Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jackie Brown (#379)

Jackie Brown (1997) tends to get the least amount of attention from among Quentin Tarantino's fans, or film fans in general.  Everyone knows how Tarantino took the movie world by storm with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, and later with Death Proof (his contribution to Grindhouse), Kill Bill, and Inglourious Basterds, but for me, the proof in the pudding of Tarantino's incomparable love for film is Jackie Brown, which on the surface is an homage to classic blaxploitation flicks, starring a queen of the genre, no less, in Pam Grier, and if that's how you want to appreciate it, fine.  You can also enjoy it as a fairly traditional Tarantino adventure with Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Tucker, and Bridget Fonda.  There's also a subdued Robert De Niro to enjoy.  But for me, the real star and attraction is Max Cherry, bail bondsman, played by perennially undervalued Robert Forster (who had the honor of being featured in the season of Heroes everyone decided the series had definitely lost its mojo, and was even in last year's The Descendants, but you'd hardly know it).  Forster is the picture of cool maturity, and the calm center of Jackie Brown, and it's his chemistry with Grier that gives any meaning to her performance, which is purposefully minimalist.  If you want to know what Tarantino is like underneath all the posturing, Jackie Brown is your best bet.  He's brilliant all the way through.

Star Trek bonus!

J is for Janeway, Kathryn
(from Star Trek: Voyager)
Sometimes it seems like general appreciation for the presence of Captain Janeway stops at the fact that she was the first female lead in a Star Trek.  Most of the rest from the fanboys is bitching and moaning about her command decisions, a thinly-veiled and often-disputed reaction against the right of a woman to sit in the boy's rightful place at the center of the bridge.  Janeway was often conflicted and frequently made controversial decisions, as best represented by the central premise of Voyager, stranding a Starfleet crew on the other side of the galaxy and choosing to incorporate rebels into essential ship functions.  Kate Mulgrew, who was admittedly a good match for Hollywood legend Katharine Hepburn, was a strong figure with enough heart to play Janeway with all the range she demanded.  Janeway became one of the most complex and rewarding captains on any Star Trek.

A-to-Z Challenge!

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