Sunday, December 30, 2012

RUTZ Song: "2024"

It's been awhile, had to stop for a minute and get many things together. Thanks to you I am very excited about next year! I want to thank so many people (and I will personally) who have been so supportive of my work this year. It has kept me going in the right track and getting to know you very cool people has been the most pleasant surprise in my life in a long time. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving my work a chance and for taking time out of your day to share my music. I want to end the year looking forward, so my new song "2024" is kind of perfect for the moment. I hope we all march forward this year with no fear and with grand hopes to change the things that are holding us back from our true potential. I just want to say that what ever your dreams are, go hardcore this year, go all out. Don't pay attention to the news and the fear games. Don't believe it can not be done because of the ECONOMY. Just work smart to make sure you are living the life you WANT to live.

2024 by RUTZ



Verse 1
I saw you cry 

For a pack of lies

No matter why

You keep it inside

I have to hide 

Until you let it die

But you think it is real

It's not REAL 

We're just HERE

Come on fight the fear

It's not real, we're just here 

Oh, I hope you're prepared 

Cuz they don't care 

They're not HERE

Verse 2  

Don't waste your time

Don't lose your mind

Keep your head up

Don't let them catch up

It's up to you

Don't be their fool

Sunday, November 25, 2012

RUTZ Song: "I Hope we're still here"

I Hope we're still here 


The ground keeps mountain

and we will be forgotten

Time will tell

If we led us to hell

The terrible spills

and innocent killed

If we didn't make it

Don't think we're all tainted


I hope we're still here

We used to watch TV

To escape reality

We love to say sorry

And repeat the same story

The brave tried to face it

and got dragged through the pavement


I hope we're still here 

Monday, November 19, 2012

RUTZ Classic Movies: "The Thin Red Line"

Directed by Terrence Malick    

Line that stays with me:How did we lose the good that was given us? Let it slip away—scattered, careless?

Essay Warning: There are no spoilers or story details. I want to offer the emotion that a film can access within us. Plus I think the best way to watch a film is by not knowing anything about it. Just Go In…So if you haven’t watched this film yet please don’t read this essay. Read it afterwards so we can enjoy the “feeling” together.

I remember when Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line” was released. His film was constantly compared to Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan”. Both films were released in 1998. They were the new war films on the block. Before these two films were released not many war films were being made. The fact that both films were financially successful changed that and brought forth an excitement in Hollywood to create more war films. Now there’s a new war film every year. But back in 1998 what a pleasure it was to witness two of cinema’s biggest directors bring the war genre back to life and in completely different ways. The summer of 1998 belonged to Steven Spielberg. Cinematically speaking it is impossible not to appreciate “Saving Private Ryan’s” grand opening sequence presenting the true hell war can be. I will never forget how that sequence floored me. I was amazed by the skill of the filmmakers, and was left petrified by the images I saw. Yet, gradually with the passing of time that sequence got drained of its magic as I started to hear “film-nerds” say how “cool” that scene is, even though those were real soldiers who died on that battlefield. So almost 15 years later “Saving Private Ryan” can only be categorized as amazing propaganda. A great lead in to games like “Call of Duty” that also just basically profit from war. I don’t mean to sound like an uptight prick but I can’t help but feel odd now at the fact that we want to make games from experiences that haunt people and destroyed families. What do we value? “The Thin Red Line” doesn’t want to impress us with violence. It wants to reach your soul, remind you that you are human, fragile, afraid, and hungry to enjoy life. We are all like that one way or another but in today’s “I got to be HARD” generation, the soul is forgotten and left yearning. 

