1. Very interesting indeed. Yes, some of it was a strech, but a lot of it was spot on. Eric David did his homework and I thought it was a very entertaining read.

  2. Great essay! I really like the comparisons to Shakespeare, it made me rethink how to see where his storytelling style and characters come from. I think he may have something there. QT is really like a modern Shakespeare in the way his films are these popular morality plays that are filled with dark humor and violence. It makes sense to me.

  3. His name choices are great too. I am sick of seeing Kyle, Sarah, Bob, or John as the main character’s name. Now we get cool stuff like Vincent, Jules, Beatrix, Butch, Budd, and other uncommon names.

  4. Wow! Fantastic essay! It the essay I wanted to write about Tarantino’s movies so far in as it touches some very profound ideas I see in Mr. Tarantino works. I am alway a little annoyed when I read that Quentin Tarantino’s movies are shallow. I think many viewers are just plain old lazy in using their minds to see connections that ARE there if they really follow the JOURNEYS of Mr Tarantino’s “unsavory” characters. I agree with Quentin that the minute he trys for something contrived as “deep” he will lose his unique gift to present the movie manna for each one of us to find our own depths in the movie immersion experiences. But finding those depths is not the director’s responsibilty. It is for the viewer to rise to a higher level of thinking. Finally, Tarantino does not neglect the entertaining and viscerally shocking aspects in his aim to please the popular masses. He is a fascinating director if viewers would give themselves up to his cinematic temple.
    (Oh, please don’t think this is anything like worship or anything like that ;-))

  5. great stuff; it echoes the crap i’ve been yellin to my friends about for years! —- AND, from a CHRISTIAN!!
    thanks — e.b.

  6. Pure shit…Tarantino in the same sentance as the greatest writer in the history of the English language? Anyone who compares Kill Bill to Hamlet (yes, even A and C list Stars like Bruce Willis and David Carradine) doesn’t understand Hamlet. Read Hamlet, understand it (not the cliffnotes), and then tell me that its revenge theme can even be compared to something as simplistic and resolute as “he tried to kill me, he killed my kid, now I have to kill him.” Shakespearean plays are all written in iambic prose…do you know how difficult it is to write a coherant sentence, much less a complete play, under such strict structural guidelines? All that aside, I think Shakespeare wrote something like 25 plays, while QT has written 5 (including True Romance, Natural Born Killers, excluding Jackie Brown).
    I love the guy too, he’s my favorite, and a very good writer, but this is just soso off.

  7. QT def has Shakespearean elements in his stories, thats just a fact. From Dogs to Kill Bill. Alot of films do. He may not be a modern Shakespeare (that was far fetched), but there are similarities in both artists subject matter.
    BTW, QTs favorite film version of the Iago (from Othello) character is Patch from Switchblade Sisters.

  8. To say that something may be inspired from Shakespeare is completely differerent from comparing talents. No problems there.

  9. Yeah I made a little bit of a mistake by saying QT is a modern Shakespeare, I just meant that as in, he writes stories that are Shakesperian in theme, not QT is the modern Shakespeare.

  10. Big Kahuna, “simplistic and resolute as “he tried to kill me, he killed my kid, now I have to kill him.”
    This is all you got from Kill Bill? Oh, you poor soul. I am glad you think you have absorbed all the complexities of Hamlet from the quill of the genius William. If you fully understand Shakespeare

  11. The Big Kahuna? More like “The Big Small-Minded Fool” … He writes: “Do you know how difficult it is to write a coherant sentence, much less a complete play, under such strict structural guidelines?” … To which I respond: Do you know how hard it is to write, cast, film, direct and edit a 3-hour modern masterpiece like “Kill Bill” under the strict structural guidelines of making a successful and entertaining Hollywood movie? …
    Are we supposed to judge art on the merits of how difficult the self-imposed guidelines and limitations were to overcome? If that’s the case, then let’s all go worship that idiot Lars Von Trier and that backwards-minded Dogma 69 shit or whatever the fuck it’s called.
    Have you seen “Shakespeare in Love”? One point that film made was that Shakespeare was ENTERTAINING COMMON-FOLK!! He was, essentially, writing soap operas — the fact that he managed to squeeze so much “True Art” that lasts until this day (along with the “funny dog bits” )is what makes him so genius. I would say Tarantino is doing the EXACT same thing: creating great pop art that is deceptively deep and meaningful. Just like Shakespeare, just like The Beatles, just like Eminem. Now get over yourself.

