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The 1987 Mega-Movie Draft With Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary!

Tarantino and Avary join Sean, Amanda, and Chris Ryan to pick their faves and foil their pals in a draft of the movies from 1987

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We are drafting again and we have some special guests: Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary, longtime friends, filmmaking collaborators, and the hosts of the Video Archives Podcast, join Sean, Amanda, and Chris Ryan to pick their faves and foil their pals in a draft of the movies from 1987.

Tarantino reflects on the ’80s, and 1987 in particular, when he worked at Video Archives, couldn’t get enough of the movies, and harbored aspirations of becoming a director.

Sean Fennessey: OK, Quentin, ’87, who are you? What are you doing?

Quentin Tarantino: I’m working at Video Archives. I think the year earlier I had just started going out with my first real girlfriend. So I actually had somebody to go to some of these movies with, and her name was Grace. And that’s who I was. Suffering through the horrible cinematic ’80s.

OK, now one of the things that’s actually interesting is this is peak Video Archives mania. That’s what we did. I saw four to five movies every single solitary week. I paid to see them all. I paid to see movies I didn’t even like twice, sometimes even three times. And forget about all the stuff I’m watching at the store. I mean, that was my life. It was just completely my life. There was no directing on the horizon at that point. Aspirations, but no ...

Roger Avary: Well, hold on a sec, hold on a sec. I think you’re wrong there, aren’t you?

Tarantino: Well, if you’re talking about My Best Friend’s Birthday, that proved out to be a fiasco, all right? So that was like, “OK, you’re not good at—”

Avary: Well, fiasco yeah, but aspirations.

Tarantino: Well, I had them, but this is kind of the year I let go of them for a while. [My Best Friend’s Birthday] proved that: “No, you don’t have it. You were wrong!”

Avary: Come on, there’s that one radio station scene that is so freaking—

Tarantino: I’m not putting it down. I’m saying I spent three years thinking it was going to be something, and it was nothing.

Fennessey: It’s not too late to commercially release it. You could still do it, you could still do it.

Tarantino: But it was interesting kind of going through the year. I didn’t go on the internet, I took my John Willis Screen World book and read through everything. If I re-checked anything online, it was through Flickchart because I get a kick out of Flickchart. But the basis is framing. And so I went through that, and as I am going through it all, going to the different movies, I’m like “Oh my God, this is a terrible year.”

And it’s not even so much it’s a terrible year. It’s just a perfect ’80s year. It’s just so fucking middle-of-the-road ’80s for me. Almost better if it were terrible because there would be something more substantial.

But two things hit me big time. One is how many of these, what I think, mediocre movies that not only did I see in the theater, I maybe even saw twice at the theater. I paid for every single one of them. And then how many of these middlebrow movies ... I think I talked myself into even liking them back then because I did talk myself into liking a bunch of stuff because I wanted to like things. I wanted to go to the movies! I wanted to have a good fucking time.

I didn’t overinflate things, but in the ’80s I didn’t even hold a bad ending against a movie. Because every movie had a fucking bad ending. If you’re going to throw the movie off because it has a bad ending, well, then you just don’t like movies.

Chris Ryan: You like three movies.

Tarantino: You just don’t like movies.

Fennessey: But you’ve said this a long time, though, that the ’80s are terrible. But I think the four of us think this might be kind of a good year.

Tarantino: I’m sure you probably do. And therein lies the difference between the five of us.

Tarantino: However, I will say, and again the whole question about how you win this thing. Which as we go back and forth, there’s never been … I know how to fuck up other people. But I don’t quite know how to win.

Fennessey: You just nailed it.

This transcript was lightly edited for clarity.

Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
Guests: Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary, and Chris Ryan
Producers: Bobby Wagner

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