Watching “Saving Private Ryan” the first time definitely left me with that fan boy rush of “Wow that’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen”. Now that that luster is gone I believe it’s a well done film with a lame duck story. It is a film that holds up thanks to the good actors and great production values. “The Thin Red Line” has aged much better and as you get older I believe you will continue to find greatness in the film. Of course this all depends on what kind of entertainment experience you desire. In the sense of longevity that’s where I think “Saving Private Ryan” falls short and “The Thin Red Line” excels. I mean if you want to watch soldiers getting shot and blown up plus a decent story you might as well play a “Call of Duty” game instead of watching “Saving Private Ryan”. But what videogame can tug your heart and mind the way “The Thin Red Line” does.  “The Thin Red Line” is classic Terrence Malick and you either love his style by now or you don’t. I love it! He is one of the few directors’ that has dedicated his career to better understand our hearts and souls. Every film he has made is so human yet without censoring the dark side of human nature. Terrence Malick might go down as the best “One Trick Pony” director of all time. Almost every film of his has the same approach. Beautiful yet intricate shots followed by sweeping music and voiceovers. I fall for it every time. This simple approach is perfect for creating the most amazing thing films can do which is putting you in someone else’s shoes. Those 2 or 3 hours of separation from our minds into another can enlighten people like very few mediums can. I believe this part of cinema is very important. It leads to understanding each other, adds patience to your heart instead of just giving us the standard thrill of watching a stunt man do a full flip because he got hit by a grenade. Even a scene like that in the “The Thin Red Line” becomes a completely different experience as we watch Woody Harrelson’s character die without warning.

For years I’ve thought of what “The Thin Red Line” means and how it makes me feel. The opening is very powerful as Terrence Malick never neglects nature but makes nature an integral part of his films. The opening shot as we watch a crocodile sink beneath the surface says so much about our duality with nature. How we stand apart from nature at times and how it can engulf us. Dust to dust we all return to sand so it is a wonderful connection to try and discover; Are wars plainly evil brought upon greed and social misunderstandings? Or is our thirst for war part of our natural human state of mind? Maybe we haven’t evolved to the point where we find wars to be a complete waste of human life and energy. Unfortunately, we don’t get to decide what kind of world we are born into. Throughout the film we see shots of animals being born into a crazy world that’s in a middle of a war. No matter how big the internet balloons people’s heads (in this country at least) we are no different than those hatchlings. We all walk out of our homes everyday just as fragile, Hurricane Sandy proved this to many people. “The Thin Red Line” elaborates on the odd battle of right and wrong many human beings face since WW2. What is right and wrong when a nation of people can look the other way when an atom bomb is dropped? The ideology set by that generation is alive and is one of the reasons current moral standards are questioned. The scene with Nick Nolte telling John Cusack how he has been waiting forever for this war is a perfect example of this. John Cusack’s character remains silent in disbelief, wondering why any man would have such lust to be part of any war. Near the end of his speech Nick Nolte slowly realizes that he is in the wrong, but manmade glory can so easily makes us forget how precious someone’s life truly is. 

The film concerns itself with Private Witt due to the fact that he seems to have a deeper understanding of life than his comrade’s. Early in the film we watch him live in harmony with some friendly natives. Love those scenes, hypotonic with lush beautiful images that resonant with our hearts. That sequence reminds us that we don’t need much to live a peaceful, enjoyable life. Soon after that sequence a battleship arrives from a much more technologically advanced society, dragging Private Witt back to war.  That pretty much sums up one of the main themes of the film. Sean Penn’s character makes this clearer through dialog when he says “And there ain’t no world but this one”.  We are all forced to maintain moral balance in a world that never draws the line. This leads us to create our own personal thin red lines. The fear and the effects of crossing that line is the film’s focus. Everyone’s line is different and once you cross it you have to deal with it for the rest of your life. In the film you see a worried solider disturbed by the fact that he killed someone. He just crossed his line, that line of clear right and wrong. Now, unless a higher being comes down and tells him what he did was just, he is going to be haunted by that moment for the rest of his life. War is the perfect setting to bring further understanding on this issue. During wartime human beings feel forced to do unimaginable things to survive. The real war takes place within us every day. Every day you should congratulate yourself for not crossing that line, because in all honesty it doesn’t take much to find yourself in such a situation.

