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Quentin Tarantino’s 10 best movie scenes

- March 26th, 2013

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A video store clerk with an encyclopedia-like knowledge of Hollywood gets his first screenplay in the hands of a veteran character actor. The film is a hit, and leads to a 20-plus year career with two Oscar wins.

That sounds like it was ripped from the pages of the discard script pile. But it’s actually the very abridged story of writer-director Quentin Tarantino, who turns 50 this week.

Prior to the release of his most recent feature, Django Unchained, QT announced his plans to quit making films after he completes his 10th feature. That leaves him with three films left in his storied career.

Of course that could change, but in honour of Quentin’s 50th, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of his greatest scenes – of which there have been many. And it goes without saying, most of these clips contain graphic language, so they ain’t safe for work.

Quentin Tarantino and the real meaning of ‘Top Gun’

QT famously dissected Top Gun in a cameo in 1994’s Sleep With Me, revealing that the testosterone-fueled action film is really about Maverick’s struggle with his sexuality. I don’t know if it was improvised, but it was literally the only thing I remember about this movie.

Opening scene of ‘True Romance’

The whole film is near perfect and it stands as Christian Slater’s best performance. Personally, I preferred QT’s original ending, but the opening sequence features Slater’s Clarence Worley riffing on Elvis and trying to convince a woman he’s just met to go to a Sonny Chiba triple feature. Single dudes, don’t try this.

Stuntman Mike kills Pam in Death Proof

If this film is as weak as QT can get, then his directorial batting average will be pretty hard to beat. Death Proof, his portion of the Grindhouse double-feature he shared with Robert Rodriguez, has some truly great scenes including this one with Kurt Russell’s Stuntman Mike: “… Honey, you really need to be sitting in my seat.”

The KKK wardrobe malfunction in ‘Django Unchained’

This is gallows humour at its best. As a group of Klansmen, led by Don Johnson, get ready to blow Django to smithereens they experience some, er, issues with their hoods. It’s one of the funniest scenes QT has ever written.

Sam Jackson and Robert De Niro: ‘Your a—used to be beautiful’

QT’s third feature Jackie Brown was an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch and I’ve loved re-watching this film every couple of years since its release in 1997. I especially dug the interplay between Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson, and the way that this scene in particular was filmed from behind. Putting us in the backseat as the two argue over getting ripped off was a nice stylistic touch. Jackson’s line to De Niro after shooting him, though, is a classic.

The Sicilian Scene in ‘True Romance’

It’s always a treat to watch as two acting heavyweights square off. This scene, set to the famous Flower Duet, is one of Tarantino’s personal favourites. Hopper knows he’s a dead man walking, but instead of fighting, he asks for a cigarette and then proceeds to insult Walken in the most political incorrect way. Ouch!

Hans Landa’s opening scene in ‘Inglourious Basterds’

Christoph Waltz’ Hans Landa is perhaps QT’s most vile creation. Sure, he got some stiff competition from Leo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie, and Sam Jackson’s Steven from Django, but I think he’s Tarantino’s most terrifying villain. Yet each time he’s onscreen in Inglourious Basterds, I found myself utterly absorbed.

‘Like A Virgin’ from ‘Reservoir Dogs’

Tarantino’s debut had a litany of set pieces that have been studied by aspiring writers and directors, but for me, this opening was brilliant. Here, we see criminals taking on pop culture, with QT’s Mr. Brown debating the meaning behind Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin.’ Naturally, the conversation morphs into what she’s really taking about in ‘True Blue.’

Jack Rabbit Slim’s Twist Contest and Ezekiel 25:17 from ‘Pulp Fiction’

C’mon, you knew there had to be at least two clips from Pulp Fiction included on this list. We could have just gone with 10 scenes from this film alone: The gimp, Christopher Walken and the watch, and the shot of adrenaline. Should I continue? But nearly 20 years later, I still love Uma Thurman and the reluctant John Travolta’s dance scene at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. Ditto the Ezekiel 25:17 speech, Jules Winnfield (Sam Jackson) recites just before he executes Brett (Frank Whaley).

The Bride vs. Gogo and The Crazy 88’s in ‘Kill Bill’

He’s not exactly known for choreographing drawn-out action sequences, but this blood-laden 10-plus minute slash-fest marked a high point in QT’s Kill Bill opus. It’s almost as if he was trying to prove he could out chop-socky the Wachowskis. Wait a minute, he did. I triple-dog-dare him to make a third instalment.

Didn’t like my picks? Let us know which scenes you’ve loved best from the films of Quentin Tarantino in the comments. Here’s hoping he lives another 50 years, and reneges on that promise to quit.

Quentin Tarantino reveals his worst movie

- November 29th, 2012

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Quentin Tarantino never pulls any punches. He also has a pretty impressive oeuvre.

Let’s count ‘em off. There was 1992′s Reservoir Dogs, 1994′s Pulp Fiction, 1997′s Jackie Brown, 2003 and 2004′s Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2, 2007′s Death Proof, 2009′s Inglourious Basterds and this year’s Django Unchained.

He has also written True Romance and Natural Born Killers, and directed segments of Four Rooms and Sin City.

So he’s no Marty Scorsese, but that’s a fairly critic-proof body of work. Fans seem to like it too.

But during a roundtable alongside Ben Affleck, Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Gus Van Sant (Promised Land), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) with The Hollywood Reporter, the director was asked if he had to pick one, which film was his worst?

Turns out his answer is Death Proof. “Death Proof has got to be the worst movie I ever [made],” Tarantino said. “And for a left-handed movie, that wasn’t so bad, all right? — so if that’s the worst I ever get, I’m good.”

Death Proof starring Kurt Russell was released in 2007 as part of the Grindhouse double-bill with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. Critics didn’t exactly hate it, but audiences didn’t flock to the threatre and it ended up being the director’s first flop.

Tarantino also said he doesn’t plan to keep directing indefinitely. “I don’t intend to be a director deep into my old age,” he revealed.

And part of the reason is the switch by the filmmaking community towards shooting digitally.

“I can’t stand all this digital stuff,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “This is not what I signed up for.”

So what will he do? Well, he might just end up directing a mini-series for HBO. “I’d rather just write one of my big scripts and do it as a miniseries for HBO, and then I don’t have the time pressure that I’m always under, and I get to actually use all the script,” he said.

“The one movie that I was actually able to use everything — where you actually have the entire breadth of what I spent a year writing — was the two Kill Bill movies ’cause it’s two movies. So if I’m gonna do another big epic thing again, it’ll probably be like a six-hour miniseries or something.”

Do you have a fave Tarantino film? Was Death Proof really his worst film? Should he direct Kill Bill Vol. 3 next? Let us know in the comments.

Tarantino’s latest film, Django Unchained, with Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio, will be released Dec. 25.

For more with Tarantino, click over to The Hollywood Reporter.