×

Quentin Tarantino: Hollywood’s Boy Wonder

Tarantino disciples will get a rush from this first full-length docu on the geek-made-good cult helmer, but non-believers are likely to wonder what all the fuss is about. This entry in the BBC's arts strand "Omnibus" is hardcore buff stuff.

With:
Interviewees: Quentin Tarantino, Brian De Palma, Allison Anders, Monte Hellman, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Samuel L. Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Sally Menke, Lawrence Bender, Stacey Sher, Richard N. Gladstein, Todd McCarthy and others.

Tarantino disciples will get a rush from this first full-length docu on the geek-made-good cult helmer, but non-believers are likely to wonder what all the fuss is about. This entry in the BBC’s arts strand “Omnibus” is hardcore buff stuff.

After an introductory pan round Tarantino’s West Hollywood apartment (a symphony of movie bric-a-brac, piled vidcassettes, and referential one-sheets), the first two interviewees hit the nail straight on the head. Monte Hellman:”Quentin’s life experience is cinema, so it’s natural he makes films about cinema.” Terry Gilliam:”For years he’s been building all these things up inside himself, and then just … whooompf!”

Brit documaker David Thompson, whose previous subjects include Jean Renoir, Michael Powell, Vittorio Storaro and Peter Greenaway, traces the kid from Knoxville, Tenn., who moved to L.A. at age 2, quit school at 15, studied to be an actor and ended up penning at least two major scripts (“True Romance, “”Natural Born Killers”) while still working at Manhattan Beach’s Video Archives store in the latter half of the 1980s.

The early years, up to and including the making of “Reservoir Dogs,” are sketched with a trove of detail. Even for aficionados, Thompson comes up with fresh material: a clip from Q.T.’s unfinished first pic, “My Best Friend’s Birthday,” which shows his trademark dialogue already in full armor; extracts from his Sundance tryout, with Steve Buscemi, of scenes from “Dogs” prior to the shoot proper; and Q.T. himself talking the viewer through scenes from favorite movies, like Jim McBride’s “Breathless,” Brian De Palma’s “Casualties of War,” and a formative movie, the 1948 “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.”

A third of the docu’s time is taken up with “Dogs” alone, to the extent that there’s a feeling of rush in dealing with “Killers,””True Romance” and “Pulp Fiction.” (“Killers” was still unseen, even by Tarantino, when this program was taped in August.)

Thompson has done a good job of rounding up most of the major suspects, though notable absentees include Q.T.’s former partner Roger Avery, “Romance” director Tony Scott (busy on a movie), and Oliver Stone (unapproached).

Letterboxed, unbleeped clips from “Dogs” and “Pulp” are numerous and well tied to the interviews; reference clips from other movies, like Godard’s “Bande a part,” are frequently revelatory.

Popular on Variety

Quentin Tarantino: Hollywood's Boy Wonder

BBC1, U.K., Tues. Oct. 25, 10:25 p.m.

Production: Series editor, Nigel Williams; director, David Thompson.

Crew: Camera, Ira Brenner; editor, Catherine Arend; on-line editor, Ross Archer; graphic designer, Keith Haynes; sound (stereo), Michael Reilly, Glen Marullo, Caleb Mose , Andrew Sears; researchers, Lorraine Silberstein, Nigel Algar. Taped in Los Angeles, New York and London by BBC Television. Exec producer, Roger Thompson. 50 MIN.

Cast: Interviewees: Quentin Tarantino, Brian De Palma, Allison Anders, Monte Hellman, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Samuel L. Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Sally Menke, Lawrence Bender, Stacey Sher, Richard N. Gladstein, Todd McCarthy and others.

More TV

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content