Dear Quentin Tarantino,

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No, QT, I can’t claim to be your favorite fan. There are a million men ahead of me that idolize you from afar. You are way too violent and perverted to be sexy or arresting. So what is it about your work that makes me head to the theaters in anticipation? The answer came to me yesterday–you remind me of my brother.

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I just turned 51 and Quentin you will, too, in March. Happy Birthday.

My brother and I were playing buddies growing up. When he was young, he bought with his allowance several five-inch, jiggly, tortured men with emaciated rib cages, bulging eyes, swollen tongues, and then he’d have conversations with them while sticking them with pins like he was the inquisitor in Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum. 

rackham_poe Arthur Rackham

He loved to play war, setting up the sides of plastic soldiers with the sharp-shooters poised on boulders waiting to pick off the frontal assault. Our time was always outdoors and the view from the tree tops was liberating. Lighting firecrackers in February, rolling down hills in empty drums, tying June bug legs to a string to watch them fly around in a circle, scratching sticks on a screen to create spears for a war with neighborhood kids. Hanging Barbie from a tree and trying to hit her with stones from a slingshot. Making a trident and at the muddy creek, bringing back a pillowcase of bullfrogs for frying their muscled legs. Sticking your hand in dark waters and wiggling your fingers to see if a carp would bite. Sprinkling salt on leeches stuck to your calves when you came out of the lake–these are the memories I have with my brother.

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I wonder, Quentin, if your childhood was like mine. My uncle smuggled us into the trunk of the car and we went to the drive-in and saw the spaghetti westerns and the Kung-Fu films that influenced you. The funk, the mafia, and the quest of the underdog who seeks revenge and rises above insurmountable odds. All that 60s and 70s bad cinema you reclaimed and reinvented into new art. That’s quite an achievement.

I wonder what kind of childhood you had? My brother grew up and has always been an excellent outdoorsman. We all thought he should have enlisted to become a Navy Seal or Ranger. He is a successful businessman. But, if there’s an invasion, he’s  prepared. At the very least, QT, I can say, my brother is a character right out of one of your movies. You both are weird, super-smart, passionate, and sweet.

I love how you portray women as badass strong and beautiful and give them large roles. They are scary, but preferable than mousey and dependent arm candy. You have to admit, women, the world wouldn’t be so scary if you had mastered the Hatori Hanzo sword when Budd came calling.

While there are several of your films that go into the over-the-top bloody realm I fail to appreciate, there are many I admire because your gift for creating the most bizarre and believable characters in cinema are in the forefront. That is your true strength.

You manage to get inside of an actor’s head and extract an unusual, brilliant side of them. Your ability to write scripts that combine quiet, polite conversations around explosive action make your films thrilling. Your non-linear plots are interesting.

Can’t wait for your upcoming western The Hateful Eight reported to pay tribute to The Magnificent Seven. When you create intelligent scripts with extraordinary characters and back off the blood and guts, I clap harder than anyone.

Sincerely,

Your Favorite Fan 

25 thoughts on “Dear Quentin Tarantino,

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  1. Great post. I gotta say I think I loved the part about your life with your brother more than thinking on QT. WONDERFUL memories of a time before video games, iPads, iPhones, etc. A time when kids spent the majority of a pretty day outside appreciated those things about the world you mention.

    As for QT I’m very lukewarm on the guy. I know he’s automatically treated by many as one of cinema’s greatest filmmakers. Personally I think he often times gets too wrapped up in his own style that he goes light on the substance. I really think some of his stuff is fairly lightweight. On the other hand he can show signs of absolute brilliance.

    1. Yes, I think he’s probably an egomaniac, but what do I know. When he’s brilliant (like Inglorious Basterds and Kill Bill 2 and Pulp Fiction) he’s so interesting to watch and listen. I guess I really like him as a screenwriter and as a director what he gets out actors other directors can’t seem to reach. He always makes me nervous when watch his films. As far as my brother and I, I was thinking about how someone my age and how raw imagination and the games we played influenced how I look at the world. Thanks Keith, for your comments. I appreciate it. Go Denver.

