Quentin Tarantino is many things. Above all of them he is one of America's most important living directors. In a day and age when everything is a prequel, sequel or part of some tentpole, popcorn extravaganza, Tarantino is someone who has created his own tentpole extravaganza from scratch. He has his own genre: Quentin Tarantino movies. That he is able to make them personal and a piece of art in the process, is further testament to just how special this director is.
Apparently, we aren't going to have him around making movies for too much longer. This isn't some hard and fast rule he's putting out there (if the right project comes along he's not going to not do it), he just seems to feel that 10 is a nice round number and it would be a good place to stop. While it might not make much sense to even announce you're quitting, especially if you're really not, has Tarantino ever done anything in the prescribed way people say he should? Tarantino movies are what they are precisely because he hasn't done that.
After letting this news gestate, it only seemed fitting to make a list ranking the current oeuvre of Quentin Tarantino with the help of Wikidepia. Just what are the best Quentin Tarantino movies? Make no mistake, just because one of those films is ranked over the other on this list, doesn't mean that it's a bad film. It isn't as if you are going to get to the end of this list and realize that QT has petered out.
Quite the opposite, actually. More than anything, this list attempts to put the work of Quentin Tarantino into perspective, including his acting roles, his work on TV and his select screenplays that ended up being directed by someone else. Arguably few directors have ever been much of a public rock star the way that Tarantino is. Notice, I used the word "is." In no way has Tarantino mellowed or come close to losing relevance.
However, he was at a different place in his life with each one of these films. One could argue that the same is true for all artists in relationship to their art. That is a fair argument, however, I would say that the vast majority of artists have not been as public about how their work relates to themselves. It is for this and a litany of other reasons, that we are ranking All of Quentin Tarantino's Films and other substantial projects. We did leave out My Best Friend's Birthday, which serves as the director's true directorial debut, for the fact that it isn't readily available, and sort of a rough draft of everything that would come in the future. It's more a labor of love than an actual movie released in theaters, it has long been declared an amatuer, not even an independent movie, and we don't feel it should be compared to his true works of cinematic greatness. Instead, we kick things off with Tarantino's third movie as a director, his second theatrical release, the movie that truly defined him as a filmmaker and cemented his legacy.
1. Pulp Fiction
So perfect is this viewing experience that, to this day, it's hard not to watch Pulp Fiction, become captivated, and then feel a sense of sadness because it's a finite Tarantino movie and it has to end. It seems so simple (and it spawned many a lacking copycat) but this tale of a mobsters, boxers, gangsters, and bandits was truly one of a kind. In any other director's hands, this movie probably would've gone straight-to-video. From the mind of Tarantino (and Roger Avary), we got a movie that was the equivalent of cinematic poetry. Tarantino has made many other films since this one. Many of them more technically exquisite and groundbreaking in their own right. However, none of them are as cool or as quotable as this mishmash of a tale that was intricately crafted by the man that's still cinema's wunderkind.
2. Reservoir Dogs
That this film barely got a theatrical release from Miramax was probably a harbinger of how truly independent films would ultimately be crushed by burgeoning superhero movies. Yet, some people feel it is the best Quentin Tarantino movie. Thank goodness for the very video stores that spawned Quentin Tarantino, because those ultimately breathed new life into this film. Again, this Tarantino movie was simple. So simple in fact that a majority of it takes place in one location, and only breaks out for flashbacks of the characters we are following. This movie was vulgar, brutal and intense, all while being an art movie and an ode to all the films that Tarantino loved. Reservoir Dogs is all about a fundamental (read: human) breaking down in communication. Centered around a heist gone wrong (due to a lack of communication), we are taken into the world of thieves as they convene at a safe house. Nobody knows who is the rat in the thieving group, they can't talk about it without arguing (there's that problem with communication again), and the longer they stay in hiding the worse things appear to be getting. All this time, this film remains effortlessly cool, funny and interesting, because that was precisely how Quentin Tarantino wanted it to be.