Quentin Tarantino joins this month's Pure Cinema Podcast to discuss film criticism and culture in an incredible, nearly 3-hour episode.
Even though Tarantino is half a world away in Tel Aviv, he's still connecting with his New Beverly Cinema family and chatting about movies for the Pure Cinema Podcast. The podcast normally looks at the New Beverly's upcoming programming, but obviously, with Los Angeles under COVID-19 lockdown, they have no upcoming showings to promote.
Elric Kane, Brian Saur, Julie McLean, and Phil Blankenship join Tarantino, who serves as the New Beverly's programmer.
Tarantino's favorite "rip-offs"
To start, Tarantino brings up the podcast's “Ripoffs” episode from 2017, in which the team talks about the sub-set of movies that are heavily inspired by other, extremely popular films of various periods. For instance, a key subject of the 2017 episode is Cathy's Curse, which was panned as a rip-off of The Exorcist.
Tarantino takes the opportunity to add 5 of his own favorite B-movie rip-offs, including Alligator (inspired by Jaws) and I Escaped from Devil's Island (inspired by Papillon). Did you know Martin Scorsese was originally attached to direct the latter? Tarantino dives deep into that film's story and several behind-the-scenes tidbits.
Tarantino is not making fun of these films, which he views as a valuable subset of storytelling. He thinks filmmakers usually bring enough fresh material to these stories that "rip-offs" are actually their own genre.
Personally, I want to take Tarantino's recommendation to check out low-budget sci-fi Trancers (inspired by The Terminator), which he says is "one of the most original concepts of time travel that I've ever seen in a movie, ever."
Tarantino's thoughts on film criticism
The director shares insight about what he's learned from film critics, and how he approaches writing about cinema himself (which he's currently doing for the New Beverly website).
He says he purposefully chooses to only write about old movies, so he can be free with his opinions, positive and negative, without hurting any current filmmakers' feelings. He also wants to be having "an interesting conversation" about the film, his personal connection to it, or sharing knowledge about the movie's context.
We also get a little bit of Tarantino's frustration with a lack of knowledge from critics, who don't always "get" Tarantino's references or aren't as well educated as he wants them to be.
The podcast also touches on some of Tarantino's writing on critics-turned-directors. He covered Peter Bogdanovich and his movie Targets in a recent review, and the team has a lengthy chat about the movie, the director, and the way Tarantino writes about them.
What's next? Get into more of Tarantino's film knowledge
There are so many fun stories and glimpses into Tarantino's psyche within this single podcast, and per usual, he goes off on a lot of interesting tangents. It's a great opportunity to see how Tarantino views film criticism and the culture surrounding film.
Don't forget to check out more of Tarantino's recent content for the New Beverly, including some fun film reviews from the last month. And if you want to go back even farther, you can listen to the last time Tarantino made a 3-hour podcast appearance when he was promoting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.