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March 17, 2013 8:17 PM   Subscribe


 
There is a documentary about Ennio in the works and I am reliably informed that Tarantino is one of the directors who were not on the short list. Or indeed the long list. By all accounts he is a wonderful man to work with (and still very much working). Two rules: you call him 'maestro' and you do not mention spaghetti westerns.
posted by unSane at 8:24 PM on March 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


He cites those as reasons not to work with someone, I would cite those as reasons he should be working with someone. Think of the things the two could accomplish if they learned from each other instead.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:24 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I saw The Thing and Django Unchained last month and loved them both, but I think The Thing was more gory. Or maybe Morricone objected to the context of the violence in Django Unchained.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:27 PM on March 17, 2013


They're both geniuses. I'm not going to pick a side here.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:28 PM on March 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


Can I call him Maestro Fresh West, or would that upset him as well?
posted by mannequito at 8:28 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Indeed, they are both geniuses, but I'm having trouble finding the genius in the explanation as to why Morricone would work with Tarantino and then decide to never do that again.

I do see a reason or two listed in this article, but none of them are really meeting the level of a genius composer.

Maybe he's just frustrated by one of the small things that might have made his work on "Django" annoying?
posted by rollbiz at 8:32 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heh. I was having a conversation about Tarantino's use of music earlier tonight, and how brilliant I thought it was for him to use Santa Esmeralda's "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" at the end of Kill Bill Vol. 1. I can't imagine another director who would see a samurai showdown in a tranquil Japanese winter garden and think "flamenco disco!" But it works so perfectly you don't even really notice it until you think about it later.

But people are people and Tarantino is little if not grating and I can picture Morricone having reasons to not work with him again.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:41 PM on March 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh, and another thing. Apparently he has a very beautiful personal assistant.

Admit it, you would be a disappointed as me if he *didn't* have a beautiful personal assistant.
posted by unSane at 8:43 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


GOD when I saw "Ennio Morricone" I thought I was going to read "has died"
UGGHHHH
Don't scare me like that
posted by jake at 8:44 PM on March 17, 2013 [26 favorites]


I, too, loved that choice Navelgazer. I must point out that The RZA (mobile site) deserves some credit, however!
I do hope Morricone changes his mind!
posted by PaulaSchultz at 8:48 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


While this article kind of looks like linkbait and stirring up false controversy, I for one agree with Mr. Morricone. When I think of Mr. Morricone's work, he seems to be trying to elicit a pure emotion that is carried through a film. Tarantino's most recent works (Kill Bill, Django, Inglorious Basterds) seem like they are trying to reference film motifs that Tarantino thinks are awesome, instead of trying to use these motifs to further a coherent storyline, so it makes sense that Morricone and Tarantino would be working at cross purposes.
posted by The Ted at 8:48 PM on March 17, 2013 [18 favorites]


Yeah, like jake, I had to read it twice to make sure it wasn't the intro to an obit I really don't want to see.
posted by mosk at 8:49 PM on March 17, 2013


The Mission. Pure genius.
posted by etaoin at 8:49 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just watched Inglorious Basterds as a mid-movie break from watching Downfall (which is very very well made but difficult to get through in one sitting because the content is exhausting. I suppose its really mean for in-Germany education purposes), and apart from the some enjoyable moments and scenes, IB just seemed really hammy and cheesy and badly put together plot-wise, like a pot-boiled croque-monsieur.
posted by Bwithh at 9:07 PM on March 17, 2013


Weird. I've had Metti Una Cera a Cena stuck in my head for the last few days, and I keep thinking "mental note, get more Morricone".
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:09 PM on March 17, 2013


Is there a typo in the link description? They've already collaborated on a few films.

And I guess that's Morricone's choice, but it's unfortunate. Tarantino is one of the few directors that I will pretty much follow wherever he decides to go, and I thought Morricone's scores worked well with his movies, especially given how much he was influenced by spaghetti Westerns.
posted by protocoach at 9:14 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ennio's been trying to shake off the spaghetti tag ever since he did them. It's not a compliment to him. And they're from vastly different generations.

