It’s Quentin Tarantino’s birthday! To mark the occasion, here are five films of his that I love.
Jackie Brown (1997)
Coming off the massive success of Pulp Fiction, Tarantino gives us another classic with a star-studded cast. Jackie Brown is a crime thriller that follows the titular character in a massive conflict that could make her very rich, or dead. Pam Grier is the star of this thrill ride and gives what is her career defining performance in my opinion. The late-great Robert Forster is the one that nabs an Oscar nom though. If those aren’t enough fire power for you then you also have Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, and a very young Chris Tucker. You may come for the cast, but you will stay for the tense climax that the Ocean’s films dreamed they had.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
In his debut film, Tarantino managed to keep us entertained all while locking us in a warehouse. This is one of the smartest films ever made, in my opinion. From the opening scene in the diner to the dramatic conclusion, you are never spoon fed. The lore and mystery behind every character keeps you tied to your seat wondering who the rat is. Reservoir Dogs is a 100 minute testosterone filled good time.
Kill Bill (2003-2004)
Is this cheating? To me, Vols. 1 and 2 are two different movies. After all, I saw them during each of their respected home releases. I had to make two trips to the video store. Millions of people bought two different movie tickets a year apart from each other. Yet, the man himself says Kill Bill is one movie is two different parts. Who are we to question him? This is his love letter to his love and admiration for eastern films. Specifically of the Kung-Fu genre. Uma Thurman’s yellow jumpsuit is a direct homage to the great Bruce Lee. The whole bloody affair is dripping with scores that give you the feeling you’re watching a 70’s Japanese film. For many Americans, Kill Bill introduced them to many of the tropes and styles of Kung-Fu films. Hey, Quentin, we’re still waiting for that 4-hour master cut of both parts sewn together. Do it for the culture.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
You absolutely cannot have a Tarantino list and not include the classic that is Pulp Fiction. This piece of cinema changed everything for a lot of people. Before this it is hard to think of a movie that was successful telling a cohesive story in a non-linear fashion. Not only that, it is one of the most quoted movies and most gif’d movies of all time. John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson were already established in the film industry, but Pulp Fiction took their careers to super stardom. This film just has its own special aesthetic. The characters just ooze coolness. The first time you watch it you are mostly concerned with where the story is taking you. Upon re-watches you just enjoy the ride more and more as you bounce from one iconic scene to the next.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
While Pulp Fiction is deservedly on top of most people’s Tarantino lists, I have no choice but to put Inglourious Basterds on top of mine. I whole heartedly believe that this is a perfect film. The tone is set in the first 10 minutes when Christoph Waltz interrogates the small family that is harboring Jews. From that moment you know that this is a generational film by a generational filmmaker. The writing is only enhanced by the incredible performances of Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Melanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender, and the aforementioned Waltz. Who went on to win an Academy Award for best supporting role. The bar scene is a masterclass in filmmaking. Everything about it. The pacing, the subtlety, the stakes, everything. Pure edge of your seat drama. Quentin Tarantino has made some incredible films in his career, but like Brad Pitt’s ending line says, I believe this is his masterpiece.
Let’s be real, we can pick any five Tarantino films and make a case for them to be his top five. So, let me see yours below in the comments. What are some of your favorite films to feature birthday boy Quentin Tarantino?