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Film

The movie Quentin Tarantino uses to test new girlfriends

@TomTaylorFO

The dating game is a difficult one at the best of times, but it must be even more complex (in some senses) for the mega-famous folks out there like Quentin Tarantino. Fortunately, for the foot-crazed director, he has a wily trick up his sleeve to sift the genuine suiters from the mere pretenders and, obviously, it involves movies.

Also, very predictably when it comes to the obsessive auteur it doesn’t just pertain to a trip to the cinemas in a generalised sense to see if they slurp their soda too loud, check their phone or laugh at the awful trailers. Instead, Tarantino takes a more strategic vetting approach and delves into the world of classic cinema. 

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The western genre is one that Tarantino adores and takes major inspiration from. Of all the directors in this field, Howard Hawks might not be his number one favourite, but he’d certainly rank within his top ten given the eulogies he has paid him in the past. However, perhaps his dating technique is his most glowing appraisal yet.

At the Cannes festival, the director revealed that he always takes a new love interest on a date to watch Hawks’ classic 1959 epic Rio Bravo. He joked, “and she’d better like it!” Thus, the odd wry glance during the most soaring moments to spy a reaction and few drinks afterwards with a film post-mortem prove a strong indicator to Tarantino whether he will be compatible with his date after all. 

The director first watched the film when he was 5 years old after his great grandmother took him to see it and ever since it provided a benchmark for his interests. He even stated he gets “a headache just even trying to contemplate how many times” he has seen it. Aside from it being one of his favourite movies and loaded with sentimental value, the reason he finds it so date applicable is because he dubs it one of the “great hangout movies.

The film itself stars Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and John Wayne and comes with the plotline: “A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a disabled man, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy.” And it is perhaps telling when it comes to the subtext of the epic that the sets in Old Tucson were actually constructed at a 7/8th scale so that the characters on screen would literally look larger than life. 

At 142 minutes, Rio Bravo is a little bit on the long side for an ideal date movie for my money, but each to their own, if it has helped Tarantino get lucky in love then best of luck to him. However, whilst ending a relationship on a differing opinion might seem a little bit cutthroat, there is no doubting the rousing charm of this classic western.