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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

There are some filmmakers who are notoriously against a lot of the digital aspects of today’s industry. One such filmmaker is Quentin Tarantino. Him, along with Christopher Nolan have been some of the big holdouts in terms the use of actual film, and as many fans know, Tarantino is also still holding out in terms of digital viewing.

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Tarantino doesn’t use Netflix, and is very precious about watching movies on a physical medium. In addition to the tangibility of it, he sees the current digital age as one that lacks overall commitment. In a recently-unearthed interview (via Yellow King Film Boy), Tarantino delved into his observations on film watching as a result of Netflix.

“It’s very sad to me. It’s very, very sad to me. And I’m a little surprised how quickly it happened, and I’m a little surprised at how the public has moved on, and no one’s looking back, and they don’t really care. And it’s not just out of the nostalgia. I’m not on Netflix so I can’t even tell you exactly how that works. Even if you just have all the movie channels in your [cable] package, and that’s something I do have, you hit the guide, and you go down the list and you…watch something or you tape something and maybe you never get around to watching it or you actually do watch it, and then maybe you watch it for ten minutes or twenty minutes, and maybe you start doing something else, and [you decide], ‘Nah, I’m not really into this. That’s kind of where we’ve fallen into.

“However, there was a different quality to the video store. You looked around, you picked up boxes, you read the back of the boxes. You made a choice, and maybe you talked to the guy behind the counter, and maybe he pointed you toward something. And he didn’t just put something in your hand, he gave you a little bit of a sales pitch on it to some degree or another. And so the point being is, you were kind of invested, in a way that you’re not invested with electronic technology when it comes to the movies. Now, of course, we all rented three movies and didn’t get around to watching the third one, but there was more of a commitment to what you ended up getting. And maybe you went down to the store to get Top Gun, and that’s what you wanted, and you got “Top Gun,” but then you picked up something you never heard about before, just because you wanted something more than Top Gun. And maybe it’s something that caught your eye, you didn’t know anything about it, and you took a chance. But you rented it, so you actually wanted to try and watch it some degree or another. And that’s what’s really lost — in a weird way, what’s lost is commitment.”

While I see where he’s coming from, I can’t say I entirely agree. More than ever, viewing is an engaging experience. I rarely watch things passively on Netflix, and since you have to go in and actually choose what you’re watching, I’d argue it’s a more engaging experience than standard cable. In addition, from online reviews to Netflix recommendations, I’d say we go into the film with just as much information as we ever did in the video stores.

That being said, he does have a point in one respect. With countless films at our fingertips, if we aren’t feeling a movie ten minutes in, there’s nothing stopping us from pulling the plug and looking into something more intriguing. In that sense, we could very well be missing out on potentially life-changing movies.

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SOURCE: Yellow King Film Boy

  • Derek NOLA

    word of mouth is the biggest deal now i think. the one thing tarantino is aboslutely right about is the commitment issue or paying attention; however, that is now in all aspects of life where people cant put the damn phone down. i yell at my boyfriend all the time about this… leave the phone alone for a few minutes or you wont understand whats going on… its over stimulation

  • Moby85

    Holy crap! It’s as if Tarantino is in my mind, or I’m in his. His statement about the video store and feeling sad for it’s loss is my exact experience even today. Not only that, but he uses the example of Top Gun: my all time favorite movie and the film I’d have used for my explanation too. Look at my profile avatar Lol…

    I think for the cinephile a lot is lost with Netflix. You feel you have choice but you really don’t. Netflix only giveth what they choose, and they taketh when they want (or otherwise lose rights). There is no permanence. I hate that. I hate how since I own nothing, these films in the cloud can just disappear.

    Maybe this is OK for the casual movie fan. For me it’s not OK, I continue to buy DVDs and Blu-Rays even (and especially) if they’re available on digital streaming: so as to do my part to somehow try to prove there is still relevance in physical, owned, films.

  • Rey

    However, this digital age is now putting in easier reach of young and new filmmakers to create. But I do understand what he is saying. Movies and music are taken even more for granted now. I guess he isn’t receiving any royalties from the handful of his movies that are currently playing on Netflix.

  • Madcap2112

    Netflix also puts you in touch with a wide range of documentaries that would have gone largely unnoticed in a video store.

  • Kronx

    Netflix literally does everything he describes.

    Picking up boxes and reading the back? It’s the same as browsing titles and reading summaries in Netflix. Ask the guy behind the counter? Netflix constantly recommends similar titles for your interests. Also let’s not forget you can easily browse the Internet and find a zillion reviews of anything.

    And he doesn’t seem to consider the physical DVD mail service which allows access to more titles than you could ever cram in a physical store, including films you would never see otherwise.

    What he’s actually describing is missing the fulfillment of the psychological need to physically hunt and gather. For example, I buy Blu-Rays. Now I could just hop online and buy any movie my heart desires, but I usually just stare at the search box until I get bored and do something else.

    However, I could linger at Best Buy for hours, even though I know 99 percent of it is the same crap I looked at last time, and the selection is a lot more limited. But if I shoot my money into it and bring the carcass home, then I have the illusion of accomplishment. Yay, me!

  • Smerdyakov

    Most Netflix series I’ve seen are just like Tarantino movies. Long, slow, padded, and full of long dialog scenes that lead nowhere.

  • Fábio Santana

    I have never gotten so engaged in series as I am today with Netflix.

  • Ignacio Libre

    Tarantino has a point. I’m old enough to remember the Blockbuster experience. The same can be said about the music record store experience compared to just downloading songs one at a time. Although I prefer having particular movies on blu-ray, I enjoy Netflix for content that I wouldn’t necessarily purchase. There is a part of me – that is sad – that physical medium appears to be going the way of digital streaming, downloadable games, Itunes, etc.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer’s always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he’s always been something of a story junkie.