"When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, 'no, I went to films.'"
Quentin Jerome Tarantino (born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. According to legend, he learned everything he knows about filmmaking from working at a video rental store in Manhattan Beach. Roger Ebert once quipped that the store owner should get a finder's fee based on QT's subsequent career.In the early 1990s he was an independent filmmaker whose films used nonlinear storylines and aestheticization of violence. He is known for his absurdly encyclopedic knowledge of film history. His films have earned him Academy, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Palme d'Or Awards and he has been nominated for Emmy and Grammy Awards. In 2007, Total Film named him the 12th greatest director of all-time. Known for being very excited about his movies in interviews, using many different sources of inspiration with his work and having many Shout Outs. Notable for his witty dialog and frequently using the same actors in his movies. He also likes women's bare feet.Brad Pitt presented him like this. Suits well for the trope page.
Works that he has been involved in:
"My Best Friend's Birthday" — Tarantino's first film, shot in black and white. The plot revolves around a man attempting to do something nice for his friend on his birthday, only to have his efforts continually backfire. The film was originally 70 minutes long, but was re-edited to run just over 36 minutes due to a fire in the warehouse where the originals were kept. Never officially released, nor likely ever to be.
Reservoir Dogs — A heist film that skips the heist, jumping back and forth between the set-up and the calamitous aftermath of a jewelry store robbery. This film uses a nonlinear narrative that became a trademark of Tarantino's. The storyline is based on the Ringo Lam movie City on Fire.
Pulp Fiction — Various tales of sex, violence, drugs, and redemption intersect in the underworld of LA. This film put Tarantino on the map and had tremendous influence on the way films were made for the next decade.
The ER episode "Motherhood", arguably one of the best of the series, features his trademarkmotifs.
Four Rooms (segment "The Man from Hollywood") — A group of Hollywood power players hire the bellhop to serve as an impartial hatchet-man to preside over an ill-advised dare. Contains a particularly impressive Oner.
Jackie Brown — A just-making-it flight attendant collaborates with a bail bondsman to pull a heist on an arms dealer. Low-key and more smart than bloody, it disappointed viewers who expected work as stylish as Pulp Fiction, but it has a loyal following. Loosely adapted from the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard, and a subtle homage to the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s.
A scene in the Sin City movie, specifically, Dwight driving to the tar pits.
The CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Grave Danger" — which is highly regarded as the best two-part episode of the entire series and features a lot of his motifs while staying within the confines of a CSI episode.
True Romance — A hipster with a screw loose marries a hooker with a heart of gold, steals a cache of cocaine, and flees to Hollywood with the mob and police in pursuit. Directed by Tony Scott, who gave the film a happy ending. As opposed to the below entry, Quentin is on record as liking the final product.
Natural Born Killers — Serial-murdering lovers on the lam allegedly illustrate something about violence, media, and the American psyche. Directed by Oliver Stone, who altered the story so much that Tarantino disowned the final product. (Interestingly enough, Quentin's original script is much more clearly the dark satire on media glamorization of serial killers that the film alleges to be.)
From Dusk Till Dawn — A pair of hardened criminals (Tarantino and George Clooney) abduct a preacher and his family, then get ambushed by vampires in Mexico. Directed by Robert Rodriguez—Tarantino's close friend in the business. Tarantino also produced.
Crimson Tide — Uncredited, but rewrote or added many scenes to include his signature pop culture references.
Jimmie in Pulp Fiction. You'll recognize him when he asks what sign does not appear over his garage. Tarantino was going to play either Jimmie or Lance the drug dealer. He decided on Jimmie so he could be behind the camera during the adrenaline shot scene.
Sukiyaki Western Django, a Japanese Western with a very similar modus operandi to his own works, directed by Takashi Miike.
Sid in Sleep With Me, where he goes on a filibuster on the Ho Yay in Top Gun.
Inglourious Basterds as a dead Nazi being scalped. Also seen from behind in Nation's Pride as the American soldier who says, "I implore you, we must destroy that tower!" His hands also strangle Bridget von Hammersmark.
Django Unchained as an Australian slave trader with a questionable accent who gets tricked and blown up by Django.
Killing Zoe, the directorial debut of former writing partner Roger Avary. Avary had previously written a script titled The Open Road, which was the basis for True Romance, and Pandemonium Reigns, which became "The Gold Watch" story in Pulp Fiction.
Action Girls are also referred to in other films. In Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman's character once appeared in a TV pilot entitled "Fox Force Five", which was all about 5 women who fitted this trope - the idea was later expanded to become Kill Bill.
Anachronic Order: Tarantino is arguably the director most responsible for popularizing this trope in American cinema; for a brief period it was referred to as "Quentinuity".
Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: Tarantino suffers from this whenever he finishes his last film. He had been talking about Inglourious Basterds for over ten years before the film came out, in one form or another, to the point where it became near-vaporware in Hollywood. He also talked about a Kill Bill Vol. 3 after the second one was released focusing on Vernita Green's daughter (which has never become anything concrete). In addition, he mentioned in passing a prequel to Inglourious Basterds after the film finally saw release. He's also talked for years about doing a Vega Brothers movie, uniting the two Vega brothers from Reservoir Dogs (Vic Vega aka "Mr. Blonde", played by Michael Madsen) and Pulp Fiction (Vincent Vega played by John Travolta).note Obviously, it would have to be a prequel since both characters died in their respective movies. Eventually he just abandoned the idea when the actors got too old. It's a common belief amongst Tarantino films to take EVERY one of his proposed ideas with a grain of salt until filming actually starts.
