The screen is black as some super-catchy music from the ’60s or ’70s begins to play. A conversation is underway. As the screen begins to brighten and a table appears, something seems different. It’s not a group discussing the merits of Madonna, or classically sweet rides, nor a night of drinks that leads to a Nazi or vampire massacre. In fact, these aren’t really human people at all. They’re animated folks talking about something family-friendly, free of f-bombs and easily quotable menace.

Could it work?

When you have visions of ‘Reservoir Dogs,’ ‘Death Proof,’ ‘Inglourious Basterds’ and ‘From Dusk Till Dawn,’ it might sound crazy, but is it time for Quentin Tarantino to dig into familial fare? Fresh into 2011, QT has offered up his Best-Of picks, and ‘Toy Story 3’ came out on top, with ‘Tangled’ ranking number five and ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ at number 17.

As a director who is the sum of his cinematic experiences, and now a director who has three animated features on his best list for last year, it looks like a genre change could be looming.

Think about it — Tarantino’s entire career trajectory is born from his passion for other films. They not only inspire him to make movies, but also to offer up recreations and homages. Every one of his features is overflowing with movie references. His fanaticism is the backbone that holds together diverse, cinematic strands as seen through his highly violent, foot fetishist point of view. It, therefore, stands to reason that a family-friendly film is a possibility. He loved three of them so much this year that they even beat ‘Somewhere,’ which courted him a little controversy at Venice. (Though to be fair, the Sofia Coppola-free list below also features ‘Jackass 3-D.’)

Yes, Quentin is the guy who said: “Sure, ‘Kill Bill’ is a violent movie. But it’s a Tarantino movie. You don’t go to see Metallica and ask the f**kers to turn the music down,” and it would be silly to request it of him. But his appreciation of ‘Toy Story,’ ‘Tangled’ and ‘Dragon’ certainly opens up the possibility — especially when ‘Up’ didn’t make his Top 8 of 2009.

If he could find a way to filter his point of view through some child-like whimsy, an animated feature would certainly have a chance, though it might mean hordes of miniature, G-rated QTettes running around.

Is it time for Quentin Tarantino to get into animated family fare?

Without further ado:

Quentin Tarantino’s Top 20 of 2010

1. Toy Story 3
2. The Social Network
3. Animal Kingdom
4. I Am Love
5. Tangled
6. True Grit
7. The Town
8. Greenberg
9. Cyrus
10. Enter the Void
11. Kick-Ass
12. Knight and Day
13. Get Him to the Greek
14. The Fighter
15. The King’s Speech
16. The Kids Are All Right
17. How to Train Your Dragon
18. Robin Hood
19. Amer
20. Jackass 3-D

[via The Playlist]