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Mike White has hit a new low. He now nitpicks on every small little
line and shot said and made in Pulp Fiction and tries to find
similarities in other movies. Does he succeed?
- Ezekiel 25:17 speech taken from the movie "The Bodyguard"
- "They'll strip you naked and go to work on you with a pair of pliers and a blow torch" "Charley Varrick" (1973)
- The mysterious golden glare from the briefcase. "The Killing" (1955)
- The adrenaline shot speech. "American Boy" (1978)
- The animated square made by Uma Thurman. "Three Little Bops" (1957)
A little bit maybe yes but what ever made you like this, Mike? What made you target Quentin Tarantino for this? Many filmmakers steal from other movies and put it in theirs. And you don't make no movie about them. Tarantino took a line from a movie here and a shot from a movie here and he made Pulp Fiction.
Now tell me, would you rather he didn't make Pulp Fiction?
Not long after watching the fairly interesting documentary "Who Do You Think You're Fooling?" by Mike White, which makes good comparisons between Reservoir Dogs and City on Fire, I watched this 'sequel'... where Mike - as opposed to seeming like a bright man with good, argumentative points - just comes off like a whiny little kid. With the exception of one or two of the five(count 'em, five) minor similarities between Pulp Fiction and other, earlier films, none of them have any real merit, and/or are too obvious to waste time mentioning. This starts off with a reply from Tarantino to White's first documentary, which is fitting... but from there on out, it just falls flat. The comparisons range from vague to downright embarrassing. It's like Mikey got real drunk one night, got the idea for this and didn't sober up until it was too late... until the film was out and had been seen by too many people to be forgotten, its existence denied. Why he felt it necessary to make a sequel to the first, I have no idea. This is just embarrassing. Should only be watched by those seeking to take perverse pleasure in watching White mess up. I recommend this only to the Tarantino-lovers who were offended by the(arguably quite meritorious) criticisms of the first documentary and who's looking for a cheap laugh. 3/10
"You're Still Not Fooling Anybody" opens with a clip of Kurt Loder
reading out that Mike White's original tackling of QT (he ain't worth
to get his name full credited here) was not allowed to be shown at the
New York Underground Film Festival. "Who Do You Think You're Fooling?"
aptly showed how QT ripped off a lesser known film, "City on Fire". And
by ripping off, I mean that Mike White was able to compile 10 minutes
of footage from both films and neatly juxtaposing them. Be amazed as
the sound from "R. Dogs" is placed on top of the image of "City on
Fire" (as Ringo Lam's film is in Cantonese, you can follow the story by
reading the subtitles). Fitting like a glove, both films have robberies
that go wrong, people shot in the stomach, a revelation about a
character's profession and hit men approaching the building.
The MTV news clip included a statement from the so-called director (read: petty thief), saying he would look forward to watching "City on Fire" (original title: "Long Hu Feng Yun"). At this point White's title becomes prophetic: Who do you think you're fooling, QT? Yes, the teens who watch MTV News and haven't seen "Who do you think you're fooling?". But anyone who did see Mike White's short won't believe you.
After the MTV News segment "You're Still Not Fooling Anybody" continues with a split screen with on the left "Pulp Fiction" and on the right a series of films QT plagiarized. Or at least that is White's intention... the problem is that in "Pulp Fiction"'s case QT stole a lot of short scenes from lots of movies. So here we can question whether it is robbery or just a homage. The moment where the suitcase in "Kiss Me Deadly" is opened (the nuclear box of Pandora) is an iconic image in film history, which has inspired many directors: Alex Cox used it in the trunk scene in 'Repo Man', to name but one. That in "Pulp Fiction" a suitcase is opened can be seen as a nice nod to "Kiss Me Deadly", just like the scenes which bear resemblances to a.o. "Charley Varrick" and the cartoon "Three Little Bops". It's a bit more problematic for the Ezekiel paraphrase (from "The Bodyguard") and the adrenalin shot (from "American Boy"): as we are looking at over 30 seconds each of very similar footage, it's likelier to call this plagiarism. QT likes to use nods to other films (from "Kiss Me Deadly" to "Thriller - They Call Her One Eye") and there's nothing wrong with a few nods (the technique of 'sampling' is widely used in movies, music and literature). The title of this review is a nod to "Lady Snowblood" (a film QT plagiarized to the maximum in "Kill Bill"). However, if your film appears to be the same as another film for more than half a minute it may be questionable. When it's ten minutes, it's time someone called the cops.
I don't think "You're Still Not Fooling Anybody" should be seen as a short. In these days of the DVD it looks more like an extra, an appendix, a message to QT that Mike White still isn't fooled and that he still knows his cinematic history as well as QT. You're still stealing, QT, you're still not fooling anybody.
Did Tarantino lie through his teeth about White's movie exposing
Reservoir Dogs not being true because he hadn't even seen City on Fire?
Of course he did. But I think we can all have sympathy for him, because
who wouldn't be a freaked out 30 year old that was hailed as a genius
paranoid it was all about to end? Remember, Tarantino was only thought
to be maybe the new Abel Ferrera when RD was released and was suddenly
called the new Orson Welles by Roger Ebert on Siskle & Ebert when Pulp
Fiction was released. That heady fame would cloud anybody's judgment.
