Ever since Quentin Tarantino announced his retirement, fans and cinephiles the world over have been on tenterhooks waiting to find out more details about his final project. Now the filmmaking legend has shared more detail about his last ever film The Movie Critic at Cannes.
Speaking to Deadline, 60-year-old Tarantino spoke about the real-life inspiration behind the film’s leading character. As a teenager, Tarantino had a job loading explicit magazines into vending machines, and though much of the stock was “too skanky to read” he did enjoy reading one of the publications that had a “really interesting movie page”. The film’s central character is loosely based on the writer behind that page.
“He was a guy who really lived, but was never really famous, and he used to write movie reviews for a porno rag,” he confirmed. Previously, it had been speculated that the film was going to be about The New Yorker’s Pauline Kael, though Tarantino has now denied this.
“He wrote about mainstream movies and he was the second-string critic,” Tarantino added. “I think he was a very good critic. He was as cynical as hell. His reviews were a cross between early Howard Stern and what [Taxi Driver‘s] Travis Bickle might be if he were a film critic. Think about Travis’s diary entries.”
While there’s still very little else known about the film, we do know that it’s going to be set in Los Angeles in 1977. At Cannes, Tarantino also said that he was planning to cast an American actor “in the 35-year-old ballpark” in the critic role, and that he wanted to work with a new leading man.
Given that Tarantino has given us the likes of Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds, it makes sense that people are so excited to see what the director does next. But as there’s still a while to wait until The Movie Critic is released, why not catch up with his old films?
Here’s our pick of the director’s best films over his 30-year career (from best to worst – though they’re all great ).
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Nearly 30 years after it was first released, Pulp Fiction remains one of the greatest films of all time. Whether you are watching it for the first time or have seen it one hundred times, its numerous astounding characters, its intertwining jaw-dropping storylines and its mind-bending twists will blow your mind. The story follows certain events that happen to two hitmen, who are played by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson.
Oscar count: Seven nominations, one win.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Tarantino’s take on a Jewish revenge action film is exactly what you would expect. It’s jam-packed full of stars (Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger and Daniel Brühl are just some of them) and is also full of violence. It follows a group of Jewish-American soldiers who make up a sort of vigilante extension of the army; their job is to track down Nazis and scalp them. Simultaneously, there are two plots to assassinate Hitler: one is being organised by the British secret services and one by a Jewish cinema proprietor. Neither goes to plan and it’s a blast to watch.
Oscar count: Eight nominations, one win.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
This sensational film, which was Tarantino’s feature-length debut, launched the director’s career: tiny parts of all his subsequent films can be seen in this film. Reservoir Dogs follows the story of eight gangsters who botch a heist of a jewellery store. Though it’s incredibly violent, the developing relationships between the different characters make up the most interesting and shocking elements of the film. Needless to say, one of the gangsters isn’t who he says he is, and there’s an exquisite twist at the end.
Oscar count: None
Django Unchained (2012)
This 2012 Spaghetti Western follows freed enslaved man Django (Jamie Foxx) who ends up hunting the American South’s most-wanted criminals with German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). They arrive at the plantation where Django’s wife (Kerry Washington) remains enslaved by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), and Django sets out to free his wife and punish Candie. Expectedly, given the subject matter, the film drew a lot of criticism. Director Spike Lee, for example, tweeted: “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust.”
Oscar count: Five nominations, one win.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
There really are few things better to see on the silver screen (or any screen, really) than exceptionally choreographed fight scenes, and Kill Bill Vol.1 is basically one long, exquisite action sequence. Uma Thurman, aka The Bride, is part of a group of assassins (which is made up of Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox and David Carradine). But when they set out to try and kill her and she survives, she decides to get revenge on the group.
Oscar count: None
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Taratino’s most recent film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was a sort of love letter to America’s film capital. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Rick Dalton, an actor who is past his prime and looking for a route back into Hollywood’s better films, while Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth, his stunt double. Then there’s a parallel story that ends up overlapping with Dalton and Booth’s story about the murder of Sharon Tate, with Margot Robbie playing the pregnant actress. As with all of Tarantino’s films there’s an incredible soundtrack, lots of violence, and it’s a blast to watch. But somehow the film doesn’t quite hit the right notes for us in the way that Pulp Fiction does.
Oscar count: Ten nominations, two wins.