When it was released on Christmas day 1997, Jackie Brown was considered somewhat of a disappointment following the successful phenomenon of Pulp Fiction.
Quentin Tarantino was stung by the film’s perceived failure, even though it certainly was a hit considering how much it cost (making nearly $40 million on a $12 million budget). And at the time, it was probably also Tarantino’s most mature effort as a filmmaker.
Nevertheless, in the wake of Titanic’s ginormous success, and the fact that Tarantino went in a less outrageous direction post-Pulp Fiction (which was actually a smart move to make), Jackie Brown got lost in the shuffle.
But as Andrew Niccol, the writer/director of In Time once said, the real reviews for movies are written five to ten years after they’re released, and time has been very kind to Jackie Brown indeed.
Now along with Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown is on Blu-ray, and as Entertainment Weekly explains, “it’s aged like fine wine. If anything, it’s a better film today than it was nearly a decade and a half ago now that our post-Pulp expectations have been scaled back.”
Meanwhile, Pam Grier also weighed in on the Blu-ray release, saying “People think [Tarantino] just went from Pulp Fiction to Inglourious Basterds. They don’t know he made a movie with a woman!”
Also funny enough, when Tarantino sent Grier the script, it was 44 cents postage due, and she didn’t pick it up at the post office until the third notice. Many initially thought the film would be a big comeback for blaxploitation queen Grier, which unfortunately didn’t happen, but it did bring more attention to Robert Forester, who put in a fine performance.
Jackie Brown probably would have done better if it was shorter, and Tarantino was told the length was a problem, two and a half hours, but he refused to cut it down to a reasonable length, and indeed if it came in two hours or just a little over it would have been an even better movie.
Unfortunately, Tarantino also moved away from the humanity and character development of Jackie Brown, and if he brought it with him along with the blood and mayhem when he made the Kill Bill films, they would have been infinitely better as well. (Of course, cutting them down into one movie would have also gone a long way).
Today, Jackie Brown, like many movies that were passed over in their time, has developed a following from TV, and Grier, who lives in Colorado, said because of the film playing on the tube all the time, “I can’t go to the gas station any more to fill up my tractor because people are like, ‘You’re our neighborhood superstar!'”
And as one fan commented on EW, “I thought this movie was ok when it came out, but upon a second viewing I soon realized how freakin’ fantastic it is. If it is on TV I will stop everything and watch it.”