Every time Quentin Tarantino releases a new feature, it becomes an occasion for critics to reevaluate the overall project QT’s made of his oeuvre. If that’s the sort of thing you’d like to wade into today, let me recommend December’s roundup on Django Unchained. Enjoy. The rest of us, though, will be celebrating QT’s 50th birthday with lists and graphics and clips—and remixes. No other filmmaker’s work this side of Bruce Conner was more made for remixing.
By Joel Walden
QT’s films “fluently quote everything from Godard films to giallo, Sirk to slasher and spaghetti western, and Hawks to chanbara, not to mention exploitation (whether black, hick, Nazi, biker, Aussie, rape-and-revenge, prison, or girl-and-gun),” writes Jacob Mikanowski at HiLobrow today. “Despite what some critics claim, Tarantino isn’t merely a video-store Scheherazade; his borrowings add up to a coherent and unique style.”
Back in 2009, “while re-watching QT’s films, I did find myself admiring elements that had previously bugged the hell out of me,” admitted Matt Zoller Seitz, introducing his own remix at the L. “Tops on the list: Tarantino’s profane, rococo dialogue. It once struck me as wildly hit-or-miss – either brilliantly florid and theatrical (sometimes revelatory) or else redundant and navel-gazing, dragging the filmmaker’s characters into a quagmire of telling when the films could have been showing instead (Tarantino is very, very good at showing). I’m taking the second part of that characterization back. More so than almost any arthouse favorite since Ingmar Bergman (and bear in mind the precise point of comparison here before you roll your eyes), Tarantino’s talk is not just the fuel of his movies: it’s the engine, the wheels and most of the frame. It’s where the real dramatic and philosophical action takes place. The gunshots, car crashes and torture scenes are punctuation.”
“We think of the motormouthed, grammatically unconcerned, pop-cultural blender of a filmmaker as an eternal genius adolescent, consummately skilled and passionate but never well served by the rigid structures of traditional education and craft,” writes Colin Marshall, introducing a batch of interviews on video at Open Culture. “As the man who (for better or for worse) represents the past two decades of creativity in American cinema crosses the middle-age rubicon, seemingly untroubled, we ask this: how does Quentin Tarantino do it?”
Sharm Murugiah has reimagined all of QT’s movies as Penguin paperbacks. At Flavorwire, Jason Bailey suggests we “Celebrate Quentin Tarantino’s 50th Birthday With 16 of His Favorite Films.” At the Film Experience, Denny lists “Tarantino’s Top Ten Toes.” For the Guardian, Amanda Holpuch lists “five things to thank him for.” The Telegraph posts a mini-gallery of photos: “Quentin Tarantino: his best cameo roles.”
Update: “Given his tendency towards loquaciousness, Tarantino’s never been shy about talking about projects he’d like to make, be they passing ideas or something more concrete,” notes the Playlist, so they’re presenting “a complete history of the what-ifs, the what-might-bes and the long-gones of Tarantino’s directing career.”