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Jackie Brown & Pulp Fiction
Special Edition DVD

Terry Kneels Before His DVDeity

I remember the flush of giddy excitement that pushed through me the first time I saw a Quentin Tarantino film. It was "Reservoir Dogs" in a small theater on the outskirts of Detroit. I remember the buzz about this young director, touted as the Second Coming from magazines such as Film Threat and every other independent film magazine. Of course, Tarantino's impact, influence and involvement in the film industry, basically single-handedly forced fresh air into the bloated corpse that had become Hollywood. (Sadly, it also prompted a generation of sassy-mouthed, too clever for their own good filmmakers who lacked the life-experience and genuine talent of Tarantino.) "Pulp Fiction" came and cemented Tarantino into the mainstream public's mind, and he became a household star, uncommon for a director in America, and his place as a Hollywood legend and icon was assured.
The inevitable backlash came, and Tarantino wisely lowered his profile after a series of acting gigs and hyperactive talk-show appearances. (How many directors get the chance to host Saturday Night Live?) It was Tarantino's work and John Woo's "The Killer" that re-introduced me to the movies I grew up on, and thankfully so. Disgusted by the mainstream's misinterpretation of Tarantino's work and persona, I too felt a little disengaged by the cult following of his work and spent a lot time re-discovering old films and international gems.
Miramax's release of these beautiful DVD's of Tarantino's two finest films causes me to re-think his place in my life and in cinematic history. As we are forced to sit through a lot of mundane movies these days, I am suddenly very hungry for another Tarantino "shot of adrenaline to the heart," and I think it is much needed. (Thankfully, he is hard at work in China on the set of his new film "Kill Bill!")
The DVD editions of "Pulp Fiction" and "Jackie Brown" are both jam-packed with extras, such as documentaries and deleted scenes. A wiser and slightly less spastic Tarantino gives plenty of brilliant insight into his work on both discs and we are treated to many cast interviews from both movies. Re-watching these films after several years reminds me how wonderful these worlds are. Tarantino's "Jackie Brown", a thick and juicy adaptation of Elmore Leonard's fun and humid crime caper, is a masterpiece in character study, rich with detail and atmosphere. "Jackie Brown" was sadly over-anticipated and misunderstood by the mainstream, but without a doubt his best film, or, at least, my favorite.
Quentin Tarantino saved the film industry from a death sentence of mediocrity in the early nineties and he will surely do it again in October of 2003 with "Kill Bill." Miramax's gift to film fans in the form of these luscious DVD's allows us the chance to enjoy these great movies again. They are truly a must for every collector, and long overdue. Sadly, the one thing I would have loved most is missing from these discs, and that is a commentary track from Tarantino.
It feels good to enjoy these films again and admit that I am a Quentin Tarantino fan. He loves movies of all types and has given us not only a few great ones of his own making, but a reminder that movies don't have to fit a formula. Movie lovers - love him or hate him - owe him an un-repayable debt. He liberated the movies. Buy these DVDs!

Terry Osterhout
October 2002

 

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