One day - when I was in 8th grade - my mother took me to Blockbuster so I could rent a movie. My process in picking a DVD typically hinged on a combination of A) appealing lead actors B) catchy titles C) a cool cover (it had to be REALLY good, though - I wasn't dumb) or D) something I had overheard family members or classmates discuss. On this particular Friday, my eyes met a coverless DVD sleeve - as if someone had stolen it - with the Blockbuster-stock font reading "RESERVOIR DOGS (1992) ". It was the combination of a cool, mysterious sounding title met with some distant memory overhearing that this was a significant cinematic achievement that did me in. Despite this DVD copy lacking the film's original cover art, two of my criteria were checked. Even my mother - who paid for the rental - said, "Oh, yes. Quentin Tarantino is quite interesting." So I rented it. And my mind was BLOWN to bits. I grew up watching Star Wars, E.T., and The Princess Bride. Even more mature-themed films like Terminator 2 paled in comparison to this. I felt like I had ripped a hole in the universe, revealing a hole that only I could peer into and roll around in a land of something new and different. I watched it twice more plus all of the limited bonus features before I had to return the DVD to Blockbuster. I would never be the same.
Tonight marked a personal milestone. I was lucky enough to see Reservoir Dogs on the big screen, in gorgeous 35mm, presented by Quentin Tarantino himself (even cast members Tim Roth and Michael Madsen were there!), the film's producer Lawrence Bender, and Sundance founding director, Michelle Satter. SIDENOTE: one of his producers produced The Cider House Rules, which QT pronounced The Cider House RULES (screaming with a fist in the air). Michael Madsen and I were sent into a fit of laughter from that one. Once the movie began, I'm sitting there, in the top balcony of a packed theater in Downtown LA, geeking out; doing my best to study the nuanced universe he began building from Day 1 of his cinematic domination. I've seen this thing at least twenty times but still making new discoveries beneath the layers of unconventional narrative structure: i.e. How the hell did he write in all of that stuff about Pam Grier and then wind up casting her in Jackie Brown six years later? I can't wait for a QT-directed play.