In the nineties, producer Lawrence Bender was closely linked with Quentin Tarantino and Miramax. In addition to producing most of Tarantino’s movies, Bender also oversaw Miramax’s Oscar-winning hit, Good Will Hunting. While Bender remains active as a producer, his movie career has cooled off since his heyday in the 90’s. He parted ways with Tarantino following Inglourious Basterds in 2009 and has been pulled into recent controversies surrounding his past partnerships. At the time of this profile in the March 1998 issue of Movieline magazine, Bender was still on top of the world.
Quentin Tarantino is celebrating his 54th birthday today. A film buff from an early age, he worked at a variety of jobs around Southern California, including, famously, in a video store. He wrote a script for a heist movie and a friend showed it to Harvey Keitel, who liked it and signed onto the movie as a co-producer, as well as becoming one of the stars, enabling Tarantino to raise a budget of somewhat over $1 million for Reservoir Dogs, which came out in 1992 to favorable reviews.
Tarantino did a number of screenplays for other filmmakers in the early nineties, including True Romance and From Dusk Till Dawn. However, he was more focused on the film that would really establish his reputation, one that even more than Reservoir Dogs was full of the traits we now consider “Tarantino style filmmaking”—nonlinear storytelling, clever dialogue full of pop culture references, stylized violence, etc. It was named Pulp Fiction:
Today we have a matchup between films by two unique and widely admired directors who aren’t afraid of taking on violent or upsetting subject matter. Unfortunately, despite our admiration for both of these movies, neither one managed to fulfill expectations at the box office. The Game spent a week in the number one spot and raked in more than $100 million (if you include overseas receipts), but when compared to Fincher’s hit Se7en from just two years prior, this number had to feel disappointing to the film’s producers. The fact that the film’s production budget is not easily available also suggests that Fincher and company might have over-spent on it. Meanwhile, Jackie Brown‘s production budget was a pretty reasonable twelve million dollars, which would make its eventual domestic gross of close to forty million more than acceptable in most cases. But, like Fincher, Tarantino’s most recent full-length project Pulp Fiction had not established reasonable expectations for some people, not only because of its domestic take of more than $100 million, but because the director had become a star in his ow right. Both have continued to do the kind of work they’ve wanted to and have had some successes along the way, making these movies simply look like well-reviewed base hits in the long run. But which one do we want to stick around another round in our game?
Read the rest of this entry
The Hateful Eight is the eighth movie from writer-director Quentin Tarantino. The fact that the director keeps numbering his movies in the credits gives the impression that they are limited. How many movies will Tarantino make? If you’re a fan, every one feels precious. By this point in Tarantino’s career, you probably have a pretty solid opinion of the director. You either like his movies or you don’t. The Hateful Eight rolls up a lot of Tarantino trademarks. It’s unlikely to change anyone’s opinion of his work. But if you are already a fan, The Hateful Eight is a real treat.
Elmore Leonard is one of the most iconic novelists of the second half of the twentieth century, so it’s natural that his work would be frequently adapted by Hollywood. However, many adaptations of his work fall short or even worse. The prime problem is that it’s easy to forget that Leonard’s novels and stories aren’t plot driven: the primary focus is on the characters, dialogue and overall attitude. Quentin Tarantino gets this. So does screenwriter Scott Frank and directors Steven Soderbergh and Barry Sonnenfeld. But many times, those adapting his work do not. Hence why of the numerous adaptations of his films, only a few truly succeed.
With the Oscars now (thankfully) behind us we can look back and criticize other Oscars. While the entire internet is up in arms over Leo DiCaprio having never won, I’m going to make the case that being nominated several times is plenty of honor (last years long overdue recognition of Gary Oldman robbed me of #1 most disrespected).
Yes, winning is better, but at least you’ve been recognized as one of the best. Unlike the unfortunate actors I’m about to cover. The majority of them you probably would assume they’ve won or at least been nominated, however, for some strange reason, despite an impressive performances, star power, and overall body of work, they’ve never gotten the recognition they deserve. Let’s get snubby, shall we?
Uma Thurman has been a Batman villain, Robin Hood’s girlfriend, an Avenger (the English kind) and Quentin Tarantino’s muse. She’s worked with Robert DeNiro, Bill Murray, John Travolta and George Clooney. But these days, she’s shifted gears into supporting roles. What the hell happened?