25 June 2007

Tarantino (1995)

1995 - ER: "Motherhood" - C: "My girlfriend used to make me watch this all the time." Me: "My wife used to watch this all the time." Both: "I hated this show!" So, we weren't exactly fans going into this. I do understand why Tarantino wanted to direct an episode of this show. It's fast-paced and full of activity. There are wounded people being wheeled every-which-way through the hallways in every scene. There are a million characters to juggle. It's a never-ending barrage of goings-on and it would be a challenge for any director to manage it all.

There isn't really much here that is clearly Tarantino's, though. As is typical with episodic television, the director really isn't that important. He's the taskmaster that brings the writer's story to life while conforming to the producer's vision of the show. About the only thing that stood out to me as pure Tarantino were a couple of extended shots of women's bare feet.

If anything, this episode explains one reason George Clooney shows up in From Dusk Till Dawn. (6/10)

1995 - Four Rooms: "The Man from Hollywood" - What would happen if you got drunk and decided to imitate the bet from that Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode called "Man from the South"? Well, this is pretty much it. To complete the Hitchcock homage, this segment is shot with Rope-style long takes. The long takes aren't particularly impressive, but they do give the scene a more immediate, theater-ish feeling.

What I always liked about this segment was the ending. The lighter fails immediately. There isn't any faux-suspense bullshit: cut to close-up of a sweaty Norman focusing on his lucky lighter. Cut to close-up of lighter. Cut to close-up of Ted holding the hatchet. Cut to close-up of lighter lighting once. Twice. Three times. Cut to Norman looking nervous. Etc., etc. Nope. The lighter fails, the hatchet falls and the finger gets for-real cut off. Just like what would really happen to a bunch of drunks making this bet. (7/10)