If you had told me in 1994 that someday Quentin Tarantino would be my landlord, I would have majorly freaked out. I saw Pulp Fiction with my parents in the theater (which was pretty embarrassing, in all honesty. Watching a grown black man getting raped is pretty uncomfortable when you’re 15 and sitting next to your dad.) Like everyone else, the movie blew me away. Everyone in it was so cool. I bought the soundtrack and listened to it on repeat, trying to dance just like Mia Wallace. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would someday be on a first name basis with the director.
Quentin bought the New Bev building in 2007, and lo and behold – he was my landlord. I was nervous to meet him – he seemed larger than life to me and I couldn’t imagine just being normal and talking to him like a regular person. But you know what? He’s nice. Really nice. His enthusiasm for film is so infectious and charming. When he introduces a movie he is excited about, he lights up like a kid on Christmas and talks at hyper-speed, as if his mouth is trying desperately to keep up with his train of thought.
And he gives really fantastic hugs.
He won’t give autographs or take pictures when he’s at the New Beverly, because he thinks of the theater as an extension of his living room. He wants to sit back and enjoy the film as an anonymous film geek, just like everyone else. I respect him for that. He knows that when it all comes down to it, the New Bev isn’t about celebrity, it’s about love of film. He just wants to watch films with like-minded folks. How awesome is that?
I’ve actually sat next to Quentin while watching a film on a few occasions. During Joe Dante’s first festival, Joe showed Mondo Cane – I’d never seen the film, but I figured seeing it for the first time sitting between Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright was about the best way to see it. (And let me just say that both gentlemen are very generous sharing their candy). At every gross scene, Edgar and I would both close our eyes and groan with disgust – and Quentin? He would just laugh and laugh – our reactions cracked him up.
I also sat next to Quentin the first time I saw Inglorious Basterds. Having him lean over and whisper things about the making of the film as it ran is probably one of my favorite New Beverly experiences. (Although dancing on stage with Rian Johnson and completely blanking out on my Q&A when Donovan Leitch kissed me on the cheek are way up there, too.)
Now Quentin is programming all of March for us. I’m excited because one of Quentin’s favorite things is to share obscure movies he loves – and he knows that just by attaching his name to it, the film will get seen, even if no one has ever heard of it. I think that’s about the best use of fame I can think of. Watching films that filmmakers you admire love is such a unique experience, and one that we’re lucky to have often at the Bev. AND we get to present the US premiere of the 247 minute cut of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair. Believe me, I’m just as excited to see that as everyone else!
But, between you and me, you know what I’m most excited about? Those fantastic hugs.