Quentin Tarantino Needs to See More Movies

There’s obviously no denying that Quentin Tarantino is a die-hard movie nerd. His encyclopedic knowledge of obscure films can put most experts and historians to shame, and he’s made a career out of fashioning his own movies from bits and pieces of others. Nonetheless, every man has his limits. Judging by his recently-posted Official Top Eleven of 2011 list, Tarantino must not have gotten out to the movies much last year.

As posted on the Quentin Tarantino Archives fan site, the director’s eleven (really twelve) favorite films of last year were:

  1. ‘Midnight in Paris’
  2. ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’
  3. ‘Moneyball’
  4. ‘The Skin I Live In’
  5. ‘X-Men: First Class’
  6. ‘Young Adult’
  7. ‘Attack the Block’
  8. ‘Red State’
  9. ‘Warrior’
  10. Tie: ‘The Artist’ / ‘Our Idiot Brother’
  11. ‘The Three Musketeers’

I certainly can’t argue with ‘Midnight in Paris’ or ‘The Artist’. Those were my favorites of the year as well (though I’m a little surprised at Tarantino’s enthusiasm for them). I’ve also heard very good things about ‘Moneyball’ and ‘Warrior’.

‘Attack the Block’ and ‘The Skin I Live In’ (and perhaps ‘Red State’) seem like movies that would be right up Tarantino’s alley, so no surprises there.

But ‘X-Men: First Class’ and ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, really? Even if he considered them to be excellent blockbusters (I’d argue against the latest ‘X-Men’ in that regard, personally), does he honestly think that these were among the best films of the year? Yet he calls ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ (which outclasses either of these two by light years) just an honorable mention? Huh.

I also feel that lumping ‘The Artist’ and ‘Our Idiot Brother’ together as a tie (for “indie comedy,” I suppose) is a disservice to the former.

Tarantino’s inclusion of Paul W.S. Anderson’s goofy re-envisioning of ‘The Three Musketeers’ as a 3D Steampunk action extravaganza feels like a deliberately perverse pick, designed specifically to generate controversy. While I haven’t seen this one yet, I also have a guilty-pleasure soft spot for most of Anderson’s other movies – but I’d never be crazy enough to put one on a best-of list.

The director’s list of honorable mentions span the range from critical favorites (‘The Tree of Life’, ‘The Descendants’) to populist fare (‘Captain America’, ‘M:I-4’) to outright crap (‘Green Lantern’, ‘The Hangover: Part II’).

Beneath this is a “Nice Try Award” category that includes ‘Drive’, ‘Hanna’, ‘Drive Angry’ and ‘Real Steel’. I’m not sure whether that heading is meant to be sarcastic or not.

In Tarantino’s defense, the guy is currently in the middle of making a new movie of his own. Trekking out to the theater may not have been a priority for him last year. And even with that said, he saw more movies than I did.

Read the full article for the rest of Tarantino’s honorable mentions, as well as his picks for the best directors and best screenplays of the year.


  1. JM

    Tarantino’s list doesn’t surprise me at all.

    Content creators watch movies in an entirely different way than critics or audiences. And he’s a writer who build his brand on being provocative.

    This is a guy who enjoyed ‘Top Gun’ for an entirely different reason.

    • Ian Whitcombe

      His speech in Sleep With Me is not necessarily an endorsement of Top Gun as a film.

      I think Tarantino at his goofiness is when he called Ferara’s Kings of New York a better gangster film than Goodfellas.

  2. Jean-Denis

    I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make here, Josh. On one hand, you say you fully agree with some of his choices, you disagree with some others, and then you say you haven’t seen one of them but you’re confident it’s a “crazy” choice. Pretty clear case of differences of opinion, isn’t it? Won’t this be the case with almost any llist made by different people? We enjoy different things for different reasons, and are different people at different points in our lives.

    I personally have no use for Paul WS Anderson, and would certainly put MELANCHOLIA, A SEPARATION and KILL LIST at the top of my list of films that spoke to me most last year, but I would consider it unfair to declare (especially in a public forum) that someone whose tastes are very different from mine simply hasn’t seen enough films to match my own wisdom.

