This post won’t be nearly as cool as it sounds. I just wanted to write down that title.
Recently I’ve finished off a few things that I’ve been doing on my spare time. A couple of projects that I’ve been making my way through. These are Bram Stoker’s novel called Dracula, Red Dead Redemption and Pulp Fiction.
I’ve finally finished Dracula after what must be close to eight years. See, long ago, when I was fourteen, I was digging through the book, loving it, and then it fucking disappeared without a trace. This year I found it, and now I’ve been reading it again to finish this chapter (sorta-hurr). I still like the book and the characters, but the ending is really disappointing. Two thirds of the book spent building up suspense, showing the immaculate way the undead Count operates, and then it ends so abruptly reading the whole thing feels like a waste. It’s like a deflating balloon; you build up a lot of excitement blowing up the damn thing and when it blows out you barely get farting noises. In addition it got really cheesy near the end and the misogyny was un-fucking-bearable. Both of these things are to be expected given when it was written, certainly, but that doesn’t make them any less tedious. Or annoying. Or frustratingly misguided and poisonous. “A-ha! She’s got a woman’s gentleness, but a man’s head,” exclaims professor Van Helsing several times. And many times Mina Harker writes about those bold, brash, strong men in her diary. And every single time I frown, get angry and nautious. I’ve heard similar expressed and opined enough times to hate it and loathe it, and no matter the time period, disdain is the only thing this deserves.
My sister bought Red Dead Redemption for me when I was seventeen, I think, and I never played it until now. Why? Because back then I bought games after what friends and video game critics recommended for me, regardless of whether or not these games were my style. It turned out that I really didn’t like an open world where everything was to your own choosing, with vast spaces and mini games. A friend of mine says to this day that where I saw an overwhelming amount of time-consuming options, he sees possibilities. But at the time it was a limitation to me, because I didn’t want to roam endlessly in search for one measly object that might be worth looking for. Now that I’ve aged and matured somewhat, I now have the patience for that sort of thing and can even find it fun. Far Cry 3 broke a few barrieres for me in that department, and after playing the whole thing, man, I do so wish I got to see more of these characters. Whether they’re hicks or gangsters or farmers or utter lunatics, there are sooooo many fun characters to meet in this game. I really wish we got to see more of Bonnie MacFarland, and Seth, and that US marshall who’s name escapes me, and Irish, and so, so many more. Not to mention John Marston; he’s just so likeable that I enjoyed every minute playing him. Downside is that the game has it’s fair share of flaws. 18 unlockable outfits, several of which you can only use near the end of the game or after the end of the game. Damseling females. A bit of racism. A kinda-sorta moral choice system that makes no sense given the story and it’s theme. I mean, John Marston makes it clear so many times that he tries to seek out of the life as an outlaw and sounds sincere and firm on the subject every time it’s brought up. There is nothing that really indicates to me that he wants to return to his old ways even breefly to achieve his goal of freeing his family. Why should he just randomly start assaulting diligences and the like, especially considering that the government is watching him closely? There are also a couple of occasions where John seems far to mercenary and indifferent. It just doesn’t seem like him, and he also strikes me as someone who dislikes being in the company of slimy people. It seems off, all of it.
Pulp Fiction is a movie I saw in my teenage years, late at night and with too low an attention span to really get anything out of it. Therefore I haven’t thought that much of Tarantino for the longest time. The general impression I got from the snippets I saw of his movies here and there was that he had style, but the movies themselves seemed so bloody insubstancial and pointless that it wasn’t anything for me to really like. This impression got put to the test, however, because as a birthday present a year ago a friend of mine bought me every single Tarantion movie out there. Everyone. Eight movies, now standing in my shelf. I have been slooooowly working up the nerve to watch them. I want to give these movies a fair chance; more than once I’ve pretty much decided that something is bad from the get-go without ever seeing it, but without any real justification for deeming it bad. I’m pressed to think that everyone does this sometimes. Refusing to see a film because someone said somewhere that one scene was offensive or something isn’t really based on much, better to see it for yourself and judge. I saw Reservoir Dogs and found it surprisingly well structured. Good acting, shot pretty good, excellent use of music. A little bit boring and pointless, but this is the guy who people laud as the ultimate example of “style over substance” in a good way or sumthin’. Yesterday I decided to give Pulp Fiction another shot, and I sat down like: ‘Okay, impress me.’ Eyebrows raised, arms crossed. But at the beginning of the movie I thought: ‘You know what? That’s not really an attitude to have when giving something a second chance. I have to be open for impression.’ So I gave it a chance with a less judgmental outlook, and what I found was that three scenes were great…
And the rest was totally boring.
Look, the scene at the diner, Vince Vega and Jules Winnfield’s visit to Marcellus’ underlings and the scene with the, uhm, father’s watch was funny, greatly written and engaging. Hooked me in. But the rest of the movie was such a drag. The finale at the diners was longwinded as hell. Butch’s plot was completely uninteresting. The story of Vincent and Marcellus’ wife was okay, but not enough to make up for the amount of nothing coming afterwords. I once had a brief talk about Tarantino with Mothy, and from what he told me this is somewhat symptomatic for his longer movies. And I still got six movies to go.
Welp, better brace yourself, Cheesus. We’ve got a lot more to cover.