Fan of Quentin Tarantino of not, his films provoke interest and opinion, so producing a top 10 list relating to Tarantino films, some might say, is an act of ill consideration.
Like his films, his relationship with music, and how he choses to score his pictures varies from film to film, be it the more jukebox-style, retro surf-pop overload of Pulp Fiction or homage-heavy, hip-hop/spaghetti western fusion of the Kill Bill movies.
Speaking at Cannes back in 2009, Tarantino famously said that he didn’t trust a composer to score his films. Whether these are the sentiments of a genius control freak or overgrown geek who could do with accepting a bit of help now and then is something you can decide for yourself, but what this does mean is Tarantino’s music choices have personality, and, as we all know personality goes a long way.
The comment taken from Cannes shows how important Tarantino regards his musical choices. Not only that, but his frequent mention of his own music collection (the jukebox in Death Proof was his own, don’t you know), and the way he uses music in his films show that he may be a writer/director first, but he’s a music fan second.
He’s created some iconic scenes that arguably wouldn’t have been the same had his choice, and use, of music been different. Often it will seem as if a scene is choreographed to the music, like the music came into his head first, the scene came second.
Each movie Tarantino has directed is very clearly a ‘movie’. They’re often hyper-stylised patchworks of movies that he admires, and this isn’t necessarily a criticism, but its this approach that allows for the countless, now iconic, musical moments to happen. If Tarantino wasn’t making his movies to be entertaining, but more immersive, he wouldn’t be able to step back for a few minutes and play Stealers Wheel while a guy gets his ear cut off, it would look silly, but QT makes it work.
His style has earned him many fans, as well as many copycats who’ve paled in comparison (the way music is used in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is an egregious example). Tarantino use of music has helped define him as a filmmaker and this list is to celebrate those moments where he got it just right. He’d probably tell you he’s just playing records he thinks are cool, but he’s doing way more than that.
(This list was created before seeing Django Unchained, therefore it hasn’t been included. Also, there may be a spoiler or two)
This article was first posted on January 15, 2013