Top 10 Quentin Tarantino Characters

Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) – Pulp Fiction
“Mmm-mmmm. That is a tasty burger!”
Photo: Miramax

This is where my indecision shows, but I just couldn’t have Vincent without Jules as I look at Sam Jackson’s performance in Pulp Fiction as the greatest performance Jackson has ever given and what I expect to be a performance he won’t be able to top, and not for a lack of talent as much as for a lack of characters out there that can match up to Jules’ intensity and passion. Where Vincent mumbles his way through Pulp Fiction, Jules experiences a transformation with the only true character arc in the film and it is an impressive one. Does it seem weird to go from reading Bible quotes and gunning down a man after snagging a bit of his burger to believing in a moment of divine intervention and swearing right then and there he has been set upon a new path? Hell yeah, but it isn’t altogether unrealistic given the circumstances and it really paints a much larger picture of the character than we were originally given. Loved it.

Kim (Tracie Thoms) – Death Proof
“Mother fucker try to rape me I don’t want to give him a skin rash, I wanna shut that nigga down.”
Photo: The Weinstein Co.

One of the worst mistakes with the marketing of Death Proof was the focus on the first half of the film, when in fact the second half is the most entertaining portion of the entire Grindhouse double-feature. As a matter of fact, had Tarantino only released the second half of the film without the first in theaters I think we are talking about a far more impressive showing for the film. The running time would have been cut down and the celebration for Tracie Thoms as Kim would have been far more recognized. Out of all the female characters Quentin has written for, in my opinion, Kim received the absolute best lines from top to bottom and Thoms brought this character to life like no other. Kim and Zoe (Zoe Bell) created a team worth cheering for and the entire chase scene featured to the right is made up of only one-third of the great moments featuring Kim’s dialogue as she chases down Stuntman Mike with much gusto. I would have preferred to include the girls’ conversation in the opening driving scene or at the restaurant, but this was all I could find.

Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) – Inglourious Basterds
“You are now in the hands of the SS… My hands, to be exact.”
Photo: The Weinstein Co.

I honestly cannot wait until everyone gets to take in Christoph Waltz’s performance as Col. Hans Landa. Tarantino again cast the perfect man in the perfect role. The words are there and Waltz chews them up and brings them to the table with absolute brilliance. I may need multiple viewings to make up my mind on Inglourious Basterds as a movie, but as far as characters go Landa is an all-timer. Buzz for Waltz’s performance as the “Jew Hunter” began after the film first screened at Cannes and it’s for good reason. Waltz brings Tarantino’s words to life in a way another actor may have tried to just let the words do the work. There is a movement and air about Waltz’s performance that makes Landa larger than life as a character you love to hate and there was absolutely no second guessing when it came to placing Tarantino’s newest character creation at the top of this list. While I would usually reserve a grace period for rewarding such newly hatched work, no such time is needed in this case. Like the movie or not, this is a character you will be talking about long after you’ve left the theater.

Honorable Mentions
(from left to right) The Wolf (Pulp Fiction), Pai Mei (Kill Bill: Vol. 2), Ordell Robbie (Jackie Brown), Captain Koons (Pulp Fiction), The Bride (Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2), O-Ren Ishii (Kill Bill Vol. 1), Jackie Brown (Jackie Brown), Mr. Pink (Reservoir Dogs)

Do I have enough honorable mentions for you? If not, I also wanted to add Zoe from Death Proof to the list, but I would have had to shrink the above image slivers to the point you would hardly recognize their faces. As you can tell I have a lot of favorites when it comes to Tarantino’s films and I really can’t say any one of his efforts have ever left me feeling cold. I love his work and his characters, and creating a list of only ten was a tough task, but it had to be done.

Now that you have seen my selections, it is your turn. Are there any I have left off my list or my honorables that make your list of ten? Weigh in below with your selections and ready yourself as Inglourious Basterds is just around the corner.

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Weekend: Feb. 27, 2020, Mar. 1, 2020

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