Tag Archives: Inglourious Basterds

Tarantino, The Woman Hating Misogynist?

I didn’t mean to do a Quentin Tarantino week of articles, it’s just kind of turned out that way. I only planned on doing my look at the best scenes in QT’s movies, but then the idea of looking at Tarantino video games came about and then this article just popped into my head after reading a Tweet from a self-proclaimed feminist on how Quentin Tarantino is a woman hater.

I sat there reading the Tweet scratching my head trying to work out what this person was on about. I have watched Quentin Tarantino pictures since Reservoir Dogs back in 1992 and him being a misogynist has never entered my mind. So after a little research, it seems that several people are accusing QT of being a misogynist (do a quick interwebs search and you’ll find plenty of articles and videos making such a claim). I managed to backtrack the whole thing to a scene from his new flick, Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood Dance

Now, I’ve not yet seen the film, I’m going to watch it over the weekend. So I can’t directly comment on the scene in question. But from what I gather, it involves two women getting severely beaten up and in graphic detail. I’ll offer my view on the scene and the film as a whole after I’ve seen it. But I do want to address this whole Quentin Tarantino supposedly being a woman hater…

Okay, so I’m not going to sit here and attempt to bullshit you readers like others are doing covering this very subject. I’m not going to be selective in my pickings of evidence, I’m not singling out just one scene and only one scene to make a point, I’m going to go though all of his directed films and aim to be honest.

Yes Tarantino depicts violence toward women in his films, often bloody, brutal and graphic too. Just look at the scene in Kill Bill where Uma Thurman’s very pregnant ‘The Bride’ get’s the shit beat out of her during the wedding rehearsal, both in live action and animation. There are other instances in his pictures where women are beaten, even one’s he hasn’t directed. See True Romance for another example, a film QT wrote. Here, there’s a scene where Alabama Worley (Patricia Arquette) gets smacked around and bloodied by Virgil (James Gandolfini). And yes, I’ll also bring up The Hateful Eight here with it’s numerous scenes of violence toward Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy Domergue at the hands of John Ruth (Kurt Russell).

Women get beat up in his films and I’m sure that his latest, Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood will be no different. I’m more than willing to believe that what I’ve heard about there being a scene where two women get beaten up is true. I believe this because Quentin Tarantino is famed for his use of excessive violence, he’s been at it for almost thirty years… so why are people only now bringing this up as a negative?

Yeah I know the whole #metoo movement along with QT’s working relationship and friendship with Harvey Weinstein does not really help matters here. And yes I’ll even bring up his idiotic comments about Samantha Geimer, the 13 year old rape victim of Roman Polanski (comments he did apologise about). Yet sill, I’m scratching my head over this whole thing. Is Quentin Tarantino a woman hating misogynist? The short answer is no. The longer one needs a little more detail applied.

Well for my first bit of evidence, I need to quickly cover what Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood is about. Aside from the main plot, the film is set against the backdrop of the Charlie Mason/Sharon Tate murder and if you know your Hollywood history, then you know that things got a little violent and bloody. So if QT is revisiting a piece of history and a particularly violent piece of history… why should he shy away from it, why should he censor himself when depicting actual events? Plus I also hear that the scene in question where two women are beaten up also involves a male character getting the shit beat out of him too. Which leads me nicely to my next point.

Tarantino does show violence toward women in his flicks, there’s no denying that. But you know what else he shows? Violence toward men. He doesn’t discriminate against one sex over the other, he just uses violence as a way to advance the plot, it’s a storytelling device. Who is at the end of that violence is depicted by the story that is being told and not by the person getting beat up. You’ve seen Reservoir Dogs right? Pretty much a 100% male orientated film, aside from a scene with a female civilian being shot, it’s all males. Remember the most infamous and controversial scene of the film too?

Reservoir Dogs Ear Scene

Yup, it’s the ear cutting scene were a young kidnapped cop is tied to a chair, beaten, tormented, tortured, cut with a razor before having their ear hacked off and then doused in gasoline and almost set alight. Now just refresh my memory here but what sex was the cop? Not female right? Aside from the previously mentioned female civilian being shot, all the violence in this one is toward men.

How about we take a look at Pulp Fiction next? Can you think of any graphic violence toward women in this one? Nope. A young guy called Marvin (male) gets shot in the face, in fact several males get shot in the film. I suppose I could bring up the rape scene… oh yeah, it’s a male being raped isn’t it? The violence toward men in this one greatly outweighs the violent acts toward women eh? Not seeing a lot of this misogyny so far.

He’s next film, Jackie Brown is a wonderful tale about a plan to bring some illegal money over the Mexican boarder. It’s a simple story done really well. But I’m not here to explore the film’s plot, this article is looking at just how much of a woman hater Tarantino (supposedly) is. So let’s look at all the violence toward women. Well there’s the scene where Melanie Ralston (Bridget Fonda) is shot by Louis Gara (Robert De Niro)… and that’s it really. Just to equal that out a bit, later in the flick Louis is shot and killed by Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) who also shoots and kills Beaumont Livingston (Chris Tucker) and is then shot and killed at the end of the picture by Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton). Now have you been keeping count of the violent acts in this one? Because there are far more toward males than female characters.

Jackie Brown.jpg

While I’m here, let’s just take a look at the titular character, Jackie (Pam Grier) herself. She is depicted as a strong-willed and a very astute character. It is Jackie who comes up with the plan that leads to the demise of the film’s main antagonist. Then there is my favourite scene in the film, where Ordell comes to kill Jackie, but she cleverly turns things around and gets the upper hand, she is written as being in control over the men in the film. What kind of misogynist writes such a strong female character with power over males?

So let’s get into one I’ve already mentioned, Kill Bill. As previously covered, yes Uma Thurman’s character (important to remember it’s a character, not real) is beaten. And yet that very same character is the driving force of the entire flick, she is the strongest character in the whole damn thing. She goes out and get’s bloody revenge on those who wronged her, both female and male. And if you really want to keep a body count, she is far more violent toward males in the film than females. just look at the Crazy 88 fight for proof, the most violent scene in the whole film. In that one single scene, the female kills more male characters in a few minutes than all the other violent acts combined. Again, looking worse for the males than the females. Just as with Jackie Brown, if QT was such a woman hating misogynist, why create such a strong female character that kills so many males?

Up next, Death Proof. Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to 70s exploitation cinema. Now given this film’s influence of 70s exploitation cinema, there’s bound to be some pretty obvious mistreating of females, that’s what those flicks were like they were exploitative, especially toward women. They used violence and sex to sell so this is the prefect opportunity for QT to really push his misogynistic agenda. I suppose we could look at the film’s first main violent scene, the big crash. Yes we see four women get brutally killed in graphic detail, blood, guts and limbs fly in an orgy of violence and it’s the women who are displayed in said violence. Misogynistic right? Well let’s look at the latter half of the film…

Death Proof End.png

It’s the second half where a new set of female victims for this deranged killer are set up. Without getting into the plot details too much. After the best car chase ever filmed where the female characters take control and fight back against the male, they ram his car off the road. The male is then punched in the head a total of thirty seven times within thirty seconds, he get’s the shit beat out of him by the females. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the roundhouse kick and a boot to the skull that kills him… but for some reason, when calling out QT’s supposed misogyny, feminists seem to conveniently forget about scenes like this and his strong female characters. Oh and let’s not forget just how kick-ass and ballsy Zoë Bell (female) is in the film.

Do I really need to carry on with the rest of his films? Well there are only three more left and next is the WW II epic, Inglourious Basterds. Largely a male cast but I guess the two main female characters would be Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark and Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus. Now there’s very little violence toward women in this one, a lot toward men mind you. I guess in the interests of fairness I should bring up that Bridget is chocked to death by a male. But what about Shosanna? You know the female who comes up with the plan to kill the highest ranking Nazi officers and even Hitler himself… or are we just supposed to forget that like Jackie Brown, it’s the female who is the brains in the film?

Django Unchained is set during a dark piece of American history, the slavery era. So with such a terrible subject to cover, this would be the perfect opportunity for Quentin Tarantino to display his despicable misogyny. I mean he could have had woman after woman after woman beat and tortured and just use the excuse of ‘that’s the kind of thing that happened back then’… but he doesn’t. Just as with his other flicks, the violence in this is much more male centric. Now, I’m not claiming there is no violence shown toward female characters, because there is. However, with such a subject matter of slavery, I would request any feminist to point out to me five acts of violence toward women in this film. Can’t think of any can you? Maybe one, maybe two at a push but five? No chance. Now look at all the violent acts toward male characters… dozens of them from ‘mandingo fights’ to a male slave being torn apart by dogs. Even a horse gets shot in the face in the opening, don’t know if the hose was male or female to be honest. But the point is that the violence toward males in Django Unchained vastly outnumbers any towards females.

Okay so last film now The Hateful Eight and as I covered at the start, yes Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy Domergue is punished through the film more than once. She gets punched and slapped around by male characters. But EVERYONE get’s punished in the film, both male and female. There are some pretty brutal deaths regardless of sex in the flick. Samuel L. Jackson even gets his ‘black dingus’ shot off. So let me just break this one down. The woman hating misogynist, Quentin Tarantino, wrote and directed a scene where a male character literally gets his manhood taken away, the very symbol of being male. Or what about the scene where Tarantino has a man walk butt-naked through the snow, do the feminists calling QT out for his misogyny have an explanation for that?

The Hateful Eight Major 2


 

So is Quentin Tarantino a woman hating misogynist? No. It’s more a case of feminists being manipulative idiots who pick and choose selective ‘evidence’ to create an argument that doesn’t exist and refuse to look at the bigger picture. I don’t get it, I really and honestly do not get calling out Tarantino as being a woman hating misogynist when his films have consistently and continually showed far more violence towards his male characters over females. If anything, it’s males who should be kicking up a fuss and arguing that he is extremely guilty of misandry. His flicks depict far more violence toward males than females, he has had a male character being raped, one being tortured another being beaten and killed by women, one having his pecker shot off, one being killed by dogs and countless other violent acts aimed at male characters… many, many, many more violent acts where men are the victims as apposed to females. As a writer/director who has written several very strong and intelligent female characters, for a misogynist, Tarantino is really, really fucking bad at it.

My views and opinions on his new flick, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood will be done over the weekend after I’ve seen it. But I expect violence toward women AND men in the film.

Tarantino Video Games, Why Aren’t There More?

Still really looking forward to going to see the new QT flick this weekend. After my article looking at my favourite scenes in Tarantino movies, I began to wonder why there haven’t been many games based on his movies. Seriously, some of QT’s pictures would make really interesting games, you’d think there’d be loads of them. Yet name three games based on his flicks… you can’t can you?

Now, there was a game based on one of his movies. Reservoir Dogs, released in 2006. But I wanted to look into why more of his films haven’t had the video game treatment, offer a few suggestions and even uncover some interesting tit-bits. But before all of that, I guess I’d better take a look at that previously mentioned Reservoir Dogs game.

Reservoir Dogs Game

Developed by Volatile Games and published by Eidos Interactive. The game follows the same plot as the film with a rag-tag group of criminals carrying out a diamond heist that goes wrong. The gameplay mixes up third person action with drivings sections. Now, the film didn’t actually show the heist go down, nor did it show most of the aftermath of the heist. But what gaps are in the film are filled in via the game. As an example, Mr Blonde turning psycho and going on a killing spree is mentioned in the film but we never see it. Well in the game, you not only see what was left to our imagination in the film, you get to play it.

