Scott Hardie | August 11, 2019
Now that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has come out and his career is winding down (he has said many times that he'll stop at ten films and he has now done nine), which Quentin Tarantino film is your favorite, and what about it sticks with you?

Steve West | August 11, 2019
Reservoir Dogs is on my top ten list. Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen at their best. Steve Buscemi always good in support and Tim Roth does well in a leading role. Extremely well written and directed, it's standing the test of time so far.

Samir Mehta | August 12, 2019
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Scott Hardie | August 12, 2019
I have not given this as much thought as you, Samir, but your answer makes me really glad that I asked. :-)

Pulp Fiction was the first QT film that I saw and I loved it immediately, and it will always be special to me. Jackie Brown has a broader emotional palate than much of his work, as Samir mentioned, and I liked it too. Death Proof may be a mere genre exercise, but it's as exhilarating and stylish as anything else he's made. I thought Inglourious Basterds was excellent, and I couldn't say so better than Samir has. If Reservoir Dogs is a little too macho for my taste (dick-measuring contests aren't my thing), it's still really well made. And though it's not a movie, I even enjoyed the first-season episode of ER that QT directed, when he clearly had a lot of fun pushing the then-timid show's envelope with his signature pop-culture references and over-the-top violence.

My favorite, though, would have to be Kill Bill. I've thought about it more since it came out than any of his films with the possible exception of Pulp Fiction, and that's only because Pulp Fiction was so frequently referenced and parodized and imitated in various media since its release. Kill Bill is a masterpiece on so many levels: Pop culture pastiche, gory action spectacle, gripping character drama, self-mocking genre parody, and more. Its unserious elements are terrific fun, and its serious elements tie the whole thing together.

I'm still ticked at Miramax for two business decisions that damaged the film. First, Harvey Weinstein insisted that the film wrap production before the intended ending could be shot, which would have been a prolonged sword fight on the beach at sunrise, with the Bride in her wedding dress finally fighting Bill, an epic showdown that the entire film had been building toward. QT came up with a quick replacement ending that couldn't help but feel anti-climactic. Second, when QT refused to cut anything from the film to shorten it, Miramax decided to release it in two halves, but neither half stands on its own. The first half is a blur of insane action without any meaning to it. The second half provides the drama to ground the action but feels disappointing without the cathartic release of a substantial action scene. Thus, I refuse to think of the film as anything but a single whole. Despite these flaws, it's still my favorite of Tarantino's works.

I think we can all agree that Tarantino's films are consistently good. Has he made a bad work?

Erik Bates | August 13, 2019
I'm a poor reviewer of movies for a couple reasons. 1) I have piss poor memory. 2) I feel that I lack the ability to truly analyze or appreciate nuance or deeper meanings within film. That being said, here's my shitty opinion on QT films.

I don't know that I can pick a favorite, but I think it's a bit of a toss-up between the nostalgia-inducing Pulp Fiction, and the amazing story and soundtrack of Kill Bill.

For some reason, I have never finished Reservoir Dogs. Not because it's a bad movie, but for whatever reason, every time I start to watch it, I somehow end up not finishing it. It's strange.

I'm with Scott re: Pulp Fiction. It was my first QT film, and I still love it to this day. I don't know how much of that is nostalgia and how much of it is it truly being a great film. Maybe a mix of the two?

I've never seen Jackie Brown. I feel like this statement is blasphemy to some. Please forgive me.

Kill Bill was just fantastic, especially if taken as a whole. I think I had the soundtrack on heavy rotation for months afterward.

Never seen Grindhouse. Honestly, didn't even know that this was a QT film. This is one of the nine, right?

Inglorious Basterds was also fantastic, though I want to see it again, as I think a film like this deserves a couple (or more) viewings to fully appreciate.

Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight made me realize that I want to see more QT westerns.

And, finally, I haven't see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, so I can't comment.

Scott Hardie | August 13, 2019
There's no blasphemy in not having seen Jackie Brown. It's good but it's hardly essential.

Grindhouse is fun but a bit much to see all at once. It really is two movies back to back, with trailers in between. I'm a lot less upset about the decision to split those movies into two separate home releases than I felt about Kill Bill being split.

Scott Hardie | August 13, 2019
Meanwhile, in today's Los Angeles Times...



This is like Liberace calling Freddie Mercury kind of flamboyant.

Aaron Shurtleff | August 13, 2019
Looking at the list, I haven't seen all (many) of these films, but I can speak shallowly about what I thought of them.

Of the ones I have seen, Reservoir Dogs would be my favorite. I really kind of felt some kind of emotional connection for most all of the characters, which is rare for me. It might not have always been positive, but the feelings were there. I think, for me, a lot of characters kind of fade into the background, or I just don't really care about them when I am watching. Not this film.

Also, seriously, whenever I hear "Stuck in the Middle", there's only one scene in my head. I can't think of another film that has had that effect for me. That poor cop.

Pulp Fiction. Eh. It felt too frantic for me, if that makes sense? I got really kind of put off by it at times. Like scenes would be happening, and I would lose my immersion in the movie. Like, what is this? Why is this here? Maybe it's because I am (self-admittedly) too shallow to see the bigger point that QT was trying to make. For example, Christopher Walken's scene. That didn't add anything for me. I don't see that it informed anything about Bruce Willis' character (or if it did, I missed it). It felt unnecessary, almost to the point of trying to be shocking for the sake of being shocking, maybe?

