by Adam Riske
This column is to say thank you to two people who have been instrumental to my film fandom over the years: writer/director Quentin Tarantino and my friend and colleague Patrick Bromley. Both men have broadened my film horizons in different and similar ways. Let’s start by talking Quentin.
The first time I became aware of Quentin Tarantino was when I re-watched The Crow on VHS in September of 1994. One of the trailers before that film was for Pulp Fiction and it was the coolest preview I had ever seen up to that point in my life. I remember how it changed my thought of art-house cinema from being inaccessible and turned it into being new wave and hip. It blew my 12-year old mind. I desperately wanted to see Pulp Fiction in its initial release during October of 1994, but my parents had seen it and didn’t think I was ready (it was specifically the gimp scene; they relented and let me see it five months later in March of 1995). In the meantime, Reservoir Dogs was playing a lot on cable and I was able to sneak and get my short-term fix until I could see Pulp. In short, Quentin Tarantino took a subset of the movies that I was ignorant of at the time and fed my curiosity at a young age. I saw so many movies in the wake of Tarantino that I otherwise would not have (auteur cinema, independents, foreign releases, etc.) and I know I would have missed so many of them if it weren’t for Quentin being my gateway drug.
F The Music Box Massacre podcast from October 2010 that Patrick and JB recorded. I had attended the same event and in the following days I was seeking out articles about other attendees experiences. It was a way to relive the day. When I saw there was a podcast about it, I was intrigued so I listened to it. I don’t remember my reaction to my first episode of F This Movie! other than to say I really enjoyed it. Patrick and JB talked about movies in a different way than most other critics or fans that I knew. They found that perfect balance of being knowledgeable but also having a “joy of performance” -- it didn’t feel like they were performing, which so many others do when they talk about movies. They saw and spoke about movies the way that I saw and spoke about movies. I quickly rushed through the back-catalog of shows (I remember it was all during a single day while I was cleaning my apartment…several hours, it was very messy) and episode by episode I enjoyed the show more. I didn’t start over at the beginning, so my last episode for that catch-up day was Young Guns. By the time Patrick and Mike were discussing how Premiere Magazine listed Dying Young as the movie they thought would gross the most in the summer of 1991, I was convinced Patrick was “shining” to me. It’s like when you see a stand-up comic and their joke is so hyper-specific that it only plays to an audience of just you. It was great. I had found my podcast. #SickDay
Over the years, Quentin Tarantino gained the goodwill to make whatever project he wanted and he used that leverage in part to explore his love of exploitation cinema. This is where I became more aware of how sometimes the pastiche of the thing is more appealing to me than the actual thing. I love Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Django Unchained, etc., but as I dug into further examples of the movies that inspired QT’s epics, I started to realize that only some (but not all) of exploitation cinema was my bag. It was frustrating for a while, like I was no longer my favorite teacher’s favorite student.
Happy Birthday Patrick and Quentin!