Rejoice, for the path of the film fan man is beset on all sides by a new movie from Quentin Tarantino. In anticipation of another quote fest, we’re going from the worst to the best of his directorial outputs, so there’ll be no True Romance, From Dusk Till Dawn or Natural Born Killers — only true blue QT films make this list.
10. JACKIE BROWN (1997)
Tarantino’s least interesting work is one that sees him adapted the Elmore Leonard book Rum Punch for the screen. While Pam Grier is great in her central role, and the flashes of blaxploitation feel authentic, the film never really fits into the world of Tarantino despite a great cast – including Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson and an Oscar-nominated Robert Forster. It’s good, but it feels out of place when stacked against the more in your face stuff QT has done.
9. KILL BILL VOLUME 2 (2004)
The talkier of the two volumes of one woman’s quest to kill a man whose name rhymes with the word kill, Volume 2 perhaps goes more for the QT talk approach that he was then known for. While the black and white opening featuring a cool monologue by Samuel L. Jackson is good, and yes, David Carradine is well cast as Bill, the second half fails to live up to the first, and despite a game performance from Gordon Liu the Pei Mei sequence slows the whole film down, while Michael Parks might be giving his best performance as Esteban Vihaio.
8. DJANGO UNCHAINED (2012)
Controversial for turning the horrors of the slave trade into a quip-laden spaghetti western in which Jamie Foxx’s cool-as-a-mf free-slave Django Freeman along with his pal bounty hunter / dentist Dr King Shultz – Christoph Waltz – is an overlong mess of a movie. There’s a good tight ninety minute movie stuck in a bloated film that spends forever getting to the meat of the story – the film only really picks up once we meet Leonardo DiCaprio’s snarky Calvin Candie, and gets better yet when Samuel L. Jackson appears as sinister slave Stephen. Once again his film refuses to end when it should but even so, some of the dialogue is crisp and there’s a joy to DiCaprio being let off the chain as an out-and-out bad dude.
7. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
The latest QT movie, that enjoyed some success at the box office, as well as awards nominations (and a well deserving win for Brad Pitt) is a mixed bag. The film is longer than it needs to be, and choosing to re-write history is cute when it’s Hitler getting his mug shot to crap but not so much when it’s a pregnant woman who is now alive, wishful thinking maybe but between that and Bruce Lee getting his backside kicked, there’s too much flippancy.
That said, DiCaprio and Pitt are on top form, and when the laughs come it’s full belly laughs, plus the sight of someone getting burned alive is a sight to behold, just try not to throw up at all the bare dirty feet on display.
6. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)
For a period of time, this was to be called Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied France, which sets a tone for his ballsy war movie. Concerning different strands as they begin to converge on a movie premiere in which Hitler is set to attend the film is about Nazi hunting redneck Americans, movie stars, Nazi war heroes, vengeful jews and a sadistic Nazi who steals the whole movie. It made a movie star of Waltz but at times the film can’t really decide if it wants to be a farce or a tense thriller – but the opening scene is one of QT’s best-written exchanges and is too tense for some.
5. DEATH PROOF (2007)
Kurt Russell drives a car that is 100% death proof, so long as you’re in his seat. Russell’s deranged Stuntman Mike goes on the hunt for some ladies to kill, and after dispatching one group of party girls finds he’s met his match in another. One half of the Rodriguez-Tarantino Grindhouse project that also had four fun fake trailers stuffed in as well, this ode to driving in B movies is nasty, punk and as in your face as he gets, especially when fawning of sexy ladies, cool cars, and the best of 70s songs.
4. KILL BILL VOLUME 1 (2003)
A film so inflected by Japanese culture that a sequence about a Japanese girl turns into an anime, QT’s ode to Shaw Brothers films, Samurai movies, rape-revenge flicks and splatter films comes forth in the ultra-violence but thoroughly enjoyable Kill Bill. From Sonny Chiba’s sword master to a furious Lucy Liu screaming while covered in blood, this is as crazy as he gets and when it’s time for his heroine The Bride (Uma Thurman at her best) to face off against an army called The Crazy 88 it’s blood – not shit – that hits the fan, and it’s spectacular.
3. THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)
The first QT film not to have a two word title, The Hateful Eight is a post-civil war thriller that takes Stagecoach, Westerns and John Carpenter as inspiration. Eight strangers end up snowed in at a small inn during a massive snowstorm, one a former civil war hero and personal friend of Lincoln, one a Bounty Hunter who brings with him a bounty who may or may not be scheming an escape.
2. RESERVOIR DOGS (1992)
The original movie, a cool post-heist thriller in which people named after colours try to figure out who is the mole in their midst. Famous for Michael Madsen dancing and cutting ears off to classic tunes, the slow-mo intro and of course Steve Buscemi’s finest hour, there is a movie here that is perfect for assessment, how to make a low budget thriller and a film that can be a calling card.
1.PULP FICTION (1994)
Possibly the coolest film ever made, the film that made an icon of Samuel L. Jackson, and reignited the career of John Travolta. Both funny and slick, filled with quotable dialogue, plot twists and a surprising amount of gore, the film is a triumph of wining crime dramas, as well as absurdist comedy. Bruce Willis gives one of his best performances, and the awards nominations heaped on it are no surprise given how brilliantly constructed it is, it’s become a rorschach test of people – if you’ve not seen it, you should be avoided.
Paul Klein is a Film Studies Graduate from London, former writer at The Metropolist.