Tag Archives: True Romance

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.

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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)

Sergeant Hartman.jpg

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 I

Today is my Birthday.
So as a Birthday present to myself, I’m going to indulge myself and write about one of the very best, modern writer/directors, Quentin Tarantino.

QT 1

2015 is said to be a huge year for movies.
We have already had Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max has been revived brilliantly in Mad Max: Fury Road.
We have also been taken back to Jurassic Park with Jurassic World. As he promised, Arnie came back as the Terminator in Terminator Genysis.
Later this year, Rocky Balboa will be back training Apollo’s son in Creed. Plus the new Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released this Christmas.

Most of these big name films just bore me if I’m honest.
I mean, the whole world seems to be so looking forward to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But me? I just couldn’t care less.

However there is one film released later this year that I simply can not wait to see.

H8

The Hateful Eight.
Quentin Tarantino’s new flick.
I’m so excited and already looking to see if I can pre-book tickets as soon as I’m able to.
I do love me some Tarantino moving pictures.

So I thought while I patiently wait as the release date for The Hateful Eight slowly draws closer, that I’d look back on the man and his amazing career so far.

From Quentin Tarantino’s early love for films, to his breakthrough films of the early and mid 90s that cemented him as a genuine film-making talent, right up to today.

So please join me on my retrospective look back at one of the very best, modern writer/directors…and mediocre actors.
Or I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance…etc…

Born Quentin Jerome Tarantino on March 27, 1963. Quentin Tarantino had always had a great passion for films and film-making and often describes himself as the ultimate film nerd.
Seriously, this guy’s film knowledge makes him a walking IMDb, only more reliable.

Quentin engaged in his love for films by working the infamous Video Archives a VHS rental store in the late 80s. When he wasn’t working with movies, he was watching them instead.
However, as much as Quentin loved his simple life of working at the VHS store. He always wanted more and always had a passion to make movies…so he did just that.

Tarantino’s “first” film was called, My Best Friend’s Birthday.

MBFB

What, never heard of the film?
Well that is probably due to the fact it was never a theatrically released film and more so just a few friends experimenting by making a movie together.
The film has never officially been released for one reason or another, one being the that it’s been said the last half the film was destroyed in a fire. But there have also been conflicting stories that say the second half was never destroyed in a fire, it was just never filmed at all. Either way, the film is not complete.
However the first half does exist and can be seen if you know where to look…like here.

Did you enjoy that?
Bad acting, below average camera work and direction. Yes, it’s not exactly high quality I know. But you can see Quentin’s style he would eventually become famous for, slowly emerging in this film. The dialogue is there, the characters are there, the homages are there.

But there is something else I wanted to point out about My Best Friend’s Birthday.
Does any of that film seem slightly familiar to you?
How about that scene where the character Clarence talks about how if he had to fuck a man, he’d fuck Elvis?
Maybe you have already seen a film with a similar scene, but with far better production values. Maybe that film was called True Romance?

TR

Yep, True Romance is “technically” a remake of this no budget, friend made film.
Quentin Tarantino took his concept behind his first film, My Best Friend’s Birthday and turned it into his first ever full film script that would become True Romance.
He also wrote another film script Natural Born Killers.

NBK

Quentin Tarantino then sold both of these film scripts and the films were made into proper Hollywood productions with Tony Scott directing True Romance and Oliver Stone directing Natural Born Killers.

Quentin Tarantino was now a bonafide film script writer.
But he still strived for more and decided he wanted to not only write films, but direct them too.
With the money he made from selling his two scripts, he started work on his next script with the full intention of directing this one.

RD

Reservoir Dogs: Tarantino’s first proper film as a writer and director hit the cinemas in 1992…and it hit them hard.

Reservoir Dogs premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1992 and later shown at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. The film was a huge success when theatrically relased and has gone on to become a firm independent film-making milestone.
Quentin was an unknown and nobody trusted him to direct a full length feature film…but that soon changed after the release of Reservoir Dogs.

Quentin Tarantino went from an unknown to a known name overnight with the success that was Reservoir Dogs and his next film would only be even bigger.

PF

Pulp Fiction: Was released in 1994 and made Quentin Tarantino the hottest name in Hollywood.
Many fans consider Pulp Fiction to be Quentin’s greatest work so far. I, myself have lost count of how many times I have seen the film. I recall a time where myself and friend, Paul would watch this film every Sunday without fail.

Pulp Fiction was a runaway success. A wonderful short story anthology that intertwine with each other leading to one hell of a great story full of amazing characters.

With now 2 successful films under his belt, Quentin Tarantino started to make friends in the film world. One such friend was another low budget and independent film-maker, Robert Rodriguez and they would team up for the next film.

Here ends part I, but coming up in part II we see Quentin and Robert join forces, as well as see Quentin’s career just keep on growing.

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