      1. Much like Keith I really enjoyed reading your memories of your brother, they sounded awfully similar to the childhood I enjoyed with my younger sister and the days spent outside, when the sun always seemed to be shining. I actually kept my plastic soldiers in an old biscuit tin till I was able to pass them on to my own son. I can’t help thinking for all the modern technology they enjoy, today’s children are missing something of the simple life we enjoyed.

        Anyway enough of my rambling, enjoy your Superbowl Sunday.

        1. Hi Paul, I appreciate your ramblings. My 2 grandchildren came visiting awhile back. My grandson (7yrs) had out some plastic soldiers and set them up to face one another on the livingroom floor. It warmed my heart. I also tried to get my grandson and grandaughter to go out and play–that is, it’s too scary, it seems nowadays, to let kids out. I gave them permission to go out and ride bikes, and I lent him a slingshot and he tried hitting a coke can. We all went for a walk and he pretended he was Superman and as he leaped about, he held my hand and tried to assist me over rocks. I was never so flattered. There’s hope!

  2. Excellent piece Cindy! I’m a big fan of QT myself. The release of a new film always brings anticipation like few other filmmakers. Unfortunately, I’d heard that The Hateful Eight has been shelved for the time being. 😦

    1. Hi, Mark. Oh, no! I would have been interested to see who had picked for the remake as well as watching the film. I love too many things about QT, the stuff that turns me off I don’t give much too much power in my assessment of him as a writer and director.

  3. Nice write-up. I’ve always been a big QT fan and look forward to any new release. It’s too bad he’s not making The Hateful Eight, wonder what his next project will be now.

    1. What a pity. He’s a thief of many genres yet manages to create original masterpieces. He’s getting better the older he gets. I loved Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained. 🙂

  4. Excellent post, Wow! I’m a big fan of QT and you make some great points. “You manage to get inside of an actor’s head and extract an unusual, brilliant side of them.” completely agree with this.
    How would you rank his films?

    1. Welcome! He’s multi-talented, yes? A great screenwriter as well as a director. Ranking them. Hmmm. Pulp Fiction is still his best. Kill Bill 2. Inglorious Basterds. Rez Dogs. Sin City. What’s your favorite?

  5. Interesting comparison to your own led and your brother. Made for a fun read.

    I agree with your observations on Tarantino, too. He’s very good, but sometimes the violence gets to be too much.

    1. Hi James. I think that’s where I was going with my childhood and the violence. I noticed the stuff I listed with my past was all about playing outside and what did we play? How to maim or kill. Weird! I do believe it was a generational thing. Other people my age or older played the same way. I wondered about QT the man and why he is so absorbed in blood and perversion and torture. I noticed as he is getting older, his movies seem to be mellowing into an intelligent scripts from his earlier work. I read somewhere that the book he wrote for Natural Born Killers was about America’s obsession with violence and the media’s promotion of it. That morbid curiosity is a natural development in the cinema. I find him fascinating and scary and interesting. When he’s on, he makes original, artistic films I enjoy.

      1. My brother (or friends) and I killed a few things, too. Though I felt guilty every time we did so (I’ve always been a softie). 🙂

        I mostly agree on Tarantino. Even when violent, his movies are intellectually fascinating. Witness Django and Kill Bill. A part of me wishes he’d tone down some of it every once in a while, though.

  6. Awesome post Cindy! “You are way too violent and perverted to be sexy or arresting” Ha..ha.. I’d agree though there are some films of his I really appreciate despite the violence. At the same time I don’t always have to go see his films. It’s indeed cool that he portrays women as being bad ass and beautiful 😀

  7. You can say a lot about Tarantino but you can’t say he isn’t interesting. He’s not afraid to take risks and you never know what you’re going to get. I agree that he gets really crazy performances out of actors

  8. Hi Cindy, I love this post, it’s boldly personal and so insightful. I fell upon your blog in the usually circuitous way, and glad I landed upon it!

    Barbara

    Ps we are the same age or close to it!

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