One of the astonishing achievements of the “The Thin Red Line” is how it emulates LIFE itself through its structure. Just like most lives the film starts off peaceful. Half way through the film gets intense (mid-life crisis) and near the end we begin to fear death. That’s because our hero Private Witt is about to meet his end. I can honestly say that I have not watched a better scene that conveys death with more absolute truth than the death scene of our hero Private Witt. He continues to run for his life just like we live through our days knowing we will one day run out of time. It is a perfect visual metaphor that has yet to be topped. When our hero stops and we see the enemy soldiers surround him, we can only think of one thing, INESCAPABLE. The fact that Private Witt’s THIN RED LINE is death itself makes the scene transcend sadness and lets the undying curiosity of the human spirit shine for a brief a moment before our hero is sent to the unknown. I love that moment when Private Witt takes in a full final view. That moment to me is scarier than any horror film can be. We are watching a man that knows he has reached the end of the line. When you watch that scene you can’t stop yourself from thinking that one day that moment will happen to you. The power of that scene is not tragic, it is a revelation that only your soul can understand.

ABOUT RCM: RUTZ Classic Movies is dedicated on writing film essays for films that in Rutz's opinion, have not gotten the credit they deserve. Next Essay: Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow"

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

RUTZ Poem: "These Tears"

These Tears

Name calling a dead horse 

For laughs that don't last 

Catch a breath

Before it gets worst 

I know we can look the other way

Pretending to be adults

For adults that can barely stand themselves

We wait in the dark

With a candle that only shines when we embrace reality

I was a character actor once 

And the role of a winner was always the hardest to play

Intense, dedicated, confident, ambitious, relentless

It is a hard act to keep up

Acting like a loser was much easier

Lazy, no responsibilities, no drive, comfortable

Easy but dull, uninteresting, and endless

I would scream in a locked bathroom

Glad it wasn't my real life

My drive 

Is in the sweat that separates me from myself 

Dividing my desires, wants, and conveniences

Replacing lost causes with new hope 

Before this understanding 

I use to hate every tear that rolled down my face  

These new tears

Tears of Joy

Can't be faked, can't be forced out

They don't answer to our lies 

They only arrive when we earn it 

When your soul has pleased your body

Then finally as the tears roll down

You can feel your smile 


Sunday, October 28, 2012

RUTZ Song: "Not your fault"

Thank you for taking the time to check out my work, hope you enjoy this song...




Outside my window


Through heavy snow


Just to let you know


Cause I can't let it go

"You don't know what you do to me"

"And you never will" 

"But it's not your FAULT"

Verse 2

Buying things

That I never would

But it

It is just for you


To pick you up from work

By the phone

Cause you didn't call

Verse 3

I did it all for you

I hope you will be true

The things you put me through

Make me want to SUE....

But I did it all for YOU

Sunday, October 21, 2012

RUTZ Classic Movies: "Highlander"

Directed by Russell Mulcahy    

Line that stays with me: “If your head comes away from your neck, it's over! ”

Essay Warning: There are no spoilers or story details. I want to offer the emotion that a film can access within us. Plus I think the best way to watch a film is by not knowing anything about it. Just Go In…So if you haven’t watched this film yet please don’t read this essay. Read it afterwards so we can enjoy the “feeling” together.

