What is Tarantino's best film since Pulp Fiction?

Poll choices
28 Comments

  • Neil Comfort - 3 months ago

    *Goggles at current poll results - Inglourious 42.6, Kill Bill 23.3, Jackie 22.6*

    I can only assume the vote has been overwhelmed by contrarian reactions to Josh, Angelica and Tasha’s discussion last week – Jackie Brown is a boring choice but it’s clearly the right one. Agree with the comment upthread that Inglourious has some amazing setpieces (specifically the opening scene and the wonderful Fassbender sequence, which works perfectly well as its own short film), but as a whole I found it pretty unfulfilling.

    Jackie Brown might be the right choice – that doesn’t mean I need to vote for it! In the end (and following a rewatch last night) I went for Hateful Eight – the first 90 minutes expertly ratchet up the tension, Samuel L Jackson looks *gorgeous*, and while the very end leaves me feeling pretty hollow, I’m not sure what else would be an appropriate reaction given what’s occurring on screen (or for that matter what a more satisfying end would look like). The fact it’s on 3% of the vote (marginally more than twice the vote for the execrable Death Proof) is insane.

    And, sorry to be that guy… but if the astonishing adrenaline rush of Kill Bill Vol 1 had been divorced from its miserably dull sequel in the poll, then it probably would’ve gotten my vote ????

  • Sean - Murfreesboro, TN - 3 months ago

    As I type this comment, Inglorious Basterds is running away with this poll. But I will always vote Jackie Brown.

    Basterds is fine (and the first act is undeniable), but Jackie Brown holds together better for its entire run time. Add in the uniformly excellent ensemble and a more complicated, well-earned ending, and Jackie Brown comes out on top. Plus, its sexycool tone is harder to pull off successfully than manic violence and therefore the better achievement.

    I guess I'll take solace in the fact that, in Filmspotting Nation at least, we still agree that Nazi's are the bad guys.

  • Sasha - 3 months ago

    Tragically overlooked and under appreciated, DEATH PROOF is still the quintessential Tarantino masterpiece. Maybe you have to be of a certain age to fully appreciate the idea ALONE to make a film that is a tribute to the “Grindhouse” films of the 70’s, including adding the actual animation advertising, projector miscues, worn out film, and over the top “fake” previews. All his movies, including your beloved JACKIE BROWN, harken back to his love, and more importantly, understanding, of this much maligned genre. Naturally, DEATH PROOF is full of the mandatory Tarantino violence and gore but what really separates this picture from all his others is the witty banter of the characters. What makes Tarantino the genius we all adore is not his ability to craft a story but his ability to script the dialogue in a way that gives the story the tension and movement it needs to become a classic. How can any Tarantino fanboy (or girl) not be enthralled by anything Jungle Julia is pontificating about on a Friday night out in Austin with her crew? I think everyone should take 80 minutes out of their life to revisit DEATH PROOF (or even the full 3 hours and watch Planet Horror that precedes it). View it through the lenses of JACKIE BROWN and you might have a newly found gratitude for the carefully cultivated writings of a true auteur. As for myself, I will be inserting the Blu-Ray momentarily, feet propped up and a shot of Chartreuse on the coffee table; a drink so good they named a color after it!

  • Rory Dunn - 3 months ago

    I always felt Jackie Brown was almost a point of no return for Tarantino. The film was restrained, well paced, and unlike anything else he has ever done. It is also one of his least successful films commercially and in terms of awards. One can't help but wonder, if the film stuck as well in the public conscious if we would not have had to endured the torturous self indulgence of The Hateful Eight. His best film, probably because it's the least Tarantino of them all.

  • Paul Bogosian - 3 months ago

    I agree with Josh and last week’s co-hosts. “Jackie Brown” should glide to victory here as easily as Jackie on that people mover at the start of the film. I wonder if people are picking “Inglorious Basterds” with its three bravura sequences in mind, and forgetting the ugly filler in between. Or maybe there are some who just like Tarantino most when he’s at his most clever, or at his most violent, rather than at his most humane.

  • Eddie McKenzie - 3 months ago

    "Didn't exactly set the world on fire did you Jackie."

    Maybe not... but while Pulp Fiction was busy capturing the cultural zeitgeist, Jackie Brown slipped under the ropes of the test of time to become the most flawless film Tarantino has ever made.

    The film is singular in Tarantino's body of work because of its embrace of real world melancholy which beats down on us all as the notion dawns on us that more of our days are behind us than ahead. The ending is the most beautiful manifestation of the weight you feel when letting an opportunity walk out of your life in all of cinema.

  • Jonathan Anderson - 3 months ago

    Jackie Brown. All day. Every day. Twice on Sunday.

  • Tom Morris - 3 months ago

    Django Unchained nuff said

    Any movie with Tom Wopat, Don Johnson and Bruce Dern is a classic!