Personally, I lost interest in Tarantino after Pulp Fiction... I could deal with the pastiche thing twice, but after that I wanted something from the heart. I do think Morricone is a guy who deals from the heart. That's probably the problem right there.
posted by unSane at 9:36 PM on March 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


I love 'em both, it's sad to see them fight. That said, I think Tarrantino is going to just fine music-wise even if Ennio goes of in a grump.
posted by Artw at 10:35 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


unSane, I feel the same way. Jackie Brown, the Kill Bills, Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained and even Death Proof, which is Kurt Russell at an absolute career best, just all rang totally hollow to me. They felt completely false, like stories he wanted to tell, unlike Pulp Fiction, which is a story he had to tell. I mean I guess they're all decent enough films in their way and I'd certainly rather be watching them than, I don't know, something with Ben Stiller in it that isn't Zoolander, but they just went on and on.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 10:37 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Morricone is, of course, entitled to his opinion, which is undoubtedly well-considered and based on years of working on films, and he can choose to work with or not work with whoever he pleases, based on preference, theories of the use of music in film, and time given to compose.

But this should not be taken as a indictment of Tarantino. Morricone is famously eccentric -- Sergio Leone discussed the unnerving experience of sitting in showings of films with him and having Morricone laugh throughout, regardless of whether what is onscreen is funny or not. So Morricone has his experience of film, and Tarantino has his, and perhaps the two are incompatible (although because of the way film rights work, Tarantino is free to use any soundtrack available that he can pay for, so Morricone might have to get used to that.)
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:49 PM on March 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's kind of other better people to go to if you want a score now anyway - people at least as good as Morricone was at his prime.
posted by Artw at 10:54 PM on March 17, 2013


Personally, I lost interest in Tarantino after Pulp Fiction... I could deal with the pastiche thing twice, but after that I wanted something from the heart.

I get the impression that a collage of glued-together movie tropes pretty much IS Tarentino's heart.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:00 PM on March 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


There's kind of other better people to go to if you want a score now anyway - people at least as good as Morricone was at his prime.

This got me to thinking about Danny Elfman, and how I spent a few hours on the weekend pruning my Danny Elfman mp3 collection of doubles, and y'know, I've got every soundtrack he ever did, and after that cleanout I'm left with like three songs. One of them brings back memories of about ten different movies. "Ahh, this is the bit in MIB where Batman takes down the Johnny Depp character." Heady stuff.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 11:04 PM on March 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I could deal with the pastiche thing twice, but after that I wanted something from the heart.

That's Jackie Brown, I think. I was pretty anti-Tarantino after Pulp Fiction, but Jackie blew me away. The fact that, when he was on top of the world and could do anything, he made an understated film about coming to terms with aging, makes me feel like there's more to the guy than pulp tropes.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:10 PM on March 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


I run hot and cold on Tarantino as a director, but the man is a genius at assembling soundtracks. His soundtrack to Natural Born Killers was EASILY the best thing about that film.

OK, the Rodney Dangerfield cameo gives it a run for its money. but apart from that.
posted by KathrynT at 11:12 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jackie Brown, the Kill Bills, Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained and even Death Proof, which is Kurt Russell at an absolute career best, just all rang totally hollow to me.

I agree generally, but Jackie Brown? Jackie Brown is a tight little love letter to Pam Grier. I think it's possibly his best film, because for once Tarantino's fantasy has some complexity, sweetness, and humility. Along with an excellent soundtrack.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:14 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damn, he didn't do the NBK soundtrack. Why did I think he was? Anyway, my statement stands, regardless; he's brilliant at assembling soundtracks even if he didn't do that one.
posted by KathrynT at 11:15 PM on March 17, 2013


