Top Twenty of the Decade #4

The Bride: I want him to know what I know. I want him to know I want him to know. And I want them all to know they’ll all soon be as dead as O-Ren.

4. Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair (2003, 2004) – Dir. Quentin Tarantino

Once again Tarantino pops up on my list, and once again I must invoke my Lord of the Rings rule. Just like never seeing the one ring destroyed would certainly have pissed off film-goers, I would have been pretty perturbed if the theatrical trailer’s promise never came to fruition and Bill never took his final 5 steps.

Kill Bill is one movie. At least that’s what I think. It was shot as one movie and cut in two for various reasons. I know no one has seen QT’s cut of the two halves combined, but I’m sure it is pretty similar to watching them back-to-back in their current form. If watched back-to-back, one is guaranteed a wonderful movie watching experience, because this is one hell of an entertaining movie (or two volumes if you prefer).

To those who would claim this film is all style and no substance, merely a retread, a mishmash of Quentin’s favorite genres, I say, “so what.” The thing is so much fun, who cares? Is anyone really complaining during the House of Blue Leaves battle or are they savoring every sword slice and stunt? That’s what I thought.

But guess what, it is more than cool action and clever dialogue. It has a surprising amount of depth, basically all found in the second half, but that was the point. One hundred minutes of ass-kicking, followed by backstory and character development to make the first half all the better. I know that makes the second half sound boring, but there’s plenty of kick-ass in the second half too.

I think Uma and the late Mr. Carradine stand out, performance-wise. Playing their roles with great affection and emotion, without winking. There is a wonderful love story hidden amongst the revenge plot and piles of dead bodies. It’s hard to spot, but it’s there and it resonates because of the fine acting.

Basterds is the Tarantino film with all the (well deserved) accolades, but I wonder what would have happened had Kill Bill been released in its proper form. Would it have been hailed as the undisputed masterpiece it is? Would it have garnered the Oscar nominations that proved so elusive? Either way, the movie is what it is, a brilliant, ass-kicking thrill for the senses.

11 responses to “Top Twenty of the Decade #4

  1. Still love Kill Bill. Saw Vol. 1 twice in the same day, consecutively. And yes, it counts as one movie, cause as far as I knew it was written as one. I’m still waiting for Kill Bill Thrill to come out… or whatever it’s to be called when combined together.

  2. Were you with us when we saw the morning show, then gathered as many people we could to go back that night to see it again?

    • No. I had just seen it and was walking out of the theater, then you called saying you were on your way to see it. So, I drove across town and watched it again with ya’ll.

  3. That’s right.

    So how was this not on your list?

  4. Love this movie. I’ll count it as one because I like it better than Lord of the Rings, and there have always been plans for it to be one movie. Mostly, though, because I like it. (side question: when a movie like the last Harry Potter intentionally breaks the plot into two to gouge more money out of families, does it count as one movie or two?)

    Seriously, killer kung fu, bitchin’ music, and great acting. It makes me want a snake nickname.

  5. Harry Potter question is interesting. Thankfully I’ll never have to consider if it’s one or two for any best of list cause the first part was BORING!

    But I guess I would say two movies.

    It gets tricky though especially considering what I’ve said about LOTR. I think the Potter books are different though. Each of those was written as stand alone stories (especially the early ones). LOTR was not.

    Obviously at this point in time they have planned on making all the Potter books and this final time they did shoot it all at once, but they planned it to be two and to stand as two.

    Kill Bill is its own beast.

    • Interesting…does it depend on the author’s intent or the director’s? LOTR was too written as separate books. Maybe the author always intended to do a series, but then so did JK Rowling. The Girl Who Kicked the blah blah blah was intended to be a 10-book set; does that mean the movies should all count as one? If they filmed them all together with the intention of cutting them into their own movies, does it make a difference? You’re on both sides of the coin here.

  6. Like I said, it’s tricky.

    I don’t have a general rule, I take it case by case.

    Millennium Trilogy (or what it would have been), and Potter were intended to be a series, but each book was a stand alone mystery or story that didn’t need to continue.

    LOTR was intended the same way but the first book is in no way wrapped up by the end…IMO.

    But those are the books…the movies were made as if one was making one movie. Same as Kill Bill.

    Had they filmed all the Potter books as one movie I think I would still separate them based on how much the stories stand alone. They are pretty clearly separated by school year.

    But yeah, case by case.

  7. Pingback: Top Twenty Films of the Decade – Recap | Shooting the Script

  8. Pingback: 2012 Fall Preview: 25 Films I Can’t Wait to See #25-21 | Shooting the Script

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