10 Random Facts: Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

His genres may range from World War II westerns to martial-arts, revenge epics to Grindhouse, exploitation-inspired, slasher flicks, but Quentin Tarantino’s signature directing style is like a blinking, whooping, neon sign. From the first scene, he transports us to another world that is very much his own. From the dialogue to his personal tastes in movies, music, comics and random stuff like cars and outfits to the teeniest props, not one of the meticulous details is an accident. There always seems to be a story behind something as seemingly trivial as a strategically placed styrofoam cup or the hairstyle a minor character might be sporting or even the color of a car. That is why his movies are so captivating; once the initial shock and awe dies down, the minute attention to detail has only just started to register. And we can’t help but keep coming back to try take it all in. Here are some random facts for your viewing pleasure. So ramblers, let’s get ramblin’!

1. Tarantino was thanked in the liner notes of Nirvana’s final studio album In Utero, though his name was spelled differently. In response, he thanked Nirvana on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack and added RIP Kurt. There’s a rumor Kurt & Courtney turned down an offer to act in Pulp Fiction as Lance & Jody. QT says this isn’t true, Kurt just really loved Reservoir Dogs.

2. His movies are known to always contain at least one scene that focus on women’s feet. He is, as Jules boasts in Pulp Fiction, “the foot fucking master”. He admitted that he does have an appreciation for feet in an interview. Check out this post on RopeOfSilicon.com that talks about his fetish with clips of the scenes in question.

3. He has acted in TV shows and movies. On the small screen, he has been on The Golden Girls as an Elvis impersonator, All American Girl, and Alias. He has had several roles in his own and other directors such as his BFF Robert Rodriquez projects. Sometimes he gives himself tiny sneaky cameos like the electronic voice on Jackie Browne’s answering machine, the very first scalping shown in Inglourious Basterds on a dead Nazi is a dummy made in his likeness and when Uma Thurman’s Bride stands over the remains of the Crazy 88s, a masked Quentin Tarantino is among them.

4. He hates product placement and makes up his own brands instead, which adds to his movies’ surreal feel. On a different note, has anybody else ever craved a Kahuna Burger?? I do everytime it pops up on screen – and yes I know how crazy that sounds. Oo and maybe I could wash away my Kahuna burger with a nice refreshing glass of butterbeer from The Three Broomsticks. Yum.

Fictional product placement:
Kahuna burger
Red apple cigarettes
Fruit Brute and Kabooom! (both cereal brands really existed in the seventies)
G.O. Juice
Teriyaki Donuts
Jack Rabbit Slims

5. Quentin Tarantino wrote the character Mr. Pink from Reservoir Dogs for himself and told Steve Buscemi the only way he would give away the role was if he blew him away in the audition. And the rest is history.

6. Some movies Quentin Tarantino will supposedly be working on:
Kill Bill 3 is said will be ready for the public in 2014.
Remakes of cult hits:
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Come Drink With Me

7. QT movie stats:
Reservoir Dogs:
How many times did the word “fuck” feature in the film – 272
Body count – 16

From Dusk Till Dawn:
Body count – 122

Kill Bill:
Body count – 95
At a measly 17, this is the first movie that features less than a 100 “fucks”.
Over 450 gallons of fake blood were used on the two movies.

Fucks – 144
Body count – (gasp) only 6!

Inglourious Basterds:
Body Count – 76

OK, so I don’t have all the stats from all his movies, but the powers that be (movie dorks/accountants) have not revealed the stats of the other movies and I sure as hell am not going to count them …

8. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is not fond of red blood. It’s OK if it’s grey though, which is supposedly why the big Crazy 88 fight scene is shot in black and white. And also why the blood stains on Uma’s clothes in the trailer are poopie brown (much better) or black. In fact, Kill Bill was the first movie to be subjected to the MPAA’s no blood policy for trailers – a policy they came up with after watching the original Kill Bill trailer …

9. Tarantino’s movies are often linked together in the oddest ways. Sometimes by a certain line, sometimes through a specific outfit (the suit that Jackie Brown buys is the same that Mia Wallace wears in Pulp Fiction). In Deathproof one of the characters’ ringtone is the whisteled tune from Twisted Nerve, also used in Kill Bill. I really love it when he links the different worlds through family bonds. Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs real name is Vic Vega. This is the same surname as Vince from Pulp Fiction. Tarantino has revealed that Vic and Vince are brothers. He also had plans to do a prequel to both films called Double V Vega, which would have starred the Michael Madsen and John Travolta, but last we heard he has abandoned the project altogether.