  • Lucas Muratore - 3 months ago

    I’ve saw inglorious basterds when I was 14 with my dad it was right on the cusp of me becoming a major cinephile. I saw Tarantino’s name knew he was “royalty” and decided to go see it. Went right over my freshman year head. But I told everyone I loved it because it was the “film” thing to say and haven’t seen it since. Django I dragged my dad out again to see a late night showing at AMC because I “loved” Basterds so much. I was 17 and had a few more movie years under my belt. Left the theatre floored but other people seemed to have mixed reactions. But it’s Tarantino! I exclaimed still kind of pretending to know what that means. Hateful 8 came out when I was 20 I sought out the 35 mm print screening and was again blown away. Having gotten through a few years in film school I finally started to wrap my head around the skill and craft that went into making these movies. I feel like I love them all equally but have the most appreciation for Hateful 8. After all these years Tarantino still hasn’t budged in his love for pulp fiction. And that passion makes me thrilled for Once Upon A Time.

  • Jonathan - 3 months ago

    As the years go by, Kill Bill continues to rise further and further in my estimation. A thoroughly entertaining and imaginative work of art that incrementally grows in complexity while incorporating its love story with everything that has made motion pictures so compelling to so many for so long (it even includes anime!). Virtuoso editing, acting, scoring and writing at every turn. Simply his best with all respect to Pulp Fiction. Jackie Brown second. Basterds third but what a career filmography.

  • Michael Green - 4 months ago

    Have caught up with all 8 of these in the past year or so and just watched Basterds again. Tarantino for me has made 6 pretty solid films since, not a huge fan of Death Proof, and I think Basterds is the best of the bunch and for me his top film overall. Has a great opening and really five great parts, written perfectly and acted perfectly as well (am I allowed to say that Pitt wore me down as it went on?). One of my favorite opening scenes of all time and love Waltz. I might like DiCaprio’s performance in Django more, but for me Basterds has everything I want in a Tarantino movie. I will admit though that my rankings for his films are pretty tight and not a lot separates the top 5-6 films for me.

  • Mitka Alperovitz (Vancouver) - 4 months ago

    Inglourious has the best scene (and worst spelling)
    The Kills Bill have the best action (and most toes)
    Django has the most racists (and slurs)
    Death Proof has the most cars (and ladies)
    Hateful 8 has the Thing references (and smashed that guitar good)

    Jackie Brown is the best movie that Tarantino has made (and balances storytelling with homage)

  • Gonzalo Ansa - 4 months ago

    I personally find Tarantino at his best when he is not trying to show me how much "tarantinian" he can be, so the choice in this one is easy for me because it's also my favorite Tarantino ever: I go with Jackie Brown

  • Thomas Pashko - 4 months ago

    If Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 were listed separately, I'd go with Vol. 2. But since they're grouped together, I've gotta go Inglourious Basterds.

  • Will Krischke - 4 months ago

    I've got to go with Inglourious Basterds, because it's Tarantino's clearest and most compelling expression of his film theory. Tarantino doesn't just love movies, he worships them, and, as with any object of worship, there are rules involved. And here’s the Cardinal Rule: Movies Are Fake. Movies are about fantasy and wish fulfillment, and this is, contrary to many opinions, a good thing. We can want things to happen onscreen - and cheer when they do -- that we would never allow to happen in real life. Which is why it’s okay for the Basterds to be so gleefully violent and sadistic. Because it’s fake. It’s a movie. And as Tarantino reminded us with Pulp Fiction, everything onscreen is in quotes. Those aren't soldiers dying in a theater, those are "soldiers," "dying," in a "theater." It's all fake, and dress up, and playacting. That’s what’s so great about movies. They’re fake.

    In Tarantino's book (should I say bible?) of all the crimes committed by the Nazis, the worst is making bad movies. Josef Goebbels is Tarantino’s Judas, writhing at the center of Movie Hell. Writhing at the center of “Inglourious Basterds” is a terrible movie – the one starring the heroic Nazi officer and 100+ dead Italians. Let’s count the ways this movie-within-the-movie is terrible: 1. It is based on a true story. 2. It stars the actual hero of that story. 3. It is used by the Nazis to stir up political fervor and advance a truly evil cause. It breaks Tarantino’s Cardinal Rule of Movies in three different ways. And, just as the Nazis in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," (which was, incidentally, made by a Jew about an object of worship) are destroyed by the Ark because they abuse the Ark, the Nazis in Basterds are destroyed by the movies—literally-- because they abuse movies. Break the Cardinal Rule and you will pay.

  • Reservoir Dogs will always be the best Tarantino movie. No questions asked. However, since Pulp, I have to vote for Hateful Eight. I feel I'm the minority but I get so much Reservoir Dogs feelings from it, I can't help but love it. The cinematography is at his potential best, the score is a masterpiece. The structure is so Tarantino, maybe to a fault. But gosh do I love it. The performances are all perfect. I'm going to go watch it right now, I've talked myself into it.