There was an interesting mechanic in the game were you could act professional, not kill people and keep damage to a minimum or you could go full psycho and kill anyone you saw. Taking hostages was a key element as you could force the police to drop their weapons so you don’t have to kill them. You get the general idea. Depending on how you played, professional or psycho, the game’s ending would change.

On paper, Reservoir Dogs was a great idea. To take the film’s plot and expand on it, showing events we only hear about in the flick. But to be honest, it was a dog to play. Stiff controls, bland levels and highly repetitive. The game received mostly average reviews at the time and it was hard to argue against them. The game is very, very average. A great idea just poorly executed.

And you know what, that’s just about it for Quentin Tarantino movie based games… well okay, there is one more. Released in 2017 was yet another game based on the same movie. Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days.

Where as the previous game was directly based on the film, this one is more ‘inspired by’ the movie and takes a lot of creative license. I’ve not played it so can’t really comment, but it hasn’t had very good reviews. From the trailer, it looks a bit bland to me. A top-down shooter with some kind of rewind feature.

So that’s it, only two games based on his movies and they were both Reservoir Dogs too. Officially anyway, there are several fan-made games that exist based on other QT’s flicks. See, this got me thinking, why have there not been more Tarantino movie based games? Most people seem to think it’s because his flicks are dialogue heavy so wouldn’t translate to a game very well. I’d just like to go back to the first Reservoir Dogs game, based on a movie that is 90% dialogue. But it worked, okay so the gameplay was a little stale, but as I said, on paper it was a great idea. In the hands of a better and more experienced development team the Reservoir Dogs game could’ve been brilliant. Imagine if Rockstar had made it? I mean, look at what they did with The Warriors game from 2005, it was amazing.

Anyway, my point is that with a little effort and imagination, a dialogue heavy movie could work as a game. So with that in mind, I’m going to pitch a few QT movie game ideas. Reservoir Dogs has been done (twice), so I don’t feel the need to cover that one, but what about his other flicks?

Pulp Fiction

I didn’t see this one as an action game but more of a graphic adventure one. I was thinking something along the lines of the now defunct Telltale Games type of titles. Imagine a slower paced adventure where the choices you make change and affect the story. What if Vincent didn’t mange to save Mia from the overdose and Marsellus came after him? What if Jules decided not to leave the life of a hitman? If Butch didn’t go back to stop Marsellus from being raped?

You could play through the game following the plot as in the film, or you could stray from the script and see alternate scenes and dialogue. Make your own Pulp Fiction.

Jackie Brown

Okay so I don’t have much for this one. It’s a tricky one to turn into a game really. The best I could come up with was a prequel telling the story of Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara’s relationship. It is mentioned in the flick that Louis had just gotten out of jail after serving time for armed robbery. There are a few references that he and Ordell use to be close friends and got up to some criminal activities together before Ordell got into gun-running.

Jackie Brown Ordell

So there could be something there. Perhaps a third person cover/shooter game following the criminal lives of a younger Ordell and Louis? Could even be co-op, think something along the lines of Army Of Two or Kane & Lynch… only good.

Kill Bill

Come on, how is Kill Bill not a game already? It’s basically a video game in film format. You controlling ‘The Bride’ going on her rip-roaring rampage of revenge travelling the world as she tracks down those who killed her unborn baby. This is perfect game fodder. A mix of shooter and swordplay, see the Shadow Warrior games as a great example of how to do it.

Well here’s the thing, there very nearly was a Kill Bill game. It was in development but ended up being cancelled around 2005-ish. It was being developed by Black Label Games and an early demo even existed showing some basic moves from the game…

There’s enough material in Kill Bill to make an epic title. You don’t even have to be bound by the movie only. How about a game that follows the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad before the events of the film? An origin story of Bill himself and his falling out with Hattori Hanzō? It could be a huge, expansive game that builds on what is already in the films as well as incorporate the flick’s main story.

Death Proof

A game about driving American muscle cars really fast and killing people? This could be amazing. Again, you don’t have to be bound by the story of the game and could explore Stuntman Mike’s obsession with killing beautiful women with his car, how/why did he began doing it. I was thinking it could even have an online element. An asymmetrical multiplayer game where one person plays as Stuntman Mike with the others as his victims trying to escape. Think Friday the 13th: The Game but with fast cars.

Or how about a game where you play as Stuntman Mike just doing stunts? There already have been stuntman games with Stuntman and Stuntman: Ignition and they were pretty damn good too. So how about playing as Stuntman Mike before he turned homicidal and just worked as a stuntman making T.V. shows and movies?

The film has the greatest car chase caught on film, I’m sure a game could be made based off the last chase alone.

Inglourious Basterds

How a game based on the idea of a bunch of crazy World War II soldiers trying to kill loads of Nazi’s and Hitler does not exist is beyond me. Yeah I know there already are plenty of WW II based games… but none based on QT’s flick.

Inglourious Basterds Aldo

Could be a team based thing where you play alone or with friends controlling the various ‘basterds’ each with differing strengths, weaknesses and skill sets. Doesn’t have to be based solely on the flick either, I’m sure the basterds have been on several other missions through the war. Get some creative licence in here and there could be a great WW II game blending fiction with fact to create an alternate universe where the Inglourious Basterds stopped the war.

Django Unchained

Red Dead Redemption is one of my all time favourite games and it’s definitely my favourite game released in the last decade. Being a cowboy has never been so damn awesome. I want more cowboy games and yet they are pretty thin on the ground.

Why not a game inspired by Django Unchained? I don’t think we need one that follows the plot of the film, but how about a sequel game that tells what Django got up to after the film’s credits rolled? He’s a freed ex-slave turned bounty hunter . Yeah I’d love to play a Western (or Southern as QT calls it) bounty hunter game. Some kind of open world thing where you travel from town to town taking on bounties and having to bring them in dead or alive. Of course the game doesn’t have to be solely about being a bounty hunter and could explore Django’s relationship with his wife and how he becomes a descendant to the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks… Shaft!… cos QT has said that this is the case.

Django Unchained Django

Throw in other gameplay elements and build the story. Basically what I’m proposing is Red Dead Django.

The Hateful Eight

Okay I admit, I got nothing for this one. Despite the fact The Hateful Eight is basically Reservoir Dogs wearing a cowboy hat with it’s minimal cast and locales. It’s story based on tension and deception… I still have nothing. You can’t really do a retread of the Reservoir Dogs game because that used the idea of the heist as it’s basis, but there is no heist in The Hateful Eight. What you have in this flick is several people taking to each other and no one trusting the next guy… and coffee drinking.

Maybe you could make an action game exploring the Domergue gang before Daisy was captured? I dunno, that’s all I got here.

So this is where I originally ended the article, but as I read through it, I realised I forgot a film that would make an awesome game…

From Dusk Till Dawn

Now I know he didn’t direct this one, but he did write and star in it. As with previous suggestions, there are multiple games that could be made here. A prequel looking at the Gecko brother’s criminal career. One directly based on the events in the film itself with all hell breaking loose at the Titty Twister, an OTT vampire game. But instead of ending like the film does with Seth leaving for El Wray, he stays on and explores the temple under the bar to end the vampires for good. I was thinking something along the lines of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver with a large, expansive locale to explore while killing numerous vampires in all sorts of gruesome and ingenious way, using the scenery, etc.

From Dusk Till Dawn Seth


So that’s it, my suggestions on how Quentin Tarantino movies could be turned into games… but there’s more. See, as I researched this I found something interesting. QT himself has a bit of a history with video games. I’m sure many of you remember the whole CD-ROM revolution of the 90s. There was a period fairly early on in the decade when CDs became the got to format for games when there was an influx of FMV games. These titles were often pretty poor excuses for games that held little to zero gameplay and just showcased full motion video (FMV). Horrendous titles like The Daedalous Encounter, the Make My Video trilogy and of course I can’t help but mention Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties.

Well a certain film writer/director got in on the CD-ROM/FMV video game craze in the 90s and made his own game. No not Tarantino but Steven Spielberg with his effort called: Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Chair released in 1996. It was a bare basic ‘game’ where you are given a load of film clips and have to edit them together, choose camera angles, etc to make a ‘film’. So what does this have to do with Quentin Tarantino?

Well one of the clips you can edit…

Yup, that’s QT himself ‘acting’ in a clip from a shitty FMV game. The game was released in 1996 but apparently the footage was filmed in the early 90s before Quentin hit it big with Reservoir Dogs. He did this (along with selling film scripts) to help raise funds for his first film.

And yes, that is Jennifer Aniston too.

 

The Best Scenes In Tarantino Flicks

So Quentin Tarantino has his new film out soon. It’s already been released in the U.S. but we have to wait a few more days here in the U.K. I already have my tickets booked and I’m really looking forward to seeing his latest, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood soon. I’ve done my best to avoid as much of the film as I can so I can go into the flick as blind as possible. But I do know it’s premise and that it’s been getting a lot of praise.

Set in 1969, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood tells the story of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) a once popular actor working in Hollywood and his close friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). The pair begin to find they are no longer as popular as they used to be and struggle to find work. All set against the macabre and disturbing backdrop of the Charlie Manson/Sharon Tate murder. The film is said to be QT’s love letter to the golden age of Hollywood and it’s demise.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood Poster.jpg

Blending fiction with real world events is something that Tarantino does really well, see Inglourious Basterds for his version on the demise of Hitler as an example. In fact QT has a lot of little details and nuances he likes to slip into his movies. Mostly famed for his excessive violence, terrific use of tension, amazing dialogue, often overlooked humour and his strange foot fetish… as well as a penchant for using ‘the N word’, Quentin Tarantino films are very, very distinctive. His style has often been imitated but never bettered.

Now I have set myself a few rules for this article where I aim to pick my favourite scenes from his flicks. The rules are that I can only chose one scene from each film… which makes things particularly tricky as his films are loaded with great scene after great scene. I’m only including films he has either written or directed (or both) fully, so despite my love for the films, Four Rooms or Sin City can’t be included. Only films and not T.V. shows are included. Plus there is the whole Kill Bill Vol 1 and Vol 2 sticky wicket as the film was written and directed as one, but later split into two parts. QT has always said the film is one complete film and that is how he envisioned it… so I will also do the same, Kill Bill for this list is one flick which means only one scene from the entire film can be chosen instead of two. The there is the whole Grindhouse thing as that was a collaboration with Robert Rodriguez as a two film feature. But the two films were released separately outside of the U.S. as single features which is how I saw them, so I’m also including QT’s Death Proof  in the list. Short films are also out and no, I’m not including his ‘first’ film My Best Friend’s Birthday as it was never officially released and never actually finished either.

So with the rules out of the way, time for me to pick one and only one scene from each of Quentin Tarantino’s pictures from his first film, Reservoir Dogs right up to The Hateful Eight… not including Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as I’ve not seen it yetThat’s twenty three years of QT films to cover. This is going to be a long one so grab yourself a Kahuna burger, light up a Red Apple and enjoy.

Just going to throw in my obligatory SPOILERS warning from this point on as I’ll be covering specific scenes and plot points.

Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Tarantino’s first proper feature film released in 1992 told the story of a diamond heist gone wrong and all without showing the heist itself. For a first film, Reservoir Dogs really showcases a lot of talent and the amazing writing QT would soon become famous for. His dialogue and characters really pop off the screen and it’s that writing and those characters that make one of the best scenes in the flick, the one where the characters are all given their coloured code-names by big boss-man Joe Cabot. It’s funny, well written and acted throughout… but it’s not my favourite scene.

