I just finished watching The Hateful Eight and I had to write this post. I was NOT a fan of The Hateful Eight, it didn’t quite hit me like Inglorious Basterds or Jackie Brown did. Let me start by saying I think Quentin Tarantino writes and directs some really phenomenal movies! They’re hip and non-linear, a little violent and outrageous, and just plain fun to watch. Tarantino has directed 8 films (which, a few he also wrote, and acted in), they are the following in chronological (or linear, hehe!) order:
- Reservoir Dogs (1992)
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
- Jackie Brown (1997)
- Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
- Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
- Inglourious Basterds (2009)
- Django Unchained (2012)
- The Hateful Eight (2015)
Before I get in to my top 3 Tarantino films, I’d like to talk a little about his style over all. He’s definitely over-the-top, but I find most of the time, it’s over the top in a good way. Either with the ultra-violence where you know a head would never explode like that or super long fight scenes where there’s no way any one could endure for that long, Tarantino’s films are novel, to say the least.
He also surrounds himself with a lot of controversy, mainly around a certain racial slur. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the N* word used more times than in his films Jackie Brown and Django Unchained. He’s gotten a lot of criticism from African-American film directed Spike Lee, who believes that Tarantino is infatuated with the N* word. Honestly, I think he might be too. But no matter how you look at it, Quentin Tarantino’s films are pretty damn good!
- Jackie Brown: I consider this film Tarantino’s sleeper film. It was an homage to 70’s blaxploitation movies like Foxy Brown and Shaft. The movie follows Jackie Brown (played by Pam Grier in a revival of her old roles of the 70’s), an airplane attendant who smuggles money for a man named Ordell (played by the charismatic and frightening Samuel L. Jackson), he’s a gun-runner. But Jackie gets picked up by the feds while smuggling in some money and cocaine, she gets arrested, and Ordell is afraid she might “roll” on him. He bails her out of jail using Max Cherry, a bail bondsman, who picks up Jackie and starts to fall in love with her. Jackie, being the smart woman that she is, devises a plan to double-cross Ordell, get the charges against her dropped, and keep most of the money for herself. Spoiler alert — she does just that! Ultimately this movie is about romance, a romance that was lost between Jackie and Max Cherry. But it’s also about a strong woman, who against all odds comes out on top, and finally gets the life she deserves. Jackie Brown is number 3 on my list of Tarantino films, if you haven’t seen it, definitely check it out!
- Pulp Fiction: Could you not see this one coming? Pulp Fiction gets a lot of praise and I’m about to give it some more. It’s one of those non-linear movies that Tarantino is known for. It follows a few different stories that ultimately intertwine in the end. Wikipedia calls it a “neo-noir crime black comedy” — I call it awesomeness wrapped up in 154 minutes. The opening scene to this movie is a couple (played by Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) sitting in a cafe who decide to stick up the joint and rob everyone in it (the film cuts out, but it eventually cycles back to it). Then the film introduces Vincent Vega and Jules (two of Marsellus Wallace’s hitmen) who are sent to retrieve a briefcase. There’s an iconic scene where Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Jules, recites a bible verse then shoots a guy. They get the briefcase, but (and this is a recurring theme) no one knows what the briefcase holds. Every time someone opens it, there’s this gold-ish, red hue that illuminates from the briefcase. There’s been lots of speculation as to what’s in the briefcase, but you never really find out. Butch, a boxer, then meets with Marsellus, who is an L.A. gangster. Butch is told to take a dive in the upcoming fight, but ends up double-crossing the most dangerous gangster in Los Angeles. He goes on the run and the two hitmen are sent after him. Butch ends up killing Vincent Vega, who was the root cause of Marsellus’s wife overdosing on heroin. Vincent works with Jules and while they killed the man who stole the briefcase, they were also shot at several times but with every single bullet missing them, this makes Jules have an epiphany and he vows to leave the gangster lifestyle. The two hitmen end up in the diner while the couple at the beginning of the movie are robbing it. Jules let the couple go free, but not without retrieving his wallet that says “bad mother*cker” on it. I haven’t even gotten into talking about The Wolf, or Vincent and Mia winning the dance competition, or the gimp!! This movie is an all around adventure, and one that will most likely stand the test of time!
- Inglourious Basterds: That’s right! This is my favorite Tarantino film, it’s just really really well done. It’s well written and well-acted. This movie is about World War II, and a group of Jewish-American soldiers who travel light and kill any Nazi they see. They’re lead by the all-wise Aldo “The Apache” Raine (played by Brad Pitt), he manages this merry band of Nazi-killing troopers into enemy territory to hopefully end the war. The opening scene in this movie gets you right from the beginning. There’s a man chopping wood at a tiny little farmhouse somewhere in rural France. Nazi jeeps are seen coming up the road and he tells his daughters to go inside. Then we meet Hans Landa (played by Christoph Waltz – he’s amazing!!), the Jew Hunter, who knows that the man chopping wood is hiding a family of Jews under the floorboards of his house. He orders SS soldiers to shoot them, but Shoshanna, the youngest family member, gets away. Years later (and the war is in full force), Shoshanna owns a movie theater where high up people in the Third Reich want to view a movie that depicts the Germans in a good light and killing a bunch of Americans. She starts to devise a plan to kill all the high-members of the Third Reich. Ultimately, this movie is not even close to being accurate surrounding the events of World War II, but it is quite entertaining. It’s a long movie, but there is excitement at every turn. The Germans have given the Basterds nicknames and there’s a violent scene where the Bear Jew beats a German with a baseball bat. Hans Landa strangles a well-known German actress for helping the Americans, and then Aldo carves a swastika into Hans Landa’s head (the end scene), it’s a great scene! In the end, the movie theater gets burned to a crisp along with all the top members of the Nazi party (they make great villains!) This movie is an up and down ride from beginning to end and Hugo Stiglitz is awesome!
Tarantino makes some really unique movies. I know not everyone likes his style of film, but I find them refreshing, fun, and edge of your seat good! However, I did NOT like The Hateful Eight, that’s originally why I decided to write this post. It’s in non-linear fashion, but I didn’t think the story line was that great and the use of violence seemed to be there because it could, not because it added to the movie. Of course, I won’t let one movie deter me from watching more of his films, I’ll continue being a Quentin Tarantino fan.