10. He is known for making oddball agreements with his friends in da biz: Robert Rodriguez scored Kill Bill for one dollar. Quentin Tarantino repaid him by directing a scene in Rodriguez’s movie Sin City for one dollar. Robert Kurtzman did the special make-up effects for Reservoir Dogs, on the condition that Quentin Tarantino write a script for From Dusk Till Dawn based on a story by Kurtzman.

The Coasters – Down In Mexico (as featured in the super hot lapdance scene in Deathproof)

10 Random Facts: Fictional Bands

From The Flinstones’ Way Outs to High Fidelity‘s Barry Jive and the Uptown Five, fictional bands are always good for a giggle and sometimes even become cult hits in their own right. Here’s ten random facts about some of music history’s most memorable fake bands.

1.) Cult 1950s comedian Ernie Kovaks supposedly formed the image of The Nairobi Trio (above) immediately upon hearing Robert Maxwell’s “Solfeggio”. The Trio consisted of three gorillas in quite dapper attire, moving as if they were mechanical toys. Kovaks himself was always the main gorilla when this skit was performed, his wife usually the female gorilla, and a guest would often sit in as the third. Known guests (according to the Wikipedia, at least) include Frank Sinatra and Jack Lemmon.

2.) Is it possible that Disney’s Country Bear Jamboree is the world’s longest-running fake band? The basic idea of the Jamboree dates back as far as the 1960s, but they made their first public performance in Orlando in 1971. Sadly, Walt Disney never got to see them completed and the Bears were removed from Disneyworld in 2001, but they had a good 29-year run. If you were never lucky enough to see the Jamboree for yourself, check out photos at the Flickr Disney’s Country Bear Jamboree group.

3.) There’s a handful of fake bands from the genius that was Arrested Development, but did you know that the show (or FOX anyway) was sued by the real band Arrested Development? Despite the fact that ‘arrested development’ is a commonly used phrase (and has been for a long long time), they objected to anyone else using it. The show did a couple of jokes that poke fun at the lawsuit, the most direct one definitely being the flute-rockin’ heavy metal band Motherboy. For clarity, the narrator states that he is “legally required to make a distinction” between it and the Motherboy event the characters attend.

4.) Regular Curb Your Enthusiasm viewers will never forget fake rapper Krazee-Eyez Killa, played by Chris Williams. Apparently, Larry David’s literary commentary on Krazee-Eyez’s rap (season 3, episode 8 ) was his real reaction. Williams made up the Krazee-Eyez Killa lyrics on his own, and David had no idea what was coming during filming.

5.) Perhaps the most famous fake band of all time, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was led by the fictional Billy Shears. However, believers of the ‘Paul is dead’ rumors (started in 1969 and, apparently, still believed by some people today) see Billy Shears as evidence that the story is true. If you do a little Googlin’, you’ll find all kinds of crazy explanations for Billy Shears, but the most common story goes like so: Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash after leaving a recording session angry, died instantly, I guess there was a massive cover-up, and a new Paul was found at a Paul McCartney lookalike contest in Scotland. The winner’s name was – you guessed it – Billy Shears, and the use of his ‘real’ name as leader of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the Beatles’ way of introducing their new member to the public.

6.) Speaking of The Beatles, have you ever heard of The Beagles? The Beagles was a Saturday morning cartoon featuring a cheeky musical dog duo, which aired on CBS for just one year and competed with The Beatles’ own cartoon show on ABC in the same timeslot. They even released an album, Here Come The Beagles, though the show was cancelled after just the one season and – other than one rerun airing the following year – has never been seen again. Read more about The Beagles mysterious existence at Toon Tracker, or watch Beagles clips for yourself.