For my favourite I have to go for the film’s most infamous scene. When Reservoir Dogs was originally released, it kicked up a lot of controversy for one scene in particular. The torture/ear cutting scene. In this you have Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) tormenting, torturing and eventually cutting the ear off of the kidnapped police officer, Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz). This one scene alone caused such a stir when the film was released that it was pretty much all anyone talked about.

It’s a brilliant scene that melds lightheartedness with sheer terror. It’s the way Mr Blonde dances and bounces along to the Stealers Wheel song Stuck in the Middle with You which is playing on the radio in the background. You’re sitting there enjoying the tune, smiling at Mr Blonde’s dancing and then the scene just abruptly changes tact as Mr Blonde lashes out at Marvin with a straight razor slashing his face. The torment continues until Mr Blonde straddles the sitting and bound police officer and begins to hack and cut away at his ear.

Reservoir Dogs Ear Scene

But it’s not the violence that I like, it’s actually the lack of it and how the scene was directed. Reviews at the time all commented on the ear cutting scene and how graphic is was… but it wasn’t. When Mr Blonde takes the razor blade to Marvin Nash’s ear, the camera pans away so you don’t see anything, you hear it but don’t see that actual act of violence. For me, this is what makes the scene so damn great as it’s what you don’t see that makes it more horrific. It’s a brilliant Hitchcock moment and the Reservoir Dogs ear cutting scene is the modern equivalent of the Psycho shower scene. The way Hitchcock directed that scene in his film is also done leaving it to the imagination of the viewer as you don’t see anyone getting stabbed in the shower, you just think you do. It’s the clever use of editing and sound design that makes you see something that doesn’t actually happen.

“Listen kid, I’m not gonna bullshit you, all right? I don’t give a good fuck what you know, or don’t know, but I’m gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It’s amusing, to me, to torture a cop. You can say anything you want cause I’ve heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain’t gonna get.”

– Mr Blonde

True Romance

True Romance Poster.jpg

This Tony Scott directed picture was written by QT and released in 1993. True Romance was actually based off QT’s previously mentioned ‘first’ incomplete film, My Best Friend’s Birthday. Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) falls in love with and marries call girl Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette). Clarence goes to see his new wife’s pimp and tries to come to an agreement to let Alabama out of the grips of her controlling pimp. Things do not go well and Clarence mistakenly steals a suitcase full of cocaine which he tries to sell so he can begin a new life with his wife. But the rightful owners of the drugs soon came calling and things begin to get very bloody.

It’s a real shame Tarantino didn’t direct this himself as I feel it could’ve been amazing. Now don’t get me wrong, the film is great as it is, but it certainly lacks that QT style and narrative. Tarantino sold the script for this film (as well as another film I’ll cover later) to raise funds so he could make Reservoir Dogs. True Romance is part mob film, part road movie and part love story. There are several great scenes in the film especially featuring stoner Floyd (Brad Pitt) and his inane ramblings. There are some great action/shootouts too but for my favourite scene, I’m going to have to go for the one that features two Hollywood greats just talking.

True Romance Scene

Mob boss Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken) is in search of the missing suitcase of cocaine, which leads him to the residence of Clarence Worley’s father, Clifford (Dennis Hopper). This contains not only two utterly stunning performances from both Walken and Hopper who are acting their balls off and showing us just how fantastic the duo are on screen. But it also has some classic QT writing, he may not have directed the film, but this scene alone tells you he definitely wrote it. It’s a wonderful game of see-saw as the balance power continually shifts between a very angry Vincenzo Coccotti looking for the missing drugs and a protective Clifford Worley not wanting to reveal where his son has gone. Despite his best scare tactics, Vincenzo just can not break his prey into giving up his own flesh and blood. It get’s to a point where Clifford knows he is just not going to survive this encounter, so he decides to just straight up fuck with his tormentor, teasing and playing with him though brilliantly written dialogue. It’s a tense and suspenseful scene, something that Quentin Tarantino is a master of, but it also has some pretty dark humour running through it. too. Despite seeing the film and this scene numerous times over the years, I’m still always on the edge of my seat when I watch this one.

“I’m the Anti-Christ. You got me in a vendetta kind of mood. You tell the angels in heaven you never seen evil so singularly personified as you did in the face of the man who killed you. My name is Vincent Coccotti.”

– Vincent Coccotti

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction Poster.jpg

His second directed feature and perhaps Quentin Tarantino’s most famous flick, released in 1994 off the back of the success of Reservoir Dogs. People were expecting big things from QT by now as his previous film had been such a big hit and they would not be disappointed either. Pulp Fiction is a tale of two hitmen, a boxer, a gangland boss and his wife. Told over four intertwining stories to reveal a much bigger and grander story.

Pulp Fiction is a modern day classic full of killer scenes after killer scenes and to pick just one is pretty tough. Some of the most memorable and quotable lines caught on screen in the 90s are in this picture. The dialogue that QT is famed for really comes to light in this film from two hitmen discussing the subtle difference between Europe and America (Royale with cheese), two unknown diners sipping coffee talking about the dangers of armed robbery, to more extreme moment like Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) being raped.

For my pick of the scenes, I’m going for the whole encounter between hitmen Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Brett (Frank Whaley) and his boys after they steal the briefcase and hide out at the apartment. From the moment Winnfield and Vega walk in, you know some serious shit is going to go down… you just don’t know exactly what. Just before this scene, there is the whole ‘foot massage’ chat the duo have before they ‘get into character’ and get ready for the door to open. Another scene I love as it shows the difference in both Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega before they have to work, how they are just like you and me. They talk about nothing and discus things that will not change the world, they are very human… but it’s that moment when they do ‘get into character’ when you sitting there watching know things are going to turn sour.

The interaction between all the actors is sublime as the tension ramps up and the nervousness of Brett and his gang begins to show the more and more Jules pushes and pushes. They way Vincent just kind of hangs back in the background while Jules takes the spotlight and delivers some of the best lines in a film ever, seriously this one scene alone is chock-full of brilliant and extremely quotable dialogue. It’s how Jules goes from calm to crazy on a sixpence. His little hand gesture toward ‘flock of seagulls’ lounging on the sofa indicating for him to relax and put his feet up, the politeness of the character as he asks if he can try some of the burger and have some Sprite to wash it down, the pointless yet entertaining chatting about nothing and callback to the previous ‘Royale with cheese’ talk he had with Vincent. Everything is just so relaxed and chilled…

Pulp Fiction Jules and Brett

And then there’s the whole “Does he look like a bitch” and the “What?” exchange between Jules and Brett. Everything goes crazy and the acting by Jackson is sublime. He’s charming and utterly terrifying. It’s the perfect blending of QT’s razor sharp dialogue and Jackson’s powerhouse performance that makes the whole scene so engrossing. Oh and let’s not forget the immortal Ezekiel 25:17 tirade Jules finishes with. It’s pure classic cinema, not only one of QT’s best scenes, but simply one of the best scenes caught on film ever.

I really love the whole Ezekiel 25:17 speech and entire scene, but I have to admit that the Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) speech about Butch’s watch was a very close second.

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of cherish and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness for he is truly his keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

– Jules Winnfield

Natural Born Killers

Natural Born Killers Poster

This is the second film script QT sold so he could fund Reservoir Dogs. Directed by Oliver Stone and released in 1994. Two love struck psychopathic serial killers’ murder spree gets the attention of the media. The wanted couple soon become glorified by the mass media until their capture and inevitable separation… but true love finds a way.

I remember when I first saw Natural Born Killers and was blown away by it’s directing, but now when I watch it, I think it’s a fucking mess. It’s a shame because the subject matter of glorifying killers is a great concept but I have no idea what drugs Oliver Stone was taking when he came up with the style of this flick. I’ve not read the original QT script of the film, but I have heard that even though it’s not polished, it’s a hell of a lot better than the film. Yet despite it’s rather ‘messy’ directing, there is a good film in there and some fantastic scenes to chose from too.

Natural Born Killers Interview Scene

I think my favourite scene is the one that leads to the carnage of the finale for the flick. It’s the interview that slimy T.V. host Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.) chairs with convicted multiple murderer Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) in prison. Inspired by an actual interview Ted Bundy did the eve before his execution in 1989. For me, this scene works due to the role switching. We’re supposed to be rooting for the good guy, Wayne Gale while detesting the killer, Mickey Knox. But that’s not what happens at all. It’s flipped on it’s head as Wayne comes across as a complete prick while Micky is the erudite and civilised one. As the interview progresses, it becomes very clear that it’s Micky in the driving seat and Wayne is losing control.

“You’ll never understand, Wayne. You and me, we’re not even the same species. I used to be you, then I evolved. From where you’re standing, you’re a man. From where I’m standing, you’re an ape. You’re not even an ape. You’re a media person. Media’s like the weather, only it’s man-made weather. Murder? It’s pure. You’re the one made it impure. You’re buying and selling fear. You say “why?” I say “why bother?”

– Mickey Knox

From Dusk Till Dawn

From Dusk Till Dawn Poster

Directed by close friend and collaborator of Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and released in 1996. This film tells the story of brothers Seth (George Clooney) and Richard Gecko (Quentin Tarantino). Two wanted criminals looking to escape over the Mexico boarder. They take hostages to help them cross over to their freedom, yet it is when they do get into Mexico and get their freedom when the sibling’s troubles really begin.

For me to explain why my favourite scene is my favourite with this flick, I need to paint a little picture. In the early/mid 90s, Quentin Tarantino became famous for his first two flicks Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Though the two films are vastly different story telling experiences, they shared a similar look and style. The slick and charismatic bad guys in pristine black suits became a kind of trademark of QT for a while as did his crime-thriller pictures. So when From Dusk Till Dawn was released not only written by Tarantino and starring Tarantino and the fact the two main guys wore those trademark black suits (minus the ties), it all just looked and felt very, very Quentin Tarantino. The film even starts out like a QT slick crime picture and carries on as such for half of the flick’s running time too. But it’s the scene that changes everything that is my favourite.

From Dusk Till Dawn Dance

If a film has a twist, it’s not revealed until the near the end as a surprise to the viewer. The twist in From Dusk Till Dawn hits you like a freight train, it doesn’t happen at the end when you’d expect, it happens in the middle and completely changes the tone, style and even the genre of the film in a few seconds. The scene kicks off with the sexy table dance by Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) and her pet snake. The smooth Latino music is playing in the background as Santanico slinks and sways. Sitting around the table are Seth, Richard Gecko and their kidnapped hostages. The film is still very Quentin Tarantino at this point, it still a crime-thriller… and then Santanico notices a bleeding gunshot wound that Richard sustained at the start of the film and things change. You’re no longer watching a Quentin Tarantino flick, you’re watching an overtly gory vampire film. The twist scene is perfect because you have no idea the film you are watching is really a vampire one, you believe you’re watching a Tarantino, black suit, crime flick and then that scene happens and it’s a kick in the balls. Brilliantly written and directed without giving anything away until needed.

“I’m not gonna drain you completely. You’re gonna turn for me. You’ll be my slave. You’ll live for me. You’ll eat bugs because I order it. Why? Because I don’t think you’re worthy of human blood. You’ll feed on the blood of stray dogs. You’ll be my foot stool. And at my command, you’ll lick the dog shit from my boot heel. Since you’ll be my dog, your new name will be ‘Spot’. Welcome to slavery.”

– Santanico Pandemonium

Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown Poster

 

Quentin Tarantino’s third directed film and released in 1997. Based on the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch. Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a middle aged flight attendant who teams up with bail bond agent, Max Cherry (Robert Forster) to bring in a large amount of illegal money from Mexico to the United States that belongs to local gun runner Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson).

I remember really not liking this QT film when I first saw it, but over the years it has grown on me and now I think it’s the best film he’s made to date. I love it’s simplicity, the plot of this ‘sting’ operation is not complex at all but it’s just told so damn well and in that distinct QT style. Of course it’s all helped by the amazing performances from Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton and of course Pam Grier. It also helps that Grier is sexy as hell and somehow manages to look younger in 1997 than she did in 1974. Sorry, went off on a bit of a tangent there.

Anyway, for my favourite scene, my pick is an early-ish one. It’s after Jackie is released from jail and picked up by Max, after they go to a bar for a drink and after Max takes Jackie home. The scene I love is when Ordell makes his appearance at Jackie’s apartment all set to kill her. QT does his tension thing once more as we the audience know Ordell plans on killing Jackie, but we don’t know what Jackie knows, if anything. So Ordell enters Jackie’s apartment and she is welcoming and thankful for Ordell bailing her out of jail. Ordell places his hand on the dimmer switch of the lamp and turns off the light and begins to question Jackie to find out if she turned him into the police. Jackie turns the light back on as she continues to talk only for Ordell to turn it back off again. This time he gets close to Jackie and puts his hands around her throat ready to kill her. This is when a Brian De Palma/70s style split screen kicks in and shows Ordell and Jackie in silhouette in one frame with Max Cherry in the other discovering his gun from his glove-box has gone.

Jackie Brown Scene

Then you hear a click as Jackie cocks the gun, funnily enough aiming squarely at Ordell’s cock. The way Jackie just flips from the welcoming host making a drink for her killer guest into a bad-ass warrior woman and takes control of the whole situation is wonderful. It’s Tarantino’s use of tension and suspense leading to that flip of the coin that sells this one.

“Now sooner or later, they’re gonna get around to offering me a plea deal, and you know that. That’s why you came here to kill me.”

– Jackie Brown

Kill Bill

Kill Bill Poster

Paying homage to the kung-fu/samurai revenge flicks of the 60s and 70s, Kill Bill was released in 2003 and 2004 over two parts. But as I said at the start of this one, I’m treating this as one film as that was QT’s original vision. Ex-assassin, ‘The Bride’ (Uma Thurman) is beaten and left for dead during a wedding rehearsal and after coming out of a coma, she sets out to kill those responsible for the attack that left her friends dead along with the death of her unborn child.

So Kill Bill is one of those QT pictures that is full of great scenes. There’s tension, classic dialogue and character driven scenes as well as all out violent action. If there is one film that defines Quentin Tarantino and all of his tropes then Kill Bill is that film. I could go for the gloriously bloody and OTT The House of Blue Leaves/Crazy 88 fight, perhaps the  Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) or the Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) fights. Maybe something more subdued like a dialogue scene, the Bill (David Carradine) telling to story of the goldfish. There are plenty of scenes to choose from here, but the rules I set myself state I can only choose one.

Kill Bill Animated Scene.jpg

 

So my favourite scene of Kill Bill is the introduction to O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu). The way the film goes from live action to full on Japanese animation is beautiful. What we get is a several year history of a character, detailing the brutal death of her patents, her involvement with the Yakuza and her rise to the top of the criminal underworld as an assassin. The whole scene is just stunningly drawn and animated topped off with some bloody violence to boot. You don’t expect a full on Japanese animation in the midst of a live action revenge flick, it’s a bold directing choice and yet it strangely works and feels right.

“Look at me, Matsumoto. Take a good look at my face. Look at my eyes. Do I look familiar? Do I look like somebody you murdered?”

– O-Ren Ishii

Death Proof

Death Proof

Part of the Grindhouse double feature collaboration between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. A cinematic experience that paid tribute to their love of exploitation cinema of the 70s. Death Proof is Tarantino’s homage to cheesy, low budget slasher films. Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) has a penchant for killing beautiful women, only he doesn’t use a knife or gun to murder his victims, he uses a car, his specially modified ‘death proof’ car.

Often cited as QT’s ‘worst film’ and if this is his worst then his worst is better than a lot of writer/director’s best. I adore this picture as it’s such a departure from his usual stuff and clearly made as a bit of fun. The movie is loaded with Tarantino’s long dialogue scenes and any one of them could be chosen as a favourite scene for me. Then there is the big crash in the film where Stuntman Mike kills off his first victims. It’s wonderfully shot using various angles and viewpoints to see as much of the carnage as you can in all it’s gloriously, grizzly details.

Death Proof Chase

For my favourite scene though, I’m going to have to go with the final car chase. I love me a good old fashioned car chase scene and I’ve seen the very best cinema has to offer. Films like The French Connection, Bullitt, The Italian Job and The Blues Brothers feature some of the finest car chase scenes ever caught on film. But Death Proof features THE best car chase on film ever. The whole scene goes on for around twenty minutes and it’s non-stop car chase action… and it’s all real too. No CGI, no green-screen, no miniatures. All real drivers, real cars, real smashes and crashes. The amazing stunt work from Zoë Bell hanging on the front of a speeding 1971 Dodge Challenger is outstanding and will have you on the edge of your seat. The final chase pays up to a lot of car chase tropes too just to add to the 70s homage. Best car chase ever.

“I didn’t mean to, I was just… playing around!”

– Stuntman Mike

Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds Poster

In this 2009 (I can’t believe this is already ten years old) picture, Quentin Tarantino takes us to World War II and tells the story of a group of American/Jewish soldier’s plan to kill as many Nazi soldiers as they can. The group is led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and their crusade of Nazi killing leads them to a small cinema run by Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) who has her own personal reasons for killing Nazis, one in particular.

QT is a genre film-maker and he makes the kind of flicks he grew up watching. Inglourious Basterds is a love letter to those ensemble war films of the 60s and 70s like The Dirty Dozen and Kelly’s Heroes. The film is full of nods and references to those classics but it still feels fresh and new at the same time thanks to that Tarantino style. Yeah there is some all out action in this one, some bloody and violent moments… I mean Hitler gets shot in the face at point blank range with a machine gun. But it is Inglourious Basterds quieter scenes where you’ll find the film really comes alive. It’s that wonderful QT dialogue and tension where my favourite scene lies… but if you’ve seen the film then you already know there are two scenes in particular where QT’s characters, dialogue and tension really shine. This has been the hardest choice of this entire list as these two scenes are both exceptional in terms of writing and directing, perhaps the two single best scenes Quentin Tarantino has made up to this point.

The first scene is the underground tavern where some of Aldo’s men go undercover as Nazis to meet with actress Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) to gain intel and access to an exclusive screening of a Nazi propaganda film where some of the most important Nazi associates will be gathered. This one scene is a masterclass on how to write characters and build tension. Sublime acting from Michael Fassbender as Lt. Archie Hicox attempting to pass himself off as a Nazi and his face to face meeting with August Diehl’s suspicious Major Hellstrom.

Inglourious Basterds Opening Scene

But of the two scenes, as much as I love the underground tavern one… it’s missing something, it’s missing Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). So for my favourite scene, I’m picking the opening of Inglourious Basterds. Before we are made aware of exactly what the film is about, before we even meet the titular ‘basterds’, we meet the film’s main protagonist and he’s fucking amazing. One of the best introductions to one of cinema’s greatest villains. Taking place on a dairy farm in Nazi occupied France, Hans questions the farm’s owner, Perrier LaPadite (Denis Ménochet) about a missing family of Jews. I don’t want to give too much away about this one in case you’ve not yet seen it. But the scene is just beautiful and very Quentin Tarantino, I mean, it’s just two men sitting at a table and talking and yet it’s so much more then that at the same time. The dialogue (which flips between French, German and English) is top notch full of those QT tropes of talking about nothing. The acting by Christoph Waltz is mesmerising, it’s one of those ‘love to hate’ performances. Plus the ticking time bomb of we know what’s going on, but we don’t know if the characters (particularly Hans Lander) know what’s going on. The misdirection and tension are beautifully crafted and presented and yet even with all the suspense, QT still manages to include some brilliant humour to great effect. Hans Landa smoking his pipe is a particular highlight. A truly amazing scene.

“The feature that makes me such an effective hunter of the Jews is, as opposed to most German soldiers, I can think like a Jew, where they can only think like a German… more precisely, German soldier. Now, if one were to determine what attribute the German people share with a beast, it would be the cunning and the predatory instinct of a hawk. But if one were to determine what attributes the Jews share with a beast, it would be that of the rat. The Führer and Goebbels’s propaganda have said pretty much the same thing, but where our conclusions differ is I don’t consider the comparison an insult.”

– Col. Hans Landa

Django Unchained

Django Unchained Poster

Released in 2012, this film is another QT love letter, this time to the Western genre. German dentist turned bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) crosses paths slave Django (Jamie Foxx). The two team up to collect on a few bounties and when Django tells the story of his enslaved wife at the hands of a brutal Mississippi plantation owner, the duo conceive a plan to free her.

Being a QT fan and for many, many years, I always wanted him to do a Western and do it his way. With Django Unchained, I got my wish. Based on the Django films starring Franco Nero, who has a cameo in this flick. Tarantino and Western films are a perfect blend as he is such a huge fan of Spaghetti Western genre director Sergio Leone and that love for the genre shows in this film too. This is another picture where choosing just one scene is hard because it’s full of great ones. I could’ve gone for Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) diner table rant where he really cut his hand open and just kept on acting. Maybe the glorious shoot-out near the end of the film with it’s stunning sound design. The funny pre-Ku Klux Klan talk about their hoods and wearing the costumes lead by Big Daddy (Don Johnson). In fact my first thought for favourite scene was for Stephen’s (Samuel L. Jackson) LeQuint Dickey speech after Django is captured because the acting is amazing and Samuel L. Jackson is simply terrifying. But no, I’ve gone for something else.

Django Unchained Opening

Much like my previous choice with Inglourious Basterds, I’m going for the film’s opening and much for the same reason too… Christoph Waltz. The exchange between Dr. King Schultz and the slavers is beautiful. At this point, we don’t know who this guy is or what he wants. All we know is the he’s trying to negotiate a deal to buy a slave, and we don’t even know why he wants that either. We don’t know if he’s a good guy or a bad guy, we know nothing. It’s an uneasy scene as we know so little and yet by the end, we know who Dr. King Schultz is, we get a great feel for his character, personality and his intentions. Plus aside from the unease and tension, the scene once more has some great humour. There is something about Christoph Waltz and Quentin Tarantino working together that just works, like two pieces of LEGO perfectly slotting together.

[Talking to slaves] “Now, as to you poor devils. So as I see it, when it comes to the subject of what to do next, you gentlemen have two choices. One: once I’m gone, you could lift that beast off the remaining Speck, then carry him to the nearest town; which would be at least thirty seven miles back the way you came. Or two: you could unshackle yourselves, take that rifle, put a bullet in his head, bury the two of them deep, and then make your way to a more enlightened area of this country. The choice is yours.”

– Dr. King Schultz

The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight.JPG

Perhaps the most divisive Quentin Tarantino picture to date with many fans not liking it while others loved it. Released in 2015, the film is about a group of strangers who find themselves trapped together in a small haberdashery in the mountains during a particularly nasty snow storm. One of the group, John Ruth (Kurt Russell) has a prisoner shackled to his wrist, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who is part of a gang wanted for murder. John plans on bringing his prize in alive to claim the reward, but paranoia and distrust begins to take over as John thinks someone is out to take his prisoner and reward from him.

