Quentin Tarantino has a gift for creating memorable scenes. The only problem is that this creates a paradox of sorts. He creates so many terrific scenes that, when called to narrow them down to a list of five, there's too much to choose from, leading me to think like The Incredibles' Dash: "If they're all special, then none of them are special."
But we know that's not the case. How can they be narrowed down, though? Pulp Fiction alone has about 30 scenes that might make this list; conversely, I love Jackie Brown and think it's solid from front-to-back, yet can't think of too many scenes in it that stand apart from their brethren. And though I've seen all of his films (and True Romance will be counted for the purpose of this list), there are some I have much more experience with than others, and I don't want to shut them out based solely on that.
5. Stuntman Mike's first act of destruction (Death Proof)
It's no wonder I couldn't find any pictures of this scene, since a) it happens quickly and b) it's pretty gruesome. But Death Proof is a slow burn, and this moment occurs at just about the midway point, and boy is it an OMG! moment if ever there was one, shocking the movie with a million gigawatts of electricity.
4. The Basement scene (Inglourious Basterds)
Of all of Tarantino's scenes, this most famous one from his more recent work seems to be the one that's the true test of whether or not someone really digs what Quentin is serving. A long, funny, tense setup...you know it's gonna end badly (much like the initial farmhouse scene), but you have no idea in hell when that's gonna happen.
3. "English, motherf#%^er, do you speak it?!?!" (Pulp Fiction)
I'll tell you right now, there are two Pulp Fiction scenes on here. I'm leaving off some of his most beloved films altogether. Of course, as I stated above, though, that's not the problem; the problem is all of the scenes in Pulp that could make the list that aren't going to. This, however, is probably amongst the most beloved and oft-quoted that their is...but not enough to top my list.
2. "You're a cantaloupe!" (True Romance)
Two acting heavyweights, going toe-to-toe with life on the line. Notice that theme popping up again? We all knew how this scene was going to end, but Tarantino took us to places surprising and hilarious first.
1. Jack Rabbit Slims (Pulp Fiction)
You might be saying "What?!?!" It's true, compared to the adrenaline scene or perhaps the finale in the diner or Bruce and Marsellus' trip to the L.A. underground, this is a subdued scene that really does little to move the plot forward. But this was the moment in the film that took it to another level in terms of pop culture, imbibing it with a timelessness and kitsch factor that set it apart from every other mobster movie out there. If I had to pinpoint the moment that I fell head over heels in love with Pulp, this was it.