QT8: The First Eight

I was 13 years old when I saw the video Reservoir Dogs at my local video store. There were – for me at the time – not many familiar actors in it. But the cover looked pretty cool with guys in suits with guns. Plus there was a lot of praise on it from critics, so I decided to give it a shot. I had no idea what to expect, but Jesus Christ was it a good movie! Ridiculously great filmmaking. One of the best movies I had seen at that point and to this day still.

It is funny to hear all these actors in the documentary QT8: The First Eight basically relate to the exact same experience. Tim Roth, shown while being carried in the warehouse by Harvey Keitel, remembers talking to Keitel about what they had just shot and saying: “Man, this is going to be a really great movie!” Keitel agreed.

Reservoir Dogs premiered on Cannes in 1992, very prestigious for a debut, and it was a great success. Everybody wanted to meet Quentin there and he became a movie making star overnight. Everybody said: “Can you believe this guy? He can write and direct and it’s sensational stuff.”

For a long time I was jealous of Tarantino. And when I watch this documentary I still am. I mean, wouldn’t it be something to be able to write screenplays like this guy? And this is also a shared emotion by many people interviewed for this doc. Talent like this is rare. Many people, including me, tried to write scripts like him. But to no avail.

His first screenplays – True Romance and Natural Born Killers – he had to sell to pay the rent. True Romance was originally told in non-chronological order Tarantino-style. Oh and the pop culture loving Clarence, basically Quentin’s alter ego – died at the end. Luckily Tony Scott changed that. At least I for one liked the happy ending.

Tarantino wanted to become a director, so he wrote a script that he could do on a low budget: Reservoir Dogs. Harvey Weinstein distributed the film. After that everybody in Hollywood wanted to work with him, but the Weinstein’s got to produce all his movies up until The Hateful Eight. Then the scandal broke out, and Tarantino – who according to Michael Madsen had known about Weinstein’s misconduct for some time (read Tarantino’s confession-story here) – switched to Sony for his ninth movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

And this Weinstein-business is the only major stain on Tarantino’s career. That, and pushing Uma Thurman to do a car stunt in Kill Bill, which went wrong causing permanent physical problems for her. No good, Mr. Quentin. But there is a lot to balance it out. He is described by everyone in the doc as a very nice guy who enjoys life, and appears to be a great friend for his many cronies.

Pulp Fiction, that followed Reservoir Dogs, is one of the masterpieces of the past 50 years. Michael Madsen, for whom the part of Vincent Vega was originally written, was committed to Wyatt Earp at that time. Nightmare! He takes it well, commenting on the extremely successful casting of John Travolta. “It is one of main reasons the movie worked.” Plus Travolta can dance and Madsen – who did a dance scene in Reservoir Dogs – can’t, at least in his own opinion. “They would have had to change the script into that they don’t win the dance contest.”

How do you follow up a masterpiece like Pulp? You don’t. Just make a very good genre film instead starring Pam Grier, queen of the blaxploitation movies Quentin went to see during his childhood. Jackie Brown is a beautiful film about people trying to figure out what to do with their lives. Then he made another genre film with a strong female lead, a mash-up between Hong Kong cinema and a spaghetti western. Kill Bill is an astonishing accomplishment. Bit of trivia: The razor the Bride uses to escape from the coffin in Vol. 2 is the same used by Mr. Blonde in the torture scene in Dogs. Everything is related in the Tarantino universe.

Then he went on to make another feministic movie with powerful girls in it. Death Proof is a clever slasher flick / carploitation movie shot by the maestro himself. With an unforgettable Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike. After that came his war movie effort. Inglourious Basterds is unlike any war film ever done before. It is storytelling at his best. Django Unchained is another historic film and it’s brutal. It might just be a little too funny for a film about slavery. But Tarantino likes to hand out justice to his characters. Hitler gets machine gunned to death in Basterds and in Django, the black hero – after having killed a ton of slavers – rides off into the sunset with his girl, an image you won’t find in many westerns.

The Hateful Eight, the final movie treated in this doc, is in a way Reservoir Dogs redone as western. Everything comes full circle. Even Weinstein’s story. Apparently John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth (played by Kurt Russell) is based on the monstrous Weinstein. He gets a big fat lesson in the film. Tarantino said many times that he wants to quit at ten movies, because otherwise he fears the quality will go down and people will say: ‘This one is not so good, but this guy used to make great movies’. Let’s hope he will break his word and continue to make movies forever. His style and voice are unique and irreplaceable in Hollywood. Whatever happens, currently nine films are in the can. And I will certainly keep enjoying his work till the end of my days and share it with friends. When you absolutely, positively, want to blow away everybody motherfucker in the room, except no substitutes.

R.I.P. FilmDungeon

FilmDungeon.com (/ fiIḿduƞᵷeon /) was a website for cult-, genre- and exploitation films. The website was founded in 2008 by Jeppe Kleyngeld and was taken offline on 25 august 2020. A new landing page for the site can be found on the founder’s personal blog.

