Guest Post: Ted ranks his favorite Quentin Tarantino films


[rtm’s note: With the recent casting of Jamie Foxx in Tarantino’s upcoming film Django Unchained, Ted looks back on some of his favorite films from the Tennessee-born director. Also check out Ted’s review of Django Unchained script.]

QT is one of my favorite directors working in Hollywood today and yes I do think he’s a hack but he’s a damn good hack. He’s able to combine his favorite genre films from the 60s and 70s and put in own spin on them. With the news that he’s going to make a western, I thought I should list my favorite films of his. I’ll only list films that he was the sole director, I’m not going to list films or TV shows that he co-directed, co-wrote or starred in. Also, I won’t go into the plot of each film since readers of this site probably know QT’s films pretty well. In order, below are the films:

1. Pulp Fiction
I actually didn’t care for this film the first time I saw it. I thought it was weird and well just plain sucked. So a couple of years later, I decided to give it another shot since it got nominated for so many Oscars. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it the second time around and it’s now one of the few films I’d call a masterpiece. I have seen this film countless times now and I’m still waiting for it to come out on Blu-ray. Highly recommended if you’ve never seen it.

2. Inglourious Basterds
Tarantino spent over ten years writing the script of this film and I think it was well worth it. I love this movie, all the performances were great, especially Christoph Waltz as the sinister Col. Landa. QT said when he first wrote the script, he wanted to cast big named stars in the movie. He wanted Sly Stallone as the Basterds leader then Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Bruce Willis and Adam Sandler will play the Basterds. He wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger as Landa and the film was going to be more action oriented. Of course around this time, those actors were still making $20mil per movie so he figured there’s no way he can cast them all so he decided to re-write it. When he finally was ready to shoot the movie, he met with Leo DiCaprio and offered him the Landa role but Leo told him to cast an actual German for the role instead. We have to thank Leo for that suggestion.

3. Kill Bill
I know there are two films but I count them as one because originally the film was supposed to be released as one movie.  After The Weinstein Bros. saw the film, they told QT to cut it into two so they could make more money from it. Great move since both films earned around $70mil each, had they released it as one, they’d only make $70mil. QT’s take on the kung-fu and spaghetti western was just awesome; he even played homage to Bruce Lee’s Game of Death and Sergio Leone’s For A Few Dollars More.

I thought Uma Thurman got robbed for not getting an Oscar nomination for her role as The Bride. A little tidbit about the second film’s ending, in the script there’s a big fight scene between The Bride and Bill. The scene would’ve taken place right after their conversation near the end of the film. The fight was going to be on the beach and Bill’s demise was quite brutal, I think that’s a correct word for it. Rumors been going around that QT actually shot the scene but he didn’t like it and decided to not use it. Of course he never confirmed or denied those rumors. So hopefully we’ll get to see it in the near future.

4. Reservoir Dogs
I didn’t see this film until after I saw Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, by then I was in the QT fan club and wanted to see all of his work. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started watching this film but was quite surprised of how much I enjoyed it. The film has very intense torture scene, I still having a hard time sitting through it even if I watch it today. But I thought the way the scene ended was quite ingenious; I definitely didn’t see it coming.

5. Jackie Brown
QT’s take on the Blaxploitation genre was very good but it wasn’t well received by the critics or audiences. I think many people were expecting another version of Pulp Fiction even though he kept telling people that isn’t. I remember a guy I used to work with at a video store, he was so excited to see this movie and I kept telling him it won’t be like Pulp Fiction and he said he knew that going in. Well after he saw it, he told me it sucked because it wasn’t anything like Pulp Fiction. I thought it was funny and just laughed at him. I’ve only seen this movie once; it’s definitely one of my least favorite films of QT. I’ll see it again once it comes out on Blu-ray.

6. Death Proof (part of Grindhouse)
I enjoyed this film but can’t say it’s good because the film was pointless and didn’t have any plot whatsoever. Going into this film, I expected to see his version of Halloween or Friday the 13th, but what I got was a movie about pretty girls talking nonsense and they kept talking and talking and talking. Although I thought the chase scene at end was awesome and the little twist was pretty cool too. I can’t recommend the film to anyone unless you’re a huge die-hard fan of QT like I am.

Well those are my ranking of QT’s films, from best to worst. What do you think? If you’re a fan of QT, how would you rank his films?

37 thoughts on “Guest Post: Ted ranks his favorite Quentin Tarantino films

  1. Wonderful list there, Ted. Always glad to see Death Proof on such indexes. It really didn’t get its due, plus it has a favorite actor in there, Kurt Russell, doing remarkable work. Tell me, do you favor the Grindhouse cut or the extended? Also, earlier this year I took in QT’s original (meaning the Cannes Film Festival) cut for Kill Bill at his theater here in L.A.. AKA, The Whole Bloody Affair, it really played even better than the Volumes I & II, IMO. You can see it wasn’t exactly a cut it in two proposition, though he and the late-Sally Menke handled it with aplomb. Hopefully, they’ll release that version to Blu-ray Disc, or make it more available to revival theatres across the U.S. I really recommend it — it just might make you change the order, there 😉 . Thanks, Ted.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks le0pard, I only saw the extended cut of Deathproof so I can’t comment on the Grindhouse cut, do you recommend that version? Like I mentioned, it’s definitely my least favorite of QT’s work but it was still a fun flick.

      Lucky you, I’ve always wanted to see the The Whole Bloody Affair cut, I wish they’d release it on Blu-ray soon, I’ll definitely check it out on the big screen if they decided to release it in movie theaters. I assume the big fight between The Crazy 88s and The Bride was all in color? Man I really want to see it. I read the script before I saw the film and was hoping to see the fight between The Bride and Bill for the climax, maybe Tarantino will include that scene if/when he decides to release the Whole Bloody Affair on Blu-ray someday.

      1. There’s more character exposition in the extended version, along with scenes not in Grindhouse (especially the lap dance that served as the missing reel gag and more foot fetish clips are missing from the theatrical cut). If you have a BD player, it’s worth checking out the Grindhouse disc. Because there’s more dialogue in the EC, it probably is my favorite. But, I just saw Grindhouse in Blu-ray and I have to say the abbreviated cut plays better when paired with Planet Terror.

        And yes, the House of Blue Leaves sequence retains all the beautiful bloody color throughout — along with extended scenes and one additional short clip that has an added pay-off. There is an intermission in it, but even that is unlike the two separate films put together. I thought I heard that QT wants to put in another anime sequence into this more grand film. I say, milk it. Release the Cannes cut now to BD, and double-dip later with his final cut. I won’t hold it against him ;-). Thanks, Ted.

        1. Ted S.

          Cool, I’m gonna have to check out the Grindhouse disc, I might like it better with that cut.

          Yeah I don’t mind if he keeps milking the film at all, hey maybe he might actually start writing the third film after he’s done with Django Unchained. Thanks for the info about the Whole Bloody Affair cut, can’t wait to see it.

  2. Nice list Ted, probably the same order I would rank them myself as I loved Inglourious Basterds. It would be a toss up between Pulp Fiction and Basterds at the #1 spot for me. I have yet to see Jackie Brown and Death Proof though.

    1. Ted S.

      Jackie Brown and Death Proof will test your patience, especially Death Proof. I’m gonna have to see Jackie Brown again since I haven’t seen it in like 10 years.

  3. I liked Kill Bill 2 a bit more than the first, mainly because there was a bit more character development in it. Also, i actually saw Reservoir Dogs in a film class 😛

    I think i’ve seen all the movies in this list, although the older Tarantino movies i don’t remember so well

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah when looking at it as two films, I prefer the second one too but hopefully we’ll get to see The Whole Bloody Affair cut soon.

  4. I’ve only seen three on this list, Ted, but I’d probably rank IB first as I really admire that one. Kill Bill is good but not something I’d watch again. Basterds on the other hand, I wouldn’t mind seeing it repeatedly despite the amount of violence because of Fassbender and Christoph Waltz. Can’t remember much from Pulp Fiction though, which is probably a good thing 🙂

    1. Ted S.

      You know what’s funny was that when Pulp Fiction first came out, people said it was so violent but the film itself didn’t have a lot of violent scenes in it. Compare to Inglorious Basterds and Kill Bill, the film was quite tame.

      1. Oh I think now I remember the part when Travolta’s character accidentally shot someone in the passenger seat or something, it was quite a bloody scene. But you’re right it probably isn’t violent by today’s standards.

  5. Hi, Ted, Ruth and company:

    I’ve been a fan of Tarantino’s work since ‘Reservoir Dogs’. Which I still think is a superior, up-dated, gritty take on a French New Wave heist gone wrong flick. Excellent cast, writing and just a hint of Murnau’s unseen terror in the Stealer’s Wheel scene definitely put Tarantino on the map.

    ‘Pulp Fiction’ has a lot and sometimes, too much going on at one time. Loved the banter between Travolta and Jackson. Though a few scenes are over the top. Harvey Keitel steals the film as ‘fixer’, Winston Wolfe.

    ‘Kill Bill (Pt.1)’ seems all over the map at first, but comes together nicely and succeeds with excellent cinematography and stunt work with The Bride versus The Crazy 88. Also enjoyed the Japanese Anime history of O Rin Ishi.

    Part 2 picks up and takes The Bride’s war down to the finish line with Daryl Hannah upstaging a slovenly Michael Madsen and a boffo battle before the finale. ‘Kill Bill (Pt.1) still has it on points.

    ‘Jackie Brown’ was tailored for Pam Grier while Tarantino writing and putting the film together. Grier’s Magnum Opus deftly aided by Robert Forster’s Max Cherry.

    Didn’t think much of Tarantino’s ‘Grindhouse’ project. Though ‘Death Proof’ is the better of the two films and an homage to Tura Satana and Russ Meyer.

