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If You Like Quentin Tarantino

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  • If You Like Quentin Tarantino...

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    Author: Katharine Rife
    Released by: Limelight Editions
    Released on: November 1, 2012.
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    The latest in the Limelight Editions 'If You Like…' series that expands upon music, movies and other cultural bits and pieces referenced by popular artists focuses on Quentin Tarantino. Any cult movie fan worth his or her salt knows that Tarantino likes to 'borrow' from the movies he's long been a fan of and given that his films tend to be packed with references and so called homage's to many of those pictures, something like this has the potential to be a pretty interesting read, at least to those who don't live, sleep, eat and breath this type of stuff.

    If you're not familiar with City On Fire, this is the book for you. If you didn't realize that the suitcase in Pulp Fiction was a reference to Kiss Me Deadly, give this book a shot. If you were complete unaware that Pam Grier was in blaxploitation movies in the seventies and that Tarantino's admiration of these movies lead to his casting of her in Foxy Brown, you'll probably find this pretty enlightening. If you only know Sonny Chiba from his cameo in Kill Bill and had no idea that he made loads of awesome movies in his native Japan which had a big influence on not just Kill Bill but also the Tarantino scripted True Romance, check this out. You'll dig it.

    And that's also the problem with the book. If you're a cult movie buff, it's hard to read something like this objectively and find it interesting. That's not to say that there aren't nuggets of information here and there to gleam, it's that a lot of this book will, to a certain segment of the readership of this site, be stating the obvious. At the same time, there are other avenues that could have been explored and which were not. Did Duke Mitchell's Massacre Mafia Style influence one of Pulp Fiction's most memorable shots? Yeah, it probably did but you'd never know it from reading this book because it doesn't go there, even if it does use that image on the cover. Did Sergio Corbucci's Django influence Django Unchained? Probably but when this book was written the film was unfinished so when it goes there it's vague. The whole chapter on Django Unchained is vague, actually, not in the western films that it recommends or reviews but in how those films relate to Tarantino's movie specifically and given that over ten percent of the book's less than two hundred pages cover Django Unchained, that's a problem.

    Rife's heart seems to be in the right place and she writes with a very easy to read and down to Earth style, taking most of this stuff seriously enough to make it obvious her intentions were good. The appendix of films Tarantino released under his short lived Rolling Thunder Pictures banner through Miramax is handy and the index makes it easy to go right to whatever movie you might want to know more about but the end result is a book that really just scratches the surface. It will doubtlessly be of interest to the casual movie fans that Limelight would be wise to market it to, but seasoned fans of horror, martial arts, exploitation and foreign oddities may find that this one comes up a bit short.
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