Next week sees the release of what’s being billed as the 9th film by Quentin Tarantino (no one talks about Death Proof/Grindhouse) in the shape of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
(*Edit* Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood is now out in cinemas)
— Ruthless On Film (@RuthlessOnFilm) August 5, 2019
Quentin Tarantino is hands down my favourite director and I pretty much love every film he’s made, however unlike with your children you are allowed to love some more than others, so here’s my list of Tarantino films ranked from worst to best!
There’s a lot to admire about The Hateful Eight; Kurt Russell’s moustache, some excellent dialogue, Jennifer Jason Lee, Kurt Russell’s moustache, a classic double cross, some trademark Tarantino violence and did I mention Kurt Russell’s moustache? However, for me the plot moved along a little too slowly, especially given that some of the twists were fairly obvious. A more ruthless cut would have probably moved this up in my standing but still a watchable western.
7 – Jackie Brown
I have to confess I’ve only watched Jackie Brown once and felt very underwhelmed. That being said I have it above The Hateful Eight because I quite enjoyed the premise and Robert De Niro’s role. It was always going to be tough to follow pulp Fiction and maybe that affected my perception of Jackie Brown. Perhaps a re-watch is in order?
6 – Reservoir Dogs
People may be shocked at how low Reservoir Dogs features but let me be clear, I love this film. The film that launched Tarantino into the world’s consciousness has some incredibly smart plot twists, razor sharp dialogue and a killer soundtrack. I only really have it this low as I feel QT has moved on and refined his craft since but Reservoir Dogs remains a hands down classic.
5 – Kill Bill Vol. 2
Uma Thurman’s second outing as the Bride (aka Beatrix Kiddo) isn’t quite as impactful as her first but there’s some tremendous homage to classic Kung Fu cinema in the Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei. Also anyone who says they have watched Kill Bill Vol. 2 and hasn’t tried punching something at a fingers length is a liar!
4 – Inglourious Basterds
We’re reaching the pinnacle of QT’s work now with so little to choose between entries 4, 3 and 2. Inglourious Basterds incorporates everything that Tarantino does best; razor sharp dialogue, multiple crossing narratives and full on explosions of violence and profanity. Marry that with one of his most stellar casts (and that’s saying something) and you have a truly tremendous film.
3 – Django Unchained
It came with its fair share of controversy for its violent depiction of historically gray “mandingo fighting” and it’s us of racially charged language but for me this artistic licence with history really hammers home how oppressed black slaves were in 19th Century America. It’s essentially a classic tale of redemption and revenge which Jamie Foxx carries off with effortless cool. Christoph Waltz’s German bounty hunter acts as the audience’s eyes into this world, often repulsed by the acts of cruelty he witnesses. Django is not only one of Tarantino’s best, it’s one of my favourite westerns.
2 – Kill Bill Vol. 1
As a huge martial arts fan, Tarantino’s homage to the genre has been one of my favourite films since the first time I saw it. The main reasons it trumps Vol. 2 for me are that it’s much better paced but also it has all the best fights. From her first show-down with Vernita Green to her duel with O-ren and the Crazy 88, which thanks to the jumping timeline of the film actually takes place first chronologically, The Bride is an unstoppable force of nature and quite possibly the most bad-ass woman in the history of film.
1 – Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction isn’t just Tarantino’s best film, it’s one of the best films ever … period! Iconic character after iconic character, Pulp Fiction snakes its way across multiple short stories all connected in sometimes the most subtle of ways. It has without question had more influence on pop culture and filmmaking than any of Tarantino’s other work and the list of memorable quotes is seemingly endless. It explodes to life following the hold-up of a diner and for the next 2 hours and 34 minutes you are treated to the finest drama, suspense and action.
In addition, the film had a profound effect on the careers of several of its cast. Samuel L. Jackson moved from someone who featured in minor supporting roles to one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars and it resurrected the careers of John Travolta and Bruce Willis. If you haven’t seen Pulp Fiction first slap yourself, second tell work you’re sick and need to stay home, then finally, watch Pulp Fiction.
So there you have it. That’s my list. Do you agree with the rankings? Have your say in our Twitter poll.
By Mark Jankowski