QT8: The First Eight Honors Quentin Tarantino

A still from QT8: The First Eight.

QT8: The First Eight is a feature-length documentary paying tribute to Oscar-nominated filmmaker and cinephile Quentin Tarantino.

Everything started with Reservoir Dogs in 1992. After its midnight premiere during Cannes, history would forever change.  This was the breakthrough.  Michael Madsen shares some interesting insight into the film’s wardrobe especially with the all-black clothing.

The film is told in three distinct chapters: The Revolution, Badass Women and Genre Play, and Justice.  It’s a reminder of the reputation Tarantino has made through his work.  There are actors in line that want to work for him according to Jamie Foxx.  Whether they get that chance or not remains to be seen.

Madsen gets quite a bit of screentime.  He turned down the role of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction.  In doing so, this led to a revitalization of John Travolta’s career.  Travolta was over a decade removed from the likes of Grease and Saturday Night Fever.  To say that the film led to a comeback would not be an understatement.

Eli Roth and Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds.
Eli Roth and Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds. Courtesy of Weinstein/Universal.

Christoph Waltz says that what Tarantino does in Inglourious Basterds is “the quintessential task of what storytelling is all about.”

Eli Roth talks about remembering that ending and watching it with his parents.  His parents were crying.

“I get to be the Jew that shot Hitler, “Roth says.  “It’s the greatest.  Everywhere I go, people recognize me for the Bear Jew.  Every country.  It’s incredible.”

Moreover, Roth says the film was a “ballsy move” following a commercial failure.  Roth reminds us that is a film where the Basterds aren’t in it that much, a war movie where there’s hardly any war, and 2/3 is in a foreign language.

In discussing Django Unchained, Jamie Foxx mentions how Leonardo DiCaprio had trouble saying the N word on set.  Even though this was a period piece, one could understand why it would be so hard to get the words to come out of his mouth.  It took Jamie Foxx to convince him.  Meanwhile, there’s a scene in the film where he smashes a glass and that’s real blood on his hands.  This speaks to the kind of actor that he is because he persevered and finished the scene.

Tara Wood is able to capture the career of a visionary director seen through the lens of cast and crew.  While Tarantino himself doesn’t appear in the film on camera, it’s almost as if he does.  Tarantino gave his blessing for the documentary but requested that neither meet until after they finish so as to not influence the direction.  I’d be interested in seeing the portions of interviews that got left on the cutting room floor.

Because Tarantino’s career is intertwined with that of Harvey Weinstein, it would have been an injustice if Weinstein didn’t come up.  We see news clippings from when Uma Thurman went public about being sexual assaulted.  Sure, there’s Tarantino’s statement.  Perhaps the most powerful portion is when Michael Madsen says he knew what happened but never said a thing.  It’s almost as if he feels guilty for staying silent but understands why so many women stayed quiet.  It was the emotional fear of speaking out.  The fear of losing a job is really big.

While I saw Inglourious Basterds during opening weekend, I regret to say that I’m late in watching the vast majority of Quentin Tarantino’s films.  I was too young for the likes of Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs when they were first released.  The same goes for Jackie Brown.  It wasn’t until subscribing to Netflix in late 2009 or 2010 in which I started to rectify these faults.

It’s kind of funny though.  I watched QT8 on Wednesday–two days after meeting the man himself at the Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood home entertainment release party.  I can say with my own first-hand experience that Tarantino is a man who knows his stuff especially when it comes to film.  He broke away from a conversation to talk with me.  Our conversation happened to be about the aforementioned Inglourious Basterds.  Having lost family in the Holocaust, I told him how I wish the ending were real.  Quentin proceeded to tell me about the first time he screened it for an audience in Israel and how the audience reacted.  Prior to the screening, he wasn’t sure as to how it would be received in Israel.  Suffice it to say, the film was a hit.

But enough about my own story, be sure to check out QT8: The First Eight to hear cast and colleagues talk about working with Quentin Tarantino.  QT8 is a brilliant documentary from Tara Wood about a filmmaker making original content in the age of franchises, remakes, and reboots.

DIRECTOR:  Tara Wood
FEATURING:  Zoë Bell, Louis Black, Bruce Dern, Robert Forster, Jamie Foxx, Richard Gladstein, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Kruger, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Eli Roth, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Stacey Sher, Scott Spiegel, and Christoph Waltz

QT8: The First Eight is now available on Digital and VOD. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.