    I wasn’t surprised when one of its coming attractions, ‘Machete’ was made into a film. Would have preferred Rob Zombie’s fake trailer for ‘Werewolf Women of the SS’ be given the Grindhouse star treatment.

    1. Ted S.

      Hi Jack,

      Great analysis there, I haven’t seen Reservoir Dogs in a while, I might have to sit down and watch it again.

      I didn’t see Grindhouse in theater so I missed all those fake trailers. But I did enjoy Machete the feature film. I’ll search for Rob Zombie’s Werewolf Women of the SS.

  6. Great list, Ted 🙂 I’d rank them mostly the same with 2 two teeny changes…I’d put IB #1 and Jackie Brown higher up. re: Pulp Fiction, i get to the needle scene and I can’t go any further. But I think that is the one that has had arguably the most impact on daily life. There is still a club here called Jack Rabbit Slim’s, and yes, they have a twist contest.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Paula, you know I might move IB up to number 1 since I’ve been watching it constantly. I have to see Pulp Fiction again, haven’t seen in a while, it’s coming to Blu-ray this fall. Same with Jackie Brown, I haven’t seen it since I saw it in theater back in 1997!

      Wow I would love to visit the real Jack Rabbit Slim’s and watch people do the twist. Have you been to the place?

      1. Yay, i have IB on my phone. yeah, it’s love LOL i’ll have to check out those Blu-rays.

        i haven’t been there. it’s really for the young kids, i mean like 19 y/o. it’s across the Detroit River in Windsor, Canada so the drinking age is lower LOL i should get over there & see how the waitstaff are dressed.

  7. Glad to see Basterds so high up. It’s personally my favorite. I completely understand the greatness of Pulp Fiction but I love Basterds and enjoy every rewatching.

    1. Ted S.

      It was tough trying to decide which one should take the top spot but I remember most if not all of the dialog from Pulp Fiction, so it has to be on the top. Ha ha.

  8. HAHA Ted you floozy, 2 posts on different blogs in one day?? LOL

    ‘Have blog will write’ should be your motto!!

    Great job again my friend. I was nodding all the way down. Although I think I am the only person on the planet that didn’t really rate Basterds. I thought the opening cottage scene was great and very QT, but I got bored through the rest. Sometimes his over long monologues get on my nerves. Just my opinion!!

    He is still a great though and I will always go to see his films!!

    Thanks for sharing Ted!

    1. Ted is superhuman, able to be in two places at the same time, y’know? So writing for two blogs is a piece of cake for him 😀

      You’re bored with ‘Basterds’, Custard? What in the world is wrong with you! 😀

      1. I know right? Everyone else in the world loved it…but little old Custard just found it a bit same old same old….hmmm Maybe I need to re watch it! (I must have been tired)

        1. Hey, I was just kidding. I mean, who am I to judge as I often dislike movies that are adored the world over. I guess being a non-Tarantino fan, I’m not as familiar with his work so when I saw it, all the technique he did w/ the dialog, camera movement, etc. seems fresh to me. But after I watched Kill Bill I realize that is his style or signature if you will, so I thought, hmmm, does he do this in all of his movies? 😀

    2. Ted S.

      Thanks Custard, I’m just that great. Ha ha. No, lately I have more time on my hands because my contract work is dying down so I was able to spend more time writing my rants.

  9. Great post. I’m waiting for Mr T to make ten movies so I can feature him on Top 10 Films but I may cheat a little and incorporate short and written-by films.

    Can’t argue with your choice for number one – Pulp Fiction would be mine too. Then it gets difficult but I think maybe, just maybe, I’d go Inglorious Basterds 2nd also. I’d be tempted to put Jackie Brown and Reservoir Dogs ahead of Kill Bill, with Kill Bill 2 propping up the list just behind Death Proof.

    If I was to do a top 10 I’d put From Dust Till Dawn and true Romance high up the list with his contribution to Four Rooms in 10th.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Dan, yeah I would list True Romance and From Dusk Till Dawn on my best list too but I only wanted to name his sole directing effort.

  10. I actually rank Inglourious as my personal fave of his. He does get a lot of crap for being a hack, but what I love about his work the most is that his movies are about movies. He and Eli Roth make me want to go and check out the films that they reference in their work. I like having filmmakers like that around to show us what movies inspired them and point us in their general direction.

    1. Ted S.

      Well said Mark, had it not been for Tarantino, I wouldn’t have known about Sam Peckinpah’s films. Now Peckinpah is one of my favorite directors, when I was younger, QT always rave about his work so I decided to watch Peckinpah’s films.

  11. Nice list. I pretty much agree with your rankings, but I might put Reservoir Dogs ahead of Kill Bill. Depends on my mood, I suppose 🙂

    1. Ted S.

      I only saw Reservoir Dogs two or three times, while I’ve seen Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds and Kill Bill many times. I might have sit down and watch it again soon.

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