Okay, okay, I am obsessed with everything Tarantino. My friends know it and now you know it too. That being said, this list was inevitable in its creation, and here it finally is. Choosing from just the divisive director’s “directed by” pictures (leaving out those characters he created for other directors such as Ollie Stone or Robert Rodriguez) it was quite the hard task to narrow down to just ten (and one special mention). Doing this I had to leave off some favorite characters.
Not quite making the list (sadly enough) are Vincent Vega, Mia and Marsellus Wallace, Butch, The Wolf and Lance from Pulp Fiction; Elle Driver (she just missed the cut!), Gogo Yubari, Hatori Hanzo and Pai Mei from Kill Bill; Mr. Pink from Reservoir Dogs; Donny ‘The Bear Jew’ Donowitz, Hugo Stiglitz and Bridget von Hammersmark from Inglourious Basterds; as well as everyone from Jackie Brown (obviously my least favorite QT film). After making this list, though Pulp Fiction remains my favorite Tarantino, it seems as if Inglourious Basterds has the most characters I like, since four made the list. Anyway, without further ado, here are my choices for the 10 Best Quentin Tarantino Characters.
Special Mention: Zoe Bell in Death Proof
The reason the great Zoe Bell doesn’t actually make the list is because she is essentially playing herself – not a character (though she herself is certainly a character). The tough-as-nails stunt woman (she kicked ass as Uma Thurman’s stunt double in Kill Bill and was the real brawn behind Xena: Warrior Princess) gets to show off her unique (and crazy if you ask me) talent as she hangs on to the hood of that iconic 1970 white Dodge Challenger (an homage of course to that classic film Vanishing Point) as the girls are chased down by that sonofabitch Stuntman Mike.
10. O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill
That entrance she makes in the first Kill Bill is still the best intro of any Tarantino character and then she beheads a guy for calling her a half breed – and she is even anime for part of the film!. Let’s face it, the lady rocks. I have never been much of a fan of Lucy Liu before Kill Bill (nor after really) but her one performance as queen of the Tokyo underworld, nee Cottonmouth, member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, is one that is hard to ignore. Incidentally, O-Ren just beat out fellow Deadly Viper, Elle Driver (as performed by Daryl Hannah) for the tenth spot on this list, so that makes her even cooler.
9. Stuntman Mike in Death Proof
What’s not to like about a psychopathic serial killer stunt man who kills women with his specially souped-up and tricked-out stunt car? Played by Kurt Russell (an actor who I think deserves a lot more respect than he is normally afforded), Stuntman Mike is a down-and-out ex-stuntman who has taken to picking up young girls and showing them how “death proof” his car is. Of course to really appreciate it they need to be sitting in his seat. Of course no matter how badass Stuntman Mike seems to be in the beginning (badass in a creepy, aging lothario kinda way) he ain’t nothing compared to Zoe Bell and her kickass ladies in the final car chase of the film (all incidentally done without even a second of CGI).
8. Lt. Archie Hicox in Inglourious Basterds
Perhaps he made the list because he plays a film critic-turned-Nazi Killer. Perhaps it is because I feel sorry because he doesn’t know how to properly hand signal the number three. Perhaps it is because I have a kind of man-crush on Michael Fassbender. Maybe it’s just because the ever-proper, film-loving, Nazi-hating Lieutenant Archibald Hicox (loosely based on Graham Greene) is the focal point of one of my favorite scenes in Inglourious Basterds. Whatever the case, Archie Hicox and his pilfered stories of German mountain films of the 1920′s will remain ever in my mind – especially when I signal three to a passing bartender.
7. Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds
“When you join my command, you take on debit. A debit you owe me personally. Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps. And all y’all will git me one hundred Nazi scalps, taken from the heads of one hundred dead Nazis. Or you will die tryin’.” These inspirational words come from the twangy mouth of one Lt. Aldo Raine as played by the immensely versatile Brad Pitt. Another quote from the infamous leader of the Basterds goes like this: “You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business; we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin’. ” and let us not forget these words of wisdom: “You know, fightin’ in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. Number one being, you’re fightin’ in a basement!” I guess what I’m sayin’ is, Aldo Raine rocks.
6. Vic Vega, aka Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs
To this day I cannot here that Steeler’s Wheel song, “Stuck in the Middle”, without getting an ache in my ear. This is all thanks to Michael Madsen’s psychopathic Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs. Actually named Vic Vega (brother to John Travolta’s Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction) and code-named Mr. Blonde (as QT’s homage to the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three) for the botched heist of which Reservoir Dogs plays as aftermath to, Madsen’s psychotic cop killer and all-around badass madman, is the highlight of Tarantino’s directorial debut.
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