Back to IndieWire

What Quentin Tarantino and Darren Aronofsky Think of Netflix and Other Streaming Services

What Quentin Tarantino and Darren Aronofsky Think of Netflix and Other Streaming Services

Below is an excerpt from Tom Roston’s “I Lost it at The Video Store: A Filmmakers’ Oral History of a Vanished Era.” The chapter, entitled “Wake Up Streaming,” features directors discussing their thoughts about streaming video in the age of Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. Find out more about the book here.

Quentin Tarantino: I am not excited about streaming at all. I like something hard and tangible in my hand. And I can’t watch a movie on a laptop. I don’t use Netflix at all. I don’t have any sort of delivery system. I have the videos from Video Archives. They went out of business, and I bought their inventory. Probably close to eight thousand tapes and DVDs.

Kevin Smith: That’s kind of genius. He’s such a sentimental dude.

READ MORE: Directors from Quentin Tarantino to Kevin Smith Remember the Video Store

Quentin Tarantino: I have a bunch of DVDs and a bunch of videos, and I still tape movies off of television on video so I can keep my collection going.

Allison Anders: Now, it’s boring to go online. “All right, I picked that out and you picked this out.” It’s boring.

David O. Russell: There’s a lot of stuff going on with the licensing and the deals where they no longer have certain movies. It used to be that Amazon had everything, but Amazon changed their deal. And I’ll say it to the guy I know who owns Netflix: it’s a bunch of dreck.

J.C. Chandor: They are figuring it all out slowly. In the next four or five years, whether it be from Amazon or Apple, you’ll be able to get anything you want with the click of a mouse.

Alex Ross Perry: I started trying to get into downloading movies, and I just never watched any of them.

Doug Liman: It’s awfully convenient to click on something on your laptop and get it. I remain excited for the future.

Tim Blake Nelson: I love the streaming feature. I love that I can sit in my house and for four bucks I can watch “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and I don’t have to deal with commercials. And I have control of the experience. I love Netflix and Apple TV. Eventually, I think everything will be on there.

Greg Mottola: Netflix, in a sense, has recreated part of the store experience. I’ll spend forty-five minutes or an hour scrolling through box art until I find something. It drives my wife crazy.

Kevin Smith: My kid’s grown up watching Blu-ray and DVDs, and now she’s deep in the stream and in the clouds. Try to communicate to someone like that, “There was a time when you couldn’t watch anything whenever you wanted.” Of course, you can’t watch “Guardians of the Galaxy” until they let you, but I’m talking back then it was anything. You couldn’t watch “Star Wars.” People look at you like you’re crazy.

Janet Pierson: I used to have a miserably weird, bad reaction to video stores. Too many boxes of cereal; I didn’t know which one I wanted. If you look at Netflix, the lineup, that’s working for me so much better than video stores did.

Joe Swanberg: I saw a movie, “The Telephone Book” from 1971, the other day. This weirdo sex movie popped up on Netflix. I was like, “Okay, cool. They’re licensing some cool stuff that is off of my radar.” When I was fourteen, I wanted to be a filmmaker, and I started reading Filmmaker Magazine and I’d read about indie films I’d never see, not even at the video store. These days, you can see them on VOD. If I was fourteen right now, still in the suburbs of Chicago, I could be really up-to-date with the independent film scene as much as anyone in L.A. or NYC. That’s exciting. The access is getting better.

Darren Aronofsky: I’m a newcomer to Netflix. I can’t wait for a seminal, “Kim’s Streaming” type of experience where you can get any title you want. There seems like someone should get on it. There are so many good films. And there are too many that are hard to get. Netflix is limited that way. I like their original programming, but I can’t say I use it for much else. Although, I did hear about a Gael García Bernal film, “Even the Rain” (2010). It’s a film he made in Bolivia. It’s fantastic—and you can watch it on Netflix. The experience was very similar to how I would stumble on a film on videotape. It’s a small, beautiful foreign film. And I streamed it.

Kevin Smith: You’d think I’m like, “Fuck streaming. Because in our day . . .” But I’m a filmmaker who is happy to watch a film on an iPhone. I just want to get it in me. I’m a movie lover at heart, so the quickest, easiest way you can get it to me is A-okay in my book. It doesn’t have to be on an IMAX screen. That’s great, sometimes. But I need it in me. I just need the movie in me. Any way that that can be administered, even if it’s on a tiny iPhone screen. I like streaming.

Darren Aronofsky: Most people are going to watch my films on an iPhone. We talk about that. When we did a sound mix, we did an iPad or iPhone mix for Noah, so that hopefully it would be in stereo. “Look,” I said, “there’s a real audience there, and you have to be conscious of that. You can’t control it.”