History
Dutch blogger and journalist Jeppe Kleyngeld founded the site as a pet project beside his full time work as an editor in business economics. Kleyngeld has been a cinema-nut ever since his parents bought him his very first movie encyclopedia. The reviews, credits and black- and white images obsessed him to a point where he wanted to see all the movies from the book. This mission was never achieved, although he certainly came a long way. And he created an IMDb-sized trivia database in his mind. Kleyngeld is especially fond of crime and horror flicks and westerns, but is open to everything that is cinema. He started FilmDungeon so he would be able to rant about films all the time and praise the ones that he loves the most. He was also hoping to pass on his enthusiasm to the younger film fans out there. His website could hopefully inspire a few kids – like himself when he got his first movie encyclopedia – to discover what a beautiful medium film really is.

Ending
Due to an outdated technical structure, and the large investment that it would take to upgrade the site, Kleyngeld decided to pull the plug in 2020. He was mostly working on his blog anyway, so figured he could integrate FilmDungeon within his blog that can be found under the url www.fragmenten.blog. As of 2020, most of the content has not been republished, but Kleyngeld has announced that this will occur from 2021 onward on a special landing page. He has also announced several eBooks that will be published in the coming years. Two of those will be focusing on the genres horror, car movies, drugs movies, cult films, spaghetti westerns and will also contain several special features. He will also release an eBook on American gangster movies for the completist.

See also
FilmDungeon landing page
My 10 Favorite Movie Openings
The Story of Film: Time Traveling For the Cinemad
The James Bond Features
5 Must See TV-shows Before You Die
10 Management Lessons From Highly Successful Gangsters
Stanley Kubrick’s Favorite Movie
Book: Peter Jackson & the Making of Middle-Earth
Jeppy’s 100 – My All Time Favorite Movies (2018)
Hunter Goes to Hollywood: Hunter S. Thompson Triple Bill
My 10 Favorite Horror Movies Ever
My 10 Favorite Movie Endings

De statische status van Filmdungeon.com

Zoals ik de vele duizenden fans van Filmdungeon.com regelmatig moet uitleggen, ligt de site momenteel plat. Nee, niet waar. Platliggen betekent niet toegankelijk, en de site is nog wel toegankelijk. Een betere omschrijving is dat de site stilstaat. Niet dat Filmdungeon.com overleden is, maar er gebeurt niks meer op het platform.

De reden is een technische: ik kan er niks meer aan veranderen. Niet dat ik er nog veel tijd voor had, maar ik zou op zijn minst de content op de homepage af en toe verversen als het kon. Maar dat kan niet meer sinds mijn computer gecrasht is en dat kan niet meer hersteld worden. De laatste content heb ik er een jaar geleden opgezet. Zoals hij nu is zal hij blijven totdat ik de site volledig opnieuw heb gebouwd.

Ik heb Filmdungeon.com eind 2007 gemaakt met een amateuristisch softwarepakketje. HTML heb ik geen kaas van gegeten, dus ik moest iets hebben waarmee in simpelweg blokjes kon slepen en stukken teksten en beelden in kon plakken. Het resultaat was basic, maar acceptabel voor een 1.0 versie.

Mijn kracht ligt in het conceptuele – op inhoud – en het tempo waarmee ik content toevoegde. Op Filmdungeon.com werkte ik drie genres uit: cult, genre en exploitation films. Als ‘one man act’ kun je niet alles doen, dan moet je keuzes maken. Mijn keuze was mainstream cinema links te laten liggen en puur te gaan voor cult films en genres waar veel cult tussen zit, zoals gangster films, horror, carploitation, spaghetti westerns, et cetera.

Filmdungeon

Mijn ambitie was om recensies te schrijven van alle gangster films ooit gemaakt. De gangster film is namelijk mijn favoriete genre en ik ben nogal een completist. Ik ben al een heel eind op weg in de gangster film sectie van de dungeon. Van de andere vertegenwoordigde genres hoefde het niet zo uitgebreid.

Verder wilde ik gewoon toffe features publiceren, zoals:
Schwarzenegger’s 100 Greatest Kills
The Sopranos Revisitied – 200 Memorable Moments

De exploitation film kwam vooral aan bod in de sectie Cult Radar.

Daarnaast heb ik nog een uitgebreide James Bond Special klaar liggen voor de release van ‘Spectre’ later dit jaar, maar die zal ik dan wel op deze weblog publiceren.

Maar goed, er komt dus een nieuwe versie van Filmdungeon.com, maar dat kan wel een paar jaartjes duren. Het is tegenwoordig niet meer moeilijk een site te maken. Met een dienst als Weebly.com is het zo gebeurt, maar als ik het doe, doe ik het goed. De vormgeving heeft nooit helemaal aangesloten op het centrale thema van de site, dus daar is dit een mooie kans voor.

Het ‘probleem’ van niks doen aan je website is dat je Google ranking wegzakt, maar ja, die was toch al niet zo sterk van Filmdungeon.com. Misschien moet ik hem gewoon maar zo laten. Een database site / film archief uit lang vervlogen tijden. Een reliek. Zo retro als maar kan. Ja, misschien wordt dat het wel. Wordt vervolgd (of juist niet).