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Tues Top Ten: Tarantino's Toes

A dark Cinderella moment in "Inglourious Basterds"Denny, back again after dancing to Chicago this weekend. When Nathaniel was looking for suggestions to kick off Tarantino Week, I immediately suggested a piece (or pieces) called "Tarantino’s Toes," in honor of his position as the world’s foremost foot fetishist. I was half-joking, but the alliteration was simply too much to walk away from. Little did I know what I was getting myself into. How does one even begin to rank the many, many feet Tarantino has filmed? Does one go by the height of the arch? The length? The width?

… Sorry. I just had to run to the sink. I’m better now.

Actually, on re-watch, I found that, while they aren’t always plot devices, Tarantino does actually use feet to illuminate his themes and charact… Sorry. I just can’t take this seriously. We’re talking about FEET for frak’s sake! To wit, being as non-pervy as I possibly can, my completely arbitrary list of...

Tarantino’s Top Ten Toes

Honorable MentionMia’s foot massage in Pulp Fiction
We don’t actually see it onscreen, so I didn’t consider it eligible, but Jules’s monologue about the ultimately deadly foot massage that “Tony Rocky Horror” gave to Mia Wallace is pretty killer. That, according to Mia, the foot massage never even happened makes it even more intriguing.

10 O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill, Vol. 1
They’re only glimpsed for a split second, but the sight of Lucy Liu’s O-Ren running down a table just before slicing off the head of the one member of the crime council who dissents to her new leadership in one swift, clean cut, is one of the film’s best surprises. And on repeat views, it only gets funnier.

more little piggies after the jump

09 Esmarelda Villalobos in Pulp Fiction
Angela Jones may have extremely limited screentime, and Esmarelda is probably too much of an enigma for her own good, but she drives barefoot, and that automatically makes her awesome. It’s little details like that which make you want to know a character better, even as it tells you so much about them.

08 Abernathy in Death Proof
If it’s good enough for Stuntman Mike, it’s good enough for me!

07 & 06  Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction
One of the most iconic scenes not just in Tarantino’s oeuvre, but in all of cinema. I’m sure much has been written about Uma Thurman and John Travolta twisting away to “You Never Can Tell” at Jackrabbit Silm’s, but I’m just here for the feet (this time). And what they do with those feet is pretty magical.

However, points are deducted for not having a true close-up and for Vega’s socks – apparently, Tarantino is not an equal-opportunity foot fetishist.

05 Melanie in Jackie Brown
Pure aesthetics for this one. Bridget Fonda really does have a nice pair of feet. And this shot is so well-composed (Hit Me With Your Best Shot, anyone?).

04 The Bride in Kill Bill, Vol. 2
For the sheer shock/ick factor of seeing poor Elle Driver’s eyeball squiching through Beatrix’s dirty toes. One of the more fascinatingly revolting images in Tarantino’s filmography.

03  Jungle Julia in Death Proof
Sidney Tamiia Poitier is scorching hot in Death Proof (and she looks pretty great, too). I wish she would get more/better work, because if this is any indication, she’s capable of greatness. Obviously, given the way the camera lovingly caresses her feet in just about every other scene, Quentin thought so too, and she reciprocated beautifully.

02 Bridget von Hammersmark, Inglorious Basterds
Because only a true movie star would have her foot cast in a high-heeled shoe. Bonus points for being part of one of the great hold-your-breath moments in Basterds when Bridget (Diane Kruger) is confronted by Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). If the shoe fits...

01 The Bride in Kill Bill, Vol. 1

Wiggle your big toe.”

Could it be any other at number one? Uma's is not only a nice toe, it’s the most narratively important toe in Tarantino’s filmography, perhaps even in the world’s filmography. I also love how the pink nail polish looks like it’s chipping away – it perfectly captures where Beatrix Kiddo has been, where she is, and where she’s going.

Would you wiggle the order about? Would you wear a cast with your high heels?
Do you recall anything in Django Unchained or Reservoir Dogs that deserves a place herein?

