Few people are as qualified to opinionatedly discuss the future of cinema as Quentin Tarantino, a creative force so unique upon its crashing arrival in 1992 with Reservoir Dogs that he single-handedly reinvented the entire industry. With his latest canon entry The Hateful Eight arriving in December, Tarantino recently spoke to Vulture with his usual refreshing candidness regarding the film's cultural importance and the future of cinema as a viable medium for artistic bravery.
When asked about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas's collective pessimism surrounding so-called "tentpole" filmmaking, a franchise-centered approach of which both directors are clearly a part, Tarantino takes issue with the assertion that this is a seemingly new problem, or even a problem at all:
Tarantino: My pessimism isn’t about franchise filmmaking. That’s been going on since I was born. You can talk about Transformers now, but you could talk about the Planet of the Apes movies and James Bond when I was a little kid — and I couldn’t wait to see those. Actually, when we’re done here, I’m going to go see Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I don’t know why Spielberg and Lucas would be complaining about movies like that. They don’t have to direct them.
Some of their worry was for the smaller movies that are being crowded out of theaters by blockbusters.
Tarantino: People say that every six years. We all agree that the ’70s — or the ’30s, depending on what you feel — is probably the greatest decade in cinema history, as far as Hollywood cinema is concerned. I think the ’90s is right up there. But people said what Spielberg is saying all through the ’90s, and they said it all through the ’70s.
Tarantino also directly criticizes The Matrix Reloaded, which he deemed as "the last time" he felt competitive. "That was the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads," Tarantino says of the Kill Bill era. "I saw Matrix Reloaded at the Chinese Theatre the day it opened, and I walked out of the cinema singing that Jay Z song: 'S-dot-Carter / Y’all must try harder / Competition is nada.' I was like, 'Bring it the fuck on.' I was worried about that? Ho-ly shit." He also takes issue with The Town, a film he otherwise liked aside from all the annoying attractive people:
Everybody in The Town is beyond gorgeous. Ben Affleck is the one who gets away with it, because his Boston accent is so good. But the crook is absolutely gorgeous. The bank teller is absolutely gorgeous. The FBI guy is absolutely gorgeous. The town whore, Blake Lively, is absolutely gorgeous. Jeremy Renner is the least gorgeous guy, and he’s pretty fucking good-looking. Then, if you look at The Fighter,and you look at those sisters, they’re just so magnificent. When you see David O. Russell cast those sisters,and you see Ben Affleck cast Blake Lively, you can’t compare the two movies. One just shows how phony the other is.
As for the filmmaking that most excites him these days (aside from HBO's Aaron Sorkin vehicle The Newsroom), Tarantino is quick to reference mumblecore as a source of concentrated interest ("I was curious and watched Baghead, and I thought it was really good") and even quicker to discount supposed indie films like The Kids Are All Right as victims of extremely short shelf lives:
They’re the mid-budget movies now, they just have bigger stars and bigger budgets. They’re good, but I don’t know if they have the staying power that some of the movies of the ’90s and the ’70s did. I don’t know if we’re going to be talking about The Town or The Kids Are All Right or An Education 20 or 30 years from now. Notes on a Scandal is another one. Philomena. 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. But The Fighter or American Hustle — those will be watched in 30 years.
Addressing his repeated assertion that he plans to retire after releasing his tenth film (The Hateful Eight will serendipitously be his eighth), Tarantino stands by his plan. However, the possibility of another Kill Bill installment isn't totally hopeless:
Tarantino: I don’t think I’m going to do Killer Crow anymore, but that’s the only one that could possibly be done.
Is Kill Bill 3 also off the table?
Tarantino: No, it’s not off the table, but we’ll see.
The entire novella of an interview is well worth a thorough reading or two, particularly his outright dismissal of another HBO-bred source of critical contention, True Detective:
I tried to watch the first episode of season one, and I didn’t get into it at all. I thought it was really boring. And season two looks awful. Just the trailer — all these handsome actors trying to not be handsome and walking around looking like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. It’s so serious, and they’re so tortured, trying to look miserable with their mustaches and grungy clothes.
The Hateful Eight significantly improves the American holiday season on December 25.