6. Big Bad Wolves (2013)
It’s always interesting to hear Tarantino’s opinions of more modern cinema, as the taste difference between Tarantino: the dreamer vs Tarantino: the current film icon, changes only subtely, but noticeably. This 2013 Isrealli revenge thriller more or less feels like a movie Tarantino would have made if he had been born in 1999 and raised on a diet of his own films as reference.
But while heavily inspired by the Tarantino formula of quick wit, dark comedy, a twisty subplot and a cast of vile degenerates, BBW never really feels like it’s aping off of its heroes. Instead it feels like it’s worshipping at the altar and expounding on them. With a sandbox style approach where you really feel like the characters are living and breathing in scenes beyond the ones you see them in. Tarantino obviously liked the vibe of it too, calling it his favorite movie of 2013.
7. Chocolate (2009)
Tarantino is an established fan of martial arts director Prachya Pinkaew who previously rose to fame with films like Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior and The Protector (the latter given the coveted Quentin Tarantino Presents banner for its US release.) But look no further than 2008’s Chocolate if you want a rousing and head-spinning martial arts spectacular.
Starring Yanin “Jeeja” Vismitananda in her feature film debut and featuring dizzying fight choreography from Ong Bak’s own Panna Rittikrai, it doesn’t slow down for a second and squeezes every ounce of energy it can into its 110 minutes. QT named it as his 5th favorite film of 2009. Beating out heavy hitters like Up, District 9 and 500 Days of Summer.
8. Switchblade Sisters (1975)
Given a spotlight DVD release on Tarantino’s short lived genre film label Rolling Thunder pictures, Switchblade Sisters is the FOURTEENTH film from exploitation auteur Jack Hill. He of other QT All Stars such as Foxy Brown, Coffy and the Big Doll House, but it’s SS who Quentin considers to be Hill’s magnum opus.
His intro to the film is essentially a love letter to Hill’s entire career as a whole, pointing out his unique knack of somehow making his characters endearing despite clunky dialogue and camp performances. Even drawing parallels to his own dialogue rhythm and being able to pinpoint where it goes off-pitch, and reveling in its kamikaze style. A fine example of the kind of movie that is essentially terrible, but for a terrible film, it’s okay. This was also a major inspiration for Tarantino’s Death Proof, along with other tough gal films Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!, Dragstrip Girl, The Women, and probably eighty five others.
9. One Eyed Jacks (1961)
Cited as one of his top 3 favorite westerns, One-Eyed Jacks doesn’t just fit the classic Tarantino mold of “violent revenge thriller”, it embodies the anarchist filmmaking attitude Tarantino lives and dies by. A once upon a time, supposed to be, Sam Peckinpah film. Then a Stanley Kubrick film. And what ultimately became Marlon Brando’s only directorial credit, O-EJ feels like it’s teeming with all of the built up aggression that was swallowed by Brando while grinding the film out after numerous hiccups during production.
And as a result it’s certainly not your typical western. A somewhat clumsy and meandering take on the classic Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid story, but its transparency and art imitating life energy makes it a fascinatingly different kind of experience as a result. It’s complicated. Like life. Cute, eh?
10. Kaante (2002)
What’s the old phrase? You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself immortalized in Bollywood culture? I think I’m paraphrasing. But it’s true. As back in 2002, director Sanjay Gupta (no, not that one) released Kaante: a Hindi action thriller heavily influenced by Reservoir Dogs. But elongated it into a 152 minute spectacle complete with all the musical numbers and slow motion you Bollywood efficinantions have come to know and expect.
To his credit, not only did Tarantino go out of his way to see it, he called it his favorite among the many films who have been influenced by him personally. Saying: “Here I am, watching a film that I’ve directed and then it goes into each character’s background. And I’m like, ‘Whoa’. For, I always write backgrounds and stuff and it always gets chopped off during the edit. And so I was amazed on seeing this. I felt, this isn’t Reservoir Dogs. But then it goes into the warehouse scene and I am like, ‘Wow, it’s back to Reservoir Dogs’. Isn’t it amazing!”