“Highlander” was the first DVD I ever bought. I did not purchase the DVD because I was a huge fan. I bought it because it was $5.99 and since I just purchased my first DVD player that’s all I could afford at the time. Everything happens for a reason I guess, as “Highlander” became one of those films my friends and I would crack jokes about, and the more I watched the film the more I connected with it in some strange funny way. The film is not perfect, but there is a kind of magic in it. Now that I am older and know the true horrors of making any feature film, my respect and fondness for this film has only grown. The film is surely a film conceived with the hopes of cashing in on the MTV generation, which explains why Queen was hired to do most of the soundtrack.  You get lots of flashy cuts and sometimes the lighting changes dramatically to utilize bright neon reds and greens, very much like a music video. At the end of the day all this adds to a very fantastical look. I recently watched the film for first time on HD and it was major difference over that $5.99 cheap bare bones DVD I still have somewhere.  Watching the film on HD you begin to notice how calculated the film is. The excellent framing and shot selections burst through with epic intentions, all driven by a soundtrack that does not care if it is over the top. Many films love to talk, talk, and talk about legends boring you half way through. “Highlander” wowed you with a legend and all its ridiculous glory.

Not being self-conscious helps movies. Filmmakers, who understand that they cannot please everybody, make special films. I believe “Highlander” comes from that sort of mindset. The idea is very silly and adding a Queen soundtrack brings a whole other layer of high intensity to the film which is felt right from the opening credits. “I am immortal; I have inside me blood of kings!” Those are lyrics from the opening song “Princes of the Universe” very bold over the top lyrics and if you are into movies that are proud to deliver new experiences no matter how silly or outrageous, than like me you were probably hooked at that moment. The film knows its main audience, BOYS.  The film never truly deals with our reality but focuses all its strength on making us enjoy its fantasy. These are thoughts every boy has had, what if I could live forever?  Plus the idea of living forever is very much a young man’s mindset. As you get older and your bones begin to ache in ways you never thought possible, living forever no longer sounds pleasant. At this point in my life I rather die before I can no longer control my bodily functions.  “Highlander” is not concerned with these truths, it rather entertain you with a great fun MOVIE. They even casted Sean Connery to ham it up, and deliver lines that could only be bought if Sir Connery is selling them.

It is very important for any film to quickly separate itself from the pack. A movie has to quickly hit you over the head like a caveman before you begin to think things like “I’ve seen this before”. Not many films do that but when they do, you find yourself involved in the film, not merely watching it. “Highlander” does this in a very fascinating way. We meet our hero Conner Macleod of the Clan MacLeod in a wrestling event. Now what’s hilarious and interesting to me about that scene is the fact that you have to question why this New Yorker is having flashbacks of some 16th Century battle while he is watching modern wrestling. That moment instantly makes you say “What’s going on here?” Next thing you know Conner MacLeod heads to the parking lot and ends up in a sword fight. Great opening which leads to an excellent flashback transition leaving the audience in catch up mode. As silly as the film is, it was thoroughly thought out to entertain you in a very fast paced way filled with grandiose moments and blockbuster like sheen.  Of course the purpose was to get young boys all over the world to fall for this. (it worked) Even as an adult you can feel the film call out the boy in you, the quickening if you will, to just have a good time, and enjoy a classic story of good and evil. Macleod is the light; The Kurgan is pure darkness that stomps on every scene with the force of the dark ages.  Throughout the film we witness this clear battle. In one of my favorite scenes, Conner Macleod takes out a Nazi, again cementing our hero as a beacon of light in the darkest of times.

It is hard for anybody that admires this film to put in one sentence why it is great. That’s due to the fact that the film never plays it straight. This is not “Lord of the Rings”, but somehow it feels like that every time you watch it. It has a majestic score; shots of stuntmen dangerously sparring with swords high on a mountain top, and great flashbacks that add depth in a short amount of time. Simultaneously, the film has a boy’s attitude. Heads are being cut off and mean jokes are cracked throughout by police officers. The strangest scene is when Nash is being interrogated and Officer Garfield calls him a faggot. Harsh words but the scene works because of its honest ridiculousness. I love that scene, my friends and I use to crack up at that scene. It plays out like a school yard fight. I love how Nash defends himself and declares to his enemies that he won’t be pushed around. That’s how a great film showcases its hero’s attributes by showing us not just talking about them. I know these days’ people like to shun their children away from such scenes, which I do not understand. When I went to school, I heard all sorts of terrible name calling. It is part of life, no matter how old you get. Nowadays kids are being told not to stand up for themselves but to go tell the teacher. How is that plan going to work when that kid enters the workforce? Sure, he won’t be defending himself physically but the workforce is filled with verbal abuse. In life it is very important to LEARN how to defend yourself. This film always brings to mind Darwinism and that we must fight for whatever position you want in life, there can be only one remember. It is a brilliant message quietly told throughout the film.

