A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reservoir Dogs

I confess. I don't like cuddly fuddly chick flicks. I like exploding wham bam shoot 'em up guy movies. I like Quentin Tarantino movies. When it comes to guy movies, few can surpass Quentin Tarantino's 1992 directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs. Like the characters themselves, Reservoir Dogs came out of no where. In typical Tarantino form, the film does not move linearly. The storyboard shuffles forward and back in time to reveal information about the characters to take the viewer on an unexpected journey of story telling.

Reservoir Dogs is not for the faint of heart. It is a bloody, vile, gritty story without redemption. My wife doesn't like it. At all. The story begins with a group of men having breakfast and animatedly discussing the lyrics of the Madonna song, "Like a Virgin." The discussion then turns towards the social courtesy of tipping waitresses. My wife found the dialogue to be offensive and left to delve into her latest crime novel. As a man, I found the conversation vaguely familiar.

A rough cast of then unknown actors play a group of criminals unknown to each other. They are brought together by Joe, an established criminal leader to pull off the "perfect crime." Only things go wrong. Horribly wrong. We never see what happens inside the bank. Instead we see the result. We see criminals running like rats, fighting to survive, turning on each other, all the while trying to determine just what went wrong. None of the actors are leading man types. They all look like the guy who might be selling shoes in the Women's Department of the local department store.

The sordid story is not only driven by masterful direction, but also by Steven Wright's voice as K-Billy playing the "Super Sounds of the 70s", a soundtrack that can only be described as quintessentially cool. Mr. Blonde, Mr. Blue, Mr. Pink, Mr. Orange, Mr. White, Mr. Brown, Nice Guy Eddie, and Joe all come together to present a film that absolutely transformed the movies produced in Hollywood. Said critic Jami Bernard at Sundance: "I don't think people were ready. They didn't know what to make of it. It's like the first silent movie when audiences saw the train coming toward the camera and scattered."

If you liked other Tarantino films, but have not yet watched Reservoir Dogs, you have a treat coming your way. Get it. Watch it. Every dog has his day.



Blogger Reno Sepulveda said...

Our dog Dusty was the best dog that ever lived. He was perfect except for one thing. That one thing was being able to locate the funkiest, nastiest smelling object within any given square mile and upon locating it, ecstatically rolling in it. He did this knowing full well he would suffer an immediate and severe ass chewing followed by the ever dreaded bath.

I always wondered why he did it and what was going through his small canine mind while he did it. Then I saw Death Proof and wondered no more.

6:54 AM  
Blogger princewally said...

As a Tarantino fan, with several copies of Reservoir Dogs, I have a nit to pick. :)

It's "K-Billy's Super Sounds of the 70s".

My wife hates it, I watch it at least twice a year.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Countertop said...

I got the box set that came shaped like a can of gasoline.

The CD holder itself was a giant book of matches.


8:58 AM  
Blogger Sterno said...

Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown are my favorite Tarantino movies.

Jackie Brown is based off a Elmore Leonard novel "Rum Punch". If you haven't, I highly suggest that you check them out.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the film does not move linearly"

the most nonlinear film ever has to be
Memento (2000)
Directed by Christopher Nolan.
lead role played by Guy Pearce.

I remember Reservoir Dogs because it created a buzz
similar to the release of The Exorcist (1973)

I recently watched Reservoir dogs on dvd
and really enjoyed the extra features.

They have a whole section of Chris Penn talking
about hanging out with Lawrence Tierney.
He talks about the day Tierney and Tarantino were ready to fight on the set.

Tierney died in 2002 of pneumonia.
He was a "tough guy", on screen and off.
In Dillinger (1945) and in Born to Kill (1947)


9:12 AM  
Anonymous Joe Allen said...

The principle cast was actually far from unknown at the time. Tim Roth was not too well known in the US yet, and Chris Penn didn't have the recognition his brother did (although he was a far better actor IMO) but all of them had long and solid careers by the time they came to "Reservoir Dogs".

Harvey Keitel had been a star since "Taxi Driver", Michael Madsen was fresh off of "Thelma and Louise" and Steve Buscemi was already a rising star in the indie film world.

Not to mention Lawrence Tierney, whose career was almost as old as the talkies!

It's a testament to the quality of the script and Tarantino's vision that he was able to secure such a stellar cast.


11:05 AM  
Blogger Matt G said...

I saw Reservoir Dogs at the Dobie Theatre on the edge of U.T. campus in Austin, when it first came out. It was considered sort of an alternative flick at first, before it really got picked up, and Dobie Theatre had kind of a rep as a place that screened alt pics. While I was watching it, and hearing the guys talk over breakfast, I was mesmerized: "Whoever wrote and directed this really has a flair for guy talk," I told my girlfriend/future wife. She laughed and agreed, with the observation that men are pigs.


Of course I got the soundtrack. And when Terentino came out with his next flick, I watched it, and bough the soundtrack to it, too.

That movie put Steve Buscemi on the map, and woke a lot of people up to the greatness that is Harvey Keitel's acting.

Sadly, people remember it as a violent movie, when the violence actually only accounts for a couple of minutes of the whole movie. In fact, it's primarily a talking movie.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Freddyboomboom said...

Then I recommend you see The Boondock Saints.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Right you are princewally! changed.......

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the other side of the pond is a great gun flick along the lines of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction called Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Snatch was sort of a sequel to it. I highly recommend both (see Lock, Stock first).


11:20 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

I love the shit out of this movie. If you like Tim Roth, you've gotta see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Buscemi improves every film he's in- even the dread Con Air is worthwhile just for him.
Oh and I agree that Chris was a worlds-better actor than his dipwad brother.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Regolith said...

"Then I recommend you see The Boondock Saints."

Definitely a good movie.

I've seen Reservoir Dogs once, I think. Or at the very least parts of it. Been a while, though. I need to rent it again sometime.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Cranky said...

Love that scene with Mr. Pink -- I don't think I'd ever seen a full mag dump from a wonder9 on screen before that. Really dramatic.

I stood up and cheered during the scene with Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) and Mr. Blonde.

I remember when this premiered at Sundance. I couldn't get tickets for it, of course. I think this is the film that made the Sundance Film Festival what it is, for better or worse.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Freddyboomboom said...

Had to make me go out and buy it so I could see what all the fuss was about...


Merry Christmas, Shipmate!

1:03 AM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

I guess I'm in the minority. I didn't like this movie at all. I felt like I needed a bath after it was over.

8:31 AM  
Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Great flick.
I own it, and actually watch it probably twice or thrice a year.

I can never not think of that Madsen scene whenever I hear "Stuck in the Middle".
I'm scarred for life, I suppose.

But it's worth it.

7:50 AM  

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