A Filmmaker's Guide to the Best Films by Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino is one of the world's foremost storytellers and has created some of the most incredible satirical works in cinema history. He has managed to transcend genres and give his work the authentic seal of his own style which means you only have to watch the trailer to know the work is that of Tarantino. His explorations into creating great auteur cinema has become one of his best attributes and his ability to create satires that feature key moments such as murder to jazz music, insane amounts of profanity and multiple sub-plots that converge upon each other in the final act of the film have become signature to him so that others who use this style are accused of copying him.
(Key word: auteur - an auteur director is someone who remains in control of most every aspect of the film, creating a signature style that known to be their work. Putting a sort of author's seal upon it by using these creative styles in multiple works)
Tarantino has become one of the most famous figures in the modern and post-modern film movement, especially regarding the fact that his films spread over different times in different plot lines - a classic style of the post-modern era. I thoroughly believe that though this post-modern style wasn't created by Tarantino, it was more or less perfected and made popular by him. He has become one of the figureheads for creating cinema that doesn't follow a linear timeline and so, we see more of an omniscient viewpoint in which all the action is taking place and each story is important in order to understand the climax.
(Key word: post-modern - a style at the latter part of the 20th century in which the main features include unreliable narrators, non-linear time structures and very abstract concepts)
Quentin Tarantino was born in Tennessee, USA in 1963 to a father who was in the film industry as an actor and a producer and to a mother who only married his father to get away from her parents. They divorced early on in Tarantino's life. In 1966, he moved to LA where his mother would marry a musician.
His step-father encouraged his love of movies and took him to movie screenings and his mother would allow him to watch films with adult content when only a child. But in 1973, his mother divorced his step-father and Tarantino moved in with his grandparents back in Tennessee. He lived there for less than a year before moving back to California.
He was writing screenplays by the age of 14 years' old and by the age of 15 was caught shoplifting by his mother. He dropped out of school at 15 and then worked in a movie theatre as an usher. He would go on to take acting classes at the James Best Theatre Company. During the 1980s, Tarantino worked a lot of odd jobs and then, one night, he met Lawrence Bender who encouraged him to write a screenplay. He co-directed his first film in the 80s entitled: My Best Friend's Birthday. It would later form the basis of "True Romance" after the reel of film was destroyed in a fire.
He received his first paid writing assignment in the 1990s as he was hired to write "From Dusk Till Dawn". But his first directing assignment would come in 1992 when he wrote, directed and acted in the Sundance-screened film "Reservoir Dogs" - a hyper neo-noir crime thriller. He got funding for the film from Lionsgate. He would then retreat to Amsterdam after turning down work on "Men in Black" in order to work on the film "Pulp Fiction" (1994).
I can honestly say that Tarantino has really been on the up ever since and I have seen almost every single one of his film (and I'm sure you have too). He may not be the best director out there, but he is a very good storyteller and that you have to admit.
Tarantino recently retraced his footsteps after the arrest of the Hollywood Mogul Harvey Weinstein as it was found that Tarantino may have been complicit in doing nothing about his behaviours, though having knowledge of them the whole time. Since, he has been far quieter than he ever has in the public eye, searching for his retirement in order to get his name out of Hollywood before things turn bad. My opinion is that for all the films Tarantino has given us, we should probably let him alone - people make mistakes and though this mistake was pretty big, he couldn't risk his entire career and that, I think if we look at it carefully, we can understand somewhat. I mean Corey Feldman was stabbed so god knows what would've happened to Tarantino if he opened his mouth. He also stated that Roman Polanski did not rape a 13-year-old and then retracted the statement and changed his mind, stating that in fact he did. Celebrities such as Isabel Adjani etc. have maintained their support for Polanski (for some unknown reason).
The 5 Best Films Directed by Quentin Tarantino:
What we're going to look at today are my personal rankings of the five best films directed by Quentin Tarantino. Now, these films must be directed by him, so films like "Sukiyaki Western Django" will not be on the list. Let's take a look at my top five films by Quentin Tarantino:
5. Inglorious Basterds (2009)
A funny story about "Inglorious Basterds" (2009) is that I actually skipped school in order to buy the DVD on the day the DVD was released. I was very excited to see the movie and I was only 13 years' old as well, my father even let me go and get it even though I was meant to be in school. The film to me, was one of my acts of teenage rebellion. I really enjoyed the film s much that I would watch it over 100 times in the next five years.
4. Django Unchained (2012)
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz, this was a satire about the culture surrounding the slave trade. It was a satire of the white people who thought it was their right to sell these people around and ultimately the ultimate anti-racism film of the early 2010s. I was surprised when I saw this film because after seeing the trailer I thought it was just going to be a load of violence and that lot. I was wrong, instead it was a greatly crafted satirical drama containing deep and analytical content about the way in which the slaves were treated and then, turning the whole thing on its head - it succeeds in releasing the anger altogether in bursts of violence. The ending is very poignant as well because it shows an almost switch of power politics - but then, we have the ending we want ultimately.
3. Pulp Fiction (1994)
One of the greatest crime/action films ever made and one of the most studied films of all time. This is not only a greatly crafted film but is also that singular film that boys tell you about their analysis on to make it look like they're film buffs and impress girls. Boys, it's not impressive - it's slightly irritating after a while. The film is brilliant and has a strong connection to the post-modern aspect of the genre. Tarantino manages to get in all of these very important stories that, on their own, wouldn't be as important as they are - and he manages to make them converge upon this one storyline about the briefcase. Alongside all of the symbolism and pop culture references, you almost miss the fact that almost every single character is doing something criminal. It is truly a beautiful movie with a great non-linear time structure
2. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Personally, I think this is one of the greatest neo-noir crime films out there. No film can concentrate so much on one singular subject matter for so long as to make an entire film based on the act of one person. The best scenes including the one where Tim Roth is bleeding to death in the back of a car, the one where Tarantino himself as Mr. Brown joins the conversation at the table, the shootout in the meet-up location. The ending is a piece of brilliance and again, the non-linear time structure allows us to see flashbacks being told to us to be seen. It is a great and very underrated achievement of cinema. Oh, and here's a fun fact: when I was at university - in the third year of my undergraduate degree, this film's name was also the name of our book club. Yes, you read that correctly. A book club.
1. Jackie Brown (1997)
My personal favourite Tarantino film is "Jackie Brown" (1997) and that's not because it's the one that not many people like. In fact, I know a lot of people who think the same thing. The reason I love this one the most is because it feels like the most authentically Tarantino. It feels like there's not over-the-top pop culture references like "Pulp Fiction" (1994), there's not over-the-top bloody violence like "Reservoir Dogs" (1992) and there's not over-the-top racial and political satire like "Inglorious Basterds" (2009) and "Django Unchained" (2012) - it is an incredible balance between all of them. We've got the racial prejudice of Jackie Brown because of the colour of her skin, we have got the neo-noir nature of characters portrayed by the likes of Samuel L Jackson etc. and we also have the satire of the legal system by characters portrayed by the likes of Michael Keaton. It is a beautifully crafted film again, with a non-linear structure that constantly flicks between each story that has a knock-on effect in which we find out information seemingly before Jackie Brown herself finds out. From the murder of Beaumont Livingston (Chris Tucker) all the way to the action-packed ending in which everything converges at the end of the film, this is a movie you can really get invested in.