So Quentin Tarantino scores his biggest opening weekend ($37.6 million) with Inglourious Basterds and the media gives Brad Pitt all the credit for bringing the babes into Quentin’s violent world. How come Pitt couldn’t even bring a mouse into theaters showing The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford? Damn you, Hollywood! Don’t even give us a minute to think that maybe, just maybe, audiences lined up for IB because they thought QT was onto something with his World War II fantasia. Anyway, let Tarantino enjoy his day as The Man With the Big Sombrero (a song used in the film). If the box-office dips precipitously next week, the media basterds will surely blame QT not golden boy Brad. What’s really irritating is that Pitt’s role is far from front and center. IG belongs evil heart and soul to Austrian actor Christoph Waltz as the alluring Nazi monster Hans Landa. Right now, the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor is in Waltz’s pocket. The character is one of QT’s most inspired creations. Maybe the most inspired. Which brings me to today’s topic. If not Hans Landa, who do you think is the most memorable character Tarantino has ever created? Here are my nominees:
Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker), Mr. Brown (Tarantino himself) and their leader Joe (Lawrence Tierney) and his son Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn) as the jewelry store robbing, pop culture fanatics in QT’s 1992 debut, Reservoir Dogs. For sheer iconic imagery, and no blood, try the credit sequence with the Dogs walking to the beat of “Little Green Bag.”
Vincent Vega (John Travolta), Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) in 1994’s Pulp Fiction. All three actors won richly deserved Oscar nominations, but Travolta experienced a career rebirth thanks to QT’s artistry. Even playing a junkie reptile, Travolta exhibits amazing grace. His dance with Mia to Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell exudes down-and-dirty eroticism and unexpected romantic longing. QT gave Travolta a great part, but the actor improved on it.
Flight attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) and bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster) find love in a world of scum in Jackie Brown. Many considered this a disappointing follow-up to the masterpiece that is Pulp Fiction. A closer look proves just how wrong they were. Foxy blaxploitation queen Grier is a vision in a red dress, firing a gun and heating up emotions. And the Oscar-nominated Forster anchors the film with touching gravity. Check the look on his face as Grier simply walks toward him.
The Bride (Uma Thurman) beaten and left for dead at her Texas wedding by her former boss, Bill (David Carradine), plots revenge in Kill Bill, Vol. 1
Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) is a serial killer who uses his armored vehicle to kill women. In Death Proof, Tarantino’s half of Grindhouse, Mike meets four women who won’t play victim. Russell, starting with a slow hand of lethal charm that escalates to battering-ram berserk, hasn’t been this killer-good since his days as Snake Plissken in Escape From New York. The film flopped, but grab the DVD and watch Russell and Tarantino get you high on movies.
OK, them’s the choices: I’m still torn between Vincent Vega and Hans Landa for the best Tarantino character to date. Time for your vote.