The time is upon us once again. Every few years we are blessed by the gods to have a film molded by thunder and lightning, a film by the man himself, Mr. Quentin Tarantino. With The Hateful Eight starting to make a splash, Tarantino is slowly starting to insert himself back into the media pipeline to give his film a nice push (as if he needs to do that). But this got us thinking, what’s the best Tarantino film?
With fewer than 10 films to his name (as director at least — yes, he once wrote two episodes of CSI. Blah, blah, blah, I can’t hear you!), Mr. Tarantino has built a masterful career on putting together stories that reflect meticulous writing and articulate, highly creative direction. And needless to say, our staff has been talking about his best films all week.
Here’s what we had to say:
Pulp Fiction got me through college. I wrote no less than seven critical essays about the film, and I STILL don’t feel like I got it all. No movie has the kind of layers this one has while retaining 100 percent of its popcorn appeal. One example: Three times Travolta goes to the bathroom, and three times the entire world has gone to s*** when he comes out.
I tend to agree with Captain Foghorn Leghorn at the end of Inglourious Basterds when he says, “I think this just might be my masterpiece.” The thing I love about Tarantino is that he becomes so enamored with his own mistakes that he gets blinded by them. I (generally) think that’s a good thing. His work never feels overly focus-grouped — it has a certain rawness. That being said, I have small sticking points here and there with the director’s other movies, and while I deeply enjoy Django, Jackie Brown, the second Kill Bill, and Pulp Fiction, I can’t find a single thing I don’t like about Basterds. It’s a wild piece of modern mythos, drawing influences and spouting references from all over the cinematic map. Perhaps what I love the most is QT’s own bravado: He starts the movie with 16 minutes of straight dialogue. One long scene which is possibly the tensest conversation in the history of cinema. In an ADD-age, that’s f*cking bold.
Honestly, this is something that I think and stress over a lot more than I should. My top three are definitely Reservoir Dogs, Django and Inglorious Basterds. I think Basterds has some of the best Tarantino scenes, but I think I would say Django is the better movie overall. Maybe. I don’t know. Stop stressing me out! They’re all great. As long as we can all agree that Pulp Fiction is one of the most overrated movies of all time.
Primarily because he hated the ending so much — I think everyone died in his version — he wanted his name taken off the project. But he got the screenwriting credit, and we got to see Gary Oldman play a sped up drug dealer with dreadlocks and a sh*tty Rastafarian accent. Then there was Brad Pitt as the stoned, “Floyd,” on the couch and Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper squaring off with some disturbing back-and-forth dialogue about Sicily. You can almost see Tarantino’s genius in the granules of cocaine that line the confused countenance of Bronson Pinchot after the bag of blow explodes in his face, and Patricia Arquette’s brawling evisceration of James Gandolfini is a Mary Wollstonecraft treatise for contemporary America. Now if we had just gotten Tarantino’s ending…
Pretty sure that my favorite Tarantino film is True Romance, but if we’re sticking with movies he directed, I’ll say Kill Bill. It’s got a lot of different movie styles melted together into a fun revenge tale and it has a good time getting to its final showdown. I just wish we could get an official release of The Whole Bloody affair. Also enjoy Jackie Brown.
I’ve thought a lot about this. So much in fact that I was paralyzed by my decision and almost didn’t get my answer delivered in time. But if I have to pick one Tarantino movie, and we’re going *favorite* and not *best,* then I’m going with Kill Bill Vol. 1. I actually enjoy Vol. 2 more, but Vol. 1 hit me at such a critical time. We obviously had the internet, but we didn’t have Twitter or anything like that, so I had to wait and wait and wait for this to come out in theaters without knowing all that much about it. And a friend and I hit it up on opening weekend on that Saturday morning, mesmerized, watching as a bunch of different styles of film blended together into one captivating package. We walked out knowing there was a second installment coming, but not knowing when, and spent the entire ride home talking about what could be in it. Even now I queue up that O’Ren Ishii fight just when I need an extra pick me up. It’s just so damn beautiful.
Reservoir Dogs is, and will always be, my favorite film by Quentin Tarantino. Not because Mr. Blonde cut off that cop’s ear. Not even because it was the first film I’d ever seen that contained so much narratively-necessary violence. No, I fell in love with Tarantino’s first major feature-length film because it introduced me to being a goddamn decent human being. In other words, not being a “cheap bastard” and tipping your waitstaff. I’m also pretty sure the tipping scene at the diner was my first introduction to progressive (and, to a degree, feminist) politics. ‘Mericuh.
My favorite is obvious, but still it’s true: Pulp Fiction. I’ve seen it dozens of times and it’s just music; the jokes still hit, the violence still has punch, the acting is still electrifying, the atmosphere is still perfect. Plus, it’s the source of this GIF, which I use all the time: