Decades Blogathon – Jackie Brown (1997)

Welcome to the penultimate day of the Decades Blogathon – ‘7’ edition – hosted by myself and my partner in crime Tom from Thomas J. For those who don’t know, the blogathon focuses on movies that were released in the seventh year of the decade. Tom and I are running a different entry each day (we’ll also reblog the other’s post) and today I’m very pleased to welcome Natasha from it’s the turn of the one and only Zoe from Life of this City Girl who is too-cool-for-school in her choice of QT’s Jackie Brown.

Jackie Brown Poster

Plot: A middle-aged woman finds herself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119396/)

A quick peek over at Tom’s blog alerted me to the fact that it was time for his and Mark’s annual Decades Blogathon. In the past I’ve been too petrified to take part – some seriously talented bloggers writing over here – but this year I knew I would have to take a shot at it. I chose Jackie Brown, one of the only Tarantino films I haven’t seen as my choice.

So I sat down with Jackie Brown. The film is very Tarantino – the long winding conversations characters have that seemingly have no point, the extremely long duration of the film, the presence of Samuel L. Jackson and a strong female character.  It lacks his typical violence and his perplexing need to appear in every movie he directs, but you won’t hear me complaining about that.

The cast is wonderful. Pam Grier as Jackie Brown was entertaining with her fast and sharp dialogue, her attitude and her sassy personality. What a woman. She was equal to every man on screen and smarter than all of them combined.

Jackie Brown

Samuel L. Jackson is back again as Ordell Robbie, the man with questionable hair and even more questionable morals. Ordell is an interesting guy. He has some of the fastest dialogue and sharpest wit and his choice of the women he keeps are so different that it only serves to make him more interesting. There’s Melanie (Bridget Fonda), by his admission his blonde surfer girl, who has zero ambition and zero class; Sheronda (Lisa Gay Hamilton), a country girl taken off the streets by him and who doesn’t seem all there; and Simone (Hattie Wilson), who is an older lady with a lot of curves. I don’t know, it was an interesting part to his character that he’d want such a different range of women in his life. He’s also a criminal who is smart and dangerous and doesn’t care to take out an employee if he himself is in danger of exposure. His only real affection is for Louis (Robert DeNiro), a man who has just been released from prison. Louis is quite a loser of a character, an excellent performance by DeNiro who manages to look pathetic and washed out.

More notable cast members include Michael Keaton (Ray Nicolette) and Michael Bowen (Mark Dargus), the two cops that are tasked with capturing Ordell. They are both eager and very young, and Keaton especially shows that energy of a young and optimistic police officer. The last important character, Max Cherry (Robert Forster), reminded me of old Hollywood with his classic handsome look and persona. He seems like a hero from the early 1950s, and his character was one of the cleanest and most honorable in the movie.

The movie moves quite slow. Once again, typical Tarantino. It requires constant attention or you might miss something, and the director again takes his time getting through the elaborate plan he has set out for his characters. Even at the end they were still leisurely discussing things and there were a few moments where I could feel the grey hairs forming on my head. On two hours twenty minutes I was convinced that they weren’t ending the movie. Would there be more blindsiding? Would Jackie turn her car around and return to Max? There were a few seconds where I thought she would kill him, but that would have been against her character.

Jackie Brown

I really enjoyed Jackie Brown despite the long, long, LONG time it took to get through the film. The strong female characters, Tarantino’s disregard of what movies usually look like and the typecasting they subject to, the sharp dialogue and the ’90s tone to Jackie Brown made it worth the watch. I am also now really close to having watched all his films, and of this feat I am rather proud.

Thanks for hosting me Tom and Mark!

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18 comments

  1. le0pard13 · May 23

    Easily, among my favorite of Tarantino’s and those adapted from Elmore Leonard’s to the screen.

    • Natasha · May 24

      Now that I’ve seen it, Jackie Brown ranks really high on my Tarantino list too.

  2. The Vern · May 23

    I know many who say Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Basterds are his best, but I think Jackie Brown is a much better film. Not my overall favorite but a better film. It’s told in a linear format unlike the others and it’s pacing is a lot tighter then his other features.

    • Natasha · May 24

      My Tarantino list probably goes Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained, Jackie Brown and then Pulp Fiction. I really liked this film – the pacing really is better than some of his other films.

  3. Tom · May 23

    A fantastic look at a QT film I have not yet seen! Natasha, you know your personality belongs in this blogathon! You’re a great writer too! Thanks so much for taking part! It was a pleasure.

    • Natasha · May 24

      Thanks Tom! Me and my personality will join in every year now 😀 It was much fun watching this. You should watch it!

  4. Tom · May 23

    Reblogged this on Thomas J and commented:
    Hey all, Natasha’s review of a refreshingly different Quentin Tarantino piece is available for your reading pleasure over at Three Rows Back! Go check it out!

  5. Cindy Bruchman · May 24

    This is Tarantino at his best. Great job.

    • Natasha · May 24

      Thank you! I had such fun watching this!

  6. MovieManJackson · May 24

    One I’ve missed, but that needs to change! Great post Natasha!

    • Natasha · May 25

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it – it is a great film

  7. Natasha · May 24

    Reblogged this on Life of this city girl.

  8. movierob · May 24

    Reblogged this on .

  9. Jay · May 24

    This is my favourite Tarantino.

    • Natasha · May 25

      It’s one of my favorites now – superior work by him.

  10. Zoë · June 12

    Ah bestie, I know you hated the run time, but I am glad you enjoyed this one as you did. Great review!

  11. Pingback: Read, Watched, Loved: May 2017 – Life of this city girl
  12. aaronpkahle · July 16

    This is my favorite Tarantino film and the only one in my opinion that is quite different from the others. Fun fact about the film and Pam Grier: She auditioned for a role in Pulp Fiction that went to Rosanna Arquette. Tarantino remembered her well and wrote the lead of Jackie Brown specifically for her. She does a fantastic job in it too.

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