Tag Archives: Quentin Tarantino

The Set of 400: #4 – My Favorite $5 Milkshake

Today! Because personality goes a long way –

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino (x6)

Starring John Travolta (x3), Samuel L. Jackson (x13), Uma Thurman (x2), Bruce Willis (x6), Christopher Walken (x4), Harvey Keitel (x5), Eric Stoltz, Tim Roth (x2), Amanda Plummer (x2), Ving Rhames (x4), Frank Whaley (x3), Steve Buscemi (x5), Roseanna Arquette, Maria de Medeiros, Phil LaMarr, Angela Jones, Quentin Tarantino (x3), Julia Sweeney (x2), Kathy Griffin (x2), Paul Calderon (x2), Bronagh Gallagher, Peter Greene, Duane Whitaker

As I’ve stated numerous times, I didn’t really discover good movies existed until roughly 1992. Up until that point, what Leonard Maltin said was about the only barometer I had – we didn’t have Twitter reactions or Rotten Tomatoes, Cinemascore or IMDB rankings, Metacritic or the late, great Epinions. It was The Scranton Times movie reviews – culled from other newspapers, largely, as I recall, and Siskel & Ebert at the Movies, when I could remember to catch it. But come 1992, it appears my parents gave up on restricting us from R rated films, and by early 1993 I had subscribed to the magazine love of my life – Entertainment Weekly. No joke! It wasn’t the glossy, People-esque nonsense that appears on newsstands today! Or maybe it was, and I just wasn’t discerning. But these events coupled together quickly advanced movie appreciation for young Joey Joe Joseph. And the pinnacle of this was the glorious 1994 movie calendar – one of the best years in film history, featuring the most transformative film of the generation, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

Anyone who lived through the era and doesn’t agree with the above statement is not to be trusted. Disregard their opinions at your leisure.

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The Set of 400: #56 – My Favorite Dog Acting a Damn Fool

Today! Because I’m not going to murder you in front of your child, okay?

Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino (x5)

Starring Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu (x2), Vivica A. Fox (x2), Daryl Hannah (x3), Julie Dreyfus (x2), Sonny Chiba, Michael Bowen (x3), Michael Parks, Jun Kunimura, Michael Madsen (x2), David Carradine, Gordon Liu, James Parks (x2), Jonathan Loughran (x2)

Functioning both as a total outlier and as no surprise whatsoever, Kill Bill Vol. 1 is the rare samurai/kung-fu movie to make the list, while also being the fifth Tarantino film to do so. I remember saying after first seeing this in theaters that I couldn’t imagine going a month without watching it again for the rest of my life. Yes, this was almost certainly just drunken hyperbole, but that’s how madly in love I was with Kill Bill. It’s such a thrilling, adrenaline-fueled, blood-splattered revenge epic that you can’t help being sucked in to the crazy, topsy-turvy world of the film. I would also venture it has the best Tarantino soundtrack, which is possibly the highest praise this movie can receive from me, who wore out cassette tapes of Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs in the ’90s. From the perfect opening credits sequence set to Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang” to the 5, 6, 7, 8s wacko “Woo Hoo,” I think the only collection to maybe top this is Kill Bill Vol. 2‘s, but it is a very close contest.

My baby shot me down

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The Set of 400: #72 – My Favorite Movie Theater Inferno

Today! Because if I don’t pick up this phone right here, you may very well get all four, and if you get all four, you’ll end the war – tonight –

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino (x4)

Starring Brad Pitt (x3), Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz (x2), Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender (x2), Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl (x2), B.J. Novak, Mike Myers (x2), Til Schweiger, Gedeon Burkhard, Jacky Ido, Omar Doom, Denis Menochet, Julie Dreyfus, Martin Wuttke, Lea Seydoux (x3), Samuel L. Jackson (x9)

Every Tarantino movie is an event, but Inglourious Basterds was something special. It was his first full length movie in five years – skipping the whole gimmicky Grindhouse thing, which was fine. I mean, come on, you don’t count Four Rooms when jumping from Pulp Fiction to Jackie Brown, do you? Of course not! So it had been since the second part of Kill Bill in 2004 – the rare Tarantino film that didn’t make this list – and this one was coming in a summer. How weird was that? Figure, Quentin hadn’t had a film with serious awards attention since ’94, so to take this movie out of the season for statues and drop it into August – that had to be something else, right? And man, it was.

Was it ever

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The Set of 400: #96 – My Favorite Alexandre Dumas Trivia

Today! Because the D is silent –

Django Unchained (2012)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino (x3)

Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio (x4), Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson (x8), Walton Goggins (x2), James Remar (x3), Dennis Christopher, Don Johnson, Franco Nero, Tom Wopat, Russ Tamblyn, Amber Tamblyn, Bruce Dern (x2), M.C. Gainey (x2), Jonah Hill (x6), Zoe Bell, Lee Horsley, Robert Carradine (x2), Ted Neeley, James Parks, Tom Savini, Quentin Tarantino (x2), Lewis Smith (x2), Daniele Watts, Gary Grubbs (x2), Don Stroud, Laura Cayouette, Dana Gourrier, Ato Essandoh, Escalante Lundy

Back-to-back Samuel L! And we’ve finally reached my second favorite film from the vaunted year of 2012. Ah, 2012! Mitt Romney lost and we as a people won – not just in politics but at the theaters, as we were treated to quite the mighty group of films. Nearly scaling the lot here was Quentin Tarantino’s hyper-violent rescue/revenge “southern” Django Unchained, his 7th full length movie and highest grossing one by a considerable margin (as of this writing, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is still some months away). He makes the strident case to not categorize this movie as a “western,” as it is set primarily in antebellum Texas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, but come on, call it what you like, this is as western as a non-western can be.

I mean, really, considering it borrows half its title and many plot/character elements from Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 film Django, I suppose if we’re aggressively splitting hairs here this is some manner of American spaghetti western/southern. Hell, Franco Nero has a cameo in the film! It’s different enough that it ascribes no actual credit to Django, going so far as being classified an original-as-opposed-to-adapted screenplay, but still similar enough that if your video store has enough sections, classifying it might prove tricky. Anyway, it’s a western. Mostly. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #131 – My Favorite Coughing Endorsement

Today! Because to her dumb country ass, Compton is Hollywood. Closest she’s ever been anyway –

Jackie Brown (1997)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino (x2)

Starring Pam Grier (x2), Samuel L. Jackson (x5), Robert Forster (x2), Robert De Niro (x3), Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton (x7), Chris Tucker (x2), Michael Bowen (x2), Tiny Lister (x2), LisaGay Hamilton, Hattie Winston, Sid Haig

To say I had been looking forward to Jackie Brown is woefully understating the situation in late 1997. It had been three years – three long formative years – since Pulp Fiction came out, and my whole cinematic outlook had gone through aggressive changes. I mean, going from 15 to 18 years old is going to have its own inherent alterations in lifestyle and tastes, but as I’ve said before, most of my film watching preferences were psychically embedded during this period of time. And PF was as close as anything to the heart of this transformation, so Tarantino finally bringing us his third film was a cause for celebration. Hell, it was a landmark event. It was the goddamn moon landing.

Never mind it was the return of national treasure Pam Grier

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The Set of 400: #252 – My Favorite Stealers Wheel Musical Number

Today! Because for all I know, you’re the rat –

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Starring Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel (x2), Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Tierney, Randy Brooks, Edward Bunker, Steven Wright, Kirk Baltz

And we finally get to some Tarantino! Reservoir Dogs was his first feature film, and the first one I saw, albeit when I was thirteen and obviously couldn’t know what was to come. Like everyone else, I thought it was pretty amazing, just super violent and complex with dazzlingly funny dialogue and terrific songs. This hyper-stylized, off-kilter attitude crime thriller managed to feel like something entirely new, while also firmly keeping a foot in the past history of the genre. It had flashbacks and flash forwards and characters lying to each other but where the audience already knew the truth, and that soundtrack! I had this tape in my old ’87 Firebird all the time when I was in college.

Available on eBay!

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