Where Tarantino came from

I've heard about this on and off over the years, but had never seen it until Kottke posted a link this morning: It's a clip from "My Best Friend's Birthday," Quentin Tarantino's first film, ca. 1987. If I didn't know better, and I'm not sure I do, I'd suspect it's an elaborate prank. The young Tarantino who appears as a motormouth DJ is a pretty good caricature of everything we associate with Tarantino the actor -- all the hyperkinetic, can't-sit-still, chew-the-scenery mannerisms are there in full. Fortunately, the things we associate with Tarantino the writer are present too -- the black humor, the perfect pauses, the on-a-dime conversational switches. The directing? It's a wash. The thing's pretty primitive, but most of it was apparently destroyed in a fire at the lab. Still, it's a satisfying glimpse of one of our greatest, weirdest auteurs in utero.

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  1. please. include. link. to. the. video.

    it. helps. viewers. who. are. being. geofucked.

    thank. you.

    (btw, the whole via-queue didnt do it as well. but, well, puleaze.)

    .~.

  2. Some parts seem contrived to be shoddy if you see what I mean. I’m not convinced it’s real, but I’m not sure if that matters. I do think it’s brilliant. The dialogue is pin sharp!

  3. Pretty typical QT. There’s definitely the roots of his bigger films in there. I recognized elements that were later expanded upon in both Reservoir Dogs and the True Romance script. It’s raw and rudimentary but it’s Tarantino and that makes it rock.

  4. “Your ass is grass and I am the lawn mower.” Classic.

    It’s crude, but it’s much better than anything he’s done in the past decade.

    1. Mike White has always come off like some unrequited lover of Tarantino’s work. Very OCD to say the least. So this video being posted by him is not shocking.

      Remember, hate and love are obsessions. Ambivalence is for those you really do not care about.

  5. Does it also have the standard tarantinoesque trait of “if I wasn’t able to vent my mental issues by putting all this gratuitiously violent inhumanity into my movies, I’d probably have become a serial killer”?

  6. I had nothing to do with this video and don’t know why it’s tagged “ImpossibleFunky”.

    Steve Puchalski of Shock Cinema did a great review of this a few years ago. He described it as the Rosetta Stone of Tarantino films.

  7. K-Billy, the name of the radio station that the guy’s answering on the phone for is the name of the radio station that Steven Wright voices over in Reservoir Dogs.

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