A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later. — Stanley Kubrick
In honor of the new class of fine filmmakers selected by the film writers of our mothership site, we start with a scene from the movie my colleague, Jason Zingale, accurately selected as Quentin Tarantino‘s most underrated.
Be forewarned that, typically enough for Mr. Tarantino, this scene — which features a brief appearance by the late Tony Curtis via TV — contains lots of NSFW language. In particular, Samuel L. Jackson as murderous arms dealer Ordell Robbie uses enough n-words here that some took umbrage — perhaps because it showed he hadn’t been dissuaded when Denzel Washington gave him a talking to about using the word on the set of 1995’s “Crimson Tide.” One difference: in Tarantino’s earlier films, he has low-life white criminals using the word, possibly accurate but definitely on the edge of acceptability in mainstream films, here he has low-life African-American crooks using the word, more or less de rigeur in the nineties. Personally, I doubt I could justify changing a single word here in any case.
Come to think of it, I don’t think there’s been a single n-word in a Tarantino film since 97’s “Jackie Brown.” Denzel Washington, however, did use the word repeatedly (though with an “a” instead of an “er” on the end) as an unsavory copper, and won an Oscar for it, in 2001’s “Training Day.”