today to his influence may be stretching things a bit.

He says he makes films to entertain; there are no metaphors, symbolism, or hidden meanings. They are what they are: (to me) simple fun. Nothing more. I absolutely appreciate the opinions of those who just don't enjoy his sort of films; there's nothing wrong with that at all. But, on the other hand, there's really nothing wrong with being one of those who do enjoy his films either.

Now a nice segue back into hard-boiled/noir fiction.

Imho, there is little difference between Tarantino's films and Richard Stark's Parker series or almost any of Elmore Leonard's books. It is what it's meant to be: just fun.

As for the violence and sex in today's hard-boiled/noir fiction, it seems to me that there has always been violence and sex in this genre. The difference being that where the reader has to use their imagination to see Archer's entrails oozing out of his gut from being shot or to see Walter and Phyllis getting it on, now the writers are free to describe these things as they choose. The writers now don't have to use the equivalent of a fade out. Good or bad? <shrug> I suppose it's a matter of opinion, but I believe it's a good thing that authors no longer need to choose between self-censoring or letting others censor their work. Whether it's done well or not may be up for intellectual debate, but whether it's good or bad in and of itself is probably up to each individual's tastes.

I find it a bit ironic that some members of a group dedicated to a specific genre whose very name (hard-boiled) is indicative of violence, sex, darkness, and...well...hardness, are willing to complain not only about a genre filmmaker, but the characteristics that make up their favorite fiction genre.

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