  • Thomas Kuzmarskis - 4 months ago

    Yes, Inglorious Basterds has great scenes in it. From the opening two-hander in the farmhouse with Christoph Waltz to the scene in the cellar bar with Michael Fassbender all those drunk German soldiers and many more. Lots of great scenes that, for me, never add up to a satisfying whole. In fact I find the movie choppy in its storytelling and, even it its editing.

    I voted for Jackie Brown. The film has weight and substance along with its punchy visuals, rich dialogue and too cool soundtrack. The scene with Grier and Forrester where they talk about how the getting older has effected them, is a masterpiece of writing, acting and direction. JB is Tarantino's most elegant film.

  • Matt G - 4 months ago

    Tough call, but I have to go with Inglorious for many of the same reasons stated above. In close contention for me, however, was Hateful Eight, which I kind of felt was a welcome return to form after the Django Unchained misstep.

  • Mike "One's a Party, One's a Crowd" W. - 4 months ago

    I didn't vote for Death Proof, but for fans of that film, you might want to seek out the documentary Double Dare (2004). Zoe Bell features very prominently. Actually, if you didn't like Death Proof but thought Zoe was great in it, that recommendation goes double.

  • Mike Halsne - 4 months ago

    Inglourious Basterds - obviously. I do have to comment on Death Proof however. It sits at the bottom of most Tarantino polls and lists. I would suggest that film fans reconsider Death Proof. It's #4 on my all time Tarantino list. Other than The Hateful Eight, I have seen each of Tarantino's films at least 10 times. When I re-watch Death Proof, I love it even more.

  • Chad - 4 months ago

    The tavern scene with Filmspotting Madness champion Michael Fassbender is one of the most electric sequences in modern cinema. Prove me wrong.

  • Andrew Sweatman - 4 months ago

    Easy question. Inglorious Basterds is the standout and one of my all-time favorites for many reasons. Tarantino does employ some of his signature stylistic flair, but ultimately it feels much more reserved than something like Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction, which allows it to sit fairly comfortably alongside other WWII films even with that subversive ending.

    But most of all I love Inglorious Basterds for its playful yet respectful treatment of language and culture. It celebrates diversity in a really charming way, giving us hilarious and thoughtful moments where cultures smash up against each other, even while recognizing these differences often get the best of us.

    And you've got to love an ending that celebrates the power of film and does so in such a unique and satisfying way.

  • Andrew from Lake Oswego OR - 4 months ago

    This was tough, but I voted for Kill Bill only because I enjoyed his homage to Kung Fu movies/Carradine and the eclectic cast - with an amazing performance by Uma Thurman. Jackie Brown and Inglorious (one of the best villains/opening scenes ever) were amazing too, but I still give Bill the edge.

  • Inglourious Basterds probably. I'm not a huge, huge Tarantino guy, but Basterds is a masterpiece. It takes most of Tarantino's interesting-but-imperfect instincts -- epic synthesis of a few stories (each probably solid enough for their own film), wacky alt history, genre bends -- and fuses them into an insanity all its own. Jackie Brown comes close too, but it's a bit plainer to me than Basterds despite all the strengths story-wise.

  • Nick Nahat - 4 months ago

    'Pretty good, but not as good as Pulp Fiction. ". Tarantino peaked early with Pulp Fiction, a truly original success that's never been equaled, unfortunately, so I've been disappointed since. They aren't bad by any stretch of course. Controversial Too 5: Directors Who Peaked Early. M. Night, looking at you, too.

  • Eric Hauter - 4 months ago

    I abstain. You may as well ask which if my children I want to throw into the fire.

  • Richard Doyle - 4 months ago

    I am a Tarantino fan ... and I think his greatest talent is finding and distilling moments of pure entertainment from a really wide array of films and recontextualizing them in a way that really only he can do.

    That said ... almost all of his films suffer a bit from feeling like they are exactly that ... a mixture of moments and elements from other works.

    What's different about "Jackie Brown" is that in adapting someone else's work, this tendency is relaxed and he focuses more strongly on character and narrative.

  • Dylan Dam (pronounced Dahm) - Lincoln, NE - 4 months ago

    I am not quite as high on Tarantino's body of work as many people out there, but even I can't deny the greatness of Inglourious Basterds. Has there been a better opening scene to a film (or scene of any kind for that matter) or supporting performance (Waltz, of course) in the last 15 years? Perhaps there has, but those are certainly in the conversation. I think this is the film where Tarantino manages to put things together better than any of his films since PF, weaving together his trademark over-the-top violence with sharp dialogue and some of his most memorable characters. I doubt that anything will overtake Pulp Fiction on the Tarantino mountaintop, but Inglourious is the closest that he has come to date.

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