What to Watch: Reservoir Dogs

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Who’s a tough guy?” Boy, your guess would be as good as mine if you heard the noises Mr. Orange was making after he was gut shot. Oh, and it’s a Tarantino flick, so you can pretty much imagine how bloody the opening scene is.

What can I say? I really love Tarantino. He’s a cinematic god, he truly is. I’ve seen each of his films and this is by far the best. Well, second best. “Pulp Fiction” beats “Reservoir Dogs” by a hair.

Los Angeles. The city of Hollywood stars, fame, and home to the seediest underbelly of crime in the United States. A diamond heist goes awry, guys get killed and someone is a rat.

Who is the rat? Believe me, I’ve seen this film about a dozen times and the climax is still a shocker.

This is Tarantino at his best, which is tough because this is his first film and he’s released seven other spectacular films. “Reservoir Dogs” is cinematic gold; nothing beats it. Except “Pulp Fiction”, which is a masterpiece. Truly.

Eight guys are eating breakfast in a small LA diner. The meaning of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” is discussed and one does not believe in tipping. What a jerk. Soon, the men partake in a diamond heist. Things go sideways.

The eight men are under pseudonyms. They are Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker), and Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino). That’s right, Tarantino is in his own film. He doesn’t last long.

With the mention of Tarantino, “Reservoir Dogs” is his first film. He wrote it while working in an LA pizza shop. He dropped out of high school at 16, acted in his community theater and got a job at a pizza shop at 17. He wrote the entirety of the film by his 18th birthday.

“Reservoir Dogs” is an indie film. It was only when Tarantino gave the script to his acting coach, who gave it to Harvey Keitel, who stars as Mr. White, that the picture saw actual production.

Keitel loved the script, contacted Tarantino and the two raised $1.5 million for the film. By then, Miramax Films agreed to distribute the film.

The film debuted at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival and became the festival’s runaway hit. When it opened in theaters in October of the same year, the film was a smash hit.

Critics praised Tarantino’s debut. Many cited the acting and the writing as incredible. To date, the film is hailed as a landmark film for independent films and is regarded as one of the best films in cinema history.

The film has since become a cult classic, and it is clear as day as to why so many love this film.

Not only was the film a critical success, it was also a blockbuster. It made $3 million, doubling the film’s original budget. From that moment on, Tarantino was ensured a spot amongst the best directors, and writers, in history.

His next film, “Pulp Fiction”, released only two years later in 1994, would go down as his masterpiece and make its way into the National Film Registry in 2013.

When the heist goes awry, the remaining men, minus Mr. Brown and Mr. Blue who are killed, make their way to a warehouse and proceed to fight over who the rat might be. But why a rat?

It goes like this: there is no way the cops could’ve gotten to the diamond shop in the time that they did. The guys timed their response to similar crimes. It’s simple; there is a rat amongst the heisters and the cops were given tips.

In a slew of side stories, one shows the background of Mr. Orange, or Freddie Newandyke. Orange is the rat. He is an undercover officer assigned by the LAPD to infiltrate Joe Cabot’s (Lawrence Tierney) organization.

He gets close to Mr. White, or Larry Dimmick, and uses that trust to gain entry into the heist. They never suspect him.

While Mr. White, Mr. Pink and Eddie “Nice Guy” Cabot (Chris Penn), and a dying Mr. Orange, all fight over the rat, while the insane Mr. Blonde, or Vic Vega, sits in silence and watches the squabble. You see, Blonde killed several hostages during the heist. White blames him for their current situation.

However, Blonde has a gift for the guys. He, somehow, managed to capture a cop named Marvin Nash. Boy, does Blonde have some great ideas in mind for him.

White, Pink and, Eddie all depart to meet Joe someplace else. It is just Marvin, Orange and Blonde.

Blonde ties Marvin up, plays Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You” and promptly slices his ear off. Yeah, brutal.

The song is wonderful, but is forever haunting due to this famous, or infamous, scene. He then douses Marvin in gasoline and is ready to set him ablaze when several gunshots ring out. Orange capped, and killed, Blonde. Wow.

Without spoiling anything else, I will leave it up to you to watch this outstanding film. It is bloody, profanity filled and, engaging. Tarantino is one gifted writer and director, and it is about time to give this film a watch.

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Tyler Lopez
Tyler Lopez is a staff writer for the Voice and huntleyvoice.com. This is his second year on staff. He enjoys to read, write, watch tons of movies and TV shows, and greatly enjoys listening to punk rock and is very proud of being a very weird person.

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