Whenever he uses music from his personal record collection he uses his own LP's with all the scratches and other audio noise to give it a personal feel. (On the officially released soundtracks he uses the official recordings)
Author Tract: Some people think that Tarantino is speaking through his characters when they deliver opinions on various subjects.
Berserk Button: Although a generally nice and friendly guy, do not cross the line when invading his privacy, especially if you're a paparazzi. Also, especially after a tragic and senseless act of violence has been committed in real life, don't you dare bring up the topic of movie violence in his presence. Even insinuating that there's some connection with any senseless act of violence, particularly after said senseless act of violence occurred, will lead to a heated argument between you and him.
Brand X: Big Kahuna Burger, Red Apple cigarettes, Acuna Bros. Tex-Mex. He also has a tendency to revive dead brands from his own childhood like "Fruit Brute" cereal (he held onto a box after it was discontinued, which has made several appearances).
Captain Obvious: Tarantino enjoys scattering dialogues around that make jokes about obvious things.
In Reservoir Dogs: Mr. Blonde: "Either he's alive or he's dead, or the cops got him, or they don't."
In Death Proof: "Hey, who is Stuntman Mike?" Answer: "He's a stuntman."
Michael Bacall: Now look. You can't look like you're trying to get her outta here before Christian Simonson shows up. But you gotta get her outta here before Christian Simonson shows up.
Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Most of his films walk this line. Probably most obvious in Kill Bill, where it's repeatedly lampshaded. In Inglourious Basterds, where it is lampshaded in a subtle, creepy way: there is a scene where Germans are watching a Nazi propaganda movie about a German sniper who killed massive numbers of Allied troops while behind enemy lines. They are laughing and enjoying themselves watching people from our side get slaughtered. While you're laughing and enjoying yourself watching people from their side get slaughtered.
Mean Character Nice Actor: In spite of having copious amounts of violence and drugs in his films, Tarantino reportedly despises both in Real Life. Also, in every film he is involved in, NO rapist gets away with his life by the final frame, even and especially if they are played by him (As is in the case of Planet Terror and From Dusk Till Dawn.)
Mexican Standoff: Featured in a number of his works, including Inglourious Basterds, in which the participants stop to argue about whether their position constitutes a Mexican Standoff.
Motifs: Revenge features as a theme in several of his creations:
For Kill Bill it's the movie's whole plot who focuses on Revenge.
Revenge plays a big part of Django Unchained for Django. First against the Brittle brothers, then later against the people of Candieland. Django also often expresses the desire to kill white people as revenge for the suffering of the black slaves.
The main motivation of the villain of the CSI episode he directed is revenge for the death of his daughter, which he blames the cops for.
Noble Demon: Since in most of Tarantino's movies almost every single character is a ruthless murderous criminal, there's usually at least one of these to give the audience someone to vaguely support.
N-Word Privileges: Some of Tarantino's white characters have them. Some don't, but use the word anyway, as racists.
Reference Overdosed: Tarantino fills his films with references, especially to other movies, to the point that some critics have accused him of being derivative. Even his production company is named A Band Apart, after Bande à Part, the famous Godard film.
Rule Of Cool: He more or less bases entire movies around something that just sounds damn cool (to him).
Seinfeldian Conversation: Characters will often engage in discussions about various trivia that do not seem to have any bearing on the plot. Sometimes they actually do, and other times they're more for character or effect.
Small Name, Big Ego: Many have accused his performances in his own works as seeming like this trope. Whether this is intentional or not is up for debate.
Soul Brotha: One or more cool (but not superficial) black/Afro-American characters are present in most of his films, Reservoir Dogs being the only exception.
Soundtrack Dissonance: Music tends to be classic pop, rock, and soul hits from the '60s and '70s. Or even really obscure stuff from the '60s and '70s. Inglourious Basterds, in particular, features a scene with an awesomely anachronistic pop soundtrack.
The Verse: Various films Tarantino has worked on feature callbacks to other works, showing they are in the same universe. For instance:
Various product and company names are referenced, such as Big Kahuna Burger and Red Apple cigarettes.
Reservoir Dogs was supposed to imply that Alabama from True Romance went on to become Mr. White's old accomplice, but the ending of True Romance was changed, making this unlikely.
Victor Vega (Mr. Blonde) from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction are supposed to be brothers, and a spin-off film about them was planned but never made. Because both brothers die, the movie would have had to be a prequel, but by the time that both Michael Madsen and John Travolta had an open schedule at the same time, they had both visibly aged enough that having them play younger men would break the Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
Lee Donowitz of True Romance is reportedly the son of Donny Donowitz of Inglourious Basterds. As Cracked points out, this implies Hitler was successfully assassinated at the La Gamaar cinema in this universe.
One of the bandits mentioned in Django Unchained is Crazy Craig Koons, a member of Smitty Bacall's gang — and a possible ancestor of Captain Koons from Pulp Fiction.
Trunk Shot: One of his most famous trademarks, appearing in all his films.