Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mothers, Don’t Let Your Sons Grow Up To Be In Tarantino Movies

Fancy shades
by JaneAnn Kenney

***Spoiler alert: this movie came out in 1992. Nothing is sacred. Additionally, I go sort of psychoanalytic, which is highly inappropriate, as I studied English in college. Moving on.***

There are no women in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs

The bleak, womanless world in the movie harkens back to Genesis 2 in which (to paraphrase slightly) God saw that men really needed someone other than themselves around. For instance, Adam— the guy just wasn’t functioning to his best abilities or getting much of anything done; nope, he just moped around, naming animals, being lonely. And so God created a woman, Eve, and all was right in the world (until it wasn’t, but we won’t go there now).

In Tarantino’s dystopian world, there are theoretical women more than actual women: Madonna, a waitress, the thief Alabama, etc. They preoccupy the men’s minds, but only in times of leisure. Business—in their case, robbery—allows no time for the distraction of the fairer sex. I said previously that “there are no women in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs”, but I was exaggerating slightly. There’s a waitress, some screaming women, yadda yadda. Then, there’s the one woman in the movie who counts, but we’ll get to her later.

So what? Well, upon watching the movie for the very first time last month, I found myself wondering how these men’s lives would have been different if they were in loving, nurturing relationships with women, even if she was just a particularly sweet landlady. It got me thinking—this is why God created women. To prevent this movie from being real life. To keep moping and loneliness and other sad, all-alone things from becoming murderous thieving thuggery. Something about Eve brought out the best in Adam, and women can still do that for men today under the right circumstances.

Same dogs, new pic(s)
What follows is my amateur analysis of what kind of woman some of these characters needed to be in relationships with. Keep in mind that this list cannot be exhaustive, as “it takes a village,” which would necessarily include positive male influences as well. Thus, my criterion for the list: if he doesn’t die in the movie, I won’t talk about him. Promise. Otherwise…

Here we go:

Joe Cabot (the boss)—This guy is old. He would have benefitted most from a strong-willed wife with good morals and some common sense. Something like this woman from Proverbs 31: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Under her roof, Joe Cabot would be a retired investment banker with no criminal history (probably some speeding tickets, though), smoking cigars on the DL because she didn’t approve of them. Instead, in the aftermath of a robbery gone wrong, he was shot and killed.

Nice Guy Eddie Cabot (the boss’ kid)—Obviously, Joe Cabot’s wife would’ve been his mom, and that would have been just what he needed. I think he suffered a lack of motherly concern in his younger childhood. She wouldn’t have stood for all of his disgusting sexist stories and nasty jokes, either, or the company he kept. To paraphrase Proverbs 31: Nice Guy Eddie would live up to his name and say to his mama, “Thanks! You’re the best” (v. 29). Same as his daddy, he was shot and killed.

Mr. Blonde (the one who did time and went crazy)—The only female this guy needed, and I say this in the very nicest way possible, is a psychiatrist, and not an attractive one to wife later. No. He needed a grandmother-figure with a medical degree to get him his good meds, listen to his issues, and make sure the strongest thing he ever shot was a water pistol. Failing that, I’d be ok with him having a lady public defender trying to get him psychiatric help while he was sitting in a prison on some scary misdemeanor charge. Instead, he remained insane, and then was shot and killed.

Steve Buscemi: Great actor or Greatest Actor?
Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi)—He needed the job, what can ya say? An older sister would have sufficed here. She, like Miriam, would have looked out for her little brother, smoothed over any interpersonal problems he had. It’s unlikely that this over-protective lass would have allowed her brother to play with guns (or wood chippers…). He’d be a computer programmer, probably in Seattle, still living the good ole grunge days, long may they last. He was shot and killed.

Mr. Orange (the rat)—In all honesty, he was an alright guy, if you like undercover cops. He was just lonely with nothing to lose. Thus, I prescribe a daughter. He would have stayed on the regular beat instead of investigating dangerous criminals, posing as one of them. His little princess would be his world. When her cheerleading squad went to nationals, he’d cry at their third place finish, so proud, but knowing little Britney would not be satisfied till she was THE champion. He was shot, lay around dying for a while, then was shot and killed.

Mr. White (the one who trusted the rat)—I hate to cry “wife” again, but really. He needed someone willing to bring him back to reality, but lovingly. He’s a little naïve, so a wife with some street-smarts would be good. Ironically, she would probably be a public defender, so thieving for him is right out. Instead, I’m thinking… lit professor. Specializing in British Romanticism. He seems the type. He was shot and killed.

End of film.

Actually, there would have been no film at all. These positive female influences, in every instance, would have steered their men away from the worst of their inclinations towards other facets of their personalities and talents. No blood, lots of love, maybe a nice, peaceful retirement someday. And then comes that one woman who counts…

The one woman, the nameless woman who made the cut, is perhaps the most important character in the entire movie, and thus undermines my entire premise (with which you had found yourself in total agreement, no?). And do you know what she did? She shot an undercover cop, and then was shot, and then died. Her presence highlights something that has perhaps never been assumed in the Biblical text until I fabricated the theory today: the woman in Genesis 2 is not the hero.

Elle Driver sans "friends"
Perhaps a female presence in Reservoir Dogs could have changed the outcome—if Mr. Pink had needed to take off early from the office to go to his niece’s birthday party, if Joe Cabot had a daughter, as well as his son, who was the spittin’ image of her mother, if Mr. Blonde was a-courtin' or on the meds—but the fact of the matter is, if we look at Mr. Tarantino's wider works, we do not see women making a great deal of positive difference in the morality of the men around them due to their own violent, immoral tendencies (see Elle Driver & friends in Kill Bill Vol. 1&2 if you don't believe me). 

So no—women are not the men's saviors, and neither should we ladies act like we are (even if our fellas can't match their belts to their shoes, make a salad, or fold a towel). Rather, God is the hero, as always, and when the world is depicted as having cut ties with God entirely, the presence of a woman will not fix what has gone awry. While it's very interesting that women were strikingly absent from RD, I must now rescind my entire thesis and say that it really made no difference whatsoever—God was missing, and so we see Godless men doing Godless things in a gyre of destruction. 

Now I'll have to ask you to strike this post from your memory, as it was a very silly thing. 

You can ask JaneAnn about: Nashville, theology, cats. Baseball. Glacial rivers. Her stance on the color purple, and then again the existence of the word "purple." General frivolity and terrible music (for the DANCING!!). Old Stephen King novels, time zones, and toll roads in Oklahoma. She will not, however, answer any questions about that thing living in her fridge.

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