#HSTBT | Quentin Tarantino’s First Movie You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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Quentin Tarantino’s second foray into the Western genre, The Hateful Eight, not only rekindled his passion for the type of miscreants that populated the period, but also featured a holiday release date much like his first attempt at exploring the lawless times in Django Unchained.

Due to a strong word-of-mouth, producers have moved up The Hateful Eight’s wide release date to New Year’s Day – buoyed by a $5 million USD opening weekend, or around $50,000 per screen – for what’s the largest 70 mm release in the last 20 years.

While Tarantino’s name has become synonymous with larger-than-life characters, treacherous narratives, and a style of dialogue completely unique to him, even his most rabid fans would be surprised to learn that there is a mysterious and ill-fated project in his filmography that served as his entry into the profession far before True Romance and Reservoir Dogs ever hit theaters.

thefilmstage.com

When he was 15 years old, Quentin Tarantino dropped out of Narbonne High School in the Harbor City area of Los Angeles. With ample freetime, he took a job as an usher at a movie theater that showed adult films.

In addition to monitoring the pubic hair trends of the era, the budding thespian also took acting classes at the James Best Theatre Company for several years where he would befriend a writer, Craig Hamann, who shared similar sensibilities as he did when it came to the type of films they appreciated.

At that time, Hamann had already cobbled together a 40-page script about a young man, Clarence, who continually tried to do something nice for his friend Mickey’s birthday, only to have his efforts continuously backfire.

In 1984 – armed with a $5,000 USD production budget, 16-millimeter camera, and a film pedigree achieved while working at Video Archives in Newport Beach, California – Tarantino and Hamann went to work on what would be the former’s first professional film after doubling the page count of the original screenplay.

With Tarantino playing the role of Clarence, additional actors/contributors of note included Roger Avary who worked with him at Video Archives and would later do uncredited rewrites on True Romance, Reservoir Dogs and share “story by” credits on his Academy Award-winning screenplay for Pulp Fiction.

When My Best Friend’s Birthday wrapped production, it featured attributes which would later become cornerstones for later Tarantino works – including long, drawn out scenes about popular culture, martial arts montages and reappropriated music in lieu of original scores.

However, when the film was being processed, a fire broke out. What was originally a 70-minute feature film had been nearly cut in half. Due to the nature of the film medium, there was no way to recover lost footage without doing re-shoots. Ultimately, My Best Friend’s Birthday remained a 36-minute film with the aforementioned flashes of Tarantino’s filmmaking style.

For those who have watched the above film, you’ll notice that bits of dialogue and plot mimic what would later become the basis for True Romance. 

Kendrick Lamar Debuts ‘God Is Gangsta’ Video

It looks like the end of the year is turning out busier than we thought. Not only did Big Sean round-up the year with his track “What A Year” featuring Pharrell and Details, Kendrick Lamar also used the occasion to release the “God Is Gangsta” video. The video is essentially a short film featuring the tracks “u” and “For Sale?” from his sophomore studio effort To Pimp a Butterfly. Following a drunken rant, the Compton MC cleanses his sins in a pool and then goes on to surround himself with half-naked women. Enjoy the video now here above.

Big Sean Debuts ‘What a Year’ Feat. Pharrell & Detail

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Big Sean looks back at a successful year 2015, having landed his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with his third studio effort Dark Sky Paradise. With “What A Year,” Big Sean gets together with Pharrell Williams and Detail to celebrate the year and run through the biggest moments that lie behind him. Of course he also offers his own New Year’s resolution: “This year I’m done with crazy hoes.” Listen to the track now here below.

These are the Best White House Photos of the Year

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As has become a yearly tradition, Chief Official White House Photographer, Pete Souza, has shared the best images that he has captured of the President and his family in 2015.

In his own words, “One of the best and most challenging aspects of my job is whittling down a year’s worth of photographs to the final selections for my annual Year in Photographs. Every year, I attempt to keep it less than 100 photos — and every year I fail in that goal. But I am excited once again to present this gallery for the seventh consecutive year.”

The above photograph depicts what looks like a rainbow emanating from President Obama’s hand as he waves from Air Force One at Norman Manley International Airport prior to departure from Kingston, Jamaica.

Head here to see all the images.