Updated: Aug 9, 2019
With the release of his ninth film Quinten Tarantino's, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is creating quite a buzz among general movie goers and Tarantino buffs alike. Lately it seems everyone has something to say about the film or the man himself, but if movies were cars many of us have had great rides but fewer of us understand the nuts and bolts that function beneath the hood.
I was approached the other day by someone who was not a Taranto fan and went out of their way to inform me they did not enjoy the newly released, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Their reasons: the film length, drawn out story lines, kitsch humor and over the top satire -- my response: "well that's a Tarantino." It turns out "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" was her first Tarantino encounter, but as events unfolded she ended the conversation with plans to see more of his films through a different lens of understanding in hopes of joining the fan club. Two days later she watched "Pulp Fiction" and "The Hateful Eight," called me up and said, "Tarantino is like sushi, if you know what you're ordering you are going to appreciate it a lot more." We shared a good laugh and needless to say she left ready to tackle the Tarantino canon.
So why is Tarantino so complicated? Well, in short, he's not, he simply chose to create his own style of writing, directing, cinematography (you get the picture) and there really isn't a basis of comparison. I performed a quick google search of "Tarantino film genre" and the following categories popped up: drama, comedy, thriller, mystery, indie, crime, mafia, adventure, war, action, epic, western, spaghetti western, revisionist, heist -- ok, for the sake of length I'll stop there but you see where this is going, and in a nutshell that's Quinten Tarantino. He's a man who stands alone in the industry with a type yet to be labeled, one that is sprinkled with bits and pieces of genres dating back to the early talkies. Imagine searing a rare cut on the stove sprinkled with a dice of everything from your spice rack. If your kitchen is like mine you may find yourself with a dish of Greek, Italian, African, Pakistani, and Latin seasonings, strange indeed but what if it was great? After all, Tarantino pulled it off.
And that's how his films deserve to be seen and heard, as a genre of his own -- one that has no basis of comparison and has to be seen for what it is. Some may call his work art films and others may have no clue how to describe his mashups, but I can promise if you approach Tarantino with a better understanding of what he's doing you may just walk away with a new favorite who's who among Hollywood Royalty. Robert Frost definitely was not thinking of Quinten Tarantino when he noted one of High School's most memorable lines but I think it's applicable in this case. In the world of Hollywood, screen writing and directing Quinten Tarantino also, "...took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."