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Once upon a time in Hollywood

Top 5 Tarantino

Head of Film, Simon Nicholls tells us his top 5 Tarantino films.

I’ve always appreciated that Quentin Tarantino is one of those directors whose work you really love or you really hate. So when I was asked to put together my list of his top 5 films it got me thinking as to what it was about his work that is so divisive.

From a personal perspective it wasn’t until I was screening Kill Bill for the first time that I actually ‘got it’ and realised that Quentin and I must have grown up in a similar era of cinema, enjoying the same “Grindhouse” viewings in a pre-VHS / DVD era.

A grindhouse or action house is an American term for a cinema that mainly shows exploitation films. From Filipino and Italian made horrors to low budget biker gang movies and cheap sexploitation flicks, I am sure Quentin and I spent our formative teenage years watching the same kind of films just on different sides of the Atlantic! These are the nuances of his work that I enjoy looking out for in his films which of course he highly exaggerates and hence why my list may appear controversial at first glance. So keeping the above in mind here is my top 5 in reverse order.

5. Pulp Fiction

Tarantino’s second film and a masterpiece of cinema with the director really being able to stretch his wings. The dialogue is wonderful.

Pulp Fiction

4. The Hateful Eight

Shot on 70mm film and presented in Ultra Panavision (2.76:1 screen ratio) with a properly scored entr’acte and intermission and with an official film programme. A true homage to the “roadshow” screenings of the late 60s that were so influential in my early cinema going years at a time when TV was still B/W and square and music was always mono.

The Hateful 8

3. Django Unchained

Another western but this time more reminiscent of the rip off spaghetti westerns which were made on an even smaller budget than the Leone ones. The films with Italian actors given American names to sell the film to an American audience. Films such as The Hills Run Red and A Professional gun as well as Corbucci’s Django these Westerns were full of action and violence something Tarantino seems keen to exploit.

Django unchained

2. Grindhouse

Planet Terror and Death Proof films designed to be shown as a “double bill” as back in the days when a trip to the Cinema could start as early as 6:30pm and end as late as 11pm. Quite often I would be faced with the choice of missing the last 10minutes of the film or missing the last bus home! Complete with their own trailers, scratching and missing reel apology all sadly lost on modern audiences and finally released as two separate films.

Grindhouse-Deathproof-Planet-Terror

1. Inglourious Basterds

This film introduced me to Christophe Waltz (what an amazing character he played), and because it has the most intense extended opening of any film I have seen and finally because it’s central character was a projectionist in a cinema of course!

Inglourious Basterds