“Highlander” also has heart. Our hero must suffer the death of the woman he loved. With the help of Queen, that scene with MacLeod speaking to Heather on her death bed becomes one of most tender heart breaking scenes I’ve ever watched, filled with grandness, and the final devastation that comes with forbidden love. I catch myself singing each time I watch it. “Who wants to live forever, who dares to love forever?” Epic, over the top and fantastic! We also get to enjoy MacLeod’s and Ramirez’s bonding. The classic approach of montages and training works well here. Especially since it is a blast to watch Sir Sean Connery say lines like “He’s blood coursing…feel?!” MacLeod and Ramirez running off a cliff, with the sweeping score driving it home and you dreaming you could jump off that cliff too.  The film understands young people’s desire to learn or to discover new powers within us. That’s why movies like this or the “The Karate Kid” (when done right) always work. Everyday life quickly makes you forget about your imagination, potential and replaces it with fear. Along comes a movie that says what if you had these powers, what if you trained and became a badass. We love those scenes in movies because they offer hope.  Unfortunately, in real life we don’t usually meet people who want to help us and ask for nothing in return but this isn’t real life, “Highlander” is a movie. In movies the standard training montage cliché works like a charm, “Highlander” has my favorite standard training cliché moments, fun yet mesmerizing.

Yes, “Highlander” has it all for the BOY in you.  Intense sword fights, a great villain, damsels in distress, and an interesting hero. The film has amazing production design, outlandish sets and props galore. The cinematography is spontaneous and restless.  Yet, very though out, many shots planned to accentuate landscapes or modern architecture. This is not pedestrian directing at all; this director was out to wow us with beautiful vistas and moments filled with sparks. Perfect example is in the The Kurgan VS Ramirez battle scene where The Kurgan destroys MacLeod’s castle like home with his sword. I don’t understand how that’s possible, but that scene lifts the film into great fantasy as it reminds us of classic Universal horror movies with its intense wind and lightning effects. Great performances also save this film from mediocrity. Christopher Lambert is perfectly sly as Conner MacLeod. Sir Sean Connery has all the best lines and makes you believe the legend. Clancy Brown steals almost every scene he’s in just like he always does when given a great role. (Just think Shawshank) He is nasty, vile, and funny with a very intimidating visual presence, everything a great villain should be. The special effects are weird and fun instead of plain and lame. One of the biggest reasons I think this film will continue to find new fans is its amazing ending. The problem with most “Blockbusters” is that many of them are anti-climactic. They don’t live up to the hype. You’re all pumped up after watching the trailer 100 times; you get to the moment of truth and BLAH. Not in “Highlander”! Don’t you love it when a movie goes all the way and delivers the goods? MacLeod and The Kurgan sword slashing to the death on top of the bright red neon signs of Silvercup Studios, as our damsel in distress screams for her life. Sparks flying, MacLeod and The Kurgan waist deep in water, glass shattering all over the place, neon signs crashing down and the final decapitation, now that’s a climax. To me “Highlander” proves that if a filmmaker focuses on his film’s strengths it will cloud the film’s weakness.  Along the way you had some gripes, but by the end you can’t remember them. Howard Hawks once said a good film is three great scenes and no bad ones; yeah that sounds like “Highlander”.   

ABOUT RCM: RUTZ Classic Movies is dedicated on writing film essays for films that in Rutz's opinion, have not gotten the credit they deserve. Next Essay: Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line" 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

RUTZ: The Blog reached 30k Views Gratitude Extravaganza Video!

