I’ve toyed with this idea before in my head, and I’ve decided to go ahead with it. Without wasting too much of your time, I’ll dive right into this one…..after a bit of clarification anyway.
I’d like to point out that, aside from this obviously being my own personal opinion, this is only counting movies Tarantino directed; not simply wrote. As such, you won’t see True Romance (a movie I still haven’t seen regardless) or any other movies like that on this list. You also won’t see Four Rooms (another one I haven’t seen yet), as he technically only directed a section of the movie, rather than the entire thing. So, with that out of the way, let’s get on with the list.
No. 7 (aka “Least Favourite”) – Death Proof
Fairly easy pick for “least favourite” to be honest. This movie is pretty forgettable in my opinion. I know this is technically one half of a double feature, but I don’t think watching Planet Terror would improve this much. Mind you, I don’t hate the movie at all, just the ending is lame. This is one of the few movies I’ve ever seen where I thought the ending must’ve been a fake out, as I was still waiting to find out what happened to Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character. Like, what the hell Tarantino? The last time we see her, her friends have basically handed her over to a horny redneck who probably raped the living hell out of her off screen for all we know. And her friends don’t seem to give a shit either. I honestly kind of lost all sympathy for these characters when I realised that. Hell, the ending itself is very anti-climactic. It generally seems like it should go on a bit longer, but it just ends abruptly and left me thinking “……that’s it? Really?”
The acting wasn’t terrible by any means, but again, this movie is probably the only Tarantino movie I would advise you to skip if you haven’t already seen it. Not to say you shouldn’t if you’re curious. If you are, go ahead, you may like it more than I do; that’s how opinions work. But for me, this is easily my least favourite Tarantino movie, and the only easy one to really place. Well, aside from…
No. 6 – Inglorious Basterds
Now, I have no issues with this movie. In fact, the only Tarantino movie I have issues with is Death Proof; hence why it got the bottom spot. But compared to the other movies on this list, this ranks very low for one specific reason. “Rewatchability”. To me, out of the six of these that I do like, Inglorious Basterds is the one I re-watch the least amount comparatively. It’s not a bad movie, but for some reason I only really re-watch it when I’m not in the mood to watch the other five above this (Granted I don’t own Django on DVD, so I’ve only seen it about twice or so).
The performances are all solid, especially Brad Pitt, who is the funniest (and ugliest) I think I’ve ever seen him in anything. Like, wow, here’s a guy I never thought I’d see in a Tarantino movie, and it ends up working out really well. The standout performance is easily (in my opinion) Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa. Christoph seems to disappear into the character so well that I find it to be a shame I didn’t know he existed before this movie. Easily one of the best actors Tarantino’s ever worked with, which would explain why he brought him back for Django Unchained.
I honestly don’t have anything else to say about this movie, but I guess I’ll clarify again that I don’t think this movie is necessarily bad in any way, just not as good as the movies I’ve ranked higher than it on this list.
No. 5 – Reservoir Dogs
Something tells me I’m going to get negative feedback for this not cracking the top three, but that’s why personal opinion exists. I do think this is a solid movie, as is every other movie on this list (aside from Death Proof anyway), but as good as this movie is, nothing much really happens. And no, I’m not bagging the “heist movie without the heist” gist of the movie; in fact I think that’s what helps make this movie stand out so much. I guess for all the great Tarantino dialogue, the simplicity of the plot ended up hurting it a bit as far as placement in this list. And I know, simplicity is a silly thing to go by when you’re talking Tarantino plots, but still.
Again, I love this movie, but like with Inglorious Basterds I just don’t seem to want to watch it over and over again, which ended up hurting it enough to land it in fifth place. But if that isn’t enough for you to hate me yet? Oh boy, are you going to hate me when we get to number four.
No. 4 – Pulp Fiction
Told you so. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!”.
Kakashi (aka the guy being crucified): Me
The many Itatchi pictured (Everyone else): You
But please, allow me to beg your indulgence for a moment (finally, an excuse to say that). First off, yes, Pulp Fiction is a great movie, but this isn’t a list of which is the best, it is about which one I happen to like more than the others. And I can tell you right now, even if this had ended up higher, it would NOT have been number one. As good, hell, as fucking GREAT as Pulp Fiction is, I once again surprisingly don’t watch this as often as I watch the number one spot. In fact I’m rarely in the mood for Pulp Fiction, which is odd. I mean, aside from the rape stuff it’s a very enjoyable movie, so why don’t I watch it more often? God knows I currently have enough free time to watch it several times a day.
Part of it may be I purposely don’t want to overwatch it, as it may ruin the charm of the movie somehow, which could be right. There have been plenty of movies that I watched once a day when I was younger (Spaceballs being the main one), and after a while I just wouldn’t watch the movie for ages before finally watching it again. That said, as fun as the movie is, I don’t consider it to be Tarantino’s best story. And to be honest, that’s another way I ranked this; which movies’ plots interest me the most. Which leads us to number three.
No. 3 – Django Unchained
As of writing this article, this is the last movie Tarantino has released to date, and I knew practically nothing about it going in, which I think helped. It was great to see Christoph Waltz again, and basically playing the polar opposite of his character from Inglorious Basterds. If I had to pick, I’d say I prefer Christoph’s performance in this to Inglorious Basterds. I mean, sure, he’s the best thing about that movie, but in this his performance seems more real as he does appear to be a genuinely nice guy. Oh, I’ve only been talking about Christoph haven’t I? My bad, I’ll try to talk about something else.
