Tarantino. Tarantino is clearly a style-plus auteur (a term I made up to help distinguish even the greatest auteurs on this list) influenced by exploitation cinema, De Palma, Scorsese, Woo, Leone, Godard (though QT disputes that mostly). Despite his influences he creates his own post-modern, violent film world that is entirely his own every bit as much as Lynch, Wes Anderson, Fellini. His influences might be mostly B-cinema but he is clearly a maker of super-produced (very un-B-cinema) films who not only is one of the most accomplished writers in the history of cinema but a masterful craftsman behind the camera as well… and I haven’t even discussed his brilliant work on non-linear narratives…
…. For the purposes of this list Tarantino already has 1 top 100 film, 3 top 500 films (excluding everything from 2009-now) and again, visually and narratively checks every box you’d need from a top auteur.
Best film: Pulp Fiction. Pulp fiction is a big differentiator when picking out QT amongst his peers.
total archiveable films: 7
top 100 films: 1
top 500 films: 3 (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs)
top 100 films of the decade: 6 (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds Django Unchained)
most overrated: Nothing overrated by TSPDT on QT. His three films in the TSPDT top 1000 are Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction of course.
most underrated: Django Unchained has moved up a little since 2015 but it’s still #11 for 2012 on the TSPDT 21st century list and that’s underrating it by several slots. It’s a very entertaining film.. Robert Richardson as the DP does some fantastic work here- and I certainly wish this, not Hateful Eight– had been QT’s 65/70mm film. Wondrously zoom-heavy. Waltz’s exacting diction is just perfect for Tarantino’s dialogue. His “brittle brothers” and “Lubbock, Texas”. Flashbacks done in an effective washed-out (what looks like 16mm) taken straight from 1970’s B-picture cinema. Amazing shot of blood splattering on cotton. Narrative is part German folklore, Blaxploitation, western. The surrealism sequences with Kerry Washington haunting the Jamie Foxx character is really well done. Lovely De Palma (or Hitchcock Vertigo if you like) 360-shot near the end. It is a major achievement for these 4 lead actors (DiCaprio, Foxx, Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson).
gem I want to spotlight: Kill Bill is underrated as well but it’s finally starting to get more and more of its due. Perhaps this is the cost of breaking up a movie into two parts for strictly commercial reasons. It may take another decade or two for people to rightly piece it together and conclude it’s one of the best films in its genre of all-time.
stylistic innovations/traits: His dialogue is unmistakable and surely he’s known for this violence. Most of his work manipulates the linear narrative structure beautifully and now his recent films have been tackling and rewriting tragic points in history. He’s a creator of a rich mise-en-scene, he’s a sharp editor (especially of action sequences) in scene along with his narrative editing supremacy, and has gorgeous tracking shots throughout his oeuvre. There are repetition in his shots like the trunk POV shot, the overhead shot (usually of carnage), there’s the 360-shots from De Palma, the doorway shots (The Searchers), chapter breaks, Morricone music, pop/rock soundtracks.
- Pulp Fiction
- Kill Bill
- Inglourious Basterds
- Reservoir Dogs
- Django Unchained
- Jackie Brown
- The Hateful Eight
By year and grades
|1992- Reservoir Dogs||MS|
|1994- Pulp Fiction||MP|
|1997- Jackie Brown||HR|
|2003- Kill Bill Vol 1||MP|
|2004- Kill Bill Vol 2||MP|
|2009- Inglourious Basterds||MP|
|2012- Django Unchained||MS|
|2015- The Hateful Eight||R|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives