December is Tarantino Month here at SOS, and in the weeks leading up to the Christmas release of Django Unchained, we’ll be tackling the man’s entire career. Love him or hate him, the American film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor has created some of the most iconic and memorable movie moments since he burst into the scene in 1992 with the Sundance hit Reservoir Dogs. Site contributors Tressa Eckermann, Edgar Chaput and Editor-in-Chief Ricky D have decided to put together a list of his greatest moments as both a screenwriter and director.
In 1994, four of the most celebrated directors in the independent film community pooled their talents for a four-segment anthology film titled Four Rooms. It is one of the worst films ever made. Tarantino’s segment “The Man From Hollywood” is based on an old Alfred Hitchcock TV episode, where a man bets his finger that he can light his zippo ten straight times. “The Man From Hollywood” is the only segment of the four that is somewhat worth your time, if only for whip fast clever punchline in the end.
– Ricky D
Jackie Brown is low on action and high on double crosses. Unsurprisingly, the most memorable performance in Jackie Brown is delivered by Samuel L. Jackson a borderline crime figure plotting to take out former associates. Jackson, sporting a long ponytail and stringed soul patch, is superb as the malevolent arms dealer who uses people as pawns in his deadly game. Chris Tucker making a brief cameo appearance as Beaumont Livingston, is the first to fall victim to Ordell’s gunrunning operation. Ordell somehow convinces Beaumont to get into the trunk of his car. As he drives off, Tarantino follows with a beautiful long tracking shot to the other side of the parking lot. Meanwhile the soulful sounds of Motown play on the car radio.
– Ricky D
Jackie Brown was Tarantino’s “grown-up” movie, a love letter to blaxplotation films of the 70s and Pam Grier. There are a lot of great moments in the movie but Ray’s (Michael Keaton, in a totally underrated role), interrogation of Jackie is heated and frantic, not unlike Jackie’s situation. When Ray tells her, “I sure hope you didn’t do anything stupid, Jackie”, you cant really tell if he’s angry, genuinely worried about Jackie, or just the state of his job. Whatever it is, it still manages to be a strong scene that stands out in a movie full of them.
Jackie Brown waits about a half hour before Pam Grier gets to strut her stuff. In one early scene, Jackie gets a visit late at night from Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson). The lights go off and somehow Jackie grabs hold of a gun and delivers an iconic performance she was once so famous for.
– Ricky D
Jackie Brown is often accused of being slow. The film never speeds up and in fact during the climax, it slows down even more. Borrowing a trick from Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing, Tarantino presents the same incident involving an exchange of money three times, from three vantage points. Each one reveals key aspects of the carefully planned maneuver and each scene is staged methodically, over-deliberately so we only understand Jackie’s master-plan at the very end of it all.
– Ricky D
Tarantino’s highly stylized revenge flick gets off to a kick-ass start, with Uma Thurman’s Bride busting into the Pasadena home of Vernita Green to initiate a prolonged and bloody knife-fight-to-the-death. The duel is broken up by the arrival of Green’s daughter but not before the two women trash the entire living room.
– Ricky D
Watching Kill Bill is like mainlining Tarantino’s favourite cinematic moments but reshaped by his demented mind and adolescent enthusiasm. Tarantino layers bits from ever spaghetti western, chopsocky, yakuza and blaxploitation film he’s ever seen. But he also takes inspiration from Brian DePalma and in one sequence he splits the screen in two while Daryl Hannah walks down the hospital corridors whistling the theme to Twisted Nerve. Bernard Herrmann’s score plays in the background as Black Mamba closes in for the kill.
– Ricky D
First stop on the Bride’s trip to Japan is Okinawa at the modest sushi bar of Hattori Hanzo (played by’70s martial arts superstar Sonny Chiba). After some upbeat broad comedy that shifts the film’s dialogue primarily to Japanese, Hattori agrees to make a one of a kind samurai sword for the Bride to take with her to Tokyo.
– Ricky D
Anybody who grew up watching kung-fu movies like I did usually points this scene out as one of their favorites from the entire film. The classic references, poppy soundtrack (including a hip 60s hit), the beautiful black and white cinematography, and the finale silhouette fight might all be homage to classic kung-fu but it still has the unmistakable edge that’s always in Tarantino’s work. Its tongue and cheek, it’s over the top, it’s bloody but it is undeniably Tarantino threw and threw.
– Tressa[vsw id=”-jhTRqgTZSM” source=”youtube” width=”640″ height=”400″ autoplay=”no”]
In the pic’s biggest set piece, which reportedly took eight weeks to shoot, The Bride finds herself locked in a fierce battle with a lethal, demonic schoolgirl named Gogo (played by Battle Royale star Chiaki Kuriyama). Gogo’s weapon of choice is a ball and chain with blades, a weapon inspired by Tarantino’s favourite kung-fu flick Master of the Flying Guillotine. During the sequence we are treated to music from Kinji Fukasaku Battle Without Honor and Humanity as well as the fine fight choreography from the legendary Yeun Woo-ping.