The above montage from Rob Wilson is a great example of what some film buffs and cinephiles don’t like about Tarantino. Much of his work seems to be so referential that, to them, it might feel like a remix or mashup that has been reshot. Their beef? He’s not original and all the praise he receives is ignoring his influences. Of course, this view is a bit limited. He might borrow from other films, but so do many directors. It’s also undeniable that he is an exceptional writer. No one considers the early seasons of The Simpsons written badly, despite derivative stories and a plethora of cultural references including films.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s production company, HitRECord, is a great example of the potential of remixing. It allows any registered user to use any other user’s work (or public domain material) to produce new content, with all contributors receiving a share of any profits.
Ultimately, what some see as theft, others see as remixed. I personally see no issue in referencing other works, as this can only introduce more people to those works. I’m certain there are many film scholars who have a ready-made list of all the films Tarantino has referenced or borrowed from, to share with anyone who asks; films that might remain in obscurity otherwise. It’s time we stopped viewing remixing as theft, and appreciated it as a form of original creation, even if it is made up of other original creations. This is why copyright doesn’t make sense in its current form, and is primarily protecting the big content oligarchies. It only seems natural then, that support for Creative Commons and other, less conservative licensing systems, is growing.