By Andrew Blumetti
Quentin Tarantino (tærənˈtiːnoʊ), noun: One of the most prolific, controversial and popular film directors of the past two decades. His over-the-top smattering of grindhouse ultra-violence, 70’s throwback nostalgia, dialogue-heavy scenes and non-linear story telling has captivated movie goers from east to west and north to south, and back to east again.
Mr. Tarantino’s given us quite the array of characters in his seven (or eight if you split the Kill Bills) major motion pictures. Unsavory, immoral, and entertaining as the night is long, their bigger-than-life personalities jump out from the screen, grab us by the scruff of the neck, and demand our attention.
…and I wouldn’t like to run into any of them in a dark alley any day (but to be fair, I wouldn’t want to be in a dark alley anyway. It’s a breeding ground for puddles and gum to get stuck on the bottom of your shoe).
Lucky for me though, the way the world works, things often balance out. For every Mr. Blonde, Pai Mei, or Hugo Stiglitz that makes us wet our collective britches in fear, there’s gotta be some lightweights shuffling around in Queint’s flicks… and I’ll take my chances with them in a dark alley anytime.
I now present, “The Top Ten Tarantino Non-Toughies I Could Probably Take in a Fight”
(much like old sour cream in the toasty July sun, the following is NOT spoiler-free)
1. Mr. Blue (Reservoir Dogs, 1992) portrayed by Eddie Bunker
The ‘Dogs resident seasoned vet with that impressive ‘stache and psycho gleam in his eyes. Now, he’d probably have me eating red-hot lead within seconds, but considering I was 12 when this movie came out, and he was old then, I think he may be the only one of the colored-named criminals in the bunch I could’ve held my own against.
2. Brett (Pulp Fiction, 1994) portrayed by Frank Whaley
One of the four clowns who decided to screw over Band-aided crime kingpin, Marsellus Wallace, Brett is actually a whiter guy than me, which I never thought possible. His ability to get rubber-mouth under pressure, and the fact that he eats cheeseburgers for breakfast sure puts the odds in my corner.
3. Buck (Kill Bill- Vol. 1, 2003) portrayed by Michael Bowen
The creepy orderly in the hospital who had a gross on-the-side business dealing with coma patients. This immoral entrepreneurial weirdo met his eventual fate from a fresh out-of-coma patient with dead legs, so that’s gotta put me in a good spot.
4. Warren (Death Proof, 2007) portrayed by Quentin Tarantino
In a film full of mostly tough adrenaline-seeking women who’d whoop me in a heartbeat, I had to find one of the few fellas in the latter half of Grindhouse to pick. Now, if I couldn’t at least go toe-to-toe with a cornball bartender (played by Quentin himself) who pushes a drink called “Chartreuse”, then it’s time to hand in my man-card.
5. Master Sgt. Wilhelm (Inglourious Basterds, 2009) portrayed by Alexander Fehling
Guten tag! A German soldier given the night off to celebrate the birth of his son, Wilhelm’s crap timing finds himself smack dab in the middle of a firefight inside a Parisian pub.
Sure, he’s a Nazi, and sure, he’s experienced with heavy artillery, but the guy and his fellow soldier comrades seem like sloppy drunks, like Jersey Shore-ish drunk. And if there’s one time Andrew can successfully pull off a strike, it’s when battling against the very inebriated. That’s why I’d be so good at fending off zombies, they’re just like decaying cannibalistic drunks.
6. Larry Gomez (Kill Bill- Vol. 2, 2004) portrayed by Larry Bishop
I do feel bad putting anyone on this list who’s been in Kung Fu, Laverne and Shirley and The Dukes of Hazzard, especially someone who made me laugh so much in the second Kill Bill installment.
He spent his lone five minutes in the film snorting coke with a trashy exotic dancer and chewing out Michael Madsen for being late to work, so outside of those five minutes, he’d probably beat the everloving cake out of me, so strike when the iron is hot.
I bet he’d enjoy my Sylvester Stallone article though, seeing as he kinda looks like him.
7. Mark Dargus (Jackie Brown, 1997) played by Michael Bowen
I’m really banking this list on the fact that Michael Bowen’s got a glass jaw, cause otherwise, I’m toast.
8. “The Gimp” (Pulp Fiction, 1994) portrayed by Stephen Hibbert
This leather wearing, zipper-mouthed freak basically went down in one stealth hit by a just-out-of-a-car-accident Bruce Willis. Despite his creepy mask, “The Gimp” doesn’t necessarily instill much fear, seeing as he was tethered on a leash the whole time, and I’m highly suspect that Jim Belushi is actually under that costume.
9. Francesca Modino’s poodle (Inglourious Basterds, 2009)
Here we have the prissy dog of the prissy Francesca Modino (Julie Dreyfus), the French-to-German interpreter to Head of Propaganda in Germany, Joseph Goebbels. Naturally, fighting animals is a big no-no (I really don’t want PETA getting all huffy and puffy, protesting to shut down my blog and toss red paint over computer screens nationwide), but I’d put the over/under at me beating this dog at a foot race at about 65/35.
10. Billy Crash (Django Unchained, 2012) portrayed by Walton Goggins
Cowboys are the true classic American-definition of “manly”. They’re gruff, tough, and I’m guessing their sweat smells like a leather couch from Crate and Barrel.
Billy Crash may have been quick with the six-shooter and wore a pretty sweet hat, but he was all talk, with nothing to back it up when push comes to shove. Basically he’s kind of like a slavery-era cowboy version of every single stupid bully in every single stupid after-school special that ran in lieu of Duck Tales.
Man, I hated those.