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Quentin Tarantino talks other directors, black critics, and pushing buttons

10.13.2015

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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Source: NY Times

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11:06AM on 10/14/2015
Tarantino is a rock 'n roll star. He knows and believes in what hes doing and isn't afraid to defend that to anyone.
can't W8 for the H8FUL 8
Tarantino is a rock 'n roll star. He knows and believes in what hes doing and isn't afraid to defend that to anyone.
can't W8 for the H8FUL 8
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10:45AM on 10/14/2015
Tarentino has apparently been given a free pass somewhere. Any other film maker would have been blackballed if his stuff offended that many people.
Tarentino has apparently been given a free pass somewhere. Any other film maker would have been blackballed if his stuff offended that many people.
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5:22AM on 10/14/2015
I think Tarantino makes a valid point here. I dont think that slavery was glorified in a positive way in Django ,so what is the problem? Why was he attacked for being a 'White' writer ? Is he not allowed to comment on that part of history?
I think Tarantino makes a valid point here. I dont think that slavery was glorified in a positive way in Django ,so what is the problem? Why was he attacked for being a 'White' writer ? Is he not allowed to comment on that part of history?
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11:48AM on 10/14/2015
Some of it was envy. Some of it was the fact that 12 Years a Slave hadn't come out yet, so slavery was still a taboo subject for a movie. Something similar happened when he made Inglorious Basterds and created a Nazi people could identify with. Since he's neither Jewish nor black, people can accuse him of being insensitive to those issues. And because he's Quentin Tarantino, and not, say, Steven Spielberg, he doubles down instead of apologizing for offending people. The wrong kind of critics
Some of it was envy. Some of it was the fact that 12 Years a Slave hadn't come out yet, so slavery was still a taboo subject for a movie. Something similar happened when he made Inglorious Basterds and created a Nazi people could identify with. Since he's neither Jewish nor black, people can accuse him of being insensitive to those issues. And because he's Quentin Tarantino, and not, say, Steven Spielberg, he doubles down instead of apologizing for offending people. The wrong kind of critics can have a field day with someone like him.
6:32PM on 10/13/2015
I do like Tarantino films but there is one thing I absolutely hate about him and that is his way of trying to make a point. He uses his movies to throw out some ridiculous points he has such as in Pulp Fiction. When He was being complemented on how good his coffee is and he has to make a point that he knows his coffee is good. If it wasn't good then he wouldn't be drinking it. Seriously!! I guess the guy doesn't like compliments. He does the same style of thing in every movie. Plus the
I do like Tarantino films but there is one thing I absolutely hate about him and that is his way of trying to make a point. He uses his movies to throw out some ridiculous points he has such as in Pulp Fiction. When He was being complemented on how good his coffee is and he has to make a point that he knows his coffee is good. If it wasn't good then he wouldn't be drinking it. Seriously!! I guess the guy doesn't like compliments. He does the same style of thing in every movie. Plus the picture above says it all. Cocky.
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11:29PM on 10/13/2015
Part of that is how awkward it is to watch the man act. If Samuel L. Jackson delivered the line about coffee, we'd still be quoting it to this day as a badass piece of writing. Instead, it's the line we try to forget about that movie.
Part of that is how awkward it is to watch the man act. If Samuel L. Jackson delivered the line about coffee, we'd still be quoting it to this day as a badass piece of writing. Instead, it's the line we try to forget about that movie.
5:43PM on 10/13/2015