  12. I am completely with Eli on this one. Except for one thing: Saying that Shakespeare “created great pop art that is deceptively deep and meaningful”, very true. That the Beatles did it, sure. But that Eminem creats GREAT pop art that is deceptively DEEP and MEANINGFUL? That is laughable. Great, deep, and meaningful have nothing to do with Eminem. Next time I would have gone for someone just a tad better, like Sinatra or someone. But I could care less about Eminem and this is a Tarantino site, so instead of debating about how good or bad Eminem is, let’s just all agree that The Big Kahuna missed the point and acknowledge Tarantino’s awesomeness!

  13. I’m not claiming to be an expert on Shakespeare (Ive never even read his stories, Ive only seen movies based on his work) but I think all of us can see Tarantino has Shakespearian elements in his films. Is he as profound and important as Shakespeare was in history? Im a huge QT fan and I cant say thats true. Im sure even QT is aware hes not a modern Shakespeare. QT is a great writer/director, but lets be realistic, theres only one Shakespeare.
    And Eminem isnt that profound, I mean he raps about his life and his feelings on things in cool ways, but hes no Shakespeare either. Great rapper, but hes not THAT important imo.

  14. OK — fair enough; Eminem may not be in that league. But I say, the jury’s still out on his importance.
    I’m actually not even THAT big of a fan of Eminem personally, but I do recognize that he has created an amazing, resonant, and HUGELY successful iconic artistic persona unlike anyone else in our present cultural landscape. I think it entirely possible that he be looked at in 20 years the way Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Bob Marley are today …
    Actually, Bob Marley is a great example of what I was talking about — biblical parables served up in easy-to-digest, danceable pop-reggae tunes! That’s some DEEP POP-ART!

  15. Bob Marley is probably even more impactful than Bob Dylan and John Lennon were.
    Id say Bono of U2 has more in common with a legendary activist/singer like Bob Marley than any other pop star out there today.
    Theres a difference between being a great pop artist who gets people excited and who has alot of admirers and someone who is an activist and changes the world for the better regardless of their popularity or teen fan base.
    So in closing: No, QT is not a modern Shakespeare. No Eminem is not a modern Shakespeare or John Lennon. They are both exceptional artists in their fields that have much more work to do before we see them as anything than what they are: great pop artists.

  16. Oh, relax about the name. I just thought it was a funny play on words. I liked Kill Bill quite a bit, and I realized that there is a bit more to the revenge theme than how I summed it up. And I greatly respect its modern pop significance, although its impact should not be overstated. I don’t think that Tarantino’s writing will be heralded as the best of his time 500 years from now. Save that for William Faulkner or Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
    I understand the limits of film–I realize that it is unrealistic to expect an audience to make an effort to take in and appreciate Hamlet’s muddled revenge theme and others like it. Tarantino does what he can on a leash short enough for the public to control. That’s not to say that he is capable going further, not to say that he isn’t. I just haven’t seen it.
    I wouldn’t take too seriously the biographical merits of Shakespeare in Love. Little is actually known about the guy. Sure, a lot of his audience was common, and many of his recurring plot elements (violence, sex) in his plays were intended to provoke the interest of commoners, but there was also a prevalent esoteric nature to them. In other words, he could be both popular and intellectual. Pretty talented guy.

  17. That’s saying a hell of a lot Pete. To say that Bob Marley is more impactful than Dylan and Lennon. Lennon and Dylan were really impactful. I’m not saying that Marley wasnt an impact because he was. But saying that he was more of an impact than Lennon and Dylan is a hell of a statement.