I think the reason some people didn’t like this one was because it was another Western genre flick released after Tarantino’s previous film in the same genre. Maybe people wanted something different from him at the time? But me? I love this film, love it. When I first saw it, I enjoyed it a lot and since then I’ve watched it a few more times and it just gets better and better with each subsequent viewing. This is QT getting back to his roots of his first film Reservoir Dogs. It’s small with a small cast taking place in pretty much one small locale. It’s a film about distrust and misdirection, just like Reservoir Dogs. But it also has the flavours from other directors such as Sergio Leone and John Carpenter. In fact I’d even suggest that The Hateful Eight is a Western version of The Thing. There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of parallels that can be drawn between the two flicks outside of them both just starring Kurt Russell… maybe a later article? But I need to pick my favourite scene here.

The Hateful Eight Major

Of course we have QT’s violence, humour and dialogue in this one and it’s a dialogue heavy scene that I’m going for. Featuring Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) telling the story of how he killed the son of General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern). Without getting to far into spoilers here as the scene needs to be seen without ruining it, this scene is well crafted and written. It really is just a character describing to another character how he killed their son… oh it does get a little crass. The visuals jump from it’s current locale where the Major is talking directly to the General while also going into a flashback/recreation to visualise what is being talked about. Samuel L. Jackson gives such a commanding performance that you just can’t help but fall in love with him despite the subject matter he’s talking about. He’s outright fucking evil in this scene and yet so engrossing at the same time.

“I knew me I was gonna have some fun! It was COLD the day I killed your boy. And I don’t mean snowy mountain in Wyoming cold… Colder than that. And on that cold day, with your boy at the business end of my gun barrel… I made him strip. Right down to his bare ass. Then I told him to start walkin’. I walked his naked ass for two hours ‘fore the cold collapsed him. Then he commits to beggin’ again. But this time, he wasn’t beggin’ to go home. He knew he’d never see his home again. And he wasn’t beggin’ for his life neither, ’cause he knew that was long gone. All he wanted, was a blanket. Now don’t judge your boy too harshly, General. You ain’t never been cold as your boy was that day. You’d be surprised; what a man that cold, would do for a blanket. You wanna know what your boy did?”

– Major Marquis Warren

So there they are, my favourite scenes from all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies to date. I can’t wait to go and see Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and hopefully find more great scenes. Saturday just can’t get here soon enough.

The Best (Or Worst) Cinematic Villains

With the major disappointment of a bad guy that was the boring CGI-fest, Steppenwolf from the recent Justice League flick. I got to thinking about some of my favourite on-screen villains over the years. From total, outright murderous killers to more subtle antagonists that have you rooting for the bad guy or feeling sorry for them despite their nefarious ways. There is one thing all the villains on my list have that Justice League‘s Steppenwolf does not… personality, character, depth, charm and screen presence – okay so that’s more than one thing – but you get the point, Steppenwolf was shit.

A film’s bad guy (or gal) can be both despised and revered at the same time if they are written/acted well enough and a good villain is required for the film to work. So here we go and in no particular order – with my top (whatever number as I’m not counting) list of cinematic antagonists. Pre-warning SPOILERS ahead for some films…

Terminator (The Terminator)

Terminator

The movie role that catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger into Hollywood fame. A killer cyborg sent from the future to kill the leader of the resistance that will stop the machine’s rule over the humans – before he has even been born. The Terminator is a low budget sci-fi/horror flick with a lot of heart and ambition. Still one of the all time great pictures that sticks in the mind thanks to its then unknown star, Schwarzenegger playing the titular Terminator… or The Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, Series T-800 – if you prefer.

A chilling villain that is seemingly unstoppable and for me, still Schwarzenegger’s finest on screen role that packs in a hell of a lot of screen presence even though he only has only 14 lines of dialogue in the entire flick.

Terminator: “Fuck you, asshole.”

The Kurgan/Victor Kruger (Highlander)

The Kurgan

Cruel, ruthless, megalomaniacal and brutal – The Kurgan (real name unknown) is the antagonist from Highlander, played to perfection by Clancy Brown. He sees no issue with running people through with his sword or terrorising nuns in a church. Not much is known about the character other than he used to be a member of an ancient tribe of the Russian Steppes known only as ‘The Kurgan’… which is where he took the name from. When he became an immortal is also unknown and its the unknown that makes the character so damn enjoyable. All we do know about him is that he likes to kill people – especially other immortals.

Brown’s performance as The Kurgan is both terrifying and humorous at the same time. A dark charm that should be wrong, but feels so very right with just the perfect amount of fun thrown in.

Kurgan: “I have something to say! It’s better to burn out than to fade away!”

Biff/Griff/Buford Tannen (Back to the Future)

Biff-Griff-Buford

I think Marty McFly pretty much summed it up when he said “He’s an asshole!” when describing Buford Tannen. Pick any of the iterations of the character from any of the Back to the Future flicks and they are complete assholes… yes even the mild and meek post 1955 time travel version of Biff is somewhat ‘off’ despite him being transformed into a ‘good guy’. Through the Tannen family history, they have killed lawmen, bullied and beaten up countless school kids, attempted to rape Lorraine Baines… oh and murdered George McFly. Yet each and every time they meet a rather repugnant end involving manure.

With Tom Wilson playing each of the Tannen kin through the years. There has been around 130 years of sheer ‘assholery’ through the Back to the Future trilogy and every second of it has been a joy to watch.

Biff Tannen: “Since you’re new here, I’m gonna cut you a break… today. So why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here!”

Roy Batty (Blade Runner)

Roy Batty

Whenever Rutger Hauer plays a bad guy – he proves why he’s one of the best. In fact, when it came to putting this list together – I had a tough time between choosing Roy Batty or ‘John Ryder’ from The Hitcher. I settled on Batty because I have something else planed for Ryder later…

Hauer plays the role as cold as he could giving Batty a chilling persona as the replicant (android made identical to humans but with a shorter life) just trying to find his creator to ask for more life. And when he does finally find his ‘father’, he ends up killing him in a brutal manner. One of the few cinematic villains you genuinely end up feeling sorry for, thanks to the amazing performance from Hauer – especially after his short but eloquent farewell speech.

Roy Batty: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain. Time to die.”

Tommy DeVito (Goodfellas)

Tommy DeVito.jpg

Tommy DeVito is a cruel, psychopathic sadist with ‘short man syndrome’ who’ll share a drink with you one second and then stab you in the neck with a pen the next or shoot you in the foot for not walking fast enough. With the mighty Joe Pesci playing the role, we are given a bad guy that is as fun as he is twisted.

Pesci made the character much more memorable than anyone could have guessed. Going from laughter to sheer rage on a sixpence and often without warning. DeVito really is one of cinemas all time great bad guys… or Goodfellas. Plus he also gave us one of the greatest and most tense scenes caught on film…

Tommy DeVito: “You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe. But I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”

Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest)

Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest).jpg

So this one is a little ‘different’ as its a portrayal of a real person and not just anyone – but one of Hollywood’s greatest actresses ever, Joan Crawford – played by Faye Dunaway. Mommie Dearest is a biographical dramatisation flick telling the true-ish story of Joan Crawford adopting a little girl whom she named Christina and finally became a mother after a number of miscarriages.

The film is wonderfully terrifying and that is thanks to Dunaway’s stunning performance as Hollywood royalty – Joan Crawford. The relationship between mother and daughter is disturbing as Crawford pushes and punishes Christina for pretty much nothing. The film was panned by critics when originally released, but has since found its audience today and rightfully so too.

Joan Crawford: “No wire-hangers, ever!”

Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

Nurse Ratched

From one crazy-ass bitch to another. Enter Louise Fletcher playing Nurse Mildred Ratched, the main antagonist from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She’s cold-hearted, vindictive and strict as the head nurse of a hospital for patients with mental illnesses. Its when a new patient, R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) enters the hospital that she is pushed to her limit and beyond.

Okay, so I have a confession to make here. I really didn’t want to include Nurse Ratched as a ‘villain’ because I quite honestly do not see her as one. Yeah she’s tough and manipulative – but I’ve always seen her as ‘just doing her job’. For me, I personally find R.P. McMurphy to be more antagonistic in the film than Nurse Ratched. But she is generally seen as the main antagonist so I’ll include her (cos she’s an awesome character) even if I don’t necessarily agree.

Nurse Ratched: “If Mr. McMurphy doesn’t want to take his medication orally, I’m sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way. But I don’t think that he would like it.”

Richard Vernon (The Breakfast Club)

Richard Vernon

Much like the previous Nurse Ratched, here was have a villain who is only considered bad because they are doing their job… except this character is a real asshole and played brilliantly by Paul Gleason. Vernon is the vice principal of Shermer High School, and one Saturday – he holds a detention for five students and tells them to write a thousand word essay on who they think they are.

The Breakfast Club is easily my favourite film from the legendary director John Hughes and I feel a big part of that enjoyment comes from the extremely controlling, devious and egotistic nature of ‘Dick’ Vernon who controls the students with an iron fist and shows no mercy or remorse either.

Richard Vernon: “But someday when you’re outta here and you’ve forgotten all about this place and they’ve forgotten all about you, and you’re wrapped up in your own pathetic life, I’m gonna be there. That’s right. And I’m gonna kick the living shit out of you. I’m gonna knock your dick in the dirt.”

Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds)

Hans Landa

When it comes to Quentin Tarantino bad guys – we are spoilt for choice; Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson)… but I’ve gone for the Nazi officer of the SS, Col. Hans Lander and his impressive smoking-pipe. Lander, nicknamed ‘The Jew Hunter’ – a name his is extremely proud of, is ruthless in his investigations and capture (and often killing) of Jews.

Christoph Waltz (rightfully) won an Oscar for his performance as the relentless SS officer and the opening, very tense scene shows just why he fully deserved the award too. Waltz’s multilingual performance is a pure joy to watch and this is one bad guy I love to hate.

Hans Lander: “What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives. Because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none. And that, Monsieur, is what a Jew shares with a rat.”

John Doe (Seven)

John Doe.jpg

Real name unknown – John Doe is a clever and manipulative character who keeps diaries and notes on his crimes and victims. The film does a great job of keeping him in the shadows and we only learn who he really is in the latter part of the flick – he first ‘real’ entrance in the movie when he walks into the police station covered in blood and calmly saying “detective” over and over as he hands himself in (until he snaps and has to scream) is both twisted and revealing once you know just who’s blood he is covered in and why.

Recent allegations aside – Kevin Spacey is fucking awesome in this flick. He performance is so memorable that you’ll be talking about it for years later… as I am right now. The acting is subtle and calming. This all just adds to the performance and creates one of the best killers ever caught on film.

John Doe: “Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.”

‘Angel Eyes’ (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

Angel Eyes

Some more pipe-smoking action now from Lee Van Cleef playing ‘Angel Eyes’ (real name unknown, though he is named in the original Italian version of the film) in one of the best Westerns ever made. Also known as the titular ‘Bad’ from the film. ‘Angel Eyes’ is a ruthless and cunning killer who is not afraid to pull the trigger on anyone who gets in his way. Still, if shooting people is not enough – he’ll also have the living shit beaten out of you until you are barely alive… as Tuco discovers in the film, while just gleefully watching on.