This post is very last minute but from the heart. I want to say thank you to some very cool people who have taken the time to check out my work and give it a chance. You guys making waking up so much fun. These past 6 months have been a revelation to me. I've hidden lots of this work away for a long time, thinking it wasn't good enough. Now I feel excited. I want to deliver a kind of work that will always deliver a new experience. This video was made from left over clips from shoots that pay the bills. These are images I have experienced recently and I thought it would be an interesting way to let you know more about me. Strange times...

If I forget to mention you, believe me I tried to find your name but I couldn't, still I thank you very much for taking the time to check out my work.

The song in the video is called "I can make it rain" a song from some old sessions I have to post. Let me know what you think! 

Alright, back to work.  :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

RUTZ Song: Back to you

"Back to you" is another song from my ONE TAKE recordings in which I created every song without writing down any lyrics but just recorded whatever came out. I will be releasing more of these songs throughout the year as I continue to work on my next EP "No Parachutes, No Routes". I want to say  thank you to every person that supports my work. Thank you for every RT, Mention and for taking the time to check out my work. Truly appreciate it and I hope enjoy this song.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

RUTZ Classic Movies: "Jackie Brown"

Directed by Quentin Tarantino    

Line that stays with me: “I didn't know you liked The Delfonics?”

Essay Warning: There are no spoilers or story details. I want to offer the emotion that a film can access within us. Plus I think the best way to watch a film is by not knowing anything about it. Just Go In…So if you haven’t watched this film yet please don’t read this essay. Read it afterwards so we can enjoy the “feeling” together.

 Quentin Tarantino has a great name.  It sounds very special; it is as if he has lived up to the destiny set before him in life. Tarantino, the writer-director who made audiences all over the world once again care about great original work from writer-directors.  At the time Hollywood desperately needed a facelift, Quentin Tarantino was the only man viewing past the horizon. He brought with him, interweaving story lines (now overdone and over cooked in so many movies), and a love for genre films unlike any director before him except maybe Howard Hawks. But more than anything, he single handily made movies cool again. Quentin Tarantino, will go down as the coolest motherfucking director in the world and, his films will always prove this no matter how much time passes. His desire to bring so many great essences of cool, exciting cinema that he treasures to the big screen his way is beyond inspiring. By now you’ve heard or read of his classic rags to riches story that inspired millions of video clerks/writer-directors to take a Hollywood dive.  That was so long ago, it is hard to explain how he completely blew film lovers out of their minds. The window flew open and there it was fresh air. First, Reservoir Dogs, the tease, that always feels grander than it actually is. What struck me was the writing, the language, the conversations that could shift from “funny as hell” to -” damn that’s some good dialog”, it just sounds right and cool. Pulp Fiction, blew the house down and gave Tarantino the keys to the city. People didn’t know how the hell he was going to top that classic. Quentin Tarantino, being the genius that he is, didn’t even try. That sort of magic only works once and he knew the only thing you can really do in that situation is keep growing. You have to follow your artistic instincts, trust them and believe wherever it leads you; it will surely be the most honest personal expression. “Jackie Brown” feels like that to me, a director expanding his skills. He is not trying to outdo himself, he wants to showcase cinematic ideas he loves, and show the world how special a film like “Jackie Brown” can be. I mean come on a $25 million genre mixing film cocktail of Crime drama, Blaxploitation (Only a hint really), and film noir starting Pam Grier, Robert Forester, and Robert DeNiro and Michael Keaton? It is a kid in a candy store creation and one of the greatest feelings one can experience watching films, it is catching the energy of watching someone’s dreams come true. 

