Pulp Fiction

The Art of Cool

Sergio Leone meets tacky WW II iconography. Throw a couple of marquee names into the mix. Have an impossibly implausible plotline. Don’t even dare to think about cutting back on the gore. Always remember that humour, like good coffee, is best served black. And most importantly, mangle up the bloody title like its nobody else’s business. Yet, or perhaps ergo, Inglourious Basterds is possibly Tarantino’s best work yet.

For when Tarantino, that purveyor of coolth extraordinaire, makes a movie, he makes cool movies, which cool peeps go and watch in theatres, and for which cool reviewers trying to illustrate how cool they are, write cool reviews extolling the director and the movie’s uber-coolness. It’s all about being cool, you know. And given how much of a philistine I am in all matters pertaining to high cool, I have usually found myself singularly incapable of truly appreciating Tarantino’s greatness.

I liked this one though. The movie has its moments for sure; a pretty strong cast, decent performances (Brad Pitt’s constipated looks notwithstanding), a riveting background score, but then again background scores were always Tarantino’s patch (case in point, Kill Bill Vol. I, The Bride vs. O-Ren Ishii, Santa Esmeralda tripping away in the background, très CULT), and a certain someone called Colonel Hans Landa.

For me, if there was any one factor which elevated this movie from being strictly middling to anything vaguely approaching the sublime, it has to be this part essayed by Christoph Waltz. Funnily enough, If Variety is to be believed, then this part was not even meant for Waltz in the first place. It was supposed to go to DiCaprio instead. Well, thank heavens it didn’t. I, for one, cannot for a moment believe, that even DiCaprio for all his cinematic virtuosity and thespian nous, could have carried off Landa. There was just one moment though which I found slightly jarring in the character portrayal of Landa. For someone that suave and smooth, the act of brutally throttling a woman did seem a tad out of place. Or perhaps, the director just wanted to show that beneath that outward veneer of sophistication and charm, there still lurked a Nazi pig.

For all that, this one’s a decent enough watch, and speaking for myself, total paisa wasool for the fifty odd bucks I spent on it.

Food tip: Panfried Momos at Tibetian Delight. Well, the place is pretty much unplottable, but if you do manage to make your way there, make sure you try out these killer momos doused liberally in ultra-spicy red sauce. It IS absolutely brilliant. They had a dish called Shyphalley as well, which (or to be a wee more precise, the description of which) sounded equally enticing, but the resto-wallahs had run out of it by the time we placed our orders! Shall try that out next time I head there 🙂

Random thoughts

Random thoughts at the end of a loooong hiatus:-

1. Anybody who is even remotely interested with absolutely anything to do with law, read M.C. Chagla’s autobiography, Roses in December. Brilliant book. For sheer lucidity of prose, clarity of thought, all without the slighest trace of self-importance or conceit, the book is second to none. A MUST-HAVE

2. Dominique Lapierre is a brilliant journalist, undoubtedly, but also unfortunately seems to suffer from a rather pronounced chip on his shoulder. His work, A Thousand Suns was very nicely written. I met plenty of unforgettable characters, the Spaniard bullfighter, El Cordobes, the dashing Portuguese rebel, Henrique Galvao and many others. However, I also had to go through Lord Mountbatten being described in a manner bordering on sycophancy, and Gandhi in a tone which was very clearly patronizing.

3. Listen to the song Cells by the Servant. The same also happens to be the theme song for Robert Rodriguez stylish noir flick, Sin City. Very seldom have I come across a situation where the theme song and the flick fit each other to the T. This is one of them. Song is utter balderdash, but is brilliant tuneful. Similarly, the movie is full of mindless gore but has been brilliantly shot.

Foucault’s Pendulum (has me hovering in suspension)

Really, this book by Eco takes the cake. Its the most fiendishly obtuse book I have ever come across. So much of assorted arcana, literary miscellany in one book does, at times become too much to handle. Started the book around a couple of hours ago and have reached a stage where one of the protagonists has devised a BASIC program (yeah, really!!, the actual code is given) for his word processor. This is nothing compared to what came before that ; ‘isochronal majesty’, ‘sapiential metaphors’, ‘diadactic pretext’, ‘damnation of panta rei’, ‘chthonian world of gas guzzlers’ and whatnot.
And what is even more exasperating is the fact that I was preparing myself for a nice, easy session after my last read, Pamuk’s Black Book. That, in itself, was quite something. And now this. You know, it literally makes you yearn for stuff like Grishams, Baldaccis, Forsyths which you can literally race through without expending either too much of your time or energy.
Still, I’ve got to finish this work so back to Mr. Eco’s unabashedly convoluted semiotic-obsessed arcana which God-alone-knows how manages to masquerade as literature.