by Grant Stoner
Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown was released on Blu-Ray this week. To celebrate, LACMA’s Film Series screened the original and I attended.
Considering this film was first released 14 years ago, I’ll skip any detailed reviews, but I feel it’s Tarantino’s most underrated work and one of his best. The 35 mm print we saw looked great; occasional film scratches only added to the vibe. While it was a blast re-watching a great film on the big screen, the icing on the cake was the follow-up Q&A with Pam Grier and Robert Forster. Plus the surprise announcement by curator Elvis Mitchell that Tarantino would be there, too.
Having attended scores of producer-centric Q&As over the years, I’ve become jaded by the prospect and usually walk away underwhelmed by the experience. Still, I was excited to be in the same room with Quentin Tarantino and hear him talk.
The mutual respect/adoration between Pam Grier and Tarantino was apparent from the start. Deft moderating curbed any risk of a love fest and we were treated to some amazing behind-the-scenes nuggets, creative insights and terrific stories. Whatever you may think of Tarantino, his love of movies and craft and actors can’t be denied.
Particularly genuine on the human level and genius on the filmmaking level was the story about Tarantino’s practice of visiting his actors’ homes. He liked to find out personal details about each actor and bring some of that into the film character. For example, because Robert Forster’s father was a trainer in the circus, Tarantino dressed Max Cherry’s (the character in the film) office with Ringling Brothers paraphernalia on the walls. That made Forster feel really at home in his space and that translated to a comfort level within the film.
I was particularly struck by how Tarantino told Pam Greer he was writing a script for her when they first me. She was overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation to be an inspiration for someone’s dream as well as being part of the movie.
As producers, I think we can learn from that. We need to remember that above all else we’re in the dream making business. We make dreams.