We got to see Quentin Tarantino’s latest film ‘The Hateful Eight’ it this past weekend and we absolutely loved it. The controversy surrounding its original script leak and eventual delay and wait for release was definitely worth it. We may even consider calling this his best film to date?
Let’s take a step back. The script leaked online more than a year ago and there was quite a rivalry (in the form of lawsuits) between Tarantino and the accused. We covered most of the news here if you would like to check more detail. Since then things smoothed out and eventually production started. Reviews are above normal for a Quentin Tarantino movie which beckoned us to make this lust. From best to worst, this is our Best Quentin Tarantino Movies rated after the Hateful Eight:
After The HateFul Eight – All Tarantino Movies Rated”
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
This has to sit atop the heap. Pulp Fiction changed people’s ideas about American independent cinema. It showed that it can be un-Hollywood-like but also sexy, fetishistic, and splattery. The movie is where you really see how Tarantino loves actors and has a genius for resurrecting them. In the case of Travolta, both onscreen (Vincent comes back postmortem) and in their careers. A dance scene opposite a ravishing Uma Thurman (barefoot in her first appearance) brings out all his dopey sweetness and his moves.
2. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
A personal favorite. Tarantino knew enough to keep his first feature — the story of a jewel heist gone garishly wrong — relatively modest. It’s essentially a chamber drama with a small, all-male cast that’s set (largely) in one place. It must have been really cheap to make this movie! But you know from the way the men in black suits with skinny black ties seize the space in the first scene. Then we had the diner scene – all of them arguing for many minutes over the ethics of tipping. Most people know Reservoir Dogs because of its torture scene in which Mr. Blonde taunts, beats, and hideously maims a young policeman, whose pleas for his life are mocked. This scene gave birth to the idea that Tarantino is a sadist. I think he is a sadist, at least when it comes to onscreen violence.
3. Jackie Brown (1997)
Adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel, it feels distended by all the talk, talk, talk — until you get into its rhythm and realize the distensions are the point. It’s Tarantino’s stoner movie, the one that makes you laugh at how long and convoluted the whole thing is — until the violence comes and the trip goes bad. That violence: It’s almost all offscreen and very nearly blood-free. Beat by beat, Tarantino captures the appeal of Elmore Leonard’s sometimes draggy — but magically draggy — work.
4. The Hateful Eight (2015)
Much has been said of the delight Tarantino takes in extreme violence, but the unpleasant truth exposed by The Hateful Eight is that his wit and craftsmanship — his artistic soul — are inextricable from his sadism. He has gone to elaborate lengths to make this movie look like a classic widescreen Western, in 70mm, with a thunderously lyrical overture by the great Ennio Morricone and an intermission, but there’s nothing widescreen about his story. It seems perversely crabbed, nihilistic, and shot through with cruelty for cruelty’s sake. I suppose there are precedents among spaghetti Westerns of the ’60s (like The Great Silence), but Italians are stoic about their violence, whereas Tarantino seems to be whacking off to his own mayhem.
Consider his last one-set bloodbath, Reservoir Dogs, nowhere near as accomplished a piece of moviemaking but full of psychological cross-currents and emotional quandaries. Tarantino has left emotional quandaries behind. He’s in the grindhouse revenge ether now, high on his own silly, can-you-top-this gross-out carnage.
5. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Why would I place this ahead of Vol. 1 instead of just ranking them together? Perversity, maybe. But also to underscore the idea that they’re truly different films. The whole of Kill Bill is a pastiche, a farrago, a revenge saga spun out in many distinct exploitation-movie styles and rhythms. Vol. 2 is a slow, deliberate Western with a purposefully incongruous dash of washed-out, zoom-lensy ’70s Hong Kong Shaw Brothers. After killing scores of people in Vol. 1, the Bride kills but one person here, though there’s a juicy maiming that compensates for the movie’s relative lack of blood — and then some. The one is, of course, Bill, and the long one-act play — a psychodrama, a family drama, a philosophical debate — leading to the swift, bloodless climax is proof that Tarantino is twisting, maybe even writhing within the revenge-saga structure, the way Shakespeare did in Hamlet.
6. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
This is the Japanese volume (with Sonny Chiba and some inspired anime) in which the Bride — a onetime assassin — comes out of a four-year coma and begins to hack her way to Bill. Actually, the movie begins in the middle, with her second major kill. Inadvertently, she nails Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) in front of the woman’s very young daughter, and the moment hangs, ugly and unresolved. The Bride tells the little girl that if she’s still feeling “raw” in a few years, she can come for her. A short time later, there’s a flashback in the style of Ghost in the Shell, in which we learn that one of the Bride’s adversaries, the yakuza boss O-Ren (Lucy Liu), became an assassin after avenging her murdered parents. So Kill Billis like a revenger’s-tragedy hall of mirrors: The heroine of one vigilante saga becomes the villain of the next.
7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
An epic mess, but loaded with amazing setpieces and taken over by Tarantino’s most charismatically murderous villain, Christoph Waltz as Nazi Colonel Hans Landa.
In some ways, the movie never tops its opening, in which a French farmer watches a jeep filled with Nazis travel the road to his house, close-ups of his anxious face alternating with long shots of the vehicle coming nearer and nearer, his eyes meeting those of his three terrified daughters — the sequence comparing favorably to both Leone and Hitchcock. Then comes unnervingly polite interrogation over a kitchen table by Nazi Jew-hunter Landa, who slowly squeezes out the whereabouts of a Jewish family that the farmer has bravely hidden, each dramatic beat another turn of the screw., Tarantino shows a Nazi myth exploded by a subversive Jewish countermyth, contained within a Tarantino revenge myth that rewrites history in ways that make your jaw drop. Inglourious Basterds is a revenge movie in which the movie itself is the best revenge.
8. Death Proof (2007)
Tarantino himself has said that if Death Proof is the worst film he makes when all is said and done he will be happy with his career. Personally I would never use the word “worst” to describe it as I actually quite like it, I do believe had he had made it into one, 60 minute film he probably would have better served the grindhouse feel he was going for and probably delivered a better film overall.
Nevertheless, I have no problem tossing Death Proof in and giving it a watch at any moment
9. Django Unchained (2012)
Up until the release of this Western starring Jamie Foxx as a gunslinging ex-slave and (a wonderfully puckish) Christoph Waltz as his bounty-hunting German escort, I had loved, in one way or another, all the films that Tarantino had directed. What Nazis were in Inglourious Basterds, slaveholders are here: people who are a gas to exterminate. Every bullet generates a whoopee cushion’s worth of red sauce.
This is Tarantino’s most financially successful movie, and a lot of people love its rituals of retribution. But for all its pleasures, I think it’s too easy, too dead-center in Tarantino’s comfort zone. After the thrilling convolutions — narrative and moral — of Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown,Reservoir Dogs, and even parts of Kill Bill, Tarantino has stopped challenging himself — or at least challenging himself in any way that matters to his growth as an artist. Django Unchained is where he became his own yes man, and by the looks of The Hateful Eight, he hasn’t yet remedied the issue.