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Reader Comments (12)

Well I have been reading this site/blog since 2000 and I've been lurking for years. But I have to say Uma's toes in "Kill Bill Vol. 1" are my fave. That is all.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commentervenus1996

I might go with von Hammersmark for the win, if only because that shot of the high-heeled cast is the most sublimely ridiculous thing I've seen in years.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe K

venus1996 -- thanks for coming out of the shadows! agreed that Uma's toes are amaze.


like, Joe K, I also might go with Hammersmark for the win. Everything about her feet, the high heeled cast the missing shoe, all that tension and humor in those scenes. Ugh. just wonderful stuff. and so singular.

I forget who was saying it to me but Tarantino is a truly idiosyncratic filmmaker. That usually turns the mainstream off but when an artist can sell their personal eccentricities to the masses and get them celebrated, well... it's a rare gift.

March 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R






March 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

cal roth,

That was pretty much my reaction as I first started doing this. Then I just started laughing and haven't stopped since. For the record, the only one that actually makes me go EWWW is #4. For obvious reasons.

I must confess, Bridget was initially lower on the list and then worked her way up as I was writing it, probably because I always think about it as her leg. When I think of feet in Tarantino's films, the first thing that comes to mind is "Wiggle your big toe," followed by Jungle Julia's feet hanging out of the car window in Death Proof (QT's most underrated film, if you ask me). For me, that made it too iconic NOT to be #1, even though the scenes involving Miss von Hammersmark's feet are so great.

Also, Kill Bill Vol. 1 is my favorite Tarantino film, and Basterds my second favorite. So there.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

For some reason Kruger's high-heel cast made me think of Isabella Rosselini's prosthetic leg limbs of transparent glass full of beer from The Saddest Music in the World. Two lovely, glamorous foreign-born actresses in a mannered period piece playing characters with enough gumption to pull such a thing off.

Also, I really love Death Proof and Jackie Brown, more than Pulp Fiction even, which make it sound like I am consciously going against the more expected choices but I just think they are brilliant (as is Reservoir Dogs). I just like strong female characters and Kurt Russell (if geriaction as a subgenre does die its deserving death, I still want Kurt Russell to do the last one).

I feel like now I have to revisit Basterds that has fallen a bit for me in QT's oeuvre because to me it got some of the bad residue I had from Django Unchained as I kept on thinking in DU Tarantino never showed this much violence against the people centrally inflicted in the period in IB. But it was so well-acted and full of tension (though the third act resolutions remain ridiculous).

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

CMG: Are those movies "mannered" if characters like Von Hammersmark and Miss Rosselinni's bar owner exist in them? I mean, Assassins Creed isn't exactly a mannered period piece either.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Denny, it's very very very underrated. I love it. It's the best Almodóvar movie he never did. I love it, It's just women talking for 2 hours. I love how Tarantino loves to hear women talking to each other, how they are a fetish but still very human, funny and full of life. It's the most feminist movie since All About My Mother.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

cal, I'm not a huge Tarantino fan, so I haven't seen Death Proof. But I agree that in most of his films, most notably Jackie Brown, he really has the feminist viewpoint down in spectacular form. But I was pretty shocked how underdeveloped Kerry Washington's character was in Django Unchained. He really dropped the ball there. And to waste Kerry Washington--unforgivable.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Mannered in the way Guy Maddin movies are in a specific way. Tarantino, a very different fillmmaker, also has his own world and how the characters work in those worlds, how they act and how they speak, etc.

brookesboy- You would like Death Proof for the feminist viewpoint then. And yeah, I feel like Django Unchained was missing that, particularly from a woman of color, and it did not have to necessarily be Kerry Washington's character (who was such a Penelope) either.

March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Why does The Bride have painted toenails at all? Who was painting her toes when she was in a coma?

March 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

What about From Dusk till Dawn?Selma Hayak was hot in that movie!

August 11, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterronimal

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