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February 1996, Week 4


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"Richard J. Leskosky" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 27 Feb 1996 18:03:43 -0600
text/plain (41 lines)
On 2/24/96 Mikel Koven wrote:
>I witnessed a rather interesting proof of Clover's thesis.  I was at a
>midnight screening of Reservoir Dogs (it was never theatrically released
>in NFLD) and everyone cheered for their favorite character during the
>opening credits. ( IF you remember, everybody gets their own shot, in
>slow motion, with their names on the bottom of the screen, to the song
>"Little Green Back")  Obviously Tarantino and Keitel recieved major
>cheers and applause, but these all paled in comparision to the cheering
>for Micheal Madsen.  A bit creepy I thought, but then again, this is
>Newfoundland.   I took this as an indication of, if not "identification"
>then certainly preference, for specific characters.  As loud as the
>cheering was for Madsen's opening credit, it was nothing in comparision
>to when he was blown away by Tim Roth.  All this is a rather lengthy way
>of noting that I believe what happened was not only an appreciation for a
>psycho-killer (if I may be allowed to call Madsen that), but an equal if
>not greater appreciation for said psycho's death.
I guess my first question would be whether the audience was actually
cheering Michael Madsen for being a psycho killer in RESERVOIR DOGS itself.
 He has appeared in a slew of other films--including playing the
sympathetic dad in FREE WILLIE and the alien-hunting hero in SPECIES.
Mikel doesn't say when the incident he describes took place, but if it was
sufficiently long after the initial RESERVOIR DOGS release, the audience
could conceivably have been cheering Madsen for his work in these other
films (or the other smaller, grittier films he has appeared in since)
instead of or in addition to whatever  expectations they may had for his
performance in RD.  Even so, this would further argue for taking audience
reactions into account--though the situation may be more complex here than
it initially appears.
--Richard J. Leskosky
Richard J. Leskosky                     office phone: (217) 244-2704
Assistant Director                      FAX: (217) 244-2223
Unit for Cinema Studies                 University of Illinois
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