It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man (or woman) in possession of lust for violence, witticisms, and an awesome soundtrack is in want of a good Tarantino marathon.
Being, arguably, one of the most recognizable auteurs in modern western cinema, Tarantino is loved by movie geeks and film students alike.
So I have trawled through the internet, not to mention a few of the “cult cinema” stocking fillers I have received in my life, to bring you a fact file of Tarantino.
A few facts about the man, and a fact or two about a selection of his films, judged to be either the most interesting or just plain weird by yours truly.
Quentin Jerome Tarantino is 59 years old and was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on March 27, 1963.
He dropped out of school at 15 to attend an acting class full-time.
After two years at the James Best Theatre Company, he left, taking a job at a video rental store Video Archives.
He is famously quoted as saying “I didn’t go to film school, I went to films.”
At 29 he made his directorial debut with Reservoir Dogs, a film that was substantially funded by Harvey Keitel.
Tarantino is primarily known as a writer/director, though three of his written screenplays have been directed by others; these are:
Directed by Tony Scott.
Contains characters who are the descendants of two of the American guerrilla group known as the Basterds from his later film Inglorious Basterds.
Lee Donowitz the movie producer is the great-grandson of Donnie “Bear Jew” Donowitz, and Floyd – the stoner on the couch – is the great-grandson of Lt. Aldo Raine.
Natural Born Killers
Directed by Oliver Stone.
The finished film was so unlike the script Tarantino had written that he apparently disowned the film.
That is, until he met Johnny Cash, who said he was a huge fan of his work, especially Natural Born Killers.
The making of the film was the subject of a book by one of the film’s producers – Jane Hamsher – who painted both Stone and Tarantino in an extremely unflattering light.
The other producer of the film, Rn Murphy, sued Tarantino for $5m dollars after he assaulted him at the AGO restaurant in West Hollywood.
The case was settled out of court.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Tarantino wrote this script in exchange for Robert Kurtzman providing the effects for the ear-slicing scene of Reservoir Dogs.
As a director, Tarantino has a few cinematic conventions he likes to sprinkle liberally into all of his films.
He enjoys prominently featuring actresses’ feet, which is why Uma Thurman is barefoot in Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, and why Diane Kruger and Cristophe Waltz enjoy a beautiful Cinderella moment in Inglorious Basterds.
His “Trunk shots” where the camera looks up at characters from the perspective of somebody in the boot of a car, and “Body shots” where the camera looks up at a scene from the perspective of a dead or unconscious person on the floor, are featured in almost all of his movies.
The most grueling signature piece Tarantino likes to use is the “long shot”, where the camera follows the progress of a character through an entire set without a single cut.
It’s rumored that the long shot in Kill Bill vol.1 (that takes the viewer through the House of Blue Leaves) took so long to get right that the camera operative passed out after it was finally done.
Now we have the technical stuff out of the way, let’s get down to the awesome facts about his films:
Tarantino told the BBC in 2009 that he is proud to have made a film considered to be one of the top ten heist movies, despite the fact that it doesn’t actually show the heist.
Mr. Blonde is actually Vic Vega, Vincent’s brother.
There are no lines spoken by women in the original theatrical version (there are alternative cuts that feature female dialogue).
The passage from the Bible that Jules has memorized was mostly made up by Tarantino and Jackson.
The only part that’s similar to the Bible is the part where he says, “And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”
However, the parts about the righteous man and the shepherd are not real.
For all you fan theory buffs out there, according to Tarantino, it’s not Marcellus Wallace’s soul in that suitcase.
It’s supposed to be an intentional blank filled in by each individual viewer.
The plaster on Ving Rhames’ neck was simply to cover up a scar on his neck.
And the lightbulb in the briefcase was a last-minute addition intended to add a little fantasy to the film. – No, I don’t know why there had to be a gimp.
This is an adaptation of Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard and is the only film Tarantino has adapted from pre-existing material.
Kill Bill vols. 1&2
These films were based on the character The Bride, created by Tarantino and Thurman while working on Pulp Fiction.
The script was given to Thurman as a 30th birthday present.
Girl power: every character that dies onscreen (with the exception of the anime insert) is killed by a female.
The bride’s name is actually given away before the audience is officially told in vol.2: Her plane ticket to Okinawa features her name and Bill’s reference to her as “Kiddo” in the opening scene of Vol.1, whilst mistaken for a term of endearment, is actually her last name.
Tarantino himself actually strangled Diane Kruger to the point of losing consciousness (with consent) in order to get the scene right.
They got it in one take; those are not Cristophe Waltz’s hands.
During the filming of one of the dinner scenes, Leonardo DiCaprio broke down and had to stop because he was having a difficult time using so many racial slurs (horrifically this film holds the record for uses of a word I cannot, and will never, feature in print, at 116).
Samuel L. Jackson took DiCaprio to one side and told him “Motherf****r, this is just another Tuesday for us.”
According to the latest IMDb news, Tarantino is working on The Hateful Eight and Kill Bill vol.3 so there’s that to look forward to!
Now, there are film nuts out there that may have spotted that I have left out a few of Tarantino’s directing credits.
Quentin Tarantino’s directing credits
He directed the season five finale of CSI and was nominated for an Emmy; one-quarter of the movie Four Rooms; the car scene between Clive Owen and Benicio Del Toro in Rodriguez’s Sin City.
He also directed Death Proof (a.k.a Grindhouse with Rodriguez), but none of the facts about these films were interesting enough to make the final cut.
And, honestly, if you noticed these omissions, you already know everything you just read.
So, that’s Tarantino, a high school dropout with a foot fetish. And arguably one of the best directors America has right now.
If you haven’t seen all the films I’ve spoken about here, I urge you to watch them, since you’ll be able to spot his signature shots and weird thing for feet now you know about them.