There was a time when Freedom of Speech meant something

Now everyone has to be careful with their words in the oft chance they might get interpreted wrong. And on the flip side to that if you are a critic then writing pieces like the ones on Django are going to get a lot of internet hits. We need to stop living our lives based on the reaction and opinions of others. We all have free speech and free thought, its time we start making our own opinions.
Now everyone has to be careful with their words in the oft chance they might get interpreted wrong. And on the flip side to that if you are a critic then writing pieces like the ones on Django are going to get a lot of internet hits. We need to stop living our lives based on the reaction and opinions of others. We all have free speech and free thought, its time we start making our own opinions.
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11:26PM on 10/13/2015
What you describe there IS freedom of speech. We can say anything we want about anyone or anything and we will hurt their feelings, but it's within our rights to say it. Now, a privately held company, be it a movie studio or Twitter, has the right to censor material according to their opinion. But Tarantino has always been a button-pusher going back to Reservoir Dogs, so he's used to people complaining about his movies.
What you describe there IS freedom of speech. We can say anything we want about anyone or anything and we will hurt their feelings, but it's within our rights to say it. Now, a privately held company, be it a movie studio or Twitter, has the right to censor material according to their opinion. But Tarantino has always been a button-pusher going back to Reservoir Dogs, so he's used to people complaining about his movies.
3:26PM on 10/14/2015
Being an unfiltered a'hole is not freedom of speech. And all "freedom of speech" does is keep the government from harassing you, it offers no protections from the public response to your words.
Being an unfiltered a'hole is not freedom of speech. And all "freedom of speech" does is keep the government from harassing you, it offers no protections from the public response to your words.
4:36PM on 10/13/2015
Henry Rollins handled something like this the best. An independent comic was published that has henry and glen danzig as a gay couple, at almost every appearance henry has done fans bring this book and he signs it and never bad mouths it. Why? Henry says he doesn't like it in the least but he respects it's right to exist as it is an artist work. Class act that Mr. Rollins.
Henry Rollins handled something like this the best. An independent comic was published that has henry and glen danzig as a gay couple, at almost every appearance henry has done fans bring this book and he signs it and never bad mouths it. Why? Henry says he doesn't like it in the least but he respects it's right to exist as it is an artist work. Class act that Mr. Rollins.
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3:55PM on 10/13/2015

He has the right to express himself

At least he has the balls to say what's on his mind. His work has grown and arguably gotten better as he has gotten older. I think many black critics were actually being racist by asserting that a white writer shouldn't portray a black voice when in fact he does it better than many black writers. It's not that they're not talented, it's just that he's more talented, and is one of the most talented filmmakers in the history of cinema.
At least he has the balls to say what's on his mind. His work has grown and arguably gotten better as he has gotten older. I think many black critics were actually being racist by asserting that a white writer shouldn't portray a black voice when in fact he does it better than many black writers. It's not that they're not talented, it's just that he's more talented, and is one of the most talented filmmakers in the history of cinema.
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11:21PM on 10/13/2015
"One of the most talented filmmakers In the history of cinema." As John Travolta said to Eric Stoltz, "That's a bold statement."

I will go with him being one of the most talented working today though.
"One of the most talented filmmakers In the history of cinema." As John Travolta said to Eric Stoltz, "That's a bold statement."

I will go with him being one of the most talented working today though.
2:09PM on 10/13/2015
Sometimes his enthusiasm gets in the way of his point. But here I think are a sampling that is Tarantino at his best. I'm glad he doesn't just write off the critics, instead embracing the fact controversial things are being talked about as a good thing. Often enough when someone's movie or TV show draws criticism, they want to back away from it, pretend like they didn't mean it, or just tell people to get over it. That's not constructive, and it's naive to expect people to take that advice. But
Sometimes his enthusiasm gets in the way of his point. But here I think are a sampling that is Tarantino at his best. I'm glad he doesn't just write off the critics, instead embracing the fact controversial things are being talked about as a good thing. Often enough when someone's movie or TV show draws criticism, they want to back away from it, pretend like they didn't mean it, or just tell people to get over it. That's not constructive, and it's naive to expect people to take that advice. But that doesn't mean people should stop making art on their own terms. And he's one of the lucky ones who has always been able to make art on his own terms.
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2:05PM on 10/13/2015
Gotta respect the honesty. It helps that the guy is intelligent and knowledgable about the industry he works in and isn't just spewing crap to seem relevant all of a sudden.
Gotta respect the honesty. It helps that the guy is intelligent and knowledgable about the industry he works in and isn't just spewing crap to seem relevant all of a sudden.
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1:50PM on 10/13/2015
Despite how blunt he can be, Tarantino never comes across to me as being rude or saying things just to anger his detractors. Good or bad, right or wrong, he's just honest, and he expresses himself very intelligently. Whether I agree or disagree, I've always respected him for that.
Despite how blunt he can be, Tarantino never comes across to me as being rude or saying things just to anger his detractors. Good or bad, right or wrong, he's just honest, and he expresses himself very intelligently. Whether I agree or disagree, I've always respected him for that.
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