Van Cleef’s performance of ‘Angel Eyes’ is undeniably cool but also cruel and unforgiving. He barely thinks twice about murder as he shoots his way through people just to find a man called Bill Carson.

‘Angel Eyes’: “Even a filthy beggar like that has got a protecting angel. A golden-haired angel watches over him.”

Hans Gruber (Die Hard)

Hans Gruber

Of course I had to include quite possibly THE greatest bad guy in an action film ever. Hans Gruber is cool, calm and collected – he dresses well and is a very reasonable person. But don’t let any of that fool as as he’s also ruthless and thinks nothing of shooting someone in the head at point blank range. He was once part of the Volksfrei West German terrorist group – but was expelled from the group… probably for being too damn bad-ass.

God damn it, I miss Alan Rickman and this is his best role ever. He dulcet, super smooth voice added to the character’s laid back attitude and persona. Check out any ‘top (whatever) bad guys list’ on the interwebs and you’ll find Hans Gruber pretty much always near the top if not at the top. The only reason he’s not at the top here is because I just don’t do ‘top lists’. Rickman’s performance is just memorising and makes Gruber one of those rare villains you can’t help but love and just wish he got away with it at the end.

Hans Gruber: “I wanted this to be professional, efficient, adult, cooperative. Not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way… so he won’t be joining us for the rest of his life.”

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Full Metal Jacket)

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A foul-mouthed drill sergeant who bullies his recruits – especially the struggling Private Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio) played to his shoutiest best by R. Lee Ermey. So strong and memorable was this performance that he has been held up as the template for any drill sergeant in TV and films ever since. He’s racist, obnoxious, uncaring and ruthless – his dialogue has gone down in movie history as being some of the very best from any single film character.

Ermey’s performance is shocking but he also makes it impossible to not ‘enjoy’ the character despite his sheer awfulness. The way he verbally,  physically and mentally abuses his recruits is tremendous but uncomfortable to watch and all comes to a boiling point when he pushes Private Pyle too far.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “Holy dog shit! Texas? Only steers and queers come from Texas, Private Cowboy, and you don’t look much like a steer to me, so that kinda narrows it down. Do you suck dicks?”

Don Logan (Sexy Beast)

Don Logan

You remember the movie Gandhi right? The one where (Sir) Ben Kingsley plays the eponymous peace-seeking pacifist and won the best actor Oscar for it too? Well this role is the polar opposite of that and in my opinion just as worthy of an Oscar too. This is Kingsley at his foul-mouthed, frenzied, frightening finest. Logan is a recruiter for the London criminal underworld who turns up in Spain to convince retired expert safe-cracker Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) to take part in a major London bank heist. But it is when Dove turns the offer down that Logan shows his true colours.

I avoided this film at first because I thought it sounded like a crap porn flick. So when I did finally sit down to watch it – going in completely unaware of what it was about, I was blown away by Kingsley’s stunning performance. Not only is Sexy Beast a great ‘London gangster’ flick – it features a brilliant bad guy with Logan and one that’ll stick in my head forever.

Don Logan: “You’re the problem! You’re the fucking problem you fucking Dr White honkin’ jam-rag fucking spunk-bubble! I’m telling you Aitch you keep looking at me I’ll put you in the fucking ground, promise you!”

Norman Bates (Psycho)

Norman Bates

Norman Bates – the man with severe ‘mommy issues’. Probably one of the greatest villains to ever grace the cinema screen. A young, shy and retiring man who’s nervousness hides a deep, dark secret. With Anthony Perkins playing the role in a charming and enduring manner which helps to hide just exactly what is going on in his head. Psycho is one of the greatest films ever made with such iconic imagery, music and of course that ending…

If you’ve ever read the novel Psycho – then you’d know just how different the character of Norman is in the film. In the book, he’s a fat, balding alcoholic. A million miles away from Perkins. But it was director Alfred Hitchcock who wanted to make the change so the audience would sympathise with Norman, and its a change that really works well and helped by the charismatic performance of Perkins himself which makes the ending all the more shocking.

Norman Bates: “It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?”

Harry Lime (The Third Man)

Harry Lime.jpg

Not to be confused with the burglar Harry Lime from Home Alone. This Lime is a criminal who was killed in a car accident… or was he? When one of his close friends claim to have seen Lime alive and well, his grave is opened up only to find that Lime is not the man buried. Which all leads to a cat and mouse chase to track down the criminal.

Lime is effortlessly played by Orson Welles. He is amoral, careless but also wickedly charming and charismatic too. The Third Man is a wonderful flick that is most definitely lifted several levels by Welles’ performance – his infamous wry smirk hides a thousand lies.

Harry Lime: “In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Vincenzo Coccotti (True Romance)

Vincenzo Coccotti.jpg

Vincenzo Coccotti is a Sicilian consigliere for local Detroit mobster ‘Blue’ Lou Boyle. Only a minor character in the film – but one you won’t forget in a hurry. Coccotti is cold and calculating played beautifully by Christopher Walken. He is hardly in the film and only appears in one scene… but what a great scene it is.

My second Tarantino bad guy on here, but he does create such awesome villains that I could probably do a list just full of them. The aforementioned scene in which Coccotti appears alongside Clifford Worley (Dennis Hopper) is a tense and wonderfully written scene that has Tarantino’s fingerprints all over it. Walken’s performance is both terrifying and engrossing at the same time.

Vincent Coccotti: “I’m the Anti-Christ. You got me in a vendetta kind of mood. You tell the angels in heaven you never seen evil so singularly personified as you did in the face of the man who killed you. My name is Vincent Coccotti.”

Amon Goeth (Schindler’s List)

Amon Goeth

This guy is one psychopathic, sadistic, brutal, abusive and emotionless Nazi. He’ll sit on his balcony and shoot Jews for no reason other than they are Jews and he is bored. He also beat the shit of his maid because she turned down his advances. And these instances are some of his more tame crimes. At the end of the film, Goeth is executed by hanging, but not before calmly patting his hair into place and uttering “Heil Hitler” – showing his total lack of remorse perfectly clear.

Played by Ralph Fiennes to chilling effect, this performance is one of the most disturbing and difficult to watch in film. Some bad guys have a redeeming quality, if not more than one. Goeth has nothing redeeming about him, he’s just pure fucking evil personified. One of the most disgustingly, despicable movie villains ever.

Amon Goeth: “Today is history and you are part of it. Six hundred years ago, when elsewhere they were footing the blame for the Black Death, Casimir the Great – so called – told the Jews they could come to Krakow. They came. They trundled their belongings into the city. They settled. They took hold. They prospered in business, science, education, the arts. They came with nothing. And they flourished. For six centuries there has been a Jewish Krakow. By this evening those six centuries will be a rumour. They never happened. Today is history.”


Well there you have it, a selection of some of my favourite on screen villains… and all of them far more impressive and memorable than Steppenwolf. To be honest, there were a tonne I left off this list with plenty more antagonists I enjoy just as much if not more. But I had to pick and choose to keep this list at a reasonable length – still, I could always do another list in the future or even feature some of my other favourites in much more detailed articles…

What’s In A Name? The Character Connections Between Tarantino Movies

I am a self confessed Quentin Tarantino fanboy. From his first full length movie that was Reservoir Dogs to his most recent picture, The Hateful Eight – I’ve enjoyed all of his films for very different reasons. Hey, I even liked Four Rooms.

Over the years, Tarantino has made films that all seem separate and yet he always throws in little nods, references and connections via his shared universe that he was doing long before Marvel got in on the act. Using his own made up products like Red Apple cigarettes in all of his films as one example of many.

red-apples

He has even extended his shared universe into the works of other directors like Robert Rodriguez, Tony Scott and even Oliver Stone… most of the time because Tarantino has had a hand in there somewhere from a writing/producing perspective. But it is in character names and possible connections where his shared universe really comes to light. From main characters to secondary ones and even off screen characters – all of his films are connected in one way or another via his characters. But there is more than one movie universe going on within his movie universe. Confused? I’ll let Quentin himself explain…

There is actually two separate universes. There is the realer than real universe, alright, and all the characters inhabit that one. But then there’s this movie universe. So From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill, they all take place in this special movie universe. So when all the characters of Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, when they go to the movies, Kill Bill is what they go to see. From Dusk Till Dawn is what they see.

Got it? There is a ‘real’ movie universe and a ‘movie’ movie universe going on within Tarantino’s movie universe and characters from his ‘real’ universe can go to see moives from his ‘movie’ universe within that ‘real’ movie universe. So here, I’d like to make as many of the connections as I think I have found from his moives as a writer, director or producer. I’ll start with what I think is a very interesting connection.

There will be SPOILERS ahead for pretty much every Quentin Tarantino film.


Mia Wallace Played Beatrix Kiddo

You remember that scene in Pulp Fiction where Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) are out enjoying a $5 milkshake? Mia Tells Vincent that she is a struggling actress and shot a pilot for a TV show called Fox Force Five. If you listen to the description of the main characters in that show that Mia gives – they sound pretty familiar. Okay so they are not exact and water tight, but those characters sound a lot like the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad from Kill Bill. The blonde one was the leader – (Elle Driver?), The Japanese fox was a kung-fu master (O-Ren Ishii?), the black girl was a demolition expert (Vernita Green?), the French fox’s speciality was sex (Sofie Fatale?). And what type of character did Mia play in Fox Force Five… the deadliest woman in the world with a knife… or possibly a sword?

As Tarantino said that the characters from Pulp Fiction could go to the movies and watch Kill Bill, what if that Fox Force Five TV pilot got picked up but adapted and turned into a movie instead and that movie was called Kill Bill? And what if struggling actress, Mia Wallace was the one who played Beatrix Kiddo A.K.A The Bride? Sounds reasonable right? I mean you have to admit that they do look a lot a like too…

The Vega Brothers

Now this one is already pretty well known as Tarantino himself has spoken about this several times and even said he wanted to make a Vega brothers movie prequel a while back. But for those not in the know, Mr Blonde A.K.A Vic Vega (Michael Madsen) and Vincent Vega from Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction respectively are in fact brothers.

Yes, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are officially and canologicaly connected and even if he never made his proposed Vega Brothers flick, Tarantino still says these two films are directly connected. He never revealed much about his Vega Brothers picture, but he did say this…

I did think about the idea of the Vega brothers, taking place before the movies when like Vin was in Amsterdam and his brother Vic/Mr Blonde comes and visits him, and their adventures.

Its a very sketchy idea at best but it was enough to get me thinking – if the film was to be a prequel that would have been set in Amsterdam and involved the Vega brothers, aside from drugs, what else is Amsterdam famous for? Diamonds. What were they stealing in Reservoir Dogs? And what exactly was in that damn briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Its a rough idea but I’m sure Tarantino must have been thinking about linking everything together. What if Vic and Vincent stole diamonds in Amsterdam, brought them back to America where they were sold and Vic then got involved in a heist to steal them back once more? Then what if those diamonds that were taken by Mr Pink at the end of Reservoir Dogs ended up in a briefcase in Pulp Fiction?

The Dimmicks

Its possible that the Vega brothers may not be the only siblings sharing the Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction canon, what about Jimmie (Quentin Tarantino) and Lawrence Dimmick (Harvey Keitel) A.K.A Mr White? Now – as far as I have researched, Tarantino has neither confirmed nor denied that these two are related, but within this shared universe, why not? Bothers, cousins or other. Its possible right?

