Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest and whackiest directors ever. He’s got a new film out, Django Unchained, but before you go see it — which you totally should, because it’s Tarantino’s take on a Western and therefore automatically awesome — you should refresh your memory of Tarantino’s greatest moments of genius. Pretend it’s educational or something; sit down, and if you’ve got corn, pop it.
1.) Ezekiel 25:17 from Pulp Fiction
This is probably the classic Tarantino clip — it’s certainly the definitive Tarantino movie, and for good reason. Samuel L. Jackson’s violent monologue is shockingly surreal, darkly humorous and all-round stunning — in fact I don’t think there are enough superlatives in the English language. Watch it now to remind yourself of just how revenge/interrogation should be conducted.
If you haven’t watched Pulp Fiction, a) what, in the name of all that’s holy, have you been doing with your life to date, and b) go to your streaming movie provider of choice with a pair of headphones, RIGHT THE HELL NOW, or Samuel Jackson is gonna explode from the screen and wreak vengeance and fury all over your face.
2.) Barn Scene from Inglourious Basterds
Everything combines to make this my favourite Inglourious Basterds scene: the fluid changing between languages, the superbly orchestrated score, and especially the sense of finality and terror.
3.) Diner Scene from Pulp Fiction
I know this is starting to sound slightly like an homage to Samuel L. Jackson, but bear with me. The diner scene, where Jackson is both psychiatrist and badass gangster in equal measure, sets the tone for the entirety of the film, and redefines mind-fucking surrealism at the same time. Also worth watching if you ever wanted to know where the band Yolanda Be Cool got their name from.
4.) Dance Scene from Pulp Fiction
Think Grease meets Kill Bill, and you have something approaching Tarantino’s surreal take on a musical number. Also re-popularised the iconic Batsui, the supremely camp two-finger dance move first invented by 1960s Batman. Only Tarantino would be quite so supremely eclectic.
5.) Warehouse Scene from Resevoir Dogs (Warning: Graphic)
Stealer Wheel’s 1972 hit Stuck in the Middle With You is hardly the most sinister music ever written, but that’s the grim beauty of this scene — the juxtaposition of innocent, sweet 70s hits and grisly torture only adds to the sense of menace.
6.) Fight Scene from Kill Bill
I don’t really like Kill Bill (oh, the horror), but I do love this particular scene. The choreography is exquisite, and the comedic value of the ridiculousness of the whole situation has to be seen to be believed.
7.) Aldo’s Speech from Inglourious Basterds
Brad Pitt isn’t exactly God’s gift to acting, but Tarantino can muscle a half-decent monologue out of anyone, and that includes old Braddy-boy. Putting a shot of a screamy whiny Hitler right at the end was also a stroke of genius. Now go forth and bring me the scalps of 100 Nazi bastards, soldier!
8.) Car Scene from Sin City
Yeah, so Tarantino didn’t actually direct Sin City, but he guest-directed this scene, and you can tell. A grisly conversation between a man with a mostly-detached head and his executioner is something only Tarantino could’ve dreamed up.
9.) Superman Dialogue from Kill Bill: Vol 2
All comic book geeks should love this speech, for the plain and simple reason that it uses superheroes to make a simple and powerful analogy on the human condition. It’s also delivered by a guy who’s simultaneously drugging someone and pouring himself a drink at the same time, which definitely adds to the cool factor.
10.) Cinema Massacre from Inglourious Basterds
There’s something quite fundemental about watching a laughing black-and-white picture of a whacked-out woman going up in flames, and Tarantino manages to capture it, and somehow makes massacring a cinema full of people somewhat acceptable.