Quentin Tarantino: That’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

Darren Aronofsky: It’s probably why I have moved to 1.85 [aspect ratio] in my framing on films. [Aronofsky went from 1.85 for “The Fountain” to 2.35 for “The Wrestler” and “Black Swan,” and back to 1.85 for “Noah.”] It’s closer to what people are actually going to see on a hand-held device. It’s the reality. I do a lot of sound work. That’s the biggest loss. Sound is a big part of filmmaking, and even with your Beats headphones, you’re missing the whole surround-sound feeling. In the end, I am a storyteller, and I want my story to be watched and listened to in any possible form. I can’t be snobbish about it. I would like people to see it in the theater, but I recognize that people see them in all sorts of ways and I try to make that experience as good as I can.

READ MORE: Darren Aronofsky on Why Digital is Not a Replacement for Shooting Film

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged , , , , , ,



I love Quentin Tarantino dearly (as well as some of these other directors) but he should realize that movies like "Switchblade Sisters", which I know he loves, wouldn’t be in your average Blockbuster. Yet, because of Netflix, I got to see this obscure girl gang 70’s B-movie and LOVED it. I’ve never seen more movies, more documentaries, more indie flicks ever in my life more than now. How could that be a bad thing? And who in the hell watches movies on an Iphone? I’ve never heard of someone blowing their data plan pulling that off.


I can’t believe how clueless a lot of these directors are on streaming. You can stream on your TV, and it’s exactly like watching a blu ray.


I think Streaming is amazing, specially if you have a SMART TV. The HD and the sound is even better than many theatres, like the "art-film" ones. I have a SAMSUNG 48′ and watching NETFLIX and its series is a great experience. The HITCHCOCK films on NETFLIX and many other classics in HD are just amazing : ) . What I like about getting films online is that you get them whenever you want to. I remember the Video Store times: if you wanted to watch a new release, it wasn’t always available. Or what about returning the film the next not only that, what about the "be kind rewind" or you get a fine…and they didn’t work 24 hours. And yeah, I don’t understand Tarantino, doesn’t he have a TV? I never would watch a film on an iPhone or an iPad. I don’t even like to watch them on a plane, specially if it is a good one. But when I was a student and I couldn’t afford a TV, my laptop was my best friend. I went to a film school and it was the only way that I could watch films and TV. And not all the people in the world have "the filmmaker eye". So, lots of production values are ignored by the regular viewer.

John Bleasdale

This is so silly of Tarantino. Film is a technology for crying out loud. He should make silent movies, or theatre


Hey Tarantino – Netflix doesn’t have to be watched on a laptop. You can stream onto an HDTV and sound system in much better quality than a VHS taped off of TV. I’m glad you shoot and project your movies on celluloid film, but your obsession with tactile and analog for home video has gone too far and is pretentious and technophobic.


"I swear I’m Kevin Smith & Darren Aronofsky all rolled into one person."

God save us.

Jesse Skeen

Sad that Aronofsky is compromising his movies for iPhone viewing. I would NEVER watch a movie on that! The BIG problem with streaming movies besides the quality (which admittedly is getting better) is that some services are now taking control over how you watch them. I watch all movies straight through from beginning to end, but on new devices Netflix now pushes the end credits to the top corner of the screen and suggests other stuff to watch- that ruins the ending for me and is unacceptable. Amazon now does something similar (even on movies you’ve BOUGHT!) and I have tried to get them to stop (seeing how they call themselves "Earth’s most customer-centric company" but I actually got a reply telling me to basically drop dead! I’m not doing ANY further business with Amazon now. I’d rather go back to VHS tapes than watch movies with any sort of intrusions like this.


I love streaming because it gives access to lots of titles you couldn’t see before however as a cinephile I have a strong connection to physical films so I won’t stop buying them because I like my collection. I watch films at the Theater, laptop, tv, Ipad but what I don’t get is why would you want to watch it on a phone? The screen is way to small.

Marc Schenker

There’s nothing on Netflix. There’s nothing on Amazon. There’s nothing — and I mean nothing — on HBO. LONG LIVE POPCORN.


I swear I’m Kevin Smith & Darren Aronofsky all rolled into one person. I see 4-5 films in theatres nearly EVERY WEEK but there are many times when I simply just want to WATCH a beloved film or even have it as background noise whilst I’m working or righting I WANT/NEED access to my films NOW & sometimes that means my iPhone, something I’m grateful to always have with me! Quentin’s already established he’s a film purist so I don’t even know why he was asked that question as it was a waste of breath!


Although I’d never watch a movie on an iPhone, Netflix has allowed me to discover movies that I would probably never have found in a rental store. I do miss the days of video stores, but there is good in streaming as well. It makes movies more accessible, you’d think filmmakers would like that.


Blu-Ray, DVD, videotape – they do not compromise.

They will never be cycled out, subject to licensing, edited, fiddled with, interrupted by a future advertising deal, or inaccessible due to a problem with your service or connection.

Once you’ve found the cut or copy you like – it’s yours. You can put it on a shelf of movies, display it, build a fort with it, leave dozens of copies of it on your dashboard, or just hit your friend over the head with it!

Streaming can never be as good as actually owning your own library. Predictive algorithms never as fun or stimulating as true inspiration and discovery.

Tara Wood

Why is Janet Pierson on this list?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *