With 2021 finally dawned upon us, it brings a new beginning to what was for sure one of the most tumultuous years in anyone’s recent memory in the year 2020, with a plethora of events that occurred (and many still recurring) that need no repeating. We all know of what went down and what’s going on, things which have spilled over and are still extreme challenges in this new year. In short, 2020 was a year most of, if not all, of us would soon rather forget.
However, what shouldn’t be forgotten are the names of the many luminaries in entertainment that we lost last year, also a stunning amount of creatives and well-knowns of seemingly every type and stripe. While in a lot of ways an “in memoriam” list seems rather arbitrary and irrelevant considering the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the United States alone last year during the pandemic and of people who became global martyrs by way of insurrectional behaviors by authoritative figures all across America, a list like this becomes in a way necessary, as it’s important to give the proper respect and final send off to some of the individuals who touched our lives in so many ways, especially during last year, when all forms of entertainment became not only entrenched in its typical “escapism,” but also became a healing balm in a sense, something that helped people push through during the darkest times of necessary state and governmental-enforced bondage on us all. And it is for that reason, that we present some of our heroes, guiding lights, inspirations, and illuminations who left us in 2020.
The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced this morning, and Quentin Tarantino‘s brutal, slow-burn western epic The Hateful Eight scored nods in three categories: Jennifer Jason Leigh in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance as the feral, fearsome criminal Daisy Domergue, with Robert Richardson‘s sumptuous widescreen cinematography also received well-deserved recognition.
The film’s third and final Oscar nomination was for the music score composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone – the first original soundtrack for a Tarantino film. This marks the sixth time Morricone has been nominated, but he has yet to win. Morricone did receive an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2007. The award was presented to him by Clint Eastwood, who shot to international movie stardom with Il Maestro’s musical backing.
I’ve embedded Morricone’s Oscar speech, in Italian with Eastwood translating into English best as possible, and you can check it out here below.
On New Year’s Eve, I met up with a pair of great friends and took in a showing of Quentin Tarantino‘s latest film, The Hateful Eight (check out our recent review by Adam Frazier), which I found to be a brazenly sinister and violent black comedy sneaked in on unsuspecting moviegoers beneath the sheepskin of a classic big sky western. Then we all made a short pilgrimage to a local tavern where we proceeded to ring in the new year and I learned that I knew all of the lyrics to Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.”
Love the film or hate its evil guts, one of the undisputed highlights of Hateful Eight was the original score composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone – his first score for a western in four decades! Tarantino has long wanted to team with the famed Italian music man responsible for some of the most iconic film scores of our time (Morricone even wrote an original song, “Ancora Qui,” for Tarantino’s previous film, Django Unchained), and the director’s latest provided “Il Maestro” a magnificent playground full of amoral characters talking and shooting each other to death with which to work. Unfortunately, Morricone was not able to create a full score due to a rushed schedule, compelling Tarantino to fill in a few gaps by utilizing selections from other scores composed by Morricone.
Rabid movie geeks will be getting a nifty present this year when Django Unchained, the latest action epic from director Quentin Tarantino, opens on Christmas Day. Not much else is needed to sell people on this movie; if you are anything like me you will have already made plans to go see it on the 25th right after you enjoy Christmas dinner, exchanging presents, and the traditional drinking contest and arm wrestling match with your grandma Freida.
Nonetheless, a new trailer is out today that’s light on plot and heavy on action. Plus we have the track listing and ordering info for the Django Unchained soundtrack album.
You can check out the trailer and the soundtrack info here below.
Inglourious Basterds Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbenderr, Til Schweiger, Samm Levine, B.J. Novak, Mike Myers
Release date: August 21, 2009
I did not discover Quentin Tarantino at the same time everyone else did, but by the time his 1997 crime drama Jackie Brown, an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch, was released I knew who he was. I came by his movies on my own with my only knowledge of them being what I had read in magazines like Rolling Stone, Premiere, and Entertainment Weekly.
Pulp Fiction, his epic anthology of strangely believable adventures in the underworld, was the first. I rented that movie when it was first released on video but it took me all of the one-week rental period to watch it because I could not view it in the presence of my younger brother and sister. But as I watched Pulp Fiction, piece by piece every day before and after I went to school, I became captivated by what I was seeing and I began to understand why Quentin Tarantino was the talk of the town. Here was undoubtedly the most innovative and dynamic new filmmaker to emerge in a decade that had seen more than its fair share of cinematic underachievers and would see even more before the millennium came to a close. Tarantino’s films were heavily criticized for their violence but when weighed against the majority of the R-rated action fare that was coming out of Hollywood there was not much bloodshed at all. What gave the violence in Tarantino’s films its impact was its relative restraint. His films rely mostly on the integral developments of plot and character. When the violence does come, be it in a shocking gag (the accidental shooting of Marvin in Pulp Fiction) or an extended battle sequence (the House of Blue Leaves fight which takes up the majority of Kill Bill Volume 1‘s third act), it feels like a cathartic release of tension and energy. Tarantino’s own personal celluloid orgasm, if you will.