The man started by making a movie in one room. Reservoir Dogs.
He sold a script to Tony Scott, then another to Oliver Stone. Then when his second film came out as a writer director - Pulp Fiction - the table was set and he had already dressed it himself.
There are few people I call artists - Quentin Tarantino is one of them. His ear for dialogue alone changed movie making, to say nothing of his mobius strip story telling form.
I have been in a relationship every three or so years for the last 30 or so with this man. It started in my early teens, and continues now in my 40s. He has outlasted girlfriends, partners, friends. Most times, he has been more honest.
Tarantino learned everything there was about film - then he wrote a film in that voice of his.
It was as inspiring to me in grade school - as it is to me today.
Then he wrote a more complex story - one he’s been waiting his whole life to tell in Pulp Fiction. Come his third film he had every actor in the world wanting to work with him.
Since then his vision has been one of unaltered film - genre bending tropes with stunning visuals that still develop with each project. Meanwhile, the bedrock of a Tarantino film - the dialogue and story - remain as strong as ever.
Tarantino’s dialogue in film is quite simply one of the benchmarks in writing of the last quarter century. So is his use of music in film.
Like David Mamet before him and Kevin Smith during the same era - Tarantino clocked early that dialogue between people - real characters - is stilted, broken, non-sequitor filled and mindless.
That is what life can be in the moment to moment. However, it is the only real plot reveal device we have in life.
Next week his film Once Upon A Time in Hollwood opens. He has gone from a wunderkind director using the actors like John Travolta, Sonny Chiba, Pam Grier, etc., to now casting Hollywood and actors of the past as his *characters. Steve McQueen, Bruce Lee, Sharon Tate, the Mamas and Papas, and more are all on board his latest magnum opus as living breathing characters.
This from a writer/director who opened his career with a conversation around a coffee diner table of hitmen talking about tip percentages, and their deconstruction of Madonna’s Like a Virgin.
There are not too many times I have laughed out loud in theatres. Pulp Fiction’s “what, do I have to stab her three times?!” line is a belly laugh I had in a theatre at 15 years old in Moose Jaw in 1993, and it still hurts.
And he has 25 years of work since. Tarantino counts his films his trailers. He’s not counting them up, he’s counting them down. This is his ninth and he claims he’s going to only write/direct one more.
Considering he’s only at this point wrote and directed eight films - and two of them have Academy awards for writing - he’s earned it.
He’s barely 50, and he’d like to break into theatre writing. Makes sense. That first script of his took place in one room. That is a play.
However, until Once Upon A Time in Hollywood hits, enjoy the work he has already done, and prepare to take in his latest effort. It all informs.
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood concerns the era that movies changed - from the Golden era to the auteur of the late 60s. It’s the film about Hollywood changing 50 years ago.
Someone needs to write one about it changing 25 years ago when Tarantino came to town.