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Featured Movie Reviews

Jackie Brown


Always battling for the title of my favorite Quentin Tarantino film, JACKIE BROWN is two and a half hours of perfect, clever adult fun at the movies.

Seventies action queen Pam Grier came back to film in this 1997 hit with major style as Jackie, a flight attendant on a low rent airline who earns extra cash by smuggling cash back into the US from Cabo San Lucas.

As the film opens, she is stopped at the airport by ATF Agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton at his high energy, fast patter best). When she refuses to cooperate, she is tossed into jail.

The lowlife arms dealer she is working for on the side is Ordell Robbie. Ordell is funny, charming and very dangerous. Samuel L. Jackson is perfect as Ordell, matching his performance in Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" two years before in intensity and turning up the evil. Jackson and Tarantino are a perfect match, foreshadowing their great work in the future in "Django Unchained" with perfect dialogue and flawless delivery. Tarantino has said that no one "sings" his dialogue off the written page like Jackson and that's on full display here. Jackson is profane, deadly and hypnotizing.

Ordell bails Jackie out of jail using bail bondsman Max Cherry. In another breakout performance that brought him back to the A list, Robert Forster plays Cherry as an honest man drawn to Jackie.

Toss in Robert DeNiro as Ordell's right hand man Louis and Bridget Fonda as Ordell's stoner, surfer girlfriend and you have 154 minutes of acting nirvana.

Look for a very young Chris Tucker as Beaumont, who Ordell bails out of jail in his first scenes with Max. Tucker is hilarious and very good, and I wouldn't get in that trunk either, Beaumont!

While most of his films are original works, Tarantino adapted his screenplay from Elmore Leonard's novel "Rum Punch" and it provides great bones for QT to build on.

As these characters are all drawn to Jackie in deeply different ways, Grier holds the center of the film and creates a character you will root for as she works every single angle of a bad situation.

As always, Tarantino makes music a character in the film, weaving in some classics from Bobby Womack and The Delfonics and my film buff favorite, "Street Life" the main title song from Burt Reynolds "Sharky's Machine".

The last 45 minutes of the film are fantastic, as all the characters merge together in colliding directions, all staged with title cards, brilliant & profane dialogue and outbursts of violence as only Tarantino can stage them.

While "Inglorious Basterds" remains my favorite QT film (and my favorite film of all time) Jackie stays close behind, certainly in my all time top 10 and like Jackie, slyly working its way to an A+.

I met Robert Forster by chance in a bar in LA one late afternoon in 1999. It was obvious he'd been there since lunch. I introduced myself and told him what a huge fan I was of his performance in Jackie Brown. He said "You and everyone else, that was a big film for me." I asked him what it was like working with Tarantino and he said "You know to be honest, the only thing I remember about that movie is that every penny I made from it went to my ex-wife." We both laughed and shook hands. Hell, it turned out he really IS Max Cherry!

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Unknown member
May 02, 2023

We have disagreed about this one for a LONG time :)

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Unknown member
May 06, 2023
Replying to

LOL. Indeed. And I LOVE the debate.

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