Weekly Download Vol. II No. 17

Everybody Needs Love by Drive-by Truckers (Free Download)  ___________________________.  The blank space is where I’ve made all the arguments for DBT of which I know you’ve grown weary. Consider this song my summation (I am lawyer, ya know).   It’s a cover of an old Eddie Hinton song and it’s completely unlike anything they’ve ever done, and fucking terrific (and from their brand new album Go-Go Boots).  A band that can make this and Aftermath USA, is truly special.  You have all the information.  You can now feel free to rule against me w/r/t DBT.  I’ll stop.

My preacher, Dr. Bob (like a boss) is prone to enter into what he calls “sermon series” (I realize this is prolly a ploy to get me to attend on a more consistent basis) where he weaves a consistent theme through 4-6 weeks of services.  He’s really good at it.  So you can consider this the first installment in the WD series “architects of my intellect.” To begin, this is prolly a poor title. It’s nearer “artists who were formative on my own personal relationship with/response to things (sighs) I appreciate.”  But that’s a pretty wordy title.  So I’ll go with the former. (N.B. I use “intellect” here not in the “check out the big brain on Brett” sense but in the “capacity for thinking/analyzing” sense.  So I’m not calling myself an “intellectual” because, clearly, I’m not.  Intellectuals are overeducated and pretentious. I am undereducated, yet overly thought-laden to the point where my sanity demands I extract the most coherent of these thoughts for the sole purpose of not mulling over them anymore.  As such, this blog is in many ways my Weekly Upload as it is your (hopefully) Weekly Download.  Wow, someone call Pulitzer.)  I narrowed my search down to a triumvirate of artists who each are, in their way, responsible for (in reality a lot shit with respect to your humble author), I guess, making me the analytical asshole/critic that I am.  I can trace the beginnings of each of their impacts on my life to a single day.  So for the next three weeks, I’ll tell you about those days, those artists and what they have meant to me. (Clearly, I’ll reveal the first one today.  However, I’ll award a WD prize pack to whomever guesses the other two.)

Quentin Tarantino – The day: I was in my living room and with Bradley when it first dawned on me that they can actually make movies like this.  Jules and Vincent, wearing Jimmy’s shorts and t-shirts, leave the coffee shop and Surf Rider by The Lively Ones begins.  I know that Vincent will be shot in a bathroom soon and that Jules is just “gonna walk the earth.”  I’ll just be Jules, Vincent.  No more, no less. In Pulp Fiction with Jules, QT created an inescapable character (certainly one that Sam Jackson will never escape from).  He created many inescapable characters and I had to think about what they all meant.  And I had to think about what they all meant outside of the context of the movie.  That was something I’d never done before.  Prior to PF it was Mikey – Good, The Fratellis – Bad or Skywalker – Good, Emperor – Evil, Vader – Redeemed or LaRusso – Good, Sensi Kreese – Evil, Miyagi – Wise.  They were easily drawn lines.  After PF (I certainly understand that this realization can also be attributed to simply getting older, but allow me to rant), I realized that those easily drawn lines were the simplest and least interesting part of really well made films.  I have never watched another movie the same since PF.  I’ve re-watched movies that I assumed I understood perfectly (Tron, War Games) and they were new experiences.

As I’m prone, an immediate QT obsession ensued.  For which I was gifted the twin jewels of Reservoir Dogs and True Romance (both brilliant).  However, I also started to treat truly gifted filmmakers with a reverence I once saved only for truly gifted writers.   Since then, I’ve moved past QT.  Or I should say I don’t elevate his movies to immediate I-must-go-see-that status.  I wouldn’t even consider him in my top 10 favorite filmmakers right now. His films seems bloated (Kill Bill) and overly-coked (Death Proof) (although the opening scene from Inglorious Basterds was as good as anything he’s ever done).  But again, he was the one that lit the spark in me to watch movies differently, to search for allegory and meta-narrative and to view films critically, for plot holes and for editing or casting choices I would have made differently.  He made me think of movies as art.  So that’s why I write about him, he created an asshole-movie-snob.  Enjoy the DBT.

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