Tarantino and the ultimate chick flick

    Quentin Tarantino is more than just an odd man who makes grotesquely violent movies — he’s brilliant. When many directors are simply pumping out films written by talentless hacks in order to make a few bucks, Tarantino sets an example by breaking from convention and pouring himself into films that are truly his own.

    In his efforts, Tarantino made the ultimate chick flick: “Kill Bill.” By now, you must all know the bloody story of the Bride, played to perfection by Uma Thurman, who is bent on revenge and sets out to kill her former Deadly Viper Assassin Squad members and their boss Bill.

    “Kill Bill” definitely does not sound like a typical “chick flick” and that’s because it isn’t. So-called “chick flicks” are normally lighthearted romantic comedies with contrived endings. Girl meets boy, girl likes boy, boy takes 90 minutes to realize he likes girl, so on and so forth. That’s the general gist of most “chick flicks.” For the most part they are unoriginal films where women occupy the same roles they always do. Women are almost always defined oppositionally to men with little agency of their own and no real equality, for the most part. Girls are girls. Boys are boys. And that’s the end of that.

    Let’s take a look at some of these popular “chick flicks.”

    Now, “Pretty Woman” has become somewhat of a classic as a modern-day Cinderella story, yet the story itself is trapped in a male-dominated history where the female is completely at the will of men. Julia Roberts plays a prostitute who gives the ruthless businessman (Richard Gere) a heart with her free spirit and good lovin’. Cute as the interactions are, it becomes thoroughly disappointing because Roberts’ character is dependent on her rich sugar-daddy. When she is attacked by his partner (Jason Alexander), she is unable to do anything but flail about and scream until her knight in a three-piece suit comes and saves her. I know women are, for the most part, not as physically strong as men, but wouldn’t an experienced lady of the night know how to ward off unwanted advances by dirty sleazebags?

    And how about the ever-popular “Grease”? OK, I admit this movie has catchy songs; but this must be one of the most degrading stories ever. Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) is a poodle-skirt square and Danny (John Travolta) is a leather-jacket-sporting T-Bird. How will it ever work out between the two? Easy. She just has to give up her identity and conform to what Danny wants: tight clothes, chemically treated hair, massive make-up and fume-filled lungs. Sure, he may have donned a letterman’s jacket for a bit, but that came flying off the instant Sandy showed up in the skintight black pants. Are filmmakers telling women that conformity to social ideals of sexiness and femininity will lead to happiness? Wait … that doesn’t sound right.

    But Quentin Tarantino, brave soul that he is, created the ultimate of female characters by making “Kill Bill.” The Bride is strong, skilled and will stop at nothing to right a wrong committed against her. For the first time I can think of in cinematic history, Tarantino has created a female character with male skills and there are no compromises. She’s as human as you and me, with the same emotions and the same weaknesses, only she’s a hundred times more bad-ass.

    When she wakes up from her coma and realizes that her baby is gone, what follows is an intensely emotional scene that is incredibly realistic for a woman who loses an anticipated child. Credit must be given to Thurman for her exceptional performance. She is truly uncompromising. In the same sequence, when the Bride finds out that she had been violated in her comatose state, she doesn’t sit there and wail “woe is me.” Oh hell no. She makes those bastards pay.

    Another stunning female character in “Kill Bill” is Go Go Yubari, the innocent-looking teenage assassin in a Japanese school uniform. As cute as she may seem, the lady is lethal. The most exciting scene, though, is when Go Go takes the ultimate male act of domination — penetration — and makes it her own. No use of kinky sex toys, she’s just downright strong and the ultimate female who does not live confined by rules made by men.

    Of course, there are holes and visible inconsistencies in the film, but it can’t be perfect; nothing is. What is really outstanding, though, is the complete bravery with which Tarantino made his film. “Kill Bill” was made without compromising the female characters. They all have histories and they are all human, yet they all have the ability to run up and chop off your head. Now how brilliant is that?

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