Quentin Tarantino talks other directors, black critics, and pushing buttons
Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to controversy. In fact, he seems to invite it, even revel in it to an extent. But, more than that, he's a filmmaker that has always remained true to his voice, regardless of critical backlash. In sum, he speaks his mind, which some can appreciate, some can be offended by, and some can just grab some popcorn and watch the fireworks go off. In a new interview with the New York Times (conducted by none other than Bret Easton Ellis), Tarantino drops his opinions on some of his well-regarded peers' work, addresses the backlash of black critics to his work, especially DJANGO UNCHAINED, and gives his thoughts on whether or not Ava DuVernay was snubbed at the Oscars for SELMA. He makes some valid points, although I'm sure he'll still catch some hell over his comments regardless. Something tells me he won't really give a shit.
Tarantino on his fellow auteur's work:
"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 not really my thing, but I kind of loved it. The fact that I wasn’t a die-hard fan before made me even more happy that I could finally embrace him.’’ Judd Apatow? ‘‘His audience is getting smaller and smaller but I think he’s getting better and better.’’
Tarantino on Ava DuVerney's supposed "snub" at the Oscars for SELMA:
‘‘She did a really good job on ‘Selma’ but ‘Selma’ deserved an Emmy.’’
On black critics, being a white writer, and the backlash for DJANGO UNCHAINED:
‘‘If you’ve made money being a critic in black culture in the last 20 years you have to deal with me. You must have an opinion of me. You must deal with what I’m saying and deal with the consequences.’’ He pauses, considers. ‘‘If you sift through the criticism,’’ he says, ‘‘you’ll see it’s pretty evenly divided between pros and cons. But when the black critics came out with savage think pieces about ‘Django,’ I couldn’t have cared less. If people don’t like my movies, they don’t like my movies, and if they don’t get it, it doesn’t matter. The bad taste that was left in my mouth had to do with this: It’s been a long time since the subject of a writer’s skin was mentioned as often as mine. You wouldn’t think the color of a writer’s skin should have any effect on the words themselves. In a lot of the more ugly pieces my motives were really brought to bear in the most negative way. It’s like I’m some supervillain coming up with this stuff.’’ But Tarantino is an optimist: ‘‘This is the best time to push buttons,’’ he says a few minutes later. ‘‘This is the best time to get out there because there actually is a genuine platform. Now it’s being talked about.’’
I think one of the most admirable things about Tarantino is that he doesn't shy away from addressing the kind of things that most folks give a "no comment" to. In many ways his hand has been forced by the boldness of the material he produces (love it or hate it, it's not standard fare by any means), but I'm glad that he sticks to his guns and has managed to do so throughout his career thus far. What do you guys, think? Is Tarantino in the right to speak up on these things or do you think it would be better for him to remain mum?
Tarantino's next, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, starts screening in 70mm on Christmas Day and expands wide on January 8, 2016.
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