7.) My very very favorite random fact: did you know that Ted’s band from Scrubs is real?! This is excellent news, as their appearances are always my favorite on the show. They’re called The Blanks! and are pretty much exactly at they appear on the show – they do a cappella versions of TV theme songs and commercial jingles, perform live, and have compiled a CD of their music (available via their website).

8.) Who knew that Lost‘s very own one-hit wonder, DriveSHAFT, have both a blog and an ‘official’ website (not really so official though) devoted to them?! They both seem abandoned now, but I might be a little impressed that there are people who care enough to have made the effort. Other random facts about DriveSHAFT: the band’s big hit “You All Everybody” can be heard during a party scene in J.J. Abrams’ Alias and a DriveSHAFT t-shirt is worn by a character in comic book “Ultimate X-Men”, issue #90.

9 Advertising’s most successful fictional band was definitely the R&B-singing claymation California Raisins, 1980s mascots for the California Raisin Advisory Board (and still used today). The Raisins’ vocals were led by former Jimi Hendrix collaborator Buddy Miles and spawned – among other things – a cartoon series, merchandise of all kinds, and four studio albums. I actually had the posable raisin figures, but the best Raisin tie-in product has to be the never-released Nintendo game, The California Raisins: The Grape Escape. Watch one of the original “Heard It Through The Grapevine” commercials from 1986 here.

10.) The Blues Brothers, in their own way, were also a real band. Already performing together on Saturday Night Live in bee costumes, Dan Akroyd introduced John Belushi to the blues after work hours. Belushi took to the music immediately and the pair spent time singing with local blues bands before taking their act to SNL and the movies.

The Blues Brothers – Rubber Biscuit

(Thanks to the Rocklopedia Fakebandica for tips on the many great fake bands out there.)

10 Random Facts: May 19th (A Special Edition)

Happy Birthday, Tamboosh!

Today is a special day here at 100b, because today we celebrate the birth of our own Mighty Tamboosh. It’s tradition ’round these parts to post a little something for each other’s birthdays, but Tamboosh is just too damn good at it. There’s no way on earth I could top the raw power of Saxon.

So instead, my dear Tamboosh, here’s a very special edition of 10 Random Facts just for you.

1.) Cool people who share your birthday: Joey Ramone, Malcolm X, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca!), and Jenny Berggren of Ace of Base. Nice.

2.) On this day in 1960, just 21 years before Tamboosh (BT), the Drifters recorded their classic “Save The Last Dance For Me”.

3.) The No. 1 single in the UK on the very day you were born was Adam and The Ants’ “Stand And Deliver”.

4.) The No. 1 single in the US was Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes”.

5.) Kim Carnes also topped the overall top spot for 1981. The second highest-selling single of that year was Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’ “Endless Love”. Kenny Rogers’ “Lady” came in third, John Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over” was fourth, and Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” rounded up the top 5.

6.) The top-grossing movie of 1981 was Raiders Of The Lost Ark (coincidentally, a movie that I saw for the first time with you, approximately 25 years after its release).

7.) Sadly, Raiders Of The Lost Ark did not win the Oscar for Best Film in 1981, although it was – surprisingly – nominated. That honor was awarded to Chariots of Fire.

8.) On May 19th in 1965, 16 years BT, the FBI (lead by the ever-wise J. Edgar Hoover) visited Wand Records to investigate the lyrics of The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie”. Parents had complained about the lyrical content of the song, and the FBI was tasked with determining whether it violated obscenity laws. The Kingsmen had nothing to worry about though, because the FBI eventually decided that they couldn’t tell what The Kingsman were singing, so couldn’t rule one way or the other.

9.) On the very day of your birth in 1981, Sting was named ‘songwriter of the year’ at the 16th Ivor Novello awards. Oh well – they can’t all be good.

10.) On your birthday in 1962, 19 years BT, the lovely Marilyn Monroe sang her famous rendition of Happy Birthday to President Kennedy in New York. And what better way to wish our Tamboosh the best birthday ever?

Marilyn Monroe – Happy Birthday Mr President

10 Random Facts … The Oscars

The Oscars

Due to a serious bout of stupidity on my part, I skipped TWO posts this week, the first week of our glorious comeback! Our two-month break clearly hasn’t sharpened my senses, but in spite of appearances I am excited to get crackin’, starting with this post about the Academy Awards.

