Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino
With just 5 titles in the top 1000 (tied for 33 with about 20 others), he is 21st in points with 22,495

Tarantino burst into stardom and an immediate cult following with the ultra-violent crime film Reservoir Dogs, in which a small gang of thieves turns on each other in a bloodbath of paranoia. For some reason, a film with limited imagination built an immediate following for the often over-the-top director. Thankfully he's made better films since then.

These are all the films of Tarantino that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. Pulp Fiction (1995) #20
2. Reservoir Dogs (1991) #129
3. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) #288
4. Inglourious Basterds (2009) #332
5. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) #364

Just out of the top 1000
6. Jackie Brown (1997) #1058
7. Death Proof (2007) #1365
8. Grind House (2007) w Rodriguez #1469

I think of all the directors in the top 25 in points, Tarantino is the most overrated and got there with the most facile body of work. His films looks more like tributes from a film fan than original statements of his own. I've only reviewed two because that's really all I recommend.

That aside, he has managed to make intensity a subject matter in itself, and his films do move, other than perhaps Reservoir Dogs, they do keep moving.

Pulp Fiction is certainly his best, but even that was inspired by Wong Kar-Wai’s trilogy in two films, Chungking Express followed by Fallen Angels. Tarantino’s homage lacks the fluidity and ease of motion that exemplify Kar-Wai’s two masterpieces of cinema as subject, where the art of film itself becomes primary and story secondary. Often in these films, you can’t figure out the story but stuff keeps happening, often in blurry, realistic street level footage in which the cinematic eyes are constantly moving.

Some of Tarantino’s worst works are his tributes to B-films that were often cheapo exploitation flicks made for the 2nd bill at drive-ins. This is the direction intention of Death Proof and Grind House, the latter being the term for studios that cranked out these cheap films to order.

However, his Kill Bill films have better results - they pay artistic if over-the-top homage to classic Japanese samurai films. Even these two pale next to the originals they emulate, as he inserts a female heroine (Uma Thurman) in to modernize the genre, perhaps a little to hard to seriously buy in this type of film. I prefer the Japanese originals, as likely Tarantino does himself - there are no eyes gouged out, and certainly not twice. I would have preferred the style of these two films match, however, as the first was fast-paced, the second was deliberately slow.

Inglourious Basterds (which steals the title of a B-war film) fares better than these drive-in specials. Other than an irritating fake accent by Brad Pitt, we have a classic stereotypical-Nazi film, as evil Christophe Waltz won about 30 acting awards for his character, The Jewhunter, who relishes his suave evil and his reputation as a relentless exterminator. Still, the film is marred by unrealistic and modernized fantasy that upsets what was promising to be a classic WW2 film, instead turned into an excessive, unrealistic Tarantino blood bath.

He’s become a little too predictable, remaking Reservoir Dogs a bit too often, just in different plots. I’m still waiting for something with a little more class and a little less tongue-in-cheek from Tarantino before I would move him into the top 25 directors all-time. He’s ranked ahead of Sergei Eisenstein, Lang, Antonioni, Renoir, Lean, Truffaut, Capra, and Michael Powell - if you can believe that – I can’t! Vastly overrated, he should be about 30 positions lower, down around 50th..

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

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