  18. i know this is completely unrelated to tarantino @ this point, but i would posit that bob dylan, as a cultural influence and figure of historic import, doesn’t even come close to touching lennon or marley.
    i hesitate to say that dylan is OVER-RATED, because people seem to react SO viciously to that statement, AND because i’m actually a big fan of most of dylan’s work, but HONESTLY, i think he WAS over-rated … and not just over-rated as an icon, but as a songwriter as well …
    dylan was in the right place at the right time — where the arty bohemian cultural-establishment literati of the 50s finally came to terms with this “barbarian music” beast that was rock n’ roll in the 60′s. dylan stood at those crossroads and eased the transition from poetry to pop music for these pompous pot-smoking tastemakers.
    it’s not that dylan wasn’t AWESOME that makes him over-rated, it’s that the people who ushered him into popularity/importance/sainthood (who also happened to, uh, RUN the liberal cultural media at the time) fixated on him like a demi-god.
    dude was just a smart & talented ambitious speedfreak who refused to put on any airs about loving elvis as WELL as ezra pound (and 20 or so era-defining masterpiece songs) …

  19. Dylan is a genius but he didnt want to be anything but an artist. It was everyone else who put him up on the “voice of a generation” pedastal. It was basically like Kurt Cobain and Nirvana and that whole deal. Cobain didnt actively go out and proclaim he was IT, it was everyone in the music industry who labeled him that.
    John Lennon did have a big part in spreading peace in the 60s/70s, but Bob Marley basically devoted his whole life to being an activist and helping people in Africa and Jamaica. The guy was almost killed because of it.

  20. Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments on my essay, and then for the thread that split off about who might actually vie for the role of our time’s Shakespeare.
    A lot of great points made. Of course it’s not fair to compare the two on many counts. Tarantino is not writing in iambic pentameter so Shakespeare’s poetic achievement is greater, but then again everyone grew up reading poetry and so perhaps it wasn’t as hard for Shakespeare to write it as we may think it was since we have only grown up with TV.
    But there has been a shift in society from the word toward the image. As we are growing up in an image-based culture, the great poetic dramatists of today will do with images what Shakespeare did with words. My essay tried to focus more on character and plot within a dramatic framework, where a more valid comparison could be made between the two as creative artists.
    There’s also a divide of sorts between those who READ Shakespeare on the page and those who WATCH or PLAY Shakespeare on the stage. The latter are who I focused on the most as the actors who had played Shakespeare and also been in Tarantino’s films had the best vantage point to view both creators from inside their creations — the characters they play.
    I agree with Eli about Shakespeare entertaining the “groundlings” as well as the royalty of his day. If he were alive today, he would be a filmmaker, not a playwright, and the tools of his trade would be steadycam shots and voice-overs, instead of couplets and soliloquys.

  21. Anyways, great essay Eric. I think your ideas, thoughts on QTS work is really interesting and refreshing. Cheers!

  22. I had an afterthought about the use of music in both.
    Tarantino is justly famous for his musical choices, especially when they are dripping red with bloody irony. His record collection and encyclopedic memory add yet another layer to his films.
    Interestingly, Shakespeare’s music has been analyzed by Duffin in Shakespeare’s Songbook (CD included), and shows how much of Shakespeare’s work was influenced by and contained popular ballads and narratives, drinking songs, love songs, and rounds of his day.

  23. You know what, I’m tired of lettin this low piece of shit go by every time. I wish I could hunt you down because when I found you I would RIP YOUR HEAD OFF AND SHIT DOWN YOUR THROAT!
    Sorry about that. I feel much better

  24. schyler can you ban him?
    i think i may have asked this already…
    and if you can’t then what can we do to make him stop being a dick?

  25. maybe it’s a drunk coked-up quentin havin fun after midnight on his computer …
    … no — he’d be having a 3-way with 2 uma-lookalikes.

  26. yeah…maybe.
    seriously, can we find out where this guy lives and cut off his ear or something? (yes i know. painfully obviou reference to RD)

Comments are closed.