Quarantarantino

For a long, long time, I have been meaning to watch all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. Being stuck at home, I figured now is the perfect time! So I watched all 9 of the films written and directed by Tarantino, and I was pleasantly surprised. While they were all pretty lengthy — as the years have gone by, they’ve gradually gotten longer– for the most part the length is necessary.

Tarantino loves to use the same actors throughout his movies. Quentin himself makes a cameo in 5 of his works; Samuel L. Jackson is in 5 of the 9 films; Michael Madsen is in 5 of the films. After a conversation about 70s kung fu movies with Uma Thurman, Tarantino wrote the Kill Bill saga as a birthday present for Thurman. She stars in both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, as well as Pulp Fiction.

There are so many hidden Easter eggs throughout, that it’s pretty necessary to watch them in order. The fake cigarette brand Red Apple Cigarettes is featured in almost all of his movies. A gas can used in one film can be seen in Bill’s brother’s trailer in Kill Bill, Vol. 2. In Reservoir Dogs, Steve Buscemi has a whole dialogue based on his refusal of tipping waitresses. In Tarantino’s next film, Buscemi is a waiter. There are so many other Easter eggs throughout his films, you should definitely search for a more comprehensive list; it’s fascinating!

1992 brings his first film, Reservoir Dogs. This is a film all about a jewelry store heist gone wrong. Cops arrive to the scene seconds after this gang of thieves show up, and the rest of the movie is dealing with the consequences and trying to determine if there’s a snitch in the group.

Two years later brings Pulp Fiction in 1994. While the previous movie was easy to summarize, this one is a little more jumbled. It focuses on multiple groups of character: John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson as hitmen, a gangster and his wife (Uma Thurman), and various other characters. This multifaceted plot never really ties itself up at the end, as his other films do. His characters in this film are well developed and enjoyable, I just wish it had a neater ending.

1997 brings another crime movie, Jackie Brown. A flight attendant whose side hustle is to smuggle drug money back to her boss gets caught in the act, and works with the cops to bring down her drug dealer boss. With the promise of immunity from prison on one side, and the promise of a hefty sum of money on the other, whose side is she really on? Tarantino leaves you hanging ’til the final minutes of the film, and ties it up quite nicely. Really entertaining!

After quite a long respite, he came back onto the scene with the Kill Bill franchise. Kill Bill, Vol. 1 released in October 2003 while Vol. 2 followed close behind in April 2004. The films follow the journey of “the bride” (Uma Thurman), whose wedding got shot up by a gang. Once she awakes from a coma, she tracks down every member of the gang who killed her friends and family and kills them with her kung fu skills she picked up in Japan. Beautifully crafted, beautifully made, this is one of my favorites of Tarantino, and also acts as a bridge between old school Tarantino and his more modern, more experimental films.

Inglorious Basterds opens the new era of Tarantino in 2009, his first foray into alternate history. Brad Pitt is the leader of a special forces unit, hell-bent on killing as many Nazis as they can find. Another side plot features a German actress, working as a spy for the Allied Powers. Yet another side plot features a young Jewish woman escaping the Nazis and fleeing to France. She meets a high-ranking German officer who falls for her, and she comes up with a plot to destroy him, his fellow officers, and Hitler himself. The perfect amount of humor, action, and blood, this is one of my favorite films of Tarantino.

The all-star cast and acting featured Django Unchained in 2012 puts it at the top of both my and my fiancé’s list of Tarantino favorites. Jamie Foxx works with Christopher Waltz to track down his wife, who was sold to another slave owner. Along the way they cash in bounties of criminals found as Waltz teaches Foxx all the tricks of the trade. Don’t want to spoil too much for you, in case you haven’t seen it, but they eventually happen upon Leonardo DiCaprio in one of his most riveting roles. A must watch, for sure!

The Hateful Eight is very aptly named, as it is his 8th film, and the one I hated the most. After reading the information about the movie, it sounded very similar to the Django movie. It seems to be about a bounty hunter in the same time period, rounding up people to collect their bounty and become rich. Yet that’s where the similarities end. About three-fourths of the movie is spent in one room. And while we all know Quentin loves a lengthy dialogue, the constant chatter and cursing with zero action is too much. There is a surprise at the end and – of course – lots of blood, but it wasn’t enough to redeem the film to me. There is also an extended version on Netflix lasting four hours, but I was not delusional enough to put myself through that. If you watch that version, please le me know how it is!

His 9th movie and most recent release is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. With all the hype it got last summer, you probably know some about it already. Featuring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, this is another of Tarantino’s ventures into alternative history. I’ll spare you too many details, as this one has a fantastic twist at the end and I don’t want to spoil it. This movie has a beautifully designed set, wardrobe, and dialogue. Clocking in over 2 hours and 40 minutes long, it is very much worth it!

Quentin himself has said that he’ll be retiring following his 10th movie. Only time will tell if he holds true to his promise, as well as what his final film will be about.

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