So White came out of it looking like the better man to anybody who saw the short. Why he had to be petty and take shots at Pulp Fiction is beyond me. Outside of the Bodyguard borrowing, it's a whole lotta nothing.
"Showing that someone's reading Ezekiel 25:17, and say that one is
stolen by Tarantino, is in my opinion very poor, because that part is a
passage written in the bible !!"
This comment is not entirely correct. If you took the time to read the Bible, you would see that the passage simply reads: 'And they will know I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them'. The rest is taken straight from a title crawl in 'The Bodyguard' starring Sonny Chiba. The problem I have is this - although Quentin used the text in a different context, he still stole someone else's written work. This person should have received royalties. The rest is mostly garbage: A shining light in Kiss Me Deadly, who cares. Nice homage.
YSNFA is a case of "too little too late." Back when I interviewed Mike
in Cashiers #3 (during the golden Mike Barnett-era of the zine), I
asked him if he was going to do a piece on PULP FICTION. His reply was
"No, that isn't my job and PULP FICTION takes its inspiration from a
lot of sources, at least, as far as I know. And, most of the references
are passing like that Bonnie is a black nurse, just like Pam Grier in
COFFY. Unless I turn on the TV late at night and see a story about two
hit men going after a briefcase, a twist contest, a couple of
hill-billy anal sex enthusiasts, and a diner robbery done exactly the
same, shot for shot, then I won't have any complaints." So, what
changed his mind? YSNFA doesn't feature any of the above PULP FICTION
antics. Instead, it focuses on only five, smaller bits; a line here and
an idea there. Truth be told, there's nothing of any great significance
here - no great revelation like there was in WHO DO YOU THINK YOU'RE
FOOLING. Even the most naive cinema-goer is aware that PULP FICTION's
glowing briefcase is a reference to the noir classic, KISS ME DEADLY
(or maybe it was KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK's glowing
talisman-case). And, thus the impact of White's original is missing
from this half-hearted sequel.
I think the entire project was flawed from the beginning. When White first told me about it I thought that the concept was pretty shaky but, with his immense talent, he might be able to pull it off.
No luck. It comes off like the bullshit criticisms that people had for White's original; you would think he would have realized this. The sequel feels like a vendetta with White coming across as a nut with an axe to grind.
I think the only way that YSNFA would have worked is if White had had more references. Then he could have banged them out in quick succession with an overwhelming amount of plagiarism. But a scant five things makes it seem like a pathetic attempt to make Tarantino look bad; which it does, but it makes White look even worse.
Even on a technical level, I had problems with YSNFA. It was done in what White calls the process "Plagiarvision"--a nearly clever name for a simple split screen with over-lapping dialogue. It's really kind of confusing, like those arguments Bruce Willis and Cybill Sheppard had in "Moonlighting," each trying to talk over one another with the audience unable to understand a word.
Someone take the car keys away from this drunk - he's not only going to hurt himself, but others as well. I'm rather dismayed that he included a couple of "thank-yous" at the end of this. I cringed when I read the names, thinking that, if I were them, I wouldn't want to be associated with this doomed project! As long as White just sticks this little ego-trip at the end of his video copies of WHO DO YOU THINK YOU'RE FOOLING then no one should get hurt. But, then again, I'm not even sure about that! I'm hoping that this review might make Mike thing twice before sending this thing off to festivals and humiliating himself; "Hey, remember me? I was in all the QT bios, well, I'm back!" YSNFA might get some play but if it does, White will be branded a kook forever. Just doing WDYTYF and letting it stand alone would have made for a nice little back-story to any write-ups he might get in the future: I think White has quite a career ahead of him, if only he can put Tarantino behind him and start doing original projects. If this thing gets heavy circulation, however, White will forever be "the kid who whines about Quentin Tarantino."
Well, what can I say about this one.... It's some sort of sequel of the
terrific 'Who Do You Think You're Fooling?' the movie that shows that
Tarantino "borrowed" stuff from another movie for his debut 'Reservoir
Dogs'. It was pretty obvious that QT made a nice replica of 'City on Fire'
(although it was only ten minutes he borrowed from the original...)
This movie had to prove that Tarantino borrowed again from other movies for the classic movie Pulp Fiction. This time the evidence is less convincing. Showing that someone's reading Ezekiel 25:17, and say that one is stolen by Tarantino, is in my opinion very poor, because that part is a passage written in the bible !!
Hmmmm, not really convincing evidence, eh ? It goes on and on in this (only 2 minute) movie. Things were you scratch the back of your head and say:" I could collect that evidence for every movie" and yes, that's the feeling I got when I saw this one.
It seems that Mike White (the director) made this one to come back to the attention of the audience, and uses his old concept again. But like all other sequels, this one never comes close to the first movie. You really can say that Mr.White is the one who's fooling the audience this time !
I say, a poor movie that tries to tackle a classic (Pulp Fiction), but misses the target completely !! A zero out of 5 ......
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