You remember Jimmie from Pulp Fiction right? He’s the fella that was not too happy about deceased gentlemen of colour being stockpiled within his vehicle shelter – who clearly has connections to the criminal underworld if he is friendly with hitman Jules (Samuel L. Jackson). Jimmie’s last name is Dimmick. Mr White from Reservoir Dogs reveals his real name is Lawrence Dimmick to a dying Mr Pink. But if they are related then I have one question. Why doesn’t Jimmie mention there is an uncanny resemblance between his sibling Lawrence and the guy that has been sent to help clean things up Winston Wolf?

Scagnetti And Scagnetti

This is an unusual one as only one of these characters are actually shown on screen – the other is only quickly mentioned in passing and many people miss it. Detective Jack Scagnetti (Tom Sizemore) from Natural Born Killers sports an impressive quiff and an unstable personality. He may be a lawman, but he’s not exactly on the right side of the law either. A good guy with bad tendencies. When Mr Blonde is catching up with old friends in Reservoir Dogs – he mentions his parole officer is someone called Seymour Scagnetti, who apparently is not a nice guy either. Does being a bad-good guy run in the family?

Paula And The Dentist

Dentist, Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) was born in Düsseldorf, Germany but moved to America where he took up the rather profitable career of being a bounty hunter. It has been theorised that sometime in the 1850s, Schultz married a younger woman who outlived him as Dr. King Schultz is killed during the events of Django Unchained. Then later in Kill Bill, Beatrix Kiddo is burred alive in grave – and the name on the grave? Paula Schultz. Even more so, the chapter from the film it titled; ‘The Lonely Grave Of Paula Schultz’ and she would have been lonely if she died a widow. Maybe Dr King Schultz and the unseen Paula were married within this universe? Plus, the dates on the grave seem to add up too…

The War Hero And The Bandit

Back in Pulp Fiction and Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) tells a young Butch Coolidge (Chandler Lindauer) a little about the Koons heroic family history and a lovely story about a very important watch. Yet it seems that not everyone in the Koons bloodline may have been quite as upstanding as their family think. In Django Unchained while Dr King Schultz is training Django (Jamie Foxx), a wanted poster is shown for the Smitty Bacall Gang and one of the gang members is called; Crazy Craig Koons. I wonder if this Koons family member also placed timepieces in hard to reach places?

The Cops And The Bandit

That very same wanted poster from Django Unchained reveals yet another name, Gerald Nash who is wanted for murder. It seems that Gerald must have had children at some point because during Natural Born Killers a re-enactment of a murder of a police officer is shown and the name of the dead cop? Gerald Nash. But that is not all, doesn’t the name Nash sound familiar? What if I said this other Nash was also a cop? Still unsure, then lend me your ear. The kidnapped cop from Reservoir Dogs that Mr Blonde plans on torturing while listening to Steeler’s Wheel is named Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz) and Tarantino has confirmed that Natural Born Killers Nash and Reservoir Dogs Nash are in fact cousins.

Maynard The Bigoted Family

Maynard (Duane Whitaker) from Pulp Fiction is the owner of a pawn shop… and has a perverse hobby that involves a gimp, a corrupt security guard and underworld crime boss being… well just watch the film. He seriously seems to have several problems, but if you have a racist/bigot bloodline then what do you expect? But what bloodline is this? Well during the awesome Candyland shootout in Django Unchained – an unnamed, rifle toting racist screams out “Ain’t no (insert racial slur towards black people here) gonna kill Maynard!”. After which, said self-proclaimed Maynard is brutally shot to death by Django in a satisfying orgy of blood and bullets.

Clarence And Lawrence’s Shared Love

True Romance is a great love story flick. A love story full of drugs, vengeance, guns and plenty of dead bodies…but a love story none the less. Aside from having one of my all time favourite movie scenes ever where Clifford Worley (Dennis Hopper) and Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken) engage in an intense game of cat and mouse. The film also features another possible Tarantino connection. The hooker with a heart of gold, Alabama Whitman/Worley (Patricia Arquette) seems to have had a life before True Romance where she teamed up with Lawrence Dimmick from Reservoir Dogs as Mr White reveals that Alabama was his ex-partner. So if she was his ex-partner, after the break up – did she fall into prostitution to make ends meet and finally find love with Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) later?

The Nazi Killer And The Film Director

Sticking with True Romance, Clarence tries to sell the cocaine he acquired to a film director called Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek). During the events of the film, Lee is putting the finishing touches to his latest in-movie flick; Coming Home In A Body Bag 2, a sequel to his hit Vietnam film that Clarence is a big fan of. But what if Lee got inspiration for his war movies from members of his own family? Maybe Sgt. Donny ‘The Bear Jew’ Donowitz (Eli Roth) from Inglourious Basterds and his Nazi brain-bashing ways played a hand in Lee’s film career?

Another Nazi Killer And His Great, Great Grandfather

Inglourious Basterds featured a lot of Nazi killing… a hell of a lot. One of the best and most intense scenes in the flick took place in an underground tavern where English Army officer Lt. Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) goes undercover as a German officer and things go badly. It seems that bloodshed and gunfights in enclosed places is a family trait as Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth) from The Hateful Eight can attest to. But how are these two characters linked? Well Oswaldo Mobray is just an alias as his real name is actually ‘English’ Pete Hicox and he is the great, great grandfather of Archie.

The Dead Texas Ranger With A Long Life

Texas Ranger Earl McGraw (Michael Parks) first appeared in From Dusk Till Dawn – where he was quickly executed via a bullet to the head. But you just can’t keep a good Texas Ranger down as he resurfaced in Kill Bill where he was joined by his son Edgar McGraw (played by Michael’s real-life son James Parks). The McGraw family kept on growing when Earl popped up again in the Death Proof and Planet Terror combo of Grindhouse. This time around Earl and Edgar were joined by Dr Dakota Block née McGraw (Marley Shelton) the daughter of Earl and sister of Edgar.

Quentin Tarantino Part III

Well lets just dive right into it and take a look at his new film.

TH8

The Hateful Eight: Not too much is known about the film right now, it is still being filmed as I write this.
But the basic synopsis is: In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception.

With an impressive cast of: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks and others.

The film is said to be set in the same universe as Django Unchained, but not connected plot wise.
Could we see the return of Django even if only for a cameo?

The film already has me excited and I can not wait to go and see it.

While the official relased date is Christmas 2015, it’ll only be initially released in select cinemas with a full release set for early 2016.
Some have suggested this is due to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will definitely be the big Christmas hit this year. But as I said in part I, I couldn’t care less about Star Wars.
So due to some “creative marketing”, I’ll have to wait until 2016 to see the film.

Still, seeing as not too long back, Quentin decided to not make this film thanks to a leaked script on the internet. I think I can wait until early 2016 to catch this flick…but it’s going to be a long wait indeed.

QT 2

So what is my favourite Quentin Tarantino film?
Though one to answer as I don’t have one favourite. So I’ll just offer my own opinion on his films so far instead.

Reservoir Dogs: This film is to Ringo Lam’s City on Fire (1987) what Sergio Leone’s Per un pugno di dollari (1964) was to Akira Kurosawa’s Yôjinbô (1961). With it being an unofficial remake. What a movie Reservoir Dogs really is, especially for a first time director…of a full theatrical feature. A heist film without a heist with 90% of the film just being dialogue with most of the film set in an empty warehouse. But it really showcased how great Tarantino is at writing his characters. This one set the bar high with many copycats trying to make similar films for years after, yet only Quentin himself could nail and even beat the high standards set by Reservoir Dogs.

Pulp Fiction: For quite a while, this was my favourite Tarantino film…but that was during the mid-late 90s when he only had 2-3 films to his name. Pulp Fiction is still one of the very best films made to date from anyone and again had other writers and directors tying to “out Tarantino” Tarantino with other similar films attempting to cash in on the character led, crime genre were the bad guys were the focus. Pulp Fiction is a simply awesome film, I’m even close to saying the best film made in the 90s.

Four Rooms: I can not stress enough how overlooked this film is. While not all four stories are great, the film as a whole is a fun watch. But Quentin Tarantino’s segment is really worth watching, full of that snappy dialogue, with interesting characters. Tarantino’s, The Man From Hollywood story is the final tale of the four, and I can safely say…they saved the best till last.

From Dusk Till Dawn: I still remember the first time I saw this flick and was lucky enough to not have it spoiled for me pre-viewing. Talk about yer great film twists eh? I really do not want to talk too much of this one in case some of you readers have not yet seen it. As I said previously, this is a film you need to know nothing about before seeing it. Just go watch it, don’t research it, don’t look at a cast-list or even read a synopsis…just go watch it.

Jackie Brown: I never did like this one when I first saw it…and I can’t remember why. However, the film has definitely grown on me over the years and now think it’s great. Not one of Quentin’s best films I admit, but it’s still pretty damn amazing and I find myself enjoying the film much more now than I did previously. Jackie Brown is a wonderful homage to crime “blaxploitation” cinema of the 70s, starring the queen of “blaxploitation” herself the amazing, “whole lot of woman” and sexy Pam Grier.

Kill Bill: Remember when I said Pulp Fiction was my favourite Quentin Tarantino film for a while? Well this is the film that made me change my mind. An expertly observed and executed love letter to classic Kung-Fu flicks. While the plot is as basic as it gets, with its all too simple revenge driving force. Kill Bill ends up being so much more thanks to Tarantino’s love for the genre and his (again) amazing writing/directing. You can always tell when the director loves and respects a genre, and this film displays that love and respect in every scene. I also feel this film was a turning point for Tarantino as his writing seems more “dynamic” and this is a trait that follows on from this point on.

Sin City: If you are reading this Paul, remember how long it got you to get me to watch this film? Seriously, it was a good 3-4 years. In all honesty, I never did like the look of this film back then, which was party why I never got round to watching it. Then one summer day (after getting tattoos) I relinquished and picked up a copy of Sin City on DVD and watched it that very day…and it hit me like a sledgehammer to the head. A truly stunning film is so many regards and while Quentin only directed one scene, it’s a great scene in a great film.

Death Proof: This one was a nice surprise, I never really knew what to expect with this one. Tarantino’s slice of 70s style exploitation cinema in this Grindhouse double bill was really good fun and with the underused Kurt Russell in the lead role, makes this one a must watch even if you are not a Quentin fan. That crash mid way through and car chase at the end are some of the best stunt work I’ve seen in recent years…and it was all practical, no CGI. It is a “stupid” film I admit, but it is “stupidity” done with panache.

Inglourious Basterds: Is this really a “masterpiece” as Brad Pitt’s Lt. Aldo Raine says? Well you remember when I said Pulp Fiction was my favourite Quentin Tarantino film for a while, and then replaced that with Kill Bill later? You can see what’s coming here can’t you? See, this is why its so damn difficult for me to chose a favourite Quentin Tarantino film…cos for most part they are all my favourites. Inglourious Basterds is one of the best films I have seen in the last 10 years from any writer/director. This is what The Dirty Dozen (1967) would have been like if Quentin Tarantino had directed it. It’s violent, it’s tense, it’s full of memorable characters and dialogue. Yes, it is a masterpiece.

Django Unchained: Remember when I said Pulp Fiction was my favourite Quentin Tarantino film for a while…and so on…? Yup, this is one of “those” Quentin Tarantino films, one that changes my opinion…again. I grew up watching the Spaghetti Western genre, ever since my older brother, Robert introduced me to Clint Eastwood and the “Dollars Trilogy”. I love this genre, and so does Quentin…and you can tell when watching this picture. A great modern Western is a tough film to get right, I can only think of two truly great modern Westerns. Clint Eastwood’s, Unforgiven and this film right here.