And that stupid glowing briefcase! If I had a time machine, one use, I would be seriously tempted to use it to stop Pulp Fiction from being made just so I can get the time back from all of the conversations I had to endure what about it meant, what was in it, blah blah blah blah BLAH BLAH. It might just be me though, or that I had too speculative of a friend group. It was near constant topic of conversation for way way too long.

I saw Kill Bill. I don't want to comment now, because I didn't know the story about the reason it was split. That makes a bit of a difference, because I would have said something similar to what Scott said: Neither of the parts really felt like it stood alone very well. Now that I know there was a reason for it, I might want to re-evaluate and not be as critical. Maybe. :) I did mostly enjoy it though.

My brother-in-law bought me a copy of Inglorious Basterds the year it came out for Christmas (or if not that year, the next year, whenever it would have made sense). So, it is with confusion and a bit of chagrin that I admit I have never opened the box and watched the film. Why? Not sure. I mean, my BIL liked it enough to suggest it everyone he knew (seriously, I think he personally bought and gifted at least 10 or so copies to people, and that's just to my knowledge), but I've never watched it. Now that I think about it, I really should...

I haven't seen any of the others. I've seen one or the other of the Grindhouse films playing on tv from time to time (I want to say SciFi channel, but I'm not 100% sure, so don't hold me to that), and I've wanted to watch them, but I never seem to catch the start. Plus, knowing what I know of QT films, I feel they have to be seen unedited to get the full nuance.

Samir Mehta | August 13, 2019
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Aaron Shurtleff | August 13, 2019
I think I might have phrased that badly, now that I review it in connection to your question. I do get somewhat emotionally attached to characters in movies and tv and books and such, but rarely with a great majority of them.

To use a somewhat more modern example, in the Game of Thrones books (never watched the show), I could never get into Tyrion Lannister. It's most of the reason I never made it past the third book. Maybe spoilers ahead? I feel like the Lannisters were portrayed as kind of a ruthless family. They would not shy away from doing what they felt needed to be done, particularly if it were a benefit to themselves. But, for no discernible reason, Tywin Lannister allowed a misshapen dwarf of a son, one who killed his beloved lady-wife in childbirth, to live. Every interaction between them makes crystal clear the father hates his son Tyrion, but he allows him to be alive? This scheming plotter of a man, who finds that Tyrion brings embarrassment upon his house, can never come up with a single good way to rid himself of him, not as an infant or child? That never sat well with me. I never saw the logic in it, and so I never enjoyed the chapters he was in. And, if you are familiar with the books, he's a pretty major character, so I got to be less and less invested in reading.

I think maybe it's less that I don't get attached to characters than it's just that if a character doesn't sit right with me, it distracts me from the story, and I can't enjoy it. Like if you pull on that one loose thread on your clothes, it can end up unraveling a lot more than you might think from looking at it. I don't know if that makes any sense.

Samir Mehta | August 14, 2019
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Scott Hardie | August 15, 2019
I love how you can type "QT" in the search bar on IMDb and it knows immediately who you're talking about.

Aaron, I feel the same way about "Stuck in the Middle." Once you see that scene in Reservoir Dogs, the song is never the same. I've seen all five seasons of Grace and Frankie which uses it as the theme song, and I still think of Reservoir Dogs first when I hear that song.

To me, the Christopher Walken scene in Pulp Fiction seemed to serve three purposes. First, it justified why this mere watch was so important to Bruce Willis's character that he'd risk his life for it. Second, it furthered the movie's goal of trying to feel like old pulpy magazines and crime novels come to life; Walken's monologue is the kind you can imagine being cooked up by one of those writers. Third, it's just a chance for Walken to shine; Tarantino likes certain actors and delights to hear them recite his dialogue, so he'll put his plots on hold and just let his actors talk at length because they're so compelling, and in certain cases like this, he'll even bring in a great actor just for the one scene. And yeah, a fourth reason might have been shock value; the monologue had quite a kicker. (After Rocket gave Thor the new cybernetic eyeball in Avengers: Infinity War, there was a joke about how he smuggled it out that felt to me derived from Walken's scene in Pulp Fiction. Even now, a quarter-century later, in the biggest superhero blockbuster of the year, Pulp Fiction's influence can still be felt.)

Regarding characters who ruin the material for you because they don't seem to belong: I think I understand what you mean. I have written before about my dislike of Gina Linetti on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She's such an over-the-top rude jerk that I cannot imagine any of the other characters putting up with her. She would have been fired, shunned, and/or driven out a long time ago. Recently, she left the show, and it's a relief to watch it without wondering why she's still there.

I asked earlier whether QT has ever made something bad. I admit, I really passionately hated From Dusk Till Dawn when it came out. I didn't realize that it was a tongue-in-cheek comedy; I was too young and unsophisticated a moviegoer to recognize it as genre parody and just a goof for two much more talented filmmakers. I thought that Tarantino and Rodriguez were trying to make a serious movie, and I was in the mood for a serious movie, and it's so very not serious! Imagine trying to take Grindhouse's giddy nonsense seriously and you can imagine my state of mind walking out of the theater. The experience was so negative that I don't think I could sit through From Dusk Till Dawn again today to see if I actually like it as an adult. So, I don't know if that qualifies, but that's as close to bad as I've seen from Tarantino.

Erik Bates | August 15, 2019
Here in St. Louis, a search for QT in Google brings up a lot of results for QT, and until I clicked into this discussion the first time, I thought you were going to be talking about the convenience store.


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