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Quentin Tarantino Stirs the Pot...


RMeingast
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Read news item yesterday about some things Quentin Tarantino had to say about not wanting to become an "old-man film-maker" and so wants to retire after making his 10th movie.

His comments stir the pot up with film geeks, if nobody else, and are very debatable.

 

Apparently, he's looking ahead at how he'll be perceived by future film geeks and historians, fans, etc., and has said:

 

"I just don't want to be an old-man filmmaker … Directors don't get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f***s up three good ones."

 

The original interview was done for "Playboy" but I read about it elsewhere (I'm not going to provide a link to the original interview as many find the magazine offensive)...

 

Here's an article about it from "The Guardian" (quote above from this article):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/nov/16/quentin-tarantino-hints-retirement

 

Anyway, what Tarantino had to say about older directors making 4 crap movies at the end of their careers (or just bad movies period, no matter the number) is definitely debatable.

It's also debatable about whether all of Tarantino's films to date are "good" ones.

He seems to be assuming he hasn't made any "bad" ones, yet...

 

But those comments of Tarantino's immediately made me think of Alfred Hitchcock's last British film: "Frenzy": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frenzy

 

(His final American film was made in 1976, "Family Plot":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Plot

(So "Frenzy" was his second-to-last film) BTW, can't remember if I've seen "Family Plot"?).

 

I like "Frenzy" (as did most critics who regard it as his last great film, reviews here:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/frenzy/) and so it's definitely one example that rebuts Tarantino's "old-man film-maker making crap at end of career" argument... Tarantino'll be lucky if he can make a film like that at the end of his career, IMHO...

 

Seen "Frenzy" a few times on TVO's "SNAM." Not sure but think it aired on TCM about 4 years ago??

 

Anyway, Hitchcock was able to get away with some stuff in 1972 that you won't see in any of his previous films as for example, there's nudity. It also has some very disturbing and gruesome scenes.

Again stuff he could do in 1972 that you won't see in any prior films.

But it certainly is suspenseful and there are some neat plot twists...

 

So there you go, and I'm sure there are other examples that disprove what Tarantino had to say...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It would have been nice if he could have cited some examples. But he could have a point. Stanley Kramer for example, used to be the hottest thing on toast. For many years, it seemed he could do no wrong. But the last film of his I saw was some turkey in which Dick Van Dyke played a priest who had a love affair with a nun. Not exactly his best effort.

 

 

I'm sure that a lot of the industry's better directors reached the ends of their careers at a time when movie making took a far different path than they were used to working on, and couldn't keep up with changing trends and tastes and this is what Tarrantino could be referring to.

 

 

But yeah, if he gave some examples we'd be in a better position to make further comment.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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> {quote:title=Sepiatone wrote:}{quote}

> It would have been nice if he could have cited some examples. But he could have a point. Stanley Kramer for example, used to be the hottest thing on toast. For many years, it seemed he could do no wrong. But the last film of his I saw was some turkey in which Dick Van Dyke played a priest who had a love affair with a nun. Not exactly his best effort.

>

> I'm sure that a lot of the industry's better directors reached the ends of their careers at a time when movie making took a far different path than they were used to working on, and couldn't keep up with changing trends and tastes and this is what Tarrantino could be referring to.

>

>

> But yeah, if he gave some examples we'd be in a better position to make further comment.

>

>

> Sepiatone

 

Yes, true what you write above Sepia, and that's what he's referring to about older directors being out of touch, if you read the original interview ...

 

Just that Tarantino generalized and that's always not a good thing. He's a film geek himself, after all, and should know better...

Plus, I didn't read the original interview and was only going by what was quoted in another article...

 

Here's what he said:

 

"Directors don't get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f***s up three good ones."

 

The above quote from an article in "The Guardian" quoting from his "Playboy" interview:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/nov/16/quentin-tarantino-hints-retirement

 

I suppose, if you're old enough, you can read the original interview here:

http://www.playboy.com/playground/view/interview-quentin-tarantino?page=4

 

This is what he says in the original interview:

"Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f***s up three good ones. I don’t want that bad out-of-touch comedy in my filmography, the movie that makes people think, Oh man, he still thinks it’s 20 years ago. When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty."

 

So, yes, there are examples to support what he says, BUT there are many examples to rebut what he says too... Guess the explanation in the original interview lets him off the hook some...

 

One good thing about Hitchcock's "Frenzy" is that it is very modern (for 1972) and you are surprised (but in a good way) that this is a Hitchcock film, considering some of the stuff that's in it (I'm not giving any explicit examples but there is some pretty black humour involving a corpse in the back of a truck, as just one).

 

Anyway, I posted this because you could argue about what Tarantino said until Hibi's cows came home...

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As you noted, this definitely shows Tarantino's ego. However, there's an interesting point here: directing is a very hard job, physically, mentally, and emotionally. The last films of a director are usually not the best ones. John Huston did indeed end his career well. Although you can make a case for FRENZY, I don't like it; for me, Hitchcock as a top director ends with THE BIRDS. Not many people think SEVEN WOMEN as good as THE SEARCHERS or RIO LOBO as good as RED RIVER.

 

 

Most artists in any art form produce their best work in the space of 10-20 years. For instance, Wordsworth wrote a lot of poems, but most of the ones we value the most were written within a decade or so. The man outlived the poet by many years.

 

 

As for Tarantino, nothing would enhance his reputation more than making half a dozen outstanding films. All reputations go up and down, and there's not much to be done about that.

 

 

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> {quote:title=kingrat wrote:}{quote}

> As you noted, this definitely shows Tarantino's ego. However, there's an interesting point here: directing is a very hard job, physically, mentally, and emotionally. The last films of a director are usually not the best ones. John Huston did indeed end his career well. Although you can make a case for FRENZY, I don't like it; for me, Hitchcock as a top director ends with THE BIRDS. Not many people think SEVEN WOMEN as good as THE SEARCHERS or RIO LOBO as good as RED RIVER.

>

> Most artists in any art form produce their best work in the space of 10-20 years. For instance, Wordsworth wrote a lot of poems, but most of the ones we value the most were written within a decade or so. The man outlived the poet by many years.

>

>

> As for Tarantino, nothing would enhance his reputation more than making half a dozen outstanding films. All reputations go up and down, and there's not much to be done about that.

>

 

Yes, what he said is debatable (or to discuss it, at least)... You could discuss it until Hibi's cows come home...

Didn't help that article I read didn't provide full quote from the original interview 'tho.

And yes, it's hard top keep quality output up for any artist, but there are so many factors involved with that. I don't know?

Terrence Mallick, for example, has only directed 6 films over the past 40 years... There was a 20 years break between "Days of Heaven" and "The Thin Red Line," for example. They're both good films.

33 years between "Days of Heaven" and "The Tree of Life."

Some people might like "Days of Heaven" better than "The Tree of Life" or vice versa.

You could just argue endlessly about it...

 

But I understand after reading the full quote from the original interview that Tarantino meant he doesn't want to become a joke

('tho you could argue he already has with some of his films)...

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> {quote:title=TopBilled wrote:}{quote}He's probably referencing Alfred Hitchcock and Clint Eastwood, who had spotty track records with their final releases.

 

I have no idea? He could mean somebody like John Carpenter, for example.

 

AMC aired Carpenter's "Ghosts of Mars" I don't know how many times during their Halloween schedule in October: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghosts_of_Mars

 

Carpenter started out with films like "Assault on Precinct Thirteen," "Halloween," and "Escape from New York," among others and has arguably gone down the tubes since then (with all due respect to Mr. Carpenter)...

 

Maybe George Romero is another he was thinking of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_A._Romero

 

'Tho probably not, as Tarantino thinks George Romero is a genius...

(That probably tells you a lot about Tarantino right there...)

 

Anyway, just FYI for users as I read a news item yesterday quoting Mr. Tarantino...

 

As for Hitchcock, I know "Frenzy" was/is well-regarded by critics: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/frenzy/#top-critics-numbers

 

but "Marnie" (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/marnie/), "Torn Curtain" (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/torn_curtain/), and "Topaz" (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/topaz/) had mixed reviews, with "Torn Curtain" having the worst reviews of the lot, so he could've been referring to Hitch too...

Don't think I've seen Hitchcock's last American film, "Family Plot," but critics Roger Ebert and Vincent Canby liked it: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/family_plot/

 

Anyway, who knows?? Tarantino didn't name names... He just said directors who get old and are out of touch... But he did refer to an "out-of-touch comedy":

 

"I don’t want that bad out-of-touch comedy in my filmography, the movie that makes people think, Oh man, he still thinks it’s 20 years ago. When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty."

 

Maybe Woody Allen he's referring to?? Mel Brooks??? (Nah, couldn't be them. How's that for not offending any fans of Allen and Brooks...)

 

Oh well...

