The big story this week was of Quentin Tarantino, securing foreign buyers for The Hateful Eight, when he announced something peculiar. He’ll retire after his tenth film, apparently, as he plans to walk away from film-making in short order, as he’s nearing that point where he’s an older director and doesn’t want to be pushed off the stage. He wants to walk away at the top of his game, with people wanting more, and like Steven Soderbergh & Kevin Smith he’s announced his retirement ahead of time.
It’s understandable that Tarantino would do this, of course, because of any number of reasons. The snark in me wants to say “He’ll eventually run out of other movies to rip off and will only wind up in an Inception style paradox at some point,” of course, but I understand from a creative perspective on why he’d want to walk away before the creative wells run dry. There comes a point in your career that you don’t want to have your current output come into a conversation where your earlier work is considered significantly better.
You don’t want the Woody Allen type of insult that many people have when comparing his current work to his classics like Annie Hall … i.e. “I liked old Woody Allen, before he started to stink” as a qualifier. I can imagine Tarantino doesn’t want to get to the point where people call themselves fans but only for Reservoir Dogs to Django Unchained, or something similar, and pointing out that his latest neo-noir crime thriller set in Medieval Poland isn’t quite what it could’ve been in 2025. No one wants to have their peak period and a sustained down period as an artist; in the film industry you’re only as good as the last film you were in (it seems) and there’s a tremendous pressure to continually deliver a film as good as what you’ve done before.
It’s why someone like Christopher Nolan is the exception, not the rule, and Tarantino doesn’t want to have that point in his career when his newest work is clearly inferior. He doesn’t want that second era of Tarantino, the old director whose best work is behind him. He’s looking at leaving with a cinematic resume that didn’t feature a huge drop off after a certain point.
So it’s understandable why Tarantino is setting up his out. He doesn’t want his career to wind up having an extended period where his films dipped downwards, quality wise, and people went back to his earlier work as examples of why they liked him. No one wants to be like Metallica, which releases a new album fairly regularly but most of their concert winds up being material up until the “Black Album.” When I saw them play many years ago they wound up nearly apologizing for having to play material from “Death Magnetic” at times. Why?
Because they’re too close to being a nostalgia act, touring for the sake of, for their own tastes.
People want to hear the classics and, unlike an act like The Rolling Stones, they still have new material to play for any number of reasons. Metallica still view their career as something above a nostalgia act, which is what the Stones are for all intents and purposes now. People show up to see Mick and the gang play the hits, prance around stage and revel in the band playing a set list of greatest hits live.
One imagines they’re comfortable with that, as well, in the same way Woody Allen makes films these days. Allen knows his best days are behind him but delivers a Woody Allen experience; nothing will top Annie Hall, etc, and if he can deliver something good and sufficiently “Woody Allen” enough that people will come out. His films are a sort of nostalgia act now; if he hits the right notes, and does Woody Allen things, no one gives him that hard of a time because we know that his best work has come and gone. He’s making movies because people will still give him the money to do so and they’re still fairly decent; he just doesn’t have a Manhattan, Hannah and her Sisters, Annie Hall or even a Bananas in him anymore.
And that’s ok because we don’t expect anything along those lines, either. We just want enough Woody Allen in there to stake that thirst for new material … and then when he’s done making films, or dead, we can look back at his peak work and forget that a large chunk of his material since the 1990s has been fairly forgettable at best.
QT doesn’t want that to happen to him … he doesn’t want large swathes of his library to be ignored because they were the decline.
Stuff for General George S. Pimpage, Esq
I reviewed the Dumb and Dumber sequel, which was awful. The comment section is hilarious, though, as its right around YouTube quality in terms of comment quality.
Travis looked at Let’s be Cops and came to the same conclusion I did.
Mike Noyes reviewed a kids film.
And Brendan Campbell tackled Kingpin on Blu-Ray.
And now on MMC … we just watch and shake the head.
If you want to pimp anything email it to me with a good reason why. It helps to bribe me with stuff, just saying ….
A Movie A Week – The Challenge
DVD Net Flix Special – Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats
One of my favorite TV shows is Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as it combines my love of cop shows with screwball comedies. It has enough good people and it has finally managed to get Andy Samberg into a role he genuinely excels at. He’s always been exceptionally irritating to me and he’s now one of my favorite parts of the show. Thus when Chelsea Peretti, who plays Gina, announced a new Netflix stand up special I found a time to watch it. Why? Because she’s hilarious on the show and I wanted to see how funny she could be as a stand up.
It’s a pretty good special, comedy wise, as Peretti has a great stage presence. A lot of it won’t feel timely, as it’s around modern web culture and such, but it’s genuinely funny. It’s definitely worth checking out.
What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 – The revolution begins as Jennifer Lawrence becomes the figurehead for the overthrow of the government.
See it – So far I dig where this is heading.
Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .
Tags: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Monday Morning Critic, Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight