My two favorite LIVING directors are probably Hayao Miyazaki and Quentin Tarantino (last year was a good year for me, ;D )…
For GENRE lovers, like I’d suspect SW fans are, I’d imagine KILL BILL v.1 and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS would be the bees knees (heck, 90% of the soundtracks are FROM SW films). But JACKIE BROWN is definitely Tarantino’s most understated, actor/plot based film (of course, it’s based on the novel “Rum Punch” by the great Western/Crime author, Elmore Leonard).
My off the cuff rankings…
Reservoir Dogs: 4 & 1/2 out of 5
Pulp Fiction: 5 out of 5
Jackie Brown: 4 out of 5
Kill Bill v.1: 4 & 1/2 out of 5
Kill Bill v.2: 5 out of 5
Death Proof: 4 out of 5
Inglourious Basterds: 4 & 1/2 out of 5
Yeah, I kinda like his films, lol.
My tastes in all forms of art leans towards the openly derivative. It’s like King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” I mean, to people with lots of cinema knowledge, I’m sure STAR WARS (the original) looked like a real hodge-podge of Kurosawa, Searchers, Wizard of Oz, etc., but it retains it’s individuality by being the only film at that time that combined all those specific elements. It’s the same with Quentin’s work. I saw INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS in a large theater, with a big age-range, but plenty of 20-30 year olds (later saw it when all the seniors saw it, what a blast!), and lemme tell ya, when Quentin introduces Hugo Stiglitz with a 70’s splash font and fuzz guitar and the Blaxploitation narration by Sam Jackson, we ALL laughed. But we laughed WITH Quentin, because we all instantly felt the “bad a$$” reputation before the first frame of his backstory was shown.
Homage isn’t for everyone, but I prefer an intentional awareness of what came before, than a pompous attempt to pretend your idea’s 100% original. The SW genre itself is derivative of past works and another culture’s experiences. “Pop Will Eat Itself”.
Of course, that having been said, Hayao Miyazaki’s work sure seems to just flow from the collective unconscious with little to no obvious pre-existing influences, lol.