Song of the Day #4,088: ‘Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)’ – The Delfonics

Concluding my countdown of the films of Quentin Tarantino:

#1 – Jackie Brown

1997’s Jackie Brown is the least Tarantino movie Quentin Tarantino has ever made, making it rather ironic that I consider it his best.

This is the only film Tarantino has adapted from existing material (the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch), though he changed the name and race of the title character in order to cast blaxploitation mainstay Pam Grier as his lead.

This period in the mid to late 90s was a goldmine for Elmore Leonard adaptations. Get Shorty came out in ’95 and Out of Sight in ’98, with Tarantino’s film sandwiched between them.

Of course, as a follow-up to Pulp Fiction, the movie wasn’t measured against those films but against its groundbreaking predecessor. And a character-driven dramedy with a straightforward plot and none of the cinematic pyrotechnics that made Pulp Fiction such a phenomenon was not what people expected.

I count myself among those who were initially disappointed in Jackie Brown. I wanted more snappy pop culture references, stylized gangsters, and chronological hopscotch. I wanted Pulp Fiction 2.

Looking back, it’s admirable that so early in his career, and following his game-changing breakthrough, Tarantino opted to make a low-key crime caper focused on characters more worried about aging and irrelevance than witty repartee. As Jackie Brown‘s reputation has grown in the two decades since its release, it has frequently been called his most mature film. And it took guts to make it when he did.

Today I’m in a very different headspace than I was at 25, and Jackie Brown feels like a warm, comfortable blanket. One with a shit-ton of f-bombs and a few cold-blooded murders, granted, but a warm, comfortable blanket nonetheless. It has an easy, sultry rhythm captured by today’s SOTD, a Delfonics tune that plays several times in the film.

It also has three of the best characters and performances in any Tarantino film. Grier is gorgeous and soulful as Jackie Brown, a flight attendant caught between the feds and the gangster using her to launder money. Robert Forster was Oscar-nominated for his turn as Max Cherry, a bail bondsman who falls for Jackie even though he knows she’s probably using him. Their relationship is the closest Tarantino has ever come to straight-up romance and he captures it beautifully.

And Samuel L. Jackson, so good in so many Tarantino films, has never been better than he is as Odell Robbie, a stone-cold killer whose insecurities and weakness make him all the more terrifying. He was nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Globes but missed the cut with the Academy (who, to this date, have nominated him only once, for Pulp Fiction).

In smaller parts, Michael Keaton winningly reprises his role as FBI agent Ray Nicolette from Out of Sight, Bridget Fonda has a ball as scheming beach bunny Melanie Ralston, and Robert DeNiro plays Robbie’s sidekick, Louis Gara, as a stoned and bewildered shell of an ex-con.

Such an amazing cast, and every one of these characters feels like a flesh-and-blood human being with a life outside the movie’s frame. Some of that credit surely goes to Leonard, but much of it goes to Tarantino for adapting these parts for the screen and directing these actors so well.

With all the gonzo, cracker-jack entertainments Tarantino has produced over the years, this modest, heartfelt character study is the movie I most want to experience again and again.

So there you have it… my favorite Tarantino films, from #10 to #1. Please feel free to offer up your own rankings in the comments. It’s a testament to Tarantino’s talent that I’ve read a lot of these lists over the past few weeks and no two are alike, but every one feels completely defensible.

I gave my heart
And soul to you, girl
Didn’t I do it, baby
Didn’t I do it, baby

Gave you a love
You never knew, girl, whoa
Didn’t I do it, baby
Didn’t I do it, baby

I tried so many times
And that’s no lie
It seems to make you laugh
Each time I try

Didn’t I blow your mind this time
Didn’t I (Oh, baby)
Didn’t I blow your mind this time (Baby)
Didn’t I (Listen)

I thought that heart
Of yours was true, girl
Now, didn’t I think it, baby
Didn’t I think it, baby

But this time
I’m really leavin’ you girl, whoa
Hope you know it, baby
Hope you know it, baby

Ten times or more
Yes, I’ve walk out the door
Get this into your head
There’ll be no more

Didn’t I blow your mind this time
Didn’t I (Oh, ho, ho, yeah, yeah)
Didn’t I blow your mind this time
Didn’t I

Didn’t I do it, baby
Didn’t I do it, baby
Didn’t I do it, baby
Didn’t I do it, baby

Ten times or more
Yes, I’ve walk out the door
Get this into your head
There’ll be no more

Didn’t I blow your mind this time
Didn’t I (Oh, baby, baby, baby)
Didn’t I blow your mind this time
Didn’t I (I got to leave you, baby) (Hey, baby)

Didn’t I blow your mind this time
Didn’t I (Oh’oh’oh’)
Didn’t I blow your mind this time
Didn’t I

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,088: ‘Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)’ – The Delfonics

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    As I said in comments for the last few posts, I am surprised to see this as your top pick, but your explanation makes sense. This is less about the film than about who you are, and what your tastes are now, compared to how were 25 years ago.

    Having only seen this movie once in the theater 22 years ago, I clearly owe it a second viewing.

    Though I would love to respond to your request, I don’t think I can fairly rank Tarantino’s films since there are some (or at least one) I haven’t seen and several I have only seen once years, sometimes decades, ago. I can probably, however, come up with a top 5, which would be:

    5. Kill Bill (combined, though, if I had to choose, I)
    4, inglorious Bastards
    3.Django Unchained
    2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    1. Pulp Fiction

  2. Peg says:

    Several months ago Dad and I came upon Jackie Brown while looking for something to watch on demand. It had been years since we had seen it. Somehow I had forgotten it was a Quentin Tarantino movie, but we are fans of Elmore Leonard’s books and movies. We thought it was wonderful and I feel deserving of the number one spot. However I may have put Once upon a time in first place 😊. This was a lot of fun.

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