Love it or hate it, what Quentin Tarantino has achieved in his 30+ years of directing is unquestionably impressive. Not only is the writer/director of “Reservoir Dogs” a renowned auteur – nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Director with two wins for Best Original Screenplay for “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained” – Tarantino is also a seasoned critic cinematographic whose encyclopedic knowledge of other artists’ filmographies precedes it.
Living in Los Angeles, the “Pulp Fiction” director famously began his journey to movie rock star status as a clerk at the Video Archives rental shop in Manhattan Beach: since closed, rebuilt in Tarantino’s basement and turned into a podcast hosting longtime friend and collaborator Roger Avary. It was in the bygone era of rewindable tapes that Tarantino cut his critical teeth: scouring the store’s collection, filled with everything from black-and-white classics to sci-fi straight-to-TV specials.
A famous borrower (or embezzler, depending on your point of view), Tarantino draws liberally from the films he likes to inspire his work; see the Blaxploitation tropes in “Jackie Brown” and the samurai films channeled in the “Kill Bill” duology. The writer/director’s favorites are well documented for this reason. IndieWire had already garnered dozens of director recommendations, from John Carpenter’s “The Thing” to Brian De Palma’s “Blowout.”
Although he has shared fewer of them, the films Tarantino dislikes have also piqued the public’s interest. Over the years, the cinephile has criticized a wide range of esteemed competing directors, including John Ford (Tarantino has dubbed his Westerns “overrated”) and Stanley Kubrick (whom Tarantino has called a “hypocrite” for his stance on representation of violence). Last summer on his podcast, Tarantino even called Ed Wood and François Truffaut “bumbling amateurs,” which, you know, maybe fair.
Tarantino tends to talk about cinematic history and trends in general terms, so it’s less common for him to name specific titles he disliked. But when he does, the author of “Cinema Speculation” really lets him fly.
Compiled from interviews and news stories throughout Tarantino’s career, the following list contains 31 movies (well, 30 movies and a prestige TV show) the writer/director allegedly made Not recommends: either because he considers the films themselves bad or because the circumstances surrounding their releases have left Tarantino embittered.
With a substantial number of sequels – and a couple of fringe cases that Tarantino didn’t dismiss wholesale, but only liked parts of – the following selections are listed in no particular order. They range from Sam Mendes’ Oscar-winning “1917” to action films like “Atomic Blonde” starring Charlize Theron, to classic comedies like Ivan Reitman’s “Stripes” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy”.
(Editor’s note: This article was first published in December 2022 and has been updated several times since.)