Quentin Tarantino has certainly never been one to hold back, and that quality has joined stylized violence and non-linear filmmaking as part of his legacy. In a recent interview with Vulture, Tarantino sounds off on everything from annoying social critics to how he could have improved classic movies like Scream.
Some people have been reacting like Tom Hooper to Quentin's tirade.
But others are finding a lot of truth in his forthright statements. Here are eight of the most controversial opinions from the consistently frank director (and that's just the tip of the iceberg). You be the judge on whether he's brilliant or batshit.
1. He feels like there are no working directors that can compete with him
When asked about which working directors are his main competition, Tarantino brushed off the question but still managed to compliment some of his comrades:
This might come across as egotistical, but I don’t really feel in competition with anybody anymore. I’m in competition with myself. David O. Russell can have the biggest hit of the year, and that doesn’t take anything away from me. I couldn’t have been happier that Rick Linklater was at the Oscars this year.
It's actually kind of nice that he doesn't look at filmmaking as a zero-sum game and can still see the worth in his contemporaries.
2. He thinks he could have outdone Wes Craven in directing Scream
Wes Craven was not one of the directors who received Tarantino's compliments. While Scream is one of the most well-respected '90s horror movies, Tarantino feels that he could have done a much better job.
I could have imagined doing the first Scream. The Weinsteins were trying to get Robert Rodriguez to do it. I don’t even think they thought I would be interested. I actually didn’t care for Wes Craven’s direction of it. I thought he was the iron chain attached to its ankle that kept it earthbound and stopped it from going to the moon.
Scream fans everywhere just clutched their pearls.
3. He doesn't feel any responsibility to write atypical female roles that combat conventional Hollywood
With movies like Kill Bill and Jackie Brown, Tarantino has been heralded for writing some of the most surprising and strong cinematic women in recent memory. However, when asked if that means he feels directly responsible for challenging Hollywood's tendency to write melodramatic and sexualized roles for actresses, he had this to say:
I don’t have any responsibility at all. I’ve been making movies for 20 years, and as great as some of those decisions I made in the first ten years were, I probably wouldn’t make them again. What I mean is, I really liked the scripts I wrote, and I really liked my characters, but I wasn’t overenamored, and I wasn’t that precious about them. Back then, I got much more excited by cool casting...But I don’t feel that way anymore.
It sounds to me like Tarantino enjoyed how unexpected it was to cast someone like an older black woman in a lead role, but that kind of surprise doesn't carry the same thrill for him anymore.
3. He has no time for "dingbat" interviewers
Tarantino's always had some of the most contentious (and hilarious) encounters with interviewers—see the examples above and below—but in this interview he directly calls out this interviewer with Nightline who happened to mistakenly asked a question about his devotion to actors:
So I have no obligation whatsoever other than to just cast it right. I did a Nightline interview with some dingbat. It was me, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jamie Foxx, and they were asking about stuff like that. I go, “Look, I like these guys, but I love my characters. Their job is to say my dialogue.”
By now, these journalists should know that Tarantino doesn't want to explain himself to anyone. But, at least it leads to these moments of gold.
4. He spends absolutely no time worrying about social critics
Like his aversion to any responsibility aside from making an awesome movie, Tarantino has zero time for those who criticize his films for excessive violence or use of the 'N' word.
Social critics don’t mean a thing to me. It’s really easy to ignore them, because I believe in what I’m doing 100 percent. So any naysayers for the public good can just fuck off. They might be a drag for a moment, but after that moment is over, it always ends up being gasoline to my fire.
He's definitely right when he says that controversy only brings his movies more attention, so these social critiques aimed at him end up being counter-productive.
5. He calls out Cate Blanchett for only taking Oscar-bait roles
Unlike most other directors, Tarantino often goes off about the state of movies and wastes no time sugar-coating his opinions. He doesn't see a problem with superhero movies, but rather the glut of emotion heavy Oscar-baity films that are so popular these days:
I don’t know if we’re going to be talking about The Town or The Kids Are All Right or An Education 20 or 30 years from now. Notes on a Scandal is another one. Philomena. Half of these Cate Blanchett movies — they’re all just like these arty things. I’m not saying they’re bad movies, but I don’t think most of them have a shelf life.
6. He hates True Detective, loves The Newsroom, and thinks TV critics are worthless
Tarantino shocked the interviewer when he said that he absolutely abhorred True Detective (finding it ridiculously boring) and that he loved the critically divisive show (but mostly panned), The Newsroom. When the interviewer brings up TV reviews, Tarantino comes out with this strongly worded gem:
Who the fuck reads TV reviews? Jesus fucking Christ. TV critics review the pilot. Pilots of shows suck. Why would it be surprising that I like the best dialogue writer in the business?
And now I'm imagining what a collaboration between Aaron Sorkin and Tarantino would look like.
7. He has no qualms bragging about his revered status as a writer and filmmaker
Though he's never won an Academy Award for directing (after two nominations), Tarantino sees himself as part of an elite class in the world of screenwriting due to his two Oscar wins in that category. He's one of only five people to do so, including Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Paddy Chayefsky, and Woody Allen (who has three).
He sees himself as the alpha dog who is inspiring imitators across the globe:
I’m a legit filmmaker of my generation who’s leading the pack. Hitchcock saw his techniques done by other people, and that was all great. Spielberg saw his techniques copied — that just means you’re having an impact. Before I ever made a movie, my mission statement was that I wanted to make movies that, if young people saw them, it would make them want to make movies. That is one thing I can definitely say I’ve done.
8. He doesn't feel any nostalgia for the '90s—except for the lack of technology
He may have helped the decade become one of the best ever in terms of great movies, but Tarantino is surprisingly happy to let go of the nineties. When asked if he is nostalgic for the beloved decade, he answered:
I’m not, even though I think the ’90s were a really cool time. It was definitely a cool time for me. But almost like how Bob Dylan had to survive the ’60s so he could be not just considered an artist of the ’60s, I had to survive the ’90s so that when VH1 does their I Love the ’90s thing, they wouldn’t mention me...But if I am going to be nostalgic about the ’90s, it’s for the lack of everybody being connected to all this technology all the time.
Unsurprisingly, for a director who said he would stop making movies if all theaters became digital, Tarantino is depressed that people watch his movies on their laptops or phones. In my opinion, I'm happy that people everywhere can now access his movies on a variety of platforms, but I'm also shamefully nostalgic for the '90s myself.
For even more of Tarantino unleashing some of his opinions - that always get people talking - check out the full interview over on Vulture!