Day 1, Movie 1 – Jackie Brown: Or How I Stopped Complaining and Just Watched A Tarantino Movie
I’m beginning this post with some potentially blasphemous words: I don’t love Quentin Tarantino. At least, not immediately. Rather than worship the ground he walks on, I only sometimes, kind of, like his movies. Setting out to watch one requires a lot of effort on my part; I will bitch and moan until I finally just suck it up and watch.
Jackie Brown is no different. Of Tarantino’s feature films, this was the only one I had yet to see. I’ve put seeing it off for years; it’s one of those “I’ll get to it eventually” kind of movies.
When my friend learned about this blogathon, he insisted that I watch Jackie Brown because the Meters, one of his favorite bands is featured on soundtrack. Our conversation* went something like this:
“Do I really have to?”
“Well, have you seen it?”
“Then you should just watch it.”
Then I watched Jackie Brown. And I didn’t watch it just once or twice but, as of last night, three times.
Now that I’ve seen it, Jackie Brown is easily my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie. Of course, I could just be saying that because it is freshly ingrained in my memory. (The only other Tarantino movie I’ve seen in the last year is Pulp Fiction.)
Pam Grier as Jackie, a cash smuggling flight attendant whose number one concern is herself, is a fully realized female character from the start. Her character, which is the glue that holds the movie with its many characters and subplots together, is something that immediately pulls you in. That also has to do with the opening sequence.
I’ve realized this when it comes to me and Tarantino movies: we have a hate-hate-hate-love-love-love relationship. I often require at least three screenings of any of his movies before I even begin to like them. I imagine that this is in part because there is so much going on in these movies. I saw Pulp Fiction before I had clocked enough hours watching other movies making it harder for me to understand, let alone appreciate what I was watching.
The same goes for Jackie Brown. Had I gone into this movie without having seen any blaxploitation films, I would have written Jackie Brown off as one of those movies I just don’t like. But I didn’t. I went into Jackie Brown with far more knowledge about the director, the actors, the films it pays homage to I had with every other previous Tarantino movie. This enhanced what I was watching and made it worthwhile enough for me to revisit it a few times in the last few weeks.
If it was a movie by any other director than Tarantino, I could easily watch a film, conclude that I don’t like it, and that I never see it again. Maybe with Tarantino I am just more willing to put in the effort. As I’ve learned more about cinema since I first watching his films when I was a teenager, I have found that they have gotten better. I think I am finally reaching a point where I can absolutely enjoy a Quentin Tarantino movie and that we can have your average love-hate kind of relationship. Seeing Jackie Brown has proven this to me.
*Most likely this conversation did not happen this way. I too busy stewing after being told to see a Tarantino movie to really focus on what argument was being used to tell me to watch it.
This post is part of my Birthday Blitz Marathon.