So there you go, I can’t chose a favourite Tarantino film, its just impossible for me to do so. All of his directing efforts have been great, whether they be full feature films, a short story or even just one scene. Everything he does has so much polish and style to it.

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Why do I enjoy Quentin Tarantino films so damn much?
So many reasons…

1) His characters, they always seem so “real”, multi dimensional with depth and a purpose. Those characters always seem to stay with me over the years and are fondly remembered. They are never over or underused and they always seem integral to the plot even if it’s a small character with little screen-time.

2) His writing, from the stories he creates…and “borrows” to the dialogue he comes up with. How great is that “Royale with cheese” chat in Pulp Fiction? But why is it so great and memorable? really, it bears no relation to the plot of the film. It’s just two friends chatting shit, and I feel that is why his dialogue works, as it’s not “movie speak”. It really sounds and feels like how people genuinely talk to each other. All of his films have an instance of a “Royale with cheese” chat. His stories are always interesting and far deeper than they first appear too.

3) His music, how is it that Quentin Tarantino always selects the best and most apt music for his films? Have you ever watched one of his films, heard the music and felt that it does not work…even when the music is anachronistic like the use of Cat People (Putting Out The Fire) by David Bowie (1982) in Inglourious Basterds which is set in during World War II. Yes, completely the wrong decade…but that song was so damn apt, it would have been an offence not to have used it. Every tune he selects seems to be just as important as getting the right actor to play a part.

4) His comedy, yes you read that right…comedy. Not too many think of Quentin as being a funny writer/director…but he really is. All of his films have comedy in them, even if you don’t realise it at first. Often his comedy is very subtle and will pass you by, but it is there. He’ll also use dark comedy that many people miss. Sometimes his use of comedy is so obvious, you don’t even think about it. I watched all of the films mentioned here before writing this up (yes, even My Best Friend’s Birthday) and all of them had some form of comedy in them that made me smile or even outright laugh.

5) His actors, remember when everyone forgot about John Travolta? Who was Samuel L. Jackson before Pulp Fiction? Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Christoph Waltz, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Pam Grier, Michael Keaton, and so on. Now of course not everyone in his films were a nobody or forgotten about pre-Tarantino. He’s attracted some big name stars too, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Jamie Fox, Michael Fassbender and others. But even so, he still always manages to bring back a forgotten actor or a new name and give them the spotlight…and make it work too.

6) He’s a genre man, he makes the kind of films he grew up and enjoyed watching. He is a fanboy and his films prove as much too. From his “homages”, in jokes, references and even some of the actors he chooses. Everything is selected and pandered to perfectly fit into the genre he is trying to capture. While he does have his own unique style, his films are also very different from each other. Heist film, Kung-Fu/Samurai revenge flick, Spaghetti Western epic, Gangster/thriller picture…he’ll have a go at anything as long as it’s a genre he loves.

7) His violence, probably the biggest thing Quentin is (in)famous for. But he does not just throw in violence for the sake of having violence. Often, he makes us, the viewer, “earn” that violence. Anyone remember the “ear cutting scene” in Reservoir Dogs, remember the controversy, remember how graphic it was? The great thing about that scene is the simple fact that is was not graphic at all, in fact the camera pans away to look at a blank wall…yet people always “remember” how violent that scene was. This is the mark of a truly great film-maker, one that can make you see something that is not there.
But my favourite part of the whole “ear cutting scene” is actually something more jovial and deeply dark at the same time. I’m talking of Mr. Blonde putting the radio on and dancing around to Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel. It’s a great, light and “bouncy” song and Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde dancing around is a joy to watch…but somewhere in the back of your head, you know things are going to get really bad, really quickly and the whole dancing thing just makes what is to come next even more disturbing…even though you do not see “it” happen.
Of course he’s not always as “subtle” with his violence, the Crazy 88 fight from Kill Bill for example. But even here, you are teased before the big showdown. From when The Bride first enters The House of Blue Leaves, the whole scene is dragged out (in a great way) to make you wait for the vengeance fuelled blood rage that is about to come.
But I think my personal favourite piece of foreplay to the violence comes from Inglourious Basterds. That one particular scene in the German basement bar. The way Quentin slowly unfolds this undercover plot that we, the audience all know is going to go wrong, we all know its gonna end in (lots of) bloodshed…yet we are teased for what seems like hours. It’s like Quentin is saying to us, he knows you want violence, he knows you want to see some dead Nazis…and possibly some dead good guys too. But, you have to wait, and wait and wait. He makes it almost unbearable to the point you can not take your eyes of the screen so much so you do not want to blink. It’s “magical” movie making at it’s finest.
But I can not end this point without mentioning the slow-motion gun fight near the end of Django Unchained. Its so beautifully shot (and again pre-teased to us the audience), its like watching a ballet of violence.

So, what is next for Tarantino after the release of The Hateful Eight?

Well Quentin has hinted he plans to retire. I think this is terrible if true, but on the other hand. If Quentin Tarantino honestly thinks he had nothing left to offer, then maybe retirement is the best thing for him?
I’d rather Tarantino going out on top then keep making films he no longer enjoys making. But either way, it’ll be a sad day in film-making if/when Quentin Tarantino decides to end his amazing career.

But come on QT, you have more to come after The Hateful Eight…right?

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Quentin Tarantino:As far as I’m concerned, digital projection is the end of cinema. The fact that most films aren’t presented in 35 mm means that the world is lost. Digital projection is just television in cinema. I’m very hopeful that future generations will be much smarter than this generation and realize what they lost.”

Thank you for joining me on my Birthday (dependent on when you read this) and for reading my fanboyism of one of the worlds biggest film fanboys, Mr. Quentin Tarantino.
Now…”let’s go to work”.

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Quentin Tarantino Part II

So here we are, now Quentin found his film-making “soul mate” with Robert Rodriguez and they join forces to make one hell of an overlooked picture.

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Four Rooms: An unusual film to say the least. This one was an anthology flick set in a hotel with four separate stories set in “Four Rooms” of the hotel, all connected via the bellboy played by Tim Roth.
Both Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez wrote and directed their own segments within this film.

Tarantino’s story was an absolutely brilliant re-telling of Roald Dahl’s classic short story, The Man From The South. Even if you are already familiar with this story, and you most probably are more aware than you think as the story has been told and re-told many times over the years. Including a version done by Alfred Hitchcock from his TV series as well as the story being the first one ever aired from the TV show, Tales of the Unexpected.
Still, even with an already famous and known story. Quentin Tarantino manages to pull off a unique take on the tale and even bring in a great and hilarious new twist.

Four Rooms is an under appreciated and under praised flick and well worth watching, even if only for Tarantino’s segment alone.

But the Quentin and Robert joining does not end here.

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From Dusk Till Dawn: Was a collaboration between Quentin and Robert Rodriguez, with Quentin Tarantino not only writing but also taking on a starring role. But this time, directing duties were held by Robert Rodriguez.

From Dusk Till Dawn is a film that if you have no idea what it is about…it’s the best way to watch the film. This is why I’m trying to avoid spoilers here, so much so that I’ll not even use a poster that gives away plot details.
It you have not yet seen From Dusk Till Dawn, just watch this film as blindly as you can, don’t look at the cover, don’t ask friends about it.
Just watch it, it’s awesome and best left unspoiled for you.

Quentin and Robert part ways…only temporarily. As Quentin tackles his next film solo.

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Jackie Brown: A throwback to “blaxploitation” cinema of the 70s starring the awesome Pam Grier in the title role.
The film also features Michael Keaton, cast at a time when people were forgetting how he was…but still proves just how much of a great actor he really is.

Jackie Brown is a return to Quentin Tarantino’s roots of films like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Being very character based, with a plot that is not as straightforward as it first appears to be.

As the 90s are left behind, we catch up on the 2000s with Quentin Tarantino giving into his love for Kung-Fu/Samurai films.

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Kill Bill: Originally filmed as one picture, but split into two “volumes” during post-production.
Kill Bill was a tour de force of classic Kung-Fu/Samurai revenge films. This is Quentin’s “homage” to films like, Lady Snowblood.

Full of bloody, revenge fuelled violence. But also those interesting characters Quentin Tarantino is famous for. This is one of his very best films.

Us fans still await the long promised, Whole Bloody Affair. Which is both “volumes” edited together as originally intended. Quentin Tarantino has been saying is coming for over a decade now.
This cut of the film does exist and has done for many years now, as Quentin himself has shown it several times at film festivals. But still no home release.

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez team up yet again next.

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Sin City: OK, I know this is not a film directed by Quentin…though he did direct one scene and does have a directing credit due to this (see poster above), so it’s being included.

The scene Quentin directed was the one involving Dwight and Jackie Boy.
Full of Hitchcock-esque paranoia and suspense, very much put me in mind of Marion driving in her car after stealing the money in Psycho.
The “voices in her head”, the added element of the police following her, etc.

While the scene is pretty much verbatim from the graphic novel the film is based on, it still maintains that Tarantino style. It was also the first time Quentin has shot digitally, as he’s an “old school” film-maker and had always shot on film previously.

Quentin my have only shot 1 scene…but it’s a hell of a great scene in a hell of a great movie.

Sticking with the partnership, Tarantino and Rodriguez indulge in their love for exploitation cinema.

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Grindhouse: This film was really more about Quentin and Robert pandering to their own fanboyism. As both directors are huge fans of exploitation cinema.
The whole “Grindhouse” sub genre, which for those not only the know, was a form of low budget films that were relased mainly in the 70s and always heavily used exploitation as it’s selling point. Whether that exploitation be gore, sex, violence, etc.
These films would often be shown in seedy, backstreet cinemas known as Grindhouses. Hence, Grindhouse cinema.

Quentin’s film, Death Proof, in this Grindhouse double bill was a 70s inspired stalker film where the killer used his car to stalk and kill his victims, his “Death Proof” car if you will.

Kurt Russell took on the lead role of Stuntman Mike. A mysterious yet charming man that loves nothing more than stalking young girls and murdering them using his car.
It’s not a complex plot, but as simple and seedy as this film is. It’s still has that unique QT polish.

Quentin flies solo for his next film.

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Inglourious Basterds: “This is probably my masterpiece.” Declares Lt. Aldo Raine at the end of this film, many people took that line as being Quentin Tarantino himself saying this film is his masterpiece.
To be fair, it’s hard not to agree. Inglourious Basterds is a genuine masterpiece of film-making.
Brilliant modern twist on the classic WW II action/thriller all wrapped up in Quentin’s own unique style.

An amazing cast lead by Brad Pitt and his “stunning” Italian accent.
Inglourious Basterds is a simply amazing film…and indeed a masterpiece.

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Django Unchained: This was Quentin Tarantino showing his love and passion for the classic Western genre, a genre he loves so much he considers The Good, The Bad and the Ugly the “best film ever made.”
Taking an already established character…yes, for those unaware, Django (the D is silent) had already been seen on screen before…over 30 times in fact, though only two were “official”. This was Quentin Tarantino’s take on the legend that is Django.
Even the original Django (Franco Nero) appears in this version in a cameo role.

This ends part II, but join me in part III where I’ll take a quick look at Quentin Tarantino’s up and coming new flick, The Hateful Eight and just offer my own personal views on his work so far and talk about what’s next for Tarantino after his new film.

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