Today! Because to her dumb country ass, Compton is Hollywood. Closest she’s ever been anyway –
Jackie Brown (1997)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino (x2)
Starring Pam Grier (x2), Samuel L. Jackson (x5), Robert Forster (x2), Robert De Niro (x3), Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton (x7), Chris Tucker (x2), Michael Bowen (x2), Tiny Lister (x2), LisaGay Hamilton, Hattie Winston, Sid Haig
To say I had been looking forward to Jackie Brown is woefully understating the situation in late 1997. It had been three years – three long formative years – since Pulp Fiction came out, and my whole cinematic outlook had gone through aggressive changes. I mean, going from 15 to 18 years old is going to have its own inherent alterations in lifestyle and tastes, but as I’ve said before, most of my film watching preferences were psychically embedded during this period of time. And PF was as close as anything to the heart of this transformation, so Tarantino finally bringing us his third film was a cause for celebration. Hell, it was a landmark event. It was the goddamn moon landing.
And while the movie – for me, and let’s face it, for everyone – was kind of a disappointment at that time, it has aged incredibly well as the years passed and we got more and more genre specific Tarantino films thrown at us. Jackie Brown is probably his most straightforward movie to this day, and I believe is the only non-original screenplay in the group, having been based on the great Elmore Leonard yarn Rum Punch. There are considerably fewer deaths, still plenty of cursing and comedy, a terrific slate of characters, and another awesome soundtrack. Sure, it might be a little too long, and the finale doesn’t quite payoff like other Tarantino films, but in and of itself it’s a great adaptation and a hugely underrated entry in the A Band Apartiverse (Is that a thing? That’s not a thing).
The cast is an interesting combination of omnipresent film stars (Jackson, De Niro, Keaton), icons of the past (Grier, Forster), and the since disappeared (Hope you’re doing well out there, Bridget Fonda!). Honestly, I always kinda forget about De Niro in this movie – even though he’s still pretty solid – what with the great Jackie and Max scenes, the standard wild Sam Jackson “motherfuckers,” and Fonda’s Melanie getting high in her bikini for virtually the whole film. Partly because of the stacked reality of 1997, and partly the sorta warmed over reception of the movie, Forster would pick up the only Oscar nomination for the group, while Grier and Jackson nabbed Actress and Actor in a Comedy or Musical nominations at the Globes. Jackie Brown is kinda funny, but it’s no comedy. Typical Golden Globes nonsense!
I still play this soundtrack more than any other Tarantino film – partly because Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction came out early enough that I had those on cassette and never upgraded, but also because you know I love me some ’70s funk and soul. “Strawberry Letter 23,” “Across 110th Street,” “Who is He (and What is He to You)?,” “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time?” Classic! My days of buying soundtracks is long behind me – maybe on vinyl once in a while, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought a CD – but Jackie Brown is just forever in the rotation.
Another expected large group of folks advancing (that’s probably just going to be standard from here, no?), including Grier (#310 Mars Attacks!) and Forster (#286 Me, Myself, and Irene) joining the Twos, but making the greatest strides are Samuel L. Jackson as the 37th Five-Timer (#332 Phantom Menace, #175 Patriot Games, #172 Out of Sight, #224 The Avengers) and Michael Keaton stretching all the way to become only the third Seven-Timer (#393 Dream Team, #205 Batman Returns, #185 Multiplicity, #282 Johnny Dangerously, #152 Toy Story 3, Out of Sight)!