It seems almost ridiculous to say, given the endless river of awards, praise, and box office receipts, but I swear there are days when it feels to me like Quentin Tarantino is underappreciated. His critics dismiss him as derivative, flashy, style over substance, dialogue heavy, arrogant, infantile, a douchebag.
I get where they’re coming from; I get irritated with him once and a while myself. But I cannot ignore the fact that I find his movies obscenely entertaining. Tarantino long ago set up a base camp in my cerebral cortex, and with each new movie he finds new ways to stimulate my cinematic pleasure buttons and flood my neural pathways with long hard shots of dopamine. If he’s a filmic whore, then he may very well be the greatest that ever lived, so shameless is he in his desire to get his audience’s rocks off.
It’s one thing to rip off other directors. It’s another thing to do it successfully. It’s yet another thing to so effortlessly blend all the delicious things you’ve ripped off into something beautiful, unexpected, and exciting, in which all the references resonate so effectively.
I saw ‘Django Unchained‘ recently and felt that it might very well be the best movie Tarantino has made. The calmly gleeful assurance with which he plays with references to Blaxploitation flicks, Western iconography (both Hollywood and Spaghetti), and slavery, make ‘Django Unchained‘ the most prismatic examination of the politics of slavery in the United States I’ve seen.
I’m through being annoyed with people who hate Quentin. I mostly feel sorry for them because of all the fun they’re missing.
Here is a terrific discussion Quentin Tarantino had recently with Elvis Mitchell on KCRW’s excellent ‘The Treatment‘. They discuss the power of food in film, especially the direction behind Colonel Landa‘s eating of the strudel in ‘Inglourious Basterds‘ – a must listen for any actor or anyone interested in directing actors.
I enjoyed the heck out of it.
LISTEN to Elvis Mitchell’s talk with Tarantino FOR FREE Here.