My favorite director is Quentin Tarantino.
I love every one of his films, and the fact that he writes his own material is just icing on the cake. His encyclopedic knowledge of cinema gives him the perfect toolbox for creating perfect movies. He knows what works and what doesn't work, and puts only the stuff that works into his art. The only thing I don't like about Quentin Tarantino is his long-standing proclamation that he is stopping after ten films. I hope he ends up ignoring that and only stops when he feels he's done, because I can't believe somebody with his talent and success could ever just... stop.
Which brings us to his 9th film... Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which was just released on digital. As with all of his movies, I absolutely loved it...
Spoiler Alert. There are spoilers below.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the story of Rick Dalton (perfectly captured by Leonardo DiCaprio) a fading star who had a famous TV show in the 50's called Bounty Law... along with his best friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt being as amazing as ever). As his career eventually becomes playing a series of bad guys in movies... and a run of Italian Westerns... he has to grapple with the approaching end of his career and an uncertain future. At the same time, Dalton and Booth have the misfortune of becoming entangled with The Manson Family during the Summer of Love thanks to Dalton's home being next door to Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate.
At this point you need to know that, in real life, Sharon Tate (who was 8 months pregnant) and the friends who were staying with her were murdered by Manson's followers at her home.
But in Tarantino's alternate history accounting of events, the Manson followers recognize Rick Dalton and decide to kill him instead. Unfortunately for them, they proceed to be brutally killed by Cliff Booth and Booth's dog (and Rick Dalton with a flamethrower). It's glorious. Much in the same way I loved to see Hitler and his brigade of upper-echelon Nazi fucks get brutally murdered in Inglourious Basterds, it's pure cinematic joy to see the Manson pieces of shit get the tables turned on them and get killed in the most painful, horrendous ways possible.
They call that cinematic justice. Which is a nice departure from the world we live in.
And that's the movie.
It's not as complex a narrative as the time shifts in Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill, but this allows Quentin to be laser-focused on the characterization, which is pretty close to his best yet. And a film I highly recommend, if you're so inclined.
And because it's bound to be asked by somebody, here is where I rank the nine films of Quentin Tarantino (that he both wrote and directed)...
In reality, they are all #1 films to me. The only reason I can rank the movies at all is because there are specific things that register in my head for many of them. Pulp Fiction was the first Tarantino movie I saw. Kill Bill had some of the most remarkable fight scenes of all time. Inglourious Basterds and its revisionist history blew my mind, Jackie Brown was sublimely character-driven with a fun twist... that kind of thing. And any time I re-watch Jackie Brown it becomes my #1 film for a few weeks just because Pam Grier is flawless.
Rumor has it that Quentin Tarantino is working on a Star Trek film. I have no idea how it will fit in with the various Star Trek properties... perhaps it won't, which would be fantastic because Tarantino could just go nuts and do a true Quentin Tarantino film that heads wherever his imagination takes him. I'm not sure this if this is what I'd want to be his final motion picture... if, indeed, he sticks to his ten-and-done promise, but I'll take what I can get.
Tarantino has yet to go wrong in my book.