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> {quote:title=RMeingast wrote:}{quote}

> But those comments of Tarantino's immediately made me think of Alfred Hitchcock's last British film: "Frenzy": (His final American film was made in 1976, "Family Plot":

 

I feel that *Family Plot* qualifies as four bad movies by its own self because most movies are bad in only two or three ways but it is bad in nearly a dozen ways.

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A film critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the LA Weekly, The Detroit Free Press, and The New York Times.[

In the late 1980s, Mitchell was part of a short-lived PBS show called The Edge.[citation needed] On the series, he provided film commentary and general criticism. In one segment, Mitchell offered a quick run-down of all of director Oliver Stone's tropes, including "always keep that camera moving," which he said while moving a camcorder over a model of a Vietnamese jungle and prison camp set up on a table.

Mitchell produced The Black List in 2008, with director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, a documentary film about race, culture and the seeds of success. The film includes Toni Morrison, Chris Rock and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among others. A follow-up film, The Black List Part 2, was filmed in the same style with director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. The second film features Angela Davis, Tyler Perry and RZA.

Since 1996, Mitchell has been the host of Santa Monica, California, public radio station KCRW's pop culture and film interview program The Treatment, which is nationally distributed and podcast. He served for a number of years as a pop culture commentator for Weekend Edition on NPR. In 2008, Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence began airing on Turner Classic Movies. On the program Mitchell interviews actors and directors about their favorite classic films.

Elvis Mitchell is featured in the 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism discussing how he was championed as a young writer by Pauline Kael, and the impact on him as an adolescent of the Herschell Gordon Lewis film, Two Thousand Maniacs!.[3]

On September 10, 2010, famed film critic Roger Ebert announced that he is returning to television on a movie review show that he is producing for public television. He also announced that Mitchell along with film critic Christy Lemire of The Associated Press will be featured on the new program reviewing the new films released. [4] On December 14, 2010, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Mitchell would not be appearing on the new show.[5] In January 2011 it was announced that Mitchell had joined the Movieline as chief film critic, along with Stephanie Zacharek.[6] Penske Media Corp has terminated Elvis Mitchell after more than 3 months as Movieline.com's chief film critic. [7]

Mitchell has been hired by the LACMA in partnership with Film Independent as curator of a new film series, Film Independent at LACMA.

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finance wrote: It has run quite often, and I think that FRENZY is Hitchcock's best post-PSYCHO film.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Absolutely, finance. That film goes back to his "English roots", and is sort of a throwback to his pre-Hollywood somewhat overly-indulged, though admittedly still entertaining big-budgeted films.

 

I've always kind of felt it was sort of an homage to his early works such as The Lodger.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}Thanks for the information, but he still doesn't impress me. In the universe of Elvises, I'm more impressed by Presley and Costello.

>

> Edited by: finance on Nov 20, 2012 9:31 AM

 

Of course you have the right to your opinion, but I disagree strongly. He's probably my favorite reviewer. He clearly loves movies, he knows his stuff, and doesn't have a mean-spirited bone in his body.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}I saw him talking to Elvis Mitchell.........Who does Elvis Mitchell know? What justifies his interviews to be shown so frequently on TCM? They're not even classic-film-oriented. I'm at a loss.

 

 

Who has he interviewed that's been aired on TCM?

Just curious... (I often don't watch/miss the intros and other stuff...)

 

More about Mitchell here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_Mitchell

 

Seems he's sorta like Tarantino in style himself, according to the Wiki article above:

 

"In his reviews, Mitchell takes on a freewheeling, somewhat stream of consciousness approach, and threads a good deal of intertextuality into his work by referencing other films."

 

As for Tarantino, yes, things seem to pop out of his head in his speaking style, when I think about it, so that probably explains his directors comment.

Much ado about nada, I guess...

But from now on, whenever I do something like that - throw something out there on the spur of the moment with little backing evidence - I'm going to say I just did a "Tarantino" for when people call me on it and I have to backtrack...

"Ooops, I just did a "Tarantino." Sorry about that..."

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I agree with you. I hated Pulp Fiction. I think to those of us, particularly on this board, who know the real deal -- Pulp Fiction was a poor imitation. Regarding older filmmakers, as someone pointed out, John Huston's last film was The Dead, which is IMHO his best film, and a perfect coda to his career.

 

 

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Well, young master Tarantino is just shy of 50, so he will likely have many

years left to make movies. To me he already has an impressive resume.

Whether the coming years will add to or subtract from it will be interesting

to see.

 

Frenzy is not a bad credit to have as one of your last movies. It's a bit of a

summing up of many Hitchcock themes with the extra permissiveness available

in the early 1970s, which the old boy kept fairly restrained anyway.

 

 

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