At a Comic-Con panel Quentin Tarantino once stated, "if you make a piece of nitro that you throw at an audience's lap, people notice." Well his first film, Reservoir Dogs, was a piece of nitro and people noticed. Since then Tarantino has continued to lob explosive films at audiences to grab attention and win awards. He's also used his status to help get foreign films (Sonatine, Chungking Express) distributed here, and he's formed a creative partnership with fellow maverick Robert Rodriguez that's proven successful.
Here are 10 Tarantino films not to be missed.
Quentin Tarantino paid homage to Hollywood war films and directors such as Robert Aldrich and Sam Fuller. Then for fun he threw in a little tribute to Sergio Leone. The result was a Jewish revenge fantasy in which history got rewritten in audacious fashion. Christoph Waltz stole the show as a Nazi officer with a fluid sense of loyalty.
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez teamed up to make a Grindhouse double bill with Rodriguez serving up an "infected" people gorefest in Planet Terror, while Tarantino delivered an homage to '70s car flicks in Death Proof. Some complained that his female foursome was too chatty but no one complained about Kurt Russell's creepily lethal Stuntman Mike. Plus the film contains one of the best shot car crashes of all time. Tarantino also had a role in Planet Terror as a rapist who gets his just desserts.
So the story goes that Rodriguez scored Kill Bill Vol. 2 for a buck and in exchange Tarantino said he'd take a dollar to direct a segment of Sin City. The gig also provided him with the opportunity to get hands-on experience with HD cameras. But the director chose his beloved film stock over digital when he and Rodriguez teamed up for Grindhouse.
This roaring rampage of revenge featured Uma Thurman as a woman with plenty of reasons to want to kill Bill (David Carradine), the man who tried to kill her on her wedding day. This saga was so big it needed two films to contain it. The first volume revealed Tarantino's love for extreme Asian cinema and old Shaw Brothers martial arts films. Volume 2 still had an Asian flavor but was more inspired by Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns. Great cast and kick ass action.
This is Tarantino's most mature film. It was not as flashy as most of his works and the structure was somewhat more linear, but there was an emphasis on character development and a restraint that has not been on display in his other films. Plus it featured stellar work from Pam Grier and Robert Forster, two actors that Hollywood too often overlooked. The film was based on Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch and drew on blaxploitation cinema of the 1970s.
Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Alison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell teamed up for this omnibus film in which Tim Roth's hotel clerk was the only link tying a quartet of stories together in an old hotel on New Year's Eve. Tarantino's segment, The Man from Hollywood, concerned a man and a wager over whether he can light his lighters 10 times in a row. Tarantino also took the lead role.
"You won't know the facts until you've seen the fiction." That was the come on for this audacious joy ride of a film. This is Tarantino revved up and firing on all cylinders as he references so much pop culture that you can't keep track. The cast is so rich that the film can afford to have Christopher Walken do a single-scene throwaway role. Killer soundtrack, memorable dialogue, and you get John Travolta dancing.
True Romance was based on a script by Quentin Tarantino but directed by Tony Scott. You can see Tarantino's hand at work in this wildly careening script about a pair of young lovers (Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette) whose stupidity seems to protect them. Brad Pitt is great as a pothead; Dennis Hopper is Slater's dad; Gary Oldman is a dreadlocked drug dealer; and James Gandolfini has a no-holds barred fight with the feisty Arquette.
Here's the film that launched Quentin Tarantino's career and probably inspired a whole generation of young filmmakers. The film cleverly delivered a heist film in which you never see the heist. The ensemble cast (Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Lawrence Tierney) was flawless, the dialogue crackled, and the action was often brutal. Tarantino took some flack early on for not crediting the Hong Kong film City on Fire as the basis for his film. Sure Tarantino lifted elements, but he made the story all his own.