Yeah, jackie brown is a very different / much better tarantino movie, but I think that's partly because its based on an elmore leonard novel, so tarantino is forced to stick to his wheelhouse, instead of having to come up with a story himself.
posted by The Ted at 11:38 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like that Morricone coherence quote is somehow misconstrued. He can't have worked with Tarantino on four films and not understood the contrast he was creating between sound and image. It's like that scene in Django Unchained with them riding to Candieland while Hundred Black Coffins playing through it all. To call that incoherent kinda misses the point.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:26 AM on March 18, 2013


part of what got my attention about django unchained was that it felt like the movie tarantino has been trying to make since the very beginning, and finally succeeding.
posted by oog at 12:31 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was surprised, given Tarantino's usual success in that department, that the music in Django was indeed so incoherent, jarring and distracting, especially the use of a wan, lifeless arrangement of Morricone's own wonderful theme to Two Mule For Sister Sara. I'm fine with the blood, however.
posted by steganographia at 12:54 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's kind of other better people to go to if you want a score now anyway - people at least as good as Morricone was at his prime.

Hollywood studio head: "You think you're the only composer who can give me that Morricone feeling? I got twenty composers I can ask for a Morricone-type thing from!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:21 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You think you're the only composer who can give me that Morricone feeling? I got twenty composers I can ask for a Morricone-type thing from!

Just run a Morricone soundtrack through Ableton Live and add some techno.

Which brings me to the evolution of film:

How soon before cinema is actually a DeadMau5 type guy doing Ableton Live mixes of snips of movies? And why hasn't Tarantino started doing this?
posted by surplus at 6:03 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do remember sitting in Django Unchained and marveling at the over-the-top squishing noises + blood volume. To the point I started wondering if it affected how many takes they did; if you set off that many squibs, it's gonna make a huge mess, and cleaning up all the actors/setting it back up had to be a giant PITA. I am normally a giant weenie about gore, but it was so ridiculous in that movie that it ceased to be scary.

I don't know if that's good or bad, to be honest.
posted by emjaybee at 6:44 AM on March 18, 2013


That's like telling Mozart there are too many notes!
posted by baniak at 6:47 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's kind of other better people to go to if you want a score now anyway - people at least as good as Morricone was at his prime.

Not snark- who are these people so I can listen to them?
posted by Jpfed at 7:02 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I get the impression that a collage of glued-together movie tropes pretty much IS Tarentino's heart.

From the various interview clips I've seen, and from his own works, I feel that Tarentino is a movie fan who gets to make movies, and he wants to share his love of all kinds of movies wih the audience, like a film geek wants to share movies with anyone he or she can. But because Tarentino's communication to the general public is through his own films, he creates genre mash-ups. He also seems like a fan of music, as elements in movies and for the music itself, so again he's sharing through his works. If he's not personally involved with picking the songs, he has selected people to do so who have his same sense of theatrics.

Morricone is a masterful, prolific movie scorer. He's not gleeful about all the crazy kinds of music he knows and loves, he is setting the themes and emotions of films through his music.

Like The Ted wrote upthread, they're coming from different places, and it's not likely they'd meet in the middle. If Tarentino were to make a film with a "traditional" score, or Morricone were to break from writing complete scores and start including other original works or adaptations of works, both would feel odd, and possibly forced. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but it's unlikely.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:58 AM on March 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is a reminder that everyone has blind spots, even geniuses. No matter what Morricone thinks, Tarantino's use of music is one of the things his films are famous for. Indeed, like Leone, he's one of the few directors to have this ability to match scenes with music in ways that make them unforgettable. What he doesn't do is to commission 100% original scores like great filmmakers used to do (like Leone, Hitchcock or Lean, for instance), and I suppose that what bugs Morricone here.
posted by elgilito at 8:09 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Weird. I've had Metti Una Cera a Cena yt stuck in my head for the last few days, and I keep thinking "mental note, get more Morricone"

Brings back memories. Milly sang that one. She was a very decent singer overshadowed by the outstanding voices of Milva and Mina in the late sixties (I'm not kidding, they all picked similar names as stage names.) She died in 1980.
posted by francesca too at 8:32 AM on March 18, 2013


Not snark- who are these people so I can listen to them?

Stylistically dissimilar, but Jon Brion does it for me. (Aaaand I just checked YouTube to see if anyone's mashed up a Tarantino scene with a Brion score. Disappointing.)