I remember the hype for “Jackie Brown” was insane. Very similar to Nirvana releasing “In Utero”, it was a major artistic moment to witness. Is this indie poster boy 100 million dollars grossing director going to strike gold again or strike out? When I first saw it, I wanted it to do well in a major way especially for Robert Foster but I knew in my gut that this is not the film “Pulp Fanatics” wanted, at least not yet. “Jackie Brown” is a very slow paced film, it has a trance quality. Quentin Tarantino, set it up this way in order to create an amazing tempo. The very first shot of the film is a long shot, and the first scene of the movie is like ten minutes of people watching TV. Knowing how to set a tempo is beyond important for filmmakers, it is a make or break quality. Tarantino set a perfect nice and slow tempo; a movie filled with so many conversations, pot smoking, and characters enjoying “Screwdrivers” requires the tempo Tarantino chose in order for the film to work. Tarantino, loves making interesting characters come to life, I think he is obsessed by it. With “Jackie Brown” he got to really make these characters live and breathe like very few films have. So many long takes in this film, various scenes that are long in length, but burst with sincere human observation and subtle tenderness. People did not go crazy for his new film in 1997, many critics were disappointed and audiences did not come out in droves. Now, “Jackie Brown” is the film that holds Tarantino’s beautiful filmography together. You can point to it and say yes he is that good, in a class of his own.

I can understand how after watching every frame of “Pulp Fiction” and always being left wanting more, how “Jackie Brown” could disappoint upon first viewing. “Jackie Brown” isn’t giving us any sermons, it wants you to hangout. The film wants you to take it easy, relax, smoke one or drink something and enjoy listening to these interesting people speak. There are not many bursts of gunfire and when something electrifying happens it’s usually attributed to an actor’s facial expression. Tarantino fell in love with these characters from Elermore Leonard’s book and every scene is a celebration of like some long overdue wedding.  He believes the characters will make the film work and he was right. It is very similar to the approach Howard Hawks had with the classic John Wayne western “Rio Bravo”. Howard Hawks wanted to make “Rio Bravo” feel like a Television show, where you fall in love with the characters, and can’t wait to see what happens the following week. From the very first scene we are forced to relax and hang back. Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro watching some sexy strange VHS (remember those things) called “Chicks who love guns” while Bridget Fonda’s legs toy with us. We are in that room; this isn’t a plot set-up in the classic Hollywood sense. Tarantino wants us to enjoy all the nuances, human comedy and vibrant flavors on display in that room. Simple moments that most filmmakers do not even think about, shine in “Jackie Brown”. Tarantino’s amazing gift in writing dialog creates classic moments. One of my favorite moments is Samuel L. Jackson saying “Girl, don’t make me put my foot in your ass”. The film is very funny, but it is the sort of comedy built from “You had to be there moments” which is very hard to do. This film celebrates the act of catching lightning in a bottle and the serene pleasure of great conversations.

After multiple viewings of “Jackie Brown” you begin to realize that the plot is the least interesting thing in the film. Do not get me wrong, the plot is perfect. Perfect plot in the sense that it offers its all-star cast keen moments to deliver their special brand of magic. You got Pam Grier, acting tough, sexy without ever losing her place as the heart of the film. Samuel L. Jackson doing what he does best which is delivering Tarantino dialog with effortless ease but with striking conviction. Robert Forster, in one of the few performances I will ever call perfect. Robert Forster as Max Cherry might be the best testament of Tarantino’s brilliance. Such a smooth, warm-hearted sweet performance that adds the perfect spice of romance the film needed to keep it from becoming pointless. Robert DeNiro, in a very physical performance is quiet throughout, but always bursting with intense body language. One of my favorite shots is a pan to DeNiro near the end, which seems like the most perfect way to use Robert DeNiro’s mug. Bridget Fonda, cracks me up as she claps with her legs  keeping in tune to The Grass Roots song “Midnight Confessions”.  Michael Keaton knows how to make a lasting impression just with his impressive array of facial impressions. Michael Bowen has the most underrated performance in this film, he kills every time he speaks, can’t think of a better actor when it comes to “Asshole roles”.  The acting alone is worth every viewing. Is there more to “Jackie Brown”? Maybe not, but who cares when the films intentions come across strongly confident and the performances are perfect. 

