Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tarantino Chic

Any time someone creates something--especially a writer--what they're doing is presenting their version of the world they live in.

This especially rings true for film, considering it's intrinsically tied to our world and is the most literal example of a stylized presentation of our world. Whenever you watch a movie, what you're essentially getting is a processed rendition of life. It's like looking through a window within your window of the world outside both windows.

That being said, it's obvious that every writer (since it all starts with the writer) has a different view of the world than the other one.

This is why most movies can be so different. The world Judd Apatow creates is very different than the one Steve Zallian creates, and even that is very different than Eric Roth. But none of them are as unique, stylized, intelligent, original, and just plain cool as Quentin Tarantino's.

Car from Reservoir Dogs. Doesn't get much cooler. Photo by Annie Leibovitz.
Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and then soon after was raised in Los Angeles, California. He was named after Burt Reynold's character in Gun Smoke. His mother was sixteen when she gave birth to him. His father split later on and he and his mom moved to LA. When Tarantino was sixteen he dropped out of high school to "pursue filmmaking". Apparently he had an IQ of 160 at the time--which is genius level--so I guess he knew what he was doing. He started working at a video store, back when they were relevant and VHS tapes still existed, where he had infinite access to hundreds of films and film lovers to network with.

Clearly, Tarantino has lived a very colorful life with an obvious level of intelligence, complete disregard of what is expected,  and an extreme lack of formality. After watching and reading multiple interviews, it seems like he's lead this singular life in a way that's worked for the better (his career also suggests this). Instead of being a total weirdo, he's become a very entertaining and enlightened man.

This comes through without a doubt in the films he writes.

Although his most popular films like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1-2, and Inglorious Basterds do a great job at displaying his unique and entrancing view of the world, I believe his most personal film, Deathproof, is the best example.

Unlike the previous movies listed, Deathproof is essentially plotless. It's a complete homage to seventies car movies, beautiful woman, brilliant conversation, libations, and some of the best music south of the Mason-Dixon Line (it takes place in Austin, Texas and Lebanon, Tennessee. Tarantino usually always mentions his home state and one of his favorite cities). It even has an eighteen minute, epic, car chase at the end. It is, in other words, Tarantino's fantasy movie where he was given free reign to put whatever he wants on film.

It's obvious that by 2007, when Deathproof came out, Tarantino had been successful long enough that his name being put on a project was enough for producers to start throwing money at him--regardless of content and commercial capabilities.

But, his earlier films were a huge risk. Natural Born Killers, his first sold feature script, was an ordeal which lead to Tarantino physically assaulting producer Don Murphy in a restaurant resulting in a $5,000,000 lawsuit. All Murphy did was attempt to change Tarantino's script.

Reservoir Dogs was his first break out. A film about a robbery gone wrong, we can't  help but watch as the train wreck unfolds in front of our eyes, resulting in a bloody climax that is one of the best scenes in film history.

And then he shocked the world with Pulp Fiction, a film that could have been good going in chronological order but got propelled to greatness when Tarantino decided to cut up the story. Once again, a gutsy move.

Photo by Annie Leibovitz.
Tarantino's films may be based on a stylized view of the world combined with his own brilliant art of conversation, but his career is marked by an uncompromising determination to make his film. To write the movies that he wants to see about the world that he sees and experiences. He certainly has the chops to pull it off. Thank God he's got the balls to share it with us.

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