As a kid growing up in the 90s, Quentin Tarantino’s films were a fucking marvel to behold. Until then, there was nothing that was so old by film formula standards, yet it felt so fresh and new. The man has a rare distinction of having not just a unique voice, but also a visual style all his own. The lists presented here are categorized by pictures he’s directed The list is relative, and does not include The Hateful Eight yet.
#7. Death Proof (Extended)
It’s really easy to hate this movie. Boy, is it ever. As it’s own film with around 20 minutes of extra footage, the film does fare better than a part of Grindhouse, but it’s still pretty weak. There’s basically two stories here, and only one of them is good. The first half with Stuntman Mike is the stuff of terror, but the second half is a car chase movie with characters not interesting enough for me to care. The tonal shift is too jarring and noticeable to be a success.
#6. Django Unchained
This film is by no means a failure. It’s rich with characters, verbal sparring, and a sweet love story at its center. In many ways, there’s too much story, too many interesting subplots that get discarded to be the absolute best. Even the last act goes on too long, especially knowing deep down how it’s going to end. That’s what holds the film back.
5. Reservoir Dogs
Watching Reservoir Dogs again for this post, I was struck by how the movie still holds up. As a first feature it’s fucking impressive. The dialogue is still memorable, the mystery of who’s the rat is still intriguing, and the time jumps are focused and disciplined. It still has that kinetic energy that many filmmakers have tried to imitate, but can’t come close to succeeding.
4. Inglorious Basterds
To be upfront, this was not the movie I expected to see when it was first released in 2009. It’s not so much about a group of soldiers, but an array of characters that are truly Basterds. Once I got over that, I took the movie at face value, I saw a story that was purely engaging. The way film plays a crucial role in the plot, the way film is discussed so seriously in the midst of war it’s something that has not been done in a historical war picture. And Christoph Waltz steals the whole movie from the first frame.
3. Kill Bill
I have been very fortunate to have seen Kill Bill edited as one movie; the way that it was intended to be seen. It is fucking glorious. The movie is truly Tarantino’s epic in every measure. Seeing them as two half’s you notice the genre changes which can loosen the impact of what Tarantino is trying to do. The journey feels so much more rewarding, so complete, so different from anything else in modern times. If you ever get the opportunity to see it in its intended version (back to back on video isn’t the same), then you owe it to yourself to see it. The performances will pop out more, the collage of genres will give you a new appreciation of Tarantino as a filmmaker.
2. Pulp Fiction
I know many of you are surprised at its spot on the list, but I need to stick with it. There’s already a confidence in every aspect of the movie from the writing to the acting to the editing. Here’s a movie that did such a good fucking job at telling it’s story that most people don’t even realize it’s a fucking anthology film. I don’t think there has been one article I have seen on anthology films, that has ever included this one. It’s easy to take for granted nowadays, but it still feels as fresh as the day it was released.
1. Jackie Brown
With only his third feature film, Tarantino already mastered his craft. The maturity he already possessed to let the characters be true to the source material (based on an Elmore Leonard novel), to let the characters breathe, and to not any bullshit to make it more “Tarantino-esque”. I keep coming back to the movie again and again, still enchanting me like the first time I saw it. It’s his best all around film, no question.