    • Josh Zyber

      I just think it’s funny that an obsessive movie junkie like Tarantino would put some of these mediocre and forgettable movies on his best-of list, unless he simply didn’t get out much last year. I don’t expect him to put a bunch of pretentious foreign art films on there, but even given his taste, there were better examples in some of these genres than the ones he picked.

      • Drew

        I don’t know…

        On one hand, I completely agreed with you upon first reading this post. On the other, I started to think about some of the abysmal films Quentin has admitted to loving in the last, and I also realized that there are only about 3-4 total pieces of shit on that list.

        Most Top 10 lists end up with at least two terrible films.

        The man has always been quilty of loving certain horrible films.

        The more I think about it, the more I’m surprised that he even included at least a few top notch films on his list.

        • JM

          Battle Royale
          Anything Else
          Boogie Nights
          Dazed & Confused
          Fight Club
          The Host
          The Insider
          Joint Security Area
          Lost In Translation
          The Matrix
          Memories of Murder
          Police Story 3
          Shaun of the Dead
          Team America

          Tarantino’s taste in film is fucking impeccable.

      • Jean-Denis

        You made it clear that you didn’t agree with some of his choices, and I’m with you on some of your opinions, but these lists are always personal choices, and you can’t argue with those. Who’s to determine who’s opinion is right?

        As soon as you make a list of favorites, you’ll find people to challenge it. You can certainly make reasoned arguments in your defense, but it will always come back to simple, personal taste. As Mark Kermode is fond of saying: “Other options are available”.

        • Josh Zyber

          To clarify, I’m not trying to say that Tarantino is wrong for liking different movies than I do. I just found some of his picks strange and worth discussing.

          Keep in mind also that the main reason I ran this post was because I thought the headline would be funny. 🙂

  3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: First Class aren’t mediocre or forgettable but highly entertaining, and lots of people seem to agree.

    • Drew

      You’re 100% right.

      I think Josh was more likely referring to ‘Red State’, ‘Our Idiot Brother’, ‘The Three Musketeers’, and ‘Attack the Block’.

      Josh seems to understand that he’s in the minority when it comes to ‘X-Men: First Class’, and I don’t believe he has even seen ‘ROTPOTA’ yet.

    • JM

      ‘X-Men: First Class’ isn’t mediocre or forgettable if you’re a dork.

      But I thought it was lame in all eleven dimensions.

      ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ on the other hand, was thrilling monkey vengeance! Which completely fits Tarantino’s grindhouse sensibility.

      But I’m surprised QT didn’t get giddy for ’13 Assassins.’

      • Drew

        ‘X-Men: First Class’ is one of those movies that I have enjoyed less with each subsequent viewing.

        I’ve seen it three times, and have went from really liking it, to thinking that it’s borderline unwatchable.

        “Thrilling Monkey Vengeance!” I love it! That it was…that it was.

        I can totally understand why Q would love it!

        Maybe he needs to see ‘X-M:FC’ a time or two more to understand how lame it is. 😉

  4. What kind of pretentious, high-on-himself, pseudo-intellectual would have the audacity to tell someone that their list of favorite movies is “wrong”? (and that’s exactly what you’re doing)

    Josh Zyber, that’s who.

    Your tired “if you don’t agree with my taste, you’re an idiot” act was old three years ago.

      • I don’t have to tell you anything about your opinions. That is plain. And I note a lack of denial, which would be pretty useless anyway.

        Again, your pretentious air of “superior tastes” got old 3 years ago.

        • Josh Zyber

          Hmmm… Three years ago, my most controversial review was probably my pan Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (which shouldn’t have been controversial at all, really). Is that what you’re bitter about?

          This is a blog where we talk about and debate our opinions of movies, among other things. If you’re not interested in that, there’s a whole wide internet out there of other things to look at.

  5. Paulb

    He certainly will enjoy movies for different reasons than critics will.
    Though I do find the title funny when in first paragraph you note you have seen two big, extremly postively reviewed films. Give him a call and hit up the theaters together. 😉

  6. CK

    I really haven’t seen much this year, but of what I have seen from the list, I’d agree with it. I’d move Hannah to “honorable mention” give Green Lantern and Mission Impossible a “nice try”, though.