London: This is one film director who has gone from being a video-store attendant to the guy who gave Leonardo DiCaprio his first role as a villain. He still appears in each of his movies, and once impersonated Elvis in an episode of Golden Girls. And now Quentin Tarantino is 50. To mark the half-century since he entered the world in Knoxville, Tennessee, here are just a few things we should thank him for:
Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
Tarantino remains one of the kings of modern mainstream film soundtracks, with musical stylings that are similar to, but funkier and more fun than, those from Wes Anderson. A little less 60s British rock, a little more Wu-Tang — Tarantino gets a million points for having the RZA produce the Kill Bill Vol 1 score.
Steve Buscemi (and others who may have been ignored)
Buscemi is unique among New York actors, and, more importantly, a do-gooder. While managing to land roles in Coen brothers flicks in his early career, it was his appearance as Mr Pink in Reservoir Dogs that ensured decades of fame. Tarantino also saved John Travolta’s career from its post-Look Who’s Talking lull, and he helped make his “muse” Uma Thurman a household name.
His most recent contribution to this line-up is Christoph Waltz, who won numerous awards for his appearance in 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, followed by his Oscar and Golden Globe for Django.
Major motion picture female ass-kickers
In each of Tarantino’s films, he walks the dubious line of empowerment and scumbaggery. His films contain some of the only leading female heroes, but then things he says — well, basically, everything he says in public — sets female empowerment two steps back.
But whatever qualms you may have with his characterisations of women, he is one of the few directors to feature women in ass-kicking lead roles. It’s 2013 and still difficult to name a blockbuster female action heroine that isn’t Beatrix Kiddo.