It's Hard To Argue With Quentin Tarantino's Pick For His Favorite Needle Drop

Ever since he scored the severing of a cop's ear to Stealers Wheel's kitsch-folk classic "Stuck in the Middle with You," Quentin Tarantino has been rightly considered a master of the needle-drop cue. He's bolstered this reputation over the last 30 years with his brilliant, often counterintuitive selections for everything from "Pulp Fiction" to "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood." He's introduced viewers to obscure tracks like Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich's "Hold Tight!" in "Death Proof," and imbued stirring new life into radio mainstays like Jim Croce's "I Got a Name."

We all have our favorite Tarantino needle drops, and there's not a wrong answer (unless it's his bizarre misappropriation of Pino Donaggio's "Sally and Jack" cue from Brian De Palma's "Blow Out"). So it's worth wondering: What's Tarantino's top track?

Battle without honor and humanity, but with Shrek

The answer isn't as surprising as the rationale. Tomoyasu Hotei's thumping track for "New Battles Without Honor and Humanity" (a ho-hum remake of Kinji Fukasaku's classic "Battle Without Honor and Humanity") rocketed to the top of every cinephile's playlist when Tarantino attached it to the 2002 teaser for "Kill Bill" (prior to the film's Harvey Weinstein-mandated halving in 2003). In the film, it jolts the audience from the sword-making lull of Okinawa and gets them ready for an all-time showdown at the House of Blue Leaves. That in and of itself is reason enough to call it the one of the best cues in a Tarantino movie. But Tarantino favors it because, well, they used it in the second Shrek sequel.

In an interview with BBC Radio, Tarantino said:

"The Japanese artist Tomoyasu Hotei, who did the theme for 'Battles Without Honor and Humanity' that we use as sort of Oren's theme as she comes into the House of Blue Leaves with her entourage ... the fact that it's become the 'Kill Bill' theme, or it's people walking in slow-motion, badass badassery is almost the theme to it. Like, they used it in 'Team America' for when the team gets together, or when they use it for 'Shrek 3' and all the Disney Princesses get together and they play the 'Battles Without Honor and Humanity' theme as they walk triumphantly, they kick everybody's ass. Oh my god, I cannot believe that this is passed on into 'Shrek' and marionettes."

Priming the pump for the next generation of movie buffs

To be fair, we'd all be insanely proud of ourselves if any piece of our art burrowed into the pop cultural consciousness to such a profound degree, but this feels a bit like Steven Spielberg crowing that the first Tripod attack from "War of the Worlds" got parodied in "Scary Movie IV." Then again, it is awfully amusing that "Shrek the Third" might be some kid's gateway drug to "Kill Bill" and a whole mess of cinema that'll warp their brain. Tarantino's got a right to be tickled. I grew up watching "Casablanca" references in "Looney Tunes" cartoons long before I watched and fell in love with "Casablanca." If the next "Minions" movie features Vanilla Fudge's cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On," maybe there's long-term hope for humankind.