Aside from a solid cast this movie also has one of the few romance plots I actually care about. Most usually seem tacked on, and even when they are the main focus I usually don’t like those kinds of movies. Django Unchained, however, manages to pull off the “never ending quest to save his wife” gimmick quite well. Not surprisingly, putting this story in a time period of the USA where slavery was still legal actually helps ramp up the tension; especially near the end where the ruse is figured out by Samuel L. Jackson’s character. I must admit that when I first saw this movie and it gets to the part where they’re about to castrate Django, I was on the edge of my seat. This is a Tarantino movie. That could’ve actually happened. Thank God it didn’t though, that would’ve been hard to sit through (like the rape scene in Pulp Fiction).
As far as the stand out performance goes, I’d have to go with Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin J. Candie. Anyone who can be so in-the-zone when acting that accidentally cutting up their hand doesn’t faze them, and it actually helps to make their performance even more menacing, is a great actor in my book. Goes without saying though that there wasn’t a single terrible performance in this movie. Great acting, an interesting story and a scenario you’d think Tarantino would’ve exploited long before he finally did is what mad Django Unchained move into the number three spot.
No. 2 – Jackie Brown
Huh, the “other” Tarantino Blaxploitation homage movie is also in the top three. Odd. Anyway, I honestly don’t care if you disagree with me or not, I think Jackie Brown is one of the most solid stories Tarantino has ever told on film. I’m not saying all the other movies are necessarily bad plot/story wise, but the more I think about it the more I start to realise just how underappreciated this movie must be. Before Christmas back in 2012 I had never heard of Jackie Brown. I’d at least heard of Death Proof, but I’d never EVER heard anyone talk about Jackie Brown. And after seeing it several times I only have one question. Why?
Why in the hell had I never previously heard about this movie? This is a GREAT movie, and probably the most underrated of Tarantino’s movies. That being said, me considering this to be underrated is NOT what allowed it to place so high. And no, I didn’t place it this high as a joke or to piss people off (This is my opinion remember). This placed so high because I was actually invested in what was going on. Most of the other Tarantino movies are fun, and you go along for the ride, but I’ve noticed I’m never invested in what’s going on. When Vincent dies in Pulp Fiction I really don’t care. Aside from the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs (which is still hard to watch) I don’t have any sort of emotional reaction to anything.
Jackie Brown however? I’ve found I really did become emotionally invested in what was going on the first time I watched it, and to this day it still bugs me that Max Cherry and Jackie don’t end up together. But in an odd way I do actually like that ending. It’s not entirely happy, but it’s not depressing either. It actually seems like a very realistic ending. They essentially admit they have a thing for each other, but Max doesn’t get the chance to run away with Jackie because she leaves before he makes up his mind. I like to think he went after her anyway or they met up again when she gets back from Spain, but still, as far as the movie goes they don’t end up together.
Aside from nit-picky stuff I won’t bother to mention (well, aside from the “they don’t end up together” thing) this movie is pretty much perfect. A great cast coupled with arguably the second best story Quentin Tarantino has ever produced. It almost makes me want to see Tarantino make more adaptations.
No. 1 – Kill Bill (Vol. I & II)
No matter where everything else was placed, Kill Bill was easily going to be in the top spot. It never occurred to me to separate both volumes on this list by the way. Had I done so, this list wouldn’t have changed much. “Kill Bill Vol. I” would’ve been in the number two spot, and “Kill Bill Vol. II” would’ve been in the number one spot (thereby pushing everything else down a spot), and that’s it. Kill Bill gets the number one spot for several reasons. For one thing, Kill Bill is legitimately my favourite thing Quentin Tarantino has ever done. Secondly, I didn’t just become emotionally invested in these movies, I became completely immersed in the story’s universe. I’ve watched these movies more times than any of the other Tarantino films combined.
I’m never not in the mood to watch these movies, and I always feel that once I watch Vol. I, I have to watch Vol. II, whether that’s immediately after the movie ends or the next day. Kill Bill Vol. II HAS to be the next movie I watch. If that’s not enough, Kill Bill has actually influenced me to want to write my own revenge story. There are other influences, but Kill Bill is easily the main one. If it ever saw the light of day I would never deny that Kill Bill was an influence because I’d be lying through my teeth.
On top of everything the cast is perfect. No, not just great, the cast of Kill Bill is perfect in my eyes. The best example of this is how Michael Parks plays two completely different characters in both movies, and I never noticed until watching a “Making Of” extra on the Kill Bill Vol. II DVD. In film one, Michaels Parks played the Texas Ranger Earl McGraw. In film two he played Esteban Vihaio, the retired Mexican pimp. It’s still hard to believe that that’s true, as I honestly couldn’t tell Esteban was being played by a white guy in heavy makeup. I really did believe the actor legitimately had some sort of Latino heritage. I’ll stop now so I don’t go on for days, but long story short I absolutely LOVE every single thing about the Kill Bill movies, and that’s why they get the number one spot.
So, what do you guys think? Would your list be similar to mine? Exactly the same? Completely different? Please let me know in the comments, as I am genuinely intrigued as to how other people would rank the Tarantino movies.