If Quentin Tarantino doesn’t somehow pull himself out of that half-smirking, half-reverential, “you’re sitting in a theatre seat and watching one of my movies, okay?” routine…that revisiting-and-reanimating-’70s-grindhouse pit that he’s dug himself into with Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained…he is going to be so lodged inside his own rectum that he’ll never escape from it. He may have already reached that point.
At the very least least Tarantino needs to think about adapting and interpreting the works of others (a la Jackie Brown) on an every-other-film basis in order to flush out the pipes and — brazen concept here! — swim laps in a reality pool that he didn’t create.
Because with Django I’ve gotten to the point (and I may be a kind of canary-in-the-coal-mine as I sometimes explore or uncover perception and attitude realms that have not been widely shared) that I am actively dreading the next film that Tarantino pulls out of his ass because I know exactly what it will be, how it will sound, the names of the all-but-out-of-work actors he’ll probably use in co-starring roles and how it will probably end and so forth.
He’ll never be able to reconstitute himself as he was 20-odd years ago, shooting his wad with three blasts — Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Pulp Fiction — plus that Avary-penned Sleep With Me riff about the gay subtext of Top Gun plus his subsequent rewrite work on Crimson Tide and all that…those days are gone. So the only way out of this “these are the kind of movies I loved when I worked at Video Archives” hole is adapting a book or a screenplay-by-someone-else every other film. Because to me, his ass-realm is starting to become toxic.
Which is why I find it mildly interesting that he derided the process of adapting and the work of David Fincher in particular on a Charlie Rose show three years ago, to wit:
“One of the most talented filmmakers of my generation is David Fincher,” QT said, “but he’s not in the same category as me because I’m a writer director…that makes it a different thing. Writer-directors come out and there’s a real voice there, but it’s hard work to go that blank piece of paper and start from square one, start from scratch, every single solitary time…everything you’ve done before not only does not help you but it can even hang over your head. That is a tough row to hoe. And you make less movies that way.
“It’s a lot easier to go and look at the scripts that are out there and available and work with a writer and do a little rewrite and do that kind of thing, and you get more movies made. But cut to five or six years down the line and where’s that voice? It’s gone away. To me, the glory in what I do is that it starts with a blank piece of paper. If my mother hadn’t met my father there would be no Inglourious Basterds.”
He really needs to divorce himself from the idea that Inglourious Basterds was some kind of great film. The delusion! At best it was a sadistic genre wank, a “look at me do my own version of a shitty movie” exercise, a lazy holding-pattern thing.
That said, Tarantino talks a great game. Always has, always will. A better gift-of-film-gab man than a filmmaker, as things currently stand.