As for Morricone, his being 84 seems like reason enough. Who wants to spend half of the rest of their life waiting for Tarantino to finish talking? I generally enjoy ultraviolent movies, even beyond the pale stuff like Takashi Miike, but there was something I found (presumably intentionally?) viscerally disgusting about the amount and style of the blood in Django. Coincidentally, the last time a movie made my stomach turn like that was the series of close up chewing shots in Fistful of Dynamite/Duck, You Sucker. Ugh.
posted by Lorin at 9:00 AM on March 18, 2013


people at least as good as Morricone was at his prime.

Film scoring isn't like hiring a plumbing contractor, where any two equally competent workers are pretty much going to construct the same thing. If you want Morricone, you better hope Morricone will work with you, because otherwise you're going to get something else.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:52 AM on March 18, 2013


I'm with Ennio on the coherence thing. In Unchained (SPOILERS) there's a brief scene where Django is being shipped to a mine after the first shootout, and it's accompanied by 30 seconds of a sad blues song to convey suffering and sorrow without end. Then, two minutes later, he's outwitted his captors and escaped and the movie goes back to Django Being Awesome, accompanied by Django Being Awesome Music.

I tend to love most of the songs Tarantino scores his films with, but I get the feeling his creative process when it comes to choosing the music is "Okay, in this scene I want the audience to feel THIS WAY! Now I want them to feel THIS WAY! Then THIS WAY!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:05 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Okay, in this scene I want the audience to feel THIS WAY! Now I want them to feel THIS WAY! Then THIS WAY!"

That's how ALL movies are scored. Some people are more nuanced about it than others, but yeah, you've basically got the process nailed.
posted by KathrynT at 10:06 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, fair enough...but the way Tarantino goes about it is so slapdash it calls attention to itself.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:08 AM on March 18, 2013


Jackie Brown is a tight little love letter to Pam Grier. I think it's possibly his best film, because for once Tarantino's fantasy has some complexity, sweetness, and humility.

Hear, hear.
posted by homunculus at 10:49 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does Tarantino even use original music in his films? I can't think of any...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 11:08 AM on March 18, 2013


The RZA composed a lot of original stuff for Kill Bill, at the very least. I'm pretty sure Inglourious Basterds had original score throughout as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:26 PM on March 18, 2013


What we are dealing with here are two egos. It seems to me the biggest issue for Morricone is that he doesn't have as much control doing the score as he wants to - or as much control as he is usually accorded by other filmmakers. After all, he is Ennio Morricone!

But I would side with Tarantino in general because a director's movie is his movie and not often a collaboration with a composer. Therefore, the score can be used in any way the filmmaker feels it is appropriate. Or not at all....

Related:
Note that there are instances in film history where a composer writes an entire score for a film and the score is never used. Take Chinatown for instance or 2001: A Space Odyssey.

[A really nice list of rejected film scores is here].
posted by Rashomon at 1:52 PM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's funny - with the exception of Pulp Fiction, I've always had very emotional reactions to QT's films - relationships I think he does particularly well (father-son dynamic in Reservoir Dogs; relationship in Jackie Brown). But the 'people seeking freedom and getting it' thing always gets me as well.

Both QT and Morricone are at the top of their fields - they're both just very different in their approaches.
posted by heyjude at 2:40 PM on March 18, 2013


"Incoherent" is a pretty elegant way of putting it. Tarantino has great taste in music, no question, but the way he's used it since Kill Bill has just been clumsy. It draws a lot of attention to itself, reminds me of other (sometimes better) movies, takes me out of the story. I'd love to get a mixtape from the guy, but I wish he'd tone it down a little on the soundtracks.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:34 PM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Via Rashomon's link above you can find this unused Morricone soundtrack for What Dreams May Come. It's not a good quality recording and it's just slapped onto the video track of the film, not edited in the way it would be if it had been used. But the tone it sets tells the whole story... you can tell why it wasn't used: it belongs with a more magisterial and more dignified film. Probably the one the Morricone imagined based on the Matheson story rather than the one that was actually made.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:01 PM on March 18, 2013


I was listening to Tarantino soundtracks before watching his movies; they're pretty much perfect. Though I can imagine he'll start working full time with RZA at some point, which I"m fine with.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:53 PM on March 18, 2013


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