Quentin Tarantino loves to talk. He talks a lot, all right?
And yes Quentin loves to talk about himself, he is one of his own favorite subjects. Many complain he has a big ego and won’t shut up. This interview won’t change that opinion for sure but to me he earned it as he is one of the most influential and interesting filmmakers of the modern era. With that being said, let’s move on.
If you ever see him when he is on TV promoting his latest film he is just a ball of energy and excitement usually. I’ve followed his press tours online and try to watch and read as many as I can when he is in PR gear. In addition to the print and online interviews he usually does a bunch of the late night talk shows. They are fun but due to the nature of the format, superficial and limited. If you ever see him on Charlie Rose, that is one of the best places he gets interviewed. There was also a great one on Howard Stern a few years ago. Both of those hosts allow a more full length in depth conversation. One of the geekiest things I look forward to with his new movies are reading and watching all the interviews when he is in full press mode. I even have a Quentin Tarantino section in my google news feed so I do not miss anything interesting.
There is a great conversation that just got online in the New York Mag’s fall issue with Quentin Tarantino. Inside he opens up about a lot of things including his feelings on TV shows, social critics, the President, current race and social issues and how it affects or reflects in his new movie, Hateful Eight. He even spoke of a couple of movies he liked: It Follows and The Kingsmen. After having read so much about him, there were new nuggets of info for even a fan like me. I was actually expecting a fluff piece but it turned out to be longer and more detailed than I thought.
One of the comments that struck me was this:
I don’t think so, as far as me making the story I want to tell. But I learned a big lesson with Grindhouse, and I try not to repeat the mistake. Robert Rodriguez and I had gotten used to going our own way, on these weird roads, and having the audience come along. We’d started thinking they’d go wherever we wanted. With Grindhouse, that proved not to be the case. It was still worth doing, but it would have been better if we weren’t caught so unaware by how uninterested people were.
Now, I love ALL of Tarantino’s movies. All of them. When I walk out of his movies and sometimes think it was not what I expected, it still is great. His movies are unique and one of a kind. The film he mentioned, Death Proof, even in his own words in other interviews is the film he feels is the worst in his filmography. I disagree entirely on that. When I look at his entire body of work , its hard to find a ‘worst’ film in there. Death Proof is a lot of fun and an easy watch for me. It is supposed to be his take on a slasher film but it’s more than that. It’s got a small giallo film vibe but instead of a knife it’s an auto used as a weapon. It’s closer to the old 70’s car chase films like Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry or the Vanishing (which is referenced in the film). Real stunts, real action, and a hell of a lot of fun to see the women take charge in this movie. Plus Kurt Russell playing against type as the villain. Good, good stuff all around.
I really wish QT would not get so down on the film, it’s true it did not connect with audiences at the box office but it is still a great movie and holds up on repeat viewings. And I would argue Grindhouse was way more influential than he might even realize. For me the movie Grindhouse opened me up to a world of movies I had previously ignored or misunderstood. I have delved so deeply into grindhouse and exploitation style films and because of this I see a lot of movies differently now. I can’t come back from it. Quentin loved these old B movies and he wears that on his sleeve, even with his other films they all have a bit of that in them. The influence on me as a film geek is still going strong many years later. (But that’s a whole other post!)
But more than just my personal feelings, there are a slew of low budget (and big budget) genre movies that try to emulate the grindhouse formula with the look and feel of an old film thru tricks with digital effects to age or scratch up the look of the movie. Much like what QT and Robert Rodriguez did in their ode to the grindhouse, many films now try to reference the 70’s and 80’s era like that as well. There is even a grindhouse filter on Photoshop and Final Cut editing programs for this reason alone. Now that’s an influence!
Basically, I’m asking Quentin to not be so down on Death Proof and the Grindhouse experience he made with Robert Rodriguez. Nothing to be ashamed of there. It was his first real misfire as a director as far as at the box office and reviews so I guess it left a mark on him psychologically. If that is the worst film you can make, you are doing pretty well. Many filmmakers would kill to make a movie even with half the quality of DeathProof. I would love to see him try his hand at another film like this but I think this whole negative experience scared him off the path. If Tarantino did an all out horror film, that would be pretty amazing.
I really did not start this article out to espouse upon Death Proof and the Grindhouse in general, but it felt right. If you like Quentin like I do go on and read the interview, it’s a really good one. then read the outtakes from it here. Also check out the interview with his pal Robert Rodriguez on the El Rey network here and here
And then we can all wait to catch Hateful Eight when it comes out on Christmas day.