Exactly eighty years ago, give or take a month or three, the very first Academy Awards was hosted. It was a private dinner attended by less than 250 guests with entrance fees at a mere five dollars, and the whole ceremony lasted only fifteen minutes. Now, it has grown into a flashy, three-hour long (if you’re lucky), globally televised monster of an event and I love every single ridiculously expensively clad star-studded minute of it. The upcoming 81st Oscar night promises to be another exciting shindig and I already picked my favorite nominees, though I must admit I haven’t even seen a goodly portion of the movies nominated this year yet. In honor of the little golden naked man statue, here are some random facts:

1. Donald Kaufman, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s fictional brother in the movie Adaptation, is the only fictional character ever to be nominated.

2. George C. Scott refused his award for his portrayal of the title role in Patton in 1970. He said that “the whole thing is a goddamn meat parade. I don’t want any part of it.” Marlon Brando refused to accept his award personally, because of the way Native Americans are discriminated against by the US and Hollywood. Instead, he sent a woman named Sacheen Littlefeather to receive his prize, and gave her a fifteen page acceptance speech.

3. During World War II, in support of the American effort, the statues were made of plaster and were traded in for gold ones after the war had ended.

4. One of the most interesting award winners was screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who won two Awards under a pseudonym. The first was in 1953 for Roman Holiday under Ian McLellan Hunter and the second was in 1956 for The Brave One as Robert Rich. He was blacklisted as a communist sympathizer after he ‘refused to give information’ in a trial during the so-called Red Scare in 1947. The blacklist was lifted after Kirk Douglas revealed Trumbo was credited for the screenplay for Spartacus. Another interesting note is that Ian McLellan Hunter was an actual screenwriter. When the Academy wanted to post-humously give the award to its rightful owner, Hunter’s son, director Tim Hunter, refused to give the statue back and a second statue had to be made.

5. Not counting the now retired Honorary Juvenile Awards – of which the youngest was Shirley Temple when she was only 6 years old – the youngest winner of an Academy Award is Tatum O’Neal at the age of ten, for her supporting role in Paper Moon in 1973. She is followed by Ana Paquin who was a year older when she brilliantly played Holly Hunter’s daughter in The Piano in 1993. The youngest nominee ever was Justin Henry, the cute little boy in Kramer vs. Kramer who was only eight years old at the time.

6. So far Meryl Streep has been nominated fifteen times but only actually won twice. Though that’s nothing compared to poor sound re-recording mixer Kevin O’Connell, who has received twenty nominations and never won a single one of ’em.

7. A movie has to be at least 40 minutes long to be considered for a Best Picture award. The shortest movie that ever won was Marty, which took one hour and twenty-eight minutes.

8. Walt Disney holds the record for most wins and nominations. He was nominated 60 times during his lifetime and received 22 statues.

9. George Bernard Shaw is the only person who has ever won both an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize. He won the Best Adapted Screenplay for Pygmalion in 1938 and his contributions to Literature were rewarded in 1925. He wanted to refuse the Oscar, because he didn’t want the public honors. But his wife insisted he accept it, because she considered it a tribute to Ireland. He did however refuse the monetary prize and donated it to have books translated from Swedish to English, which has to be the most peculiar fact in this list.

10. Rocky won an Oscar for Best Picture in 1976. This may not seem like interesting trivia, but I had no idea. Not that I don’t like the movie, on the contrary, but I didn’t think it was Oscar-good. I always thought it was an awesome, but infinitely cheesy boxing movie with an endless string of sequals which were even cheesier, but I have to admit it still has the best Oscar nominated theme song ever.

DeEtta Little and Nelson Pigford – Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky)

10 Random Facts … Grunge

Because we’re going to be looking at one of my all-time favorite bands, Pearl Jam, for 100best at the end of this month, I thought Grunge might be a good topic to introduce our new monthly feature. For you little people who are too young to remember the year that Grunge hit, I’m sure it’s hard to imagine what all the fuss was about. It was everywhere, in everything – we listened to the music, dressed in flannel, and daydreamed about Seattle. A lot of the hype was, of course, ridiculous, but hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time really was as exciting as they say. I was just a small Bean at the time, but Grunge had, looking back on it, a huge impact on my musical preferences and I’m still thrilled by it today. Here’s 10 Random Facts about Grunge, the music that rocked the ’90s.

