While Quentin Tarantino is spending the fall cementing his love of film over digital with the 70mm release of “The Hateful Eight,” and uh, watching VHS tapes over streaming on Netflix, the director has also spent his press time throwing shade. He stated that David Robert Mitchell‘s “It Follows” was good but not great, and that he was bored by the first season of “True Detective,” not even making it past the first episode. And while Tarantino is entitled to his opinion, he’s starting to tread a fine line between commenting on the state of American cinema, and kind of being a jerk. And he veers towards the latter in a recent interview with The New York Times Style Magazine.
Chatting it up with Bret Easton Ellis, the duo cover a lot of ground in the piece, but Tarantino’s comments on Ava DuVernay‘s “Selma” are certainly going to raise the most eyebrows. “She did a really good job on ‘Selma’ but ‘Selma’ deserved an Emmy,” he said, diminishing the accomplishment of the critically acclaimed film. Tarantino goes on to promote the notion that any talk about race and cinema must involve his own movies, such as the recent “Django Unchained,” and the upcoming “The Hateful Eight” which, he has already stated, will resonate deeply on those themes.
“If you’ve made money being a critic in black culture in the last 20 years you have to deal with me,” the director said. “You must have an opinion of me. You must deal with what I’m saying and deal with the consequences.”
And when he’s not ensuring he’s part of the critical conversation about the big issues in cinema, he’s lamenting the victories he should have had, such as the Best Original Screenplay for “Inglorious Basterds,” which he lost to Mark Boal for “The Hurt Locker.”
“It bugged me that Mark Boal won Best Screenplay for that movie,’’ Tarantino admits. “The Kathryn Bigelow thing — I got it. Look, it was exciting that a woman had made such a good war film, and it was the first movie about the Iraq War that said something. And it wasn’t like I lost to something dreadful. It’s not like ‘E.T.’ losing to ‘Gandhi.’ ”
The entire piece is a worth reading with Tarantino also opining on his fellow filmmakers David Fincher (“Even when I don’t like his movies I walk around thinking about them for a week or so”), Wes Anderson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is the first picture by the director he likes) and Judd Apatow (who he thinks is getting “better and better”).
However, it’s only a matter of time until some of those very same folks Tarantino calls out start to strike back or, in the case of Cate Blanchett, shrug it off. Earlier this year, Tarantino lamented that contemporary Oscar movies don’t have staying power. “Half of these Cate Blanchett movies — they’re all just like these arty things. I’m not saying they’re bad movies, but I don’t think most of them have a shelf life,” he said.
Asked about the comments by Vulture, the actress took it stride. “Well, he’s entitled to his opinion. It’s like horses for courses, not everyone’s gonna like what you do. Was it Louis Malle who said, ‘It takes as much effort to make a bad film as it does to make a good film’? That’s just his opinion. I guess.”
“The Hateful Eight” opens on Christmas Day, with surely more condescending statements to come.