Twenty years ago, Quentin Tarantino directed Reservoir Dogs. Chances are you didn’t see it in a theater then — it grossed less than $3 million — but there was no denying the bold artistic statement made by the 28-year-old former video-store clerk when his violent feature debut premiered at Sundance in January 1992. Audiences were dazed and dazzled, critics referenced Leone and Peckinpah. But the movie, a non-linear narrative about a heist gone wrong, was entirely something new. And it would reverberate in Hollywood, especially when Tarantino followed it up two years later with Pulp Fiction, arguably the best movie of the decade — and undeniably the most admired.
Tomorrow, eight Tarantino films can be purchased together as part of Tarantino XX, a 10-disc Blu-ray collection celebrating his singular body of work. In addition to Dogs and Fiction, there’s True Romance (which he wrote), Jackie Brown, both Kill Bills, Death Proof, and Inglourious Basterds. Together in the same set, you can’t help but marvel at the purity of the work, the uncompromising vision that Tarantino instills in each movie. It makes one even more excited for Django Unchained when it arrives on Dec. 25. A bloody new red-band trailer for his pre-Civil War western is one of the set’s extra features, and it will remind you that Tarantino shoots to kill.
Below, director Robert Rodriguez discusses his first impressions of Reservoir Dogs and the man who would become a close friend and collaborator, on projects like Four Rooms and From Dusk Till Dawn. It’s part of the most excellent “20 Years of Filmmaking,” a new feature-length documentary that goes back to the very beginning.
Tarantino recently told Playboy that he can see himself directing only two more movies after Django, giving him a tidy total of 10. “Directors don’t get better as they get older,” he said. “I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f—s up three good ones. … I’m on a journey that needs to have an end and not be about me trying to get another job. I want this artistic journey to have a climax. I want to work toward something. You stop when you stop, but in a fanciful world, 10 movies in my filmography would be nice.”
He’s not the first director from his generation to contemplate retirement (See: Steven Soderbergh and Kevin Smith), but his demanding obsessions give his “artistic journey” musings credence. Another two films or another 20, no matter: Tarantino is sure to go out in a cinematic blaze of glory whenever he decides to call it quits. But let’s hope there’s another Blu-ray set in his future: Tarantino XL.