Yes, that’s why no Tarantino film has ever won Best Picture. Tarantino is not focused on giving us life lessons of any sort; at least not in some Clint Eastwood directed film type of way. He seems more interested in his cinematic obsessions and the diverseness of life in general. Thank God for that. We do not need more filmmakers giving us weak attempts of life advice in an entertainment format. Yet, I can write a whole essay alone on the interesting wisdom on display in “Jackie Brown”. From dealing with disappointment brought upon by a life sprinkled with very few rewards to falling in love. I think given Tarantino’s background he can relate with a story of a woman fighting to reach a hard to obtain goal, a new place that once seemed very unattainable. The scene with Pam Grier discussing how a life filled with no chance of better days is scarier than any gun Ordell Robbie can point at her face. The fact that you are free but you cannot live the life you desire. Which makes me wonder, if Hollywood didn’t give him a chance where would Quentin Tarantino be right now? He fought so hard for his moment of glory, and with this film I think some of that knowledge about failure truly helped in making you feel for Jackie Brown. You want her to escape, it might not be the right thing to do but you want her to get away. That final shot of the film, Pam Grier’s face of fear and excitement brought upon by her new life gets me every time. We are watching a woman driving towards a whole new life after waiting decades for the chance. Imagine you woke up tomorrow with all the money you need to not work anymore and time available to discover, to live new experiences that were once denied to you. In that final scene I know she’s happy but she looks so afraid, like she doesn’t know what to do with herself, it is a beautiful moment. I know maybe she doesn’t deserve that money (when you think about it she really doesn’t, it is kind of messed up what she did) but it is always great to watch a character who’s gotten the worst end of the stick finally get some retribution. So in that sense “Jackie Brown” is a revenge movie like “Kill Bill” except it is a revenge movie on the unfairness of life.

“Jackie Brown” showcases a very mature Quentin Tarantino before the world asked for one.  There were no special tricks or special effects, but a writer/director who knows how to write a script better than anyone else. He sat us down, put on a record, gave us a cup of coffee, and spoke to us about life. Often making the audience laugh in a very oblique way, which can only be attributed to the dark humor life can’t help but throw our way. More than anything I think Tarantino brought back the lost art of conversation to the movies.  Dialog was something Hollywood was great at. Watch TCM once in a while and you will hear what I mean. After movies like “Jaws” and “Star Wars” Hollywood’s focus shifted from great storytelling to trying to wow people with special effects and making as much money as possible. Their foolproof plan worked for a good while but by the early 90’s the so called “Blockbusters” were getting stale. Along comes a man with a plan. A director who wanted to change how films are experienced and by borrowing from the best elements of great novels and trusting his cinematic taste, he did just that. He made films that can go anywhere and even used time to offer different perspective of characters we love a la Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon”. He arrived with the knowledge that you can only receive by studying, reading, learning, and appreciating everything life throws your way for you know it might lead to an experience that will only make your lifelong work stronger. The art of conversation is beyond important, and it is not something every director can do. Make you sit and listen to people doing nothing but talking. That is a rare gift and in “Jackie Brown” Quentin Tarantino achieves this at a grand level with tremendous dexterity. He spoke about life, love, desperation, underhandedness and the strange comedy of cruelness all within the cool confines of a heist movie/crime drama. “Jackie Brown” doesn’t appear to be “deep” (Whatever the hell that means!), but that’s because its writer/director understands failure. He too found himself in a hole and decided like Jackie Brown to keep digging in order to get to the other side. Is that deep enough for ya? 

ABOUT RCM: RUTZ Classic Movies is dedicated on writing film essays for films that in Rutz's opinion, have not gotten the credit they deserve. Next Essay: Russell Mulcahy's "Highlander"