The amusingly paradoxical thing about Quentin Tarantino is that his movies constantly reference other ones—a blizzard of allusions and homages and old-fashioned knock-offs—and yet a Tarantino movie is instantly recognizable as a Tarantino movie. He’s a magpie but somehow a unique magpie—distinct even from those whose work he has appropriated.
And what is that—the ability to take something old and transmute it into something new—if not art? As aggravating as Tarantino can be, there is true virtuosity about his work that I always enjoy, sometimes despite myself. I might be in two minds about Inglourious Basterds, but in my gut, I love it in all its messy, bloody, problematic glory. No one makes movies like Quentin Tarantino.