Ranked: Every Quentin Tarantino film, from worst to best

The highs and lows of a man intimately acquainted with cinema's highs and lows.

by Sebastian Haselbeck

There's no denying the mark Quentin Tarantino has made on modern cinema. His latest film, the highly-anticipated spaghetti western Django Unchained, is out on Christmas, and so we asked Sebastian Haselbeck, the founder and editor of The Quentin Tarantino Archives, to assess QT's canon. Sebastian also started The Spaghetti Western Database, The Grindhouse Cinema Database, and the movie magazine Furious Cinema, if you're interested in browsing lovingly-curated catalogs of Tarantino's influences.

 

7. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

If I have to pick the Tarantino movie I re-watch the least, it's Reservoir Dogs. The film was a game-changer and caused quite a stir when it came out at Sundance, but some of its scenes are so famous, it's hard to consider the movie as a whole, and when you do, some of it is lacking. Charges of plagiarism (from City On Fire, among others) have hurt Dogs' legacy, but its amazing cast (minus Tim Roth, whom I've never loved as Mr. Orange), smart pacing, and great soundtrack all help make it an incredibly solid debut. To the trained eye, the film's budget shows at times, but Reservoir Dogs started Tarantino's reign and reinvented the heist film without showing the heist.

 

6. Jackie Brown (1997)

With Jackie Brown, Tarantino made his most "mature" film. Most of the characters are a bit older, and the pace is decelerated. There is something midlife-crisis-ish to the film, personified by Jackie and Max, two characters just trying to catch a break in life. The movie is semi-famous for a pot-smoking Robert de Niro, Sam Jackson's wardrobe, and Bridget Fonda's performance as a grating beach bimbo, and less famous for its quality. Though it's occasionally knocked as more sedate than his other films, I love Jackie Brown's more conventional narrative and its keen eye for detail.

 

5. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

I have a very personal connection to Basterds and followed its production closely. I love the grandeur of the film, the world it opens (a World War II that belongs to pop culture, not the history books), the grittiness of its subject, and the hilarity of having a Jewish theater owner and the Basterds take down Hitler. But though the camera work is stellar and the pacing breathless, in the end, it's not the epic story some thought it would be, with many characters demoted to being essentially extras, and too much sprawl.

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