1.) In 1992, after Grunge’s insane explosion into the mainstream, the New York Times ran a story about the phenomenon. In it, writer Rick Marin gently mocks both sellers and buyers of the ‘Grunge look’ and subtly implies that we were all a bunch of suckers. Ironically, the information included in his sidebar entitled “Lexicon Of Grunge: Breaking The Code” – a list of slang words all the hip Seattle kids were using – was completely made up by Megan Jasper, a 25-year old sales rep at Sub Pop Records. Jasper was, apparently, sick of reporters asking stupid questions about the Seattle scene and invented a bunch of slang words on the spot. Read the original article here.

2.) That incident was documented in the 1996 Grunge documentary, Hype!. Hype! is unusual in that it takes the point of view of the scene itself, looking outward to the reaction that surrounded Grunge rather than simply profiling the bands involved.

3.) Although it probably appeared to be a Hollywood cash-in on the sudden popularity of Seattle’s music, Singles was actually filmed way before Grunge exploded. At the time of their involvement, Pearl Jam was still called Mookie Blaylock and Ten hadn’t even been recorded yet. According to the Wikipedia, the movie was delayed because the studio wasn’t sure what to do with it, then released it once Grunge had become popular. (Which, of course, made it a Hollywood cash-in on the popularity of the Seattle scene. But it wasn’t originally intended to be.)

4.) Despite Pearl Jam’s massive success in the early ’90s, their highest-selling single is “Last Kiss”. “Last Kiss” was originally released as a fan club-only single in 1998 but given a full release the following year, after radio play brought it to a wider audience. “Last Kiss” is a cover of a not-especially-successful 1962 song by Wayne Cochran & the C.C. Riders and has been covered by countless artists since the original was released.

5.) This year marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s very first single, “Love Buzz”. Only 1000 copies were pressed, a perfect opportunity for the still very young Sub Pop Records to make themselves appear exclusive and in demand. Each copy was hand-etched with the phrase “Why Don’t You Trade Those Guitars For Shovels?”, an easy way to tell if you’re getting a real one or being conned. A copy is up for grabs on eBay right now – buy it now for just $6,000.00. This site has all the information you could want about this rare 7″ single (and any other Nirvana disc you might be interested in) and is even working on a list to track the owner of every surviving copy.

6.) Perhaps the most famous baby ever, Nevermind cover star Spencer Elden even has his own Wikipedia page. Elden recreated the picture as a teen and, it seems, is looking to do it again. Kind of cheeky for something he can’t possibly remember doing in the first place.

7.) The term “Grunge” appeared as early as 1981, used by Mark Arm (later of bands Green River and Mudhoney) to describe his current band’s sound: “Pure grunge! Pure noise! Pure shit!” The word didn’t refer to a genre until Sub Pop started using it in the late ’80s.

8.) TAD, considered by some to be the first Grunge band, released a single called “Jack Pepsi” in 1991. TAD was sued over the artwork for this single, which featured the band’s name incorporated into the iconic Pepsi logo. The song is still sold as “Jack P***i” on iTunes today.

9.) While Pearl Jam and Nirvana were definitely the biggest and most popular Grunge bands, Soundgarden existed quite a bit before either of them recorded their breakthrough albums. Soundgarden finally saw some commercial success in 1991 with their third studio album, when Nirvana broke into the charts and listeners started looking to Seattle for more like what they were hearing on the radio. Although they were never as popular as Nirvana or Pearl Jam, Soundgarden is hugely important to the Grunge story: an investment made for the band to record their first album is essentially what started Sub Pop as an official label.

10.) C/Z Records’ 1986 Deep Six compilation is widely considered to be the first Grunge release, or at least a huge influence on the sound that came to be known as Grunge. It featured tracks by Green River, The Melvins, Malfunkshun, Skin Yard, Soundgarden, and The U-Men – many of whom went on to be (or had members that did) prominent features of the Seattle ‘scene’ of the early ’90s.

   Nirvana – Sliver