It could be argued that Quentin Tarantino is the greatest filmmaker in the business today. His pictures are consistently riveting, his nurturing of characters is essentially unparalleled in this business and he’s as diverse and clever as they come. The man is a living legend, and if he lives up to his declaration of exiting the cinematic field after completing 10 pictures, he’ll be one of the rare wise men to ride off, guided by the glare of the sunset, still on top of the world.
As it stands today, the man’s work is exceptional with not a weak link on his résumé. It seems only right that we take a close look at Tarantino’s body of work and not only appreciate it for the respectable collective that it is, but also make an attempt to rank each of his films, from “worst” (doesn’t really apply in this instance) to first.
08 Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown is the only film on Tarantino’s ledger to lack mind bogglingly awesome monologues. Make no mistake, there’s dialogue worth remembering (“AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes.”), but don’t anticipate consistently epic exchanges from Jackie Brown. Now, having said that, the film has a lot going for it, namely the participation of the still-stunning Pam Grier, the legendary Robert De Niro and the always lovable Michael Keaton. And come on now, when a bad ass pic like Jackie Brown is considered your “worst” movie, you’re doing something really, really right.
07 Death Proof
It breaks my heart to know how many Tarantino fans consider Death Proof to be the man’s lone bomb. Personally (it's my favorite Tarantino flick), I’d call it a near-masterpiece. Sans Pulp Fiction, Tarantino’s dialogue doesn’t get a whole hell of a lot better than this. Kurt Russell is equal parts charming and sadistic, his ’69 Charger is a beautiful murdering machine and when he utters the following words, goosebumps break out on my flesh, head to toe. I just can’t shake this from my memory bank:
“Cheers, Butterfly. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. And I have promises to keep. Miles to go before I sleep. Did you hear me, Butterfly? Miles to go, before you sleep.”
06 Kill Bill
A sprawling martial arts epic with complex characters, beautiful women, a heroine to die for, relentless action, revenge of the grandest caliber and enough blood to satisfy a professional butcher, Kill Bill has a little bit of everything. And it’s guaranteed to occupy a comfy place in your heart. The dialogue is Tarantino in prime form. I could quote half of the film, but why do that when I can wrap this little assessment with the absolute perfect exchange:
Elle Driver: That's right. I killed your master. And now I'm gonna kill you too, with your own sword, no less, which in the very immediate future, will become... my sword.
The Bride: Bitch, you don't have a future.
That right there, my friends, is magic!
05 Django Unchained
Tarantino’s first foray into the age old western is nothing short of awe inspiring. As is Tarantino’s practice there’s some strong commentary to take in, and that commentary really stands out thanks to the personalities and professional execution from Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio. These two steal the show, but the scenic shots and the atmosphere of the film are also top notch. You can bank on plenty of awesome punchlines and speeches, especially once DiCaprio’s character, Calvin Candie makes his presence known and tips Django Unchained over the edge, free falling toward a field of perfection.
Line of the movie, you ask?
“Gentleman, you had my curiosity, now you have my attention.”
04 The Hateful Eight
As is the case with Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight is a western. Unlike Django Unchained, there’s a very obvious influence from another classic film: John Carpenter’s The Thing. Like The Thing, The Hateful Eight focuses on a predominantly male cast who find themselves isolated in a saloon, trapped by a hellacious storm and struggling to put their paranoia to rest. It’s a good thing they fail at loosening up, because someone in this establishment isn’t what he claims. Trust this, once the odd man out has been exposed there will be blood. A lot of blood! A little light on the monologues, the social commentary is still arguably the strongest we’ve seen Tarantino offer. The Hateful Eight is an amazing film, and the final act is going to completely blow your mind.
03 Inglourious Basterds
Outrageous, often ultra-violent and always entertaining, Inglourious Basterds is akin to a punch to the balls. It’s nonstop insanity as we find ourselves wrapped up in a conflict between a group of ruthless Jewish soldiers and their sworn enemy, that silly ‘stached, Adolf Hitler and his scumbag Nazi cronies. Tarantino pulls zero punches in the film; each and every act is engrossing and Brad Pitt absolutely slays. Pitt isn't alone however, he’s got mighty fine backup in the form of the merciless sidekick known as The Bear Jew. If you’re after a war film that thrills from the jump, you’re after Inglourious Basterds.
02 Reservoir Dogs
Who would’ve thought a botched heist flick would put a little-known filmmaker into Hollywood’s greatest graces? Probably not many, but that’s precisely what happened. Tarantino’s frantic film full of colorful aliases and airborne bullets shocked audiences and left us all anxious to see what the man’s next move would be. We now know what that move was (Pulp Fiction), but we sure didn’t expect Reservoir Dogs to catapult Tarantino to the cinematic summit and we didn't expect Reservoir Dogs to culminate in an outlandish gun fight that left a half dozen men in suits sprawled on the floor, covered in crimson. To this day, Reservoir Dogs boasts one of, if not the craziest climaxes captured on film.
01 Pulp Fiction
You’re not surprised by this pick, are you? Pulp Fiction is Tarantino’s magnum opus. The story is smooth as slightly melted butter and stuffed full of unexpected sequences. Brains fly, bodies are riddled with bullet holes, Marsellus Wallace gets anally raped and Jules Winnfield washes down a Big Kahuna burger with an awfully tasty beverage. Pulp Fiction does it all, and it does it all right. In fact, it does it better than right; this is a perfect film in every way imaginable. Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta make for a genius duo with assassination on their minds, and Bruce Willis is the baddest mofo to be featured in a film full of bad mofos. He picks up a few extra cool points for jacking dead Zed’s wheels, to boot. Pulp Fiction is already a certified classic, and no amount of time will erase the impact of this polarizing picture.