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.