On the QT.
Quentin Tarantino has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the past few weeks. The short-form version is this; police groups all across the country are calling for a boycott of his films due to some less that than favorable remarks he made at an NYC rally (calling NYPD officers “murderers” amongst other things). Tarantino has, up to this point, refused to apologize and has been sticking to the comments that he made.
Whenever something like this happens I can’t help but wonder why someone like Tarantino, a gifted (albeit overrated) filmmaker, feels the need to put in their two cents on such a hot-button issue, and why anyone cares what he thinks about it either way. Tarantino is a man-baby whose films haven’t really changed in twenty years. His most mature film, Jackie Brown, is only what it is because the screenplay is adapted from an Elmore Leonard book (Rum Punch).
I guess the bigger issue is the cult of celebrity and the power that we give to people in the entertainment world. As the Presidential election gets into full swing we will see more and more people come out of the woodwork supporting this candidate or that candidate, but do these endorsements really help sway people one way or the other? Does Katy Perry supporting Hillary Clinton make you any more likely to vote for her? Does it make you less likely? Does Hillary Clinton even know a Katy Perry song?
QT isn’t the only moronic celebrity to come under fire this year, he just stands out because of the dumb-headed way he went about speaking his point. There is a discussion to be had about police and the way they interact with citizens, but is the best way to go about this really using your clout (built on making hyper-violent movies) to get on a stage and call them names? Why not make a movie about it instead?
I bring all of this up because Tarantino is a film-maker who, up to this point, had managed to stay mostly away from politics. I always presumed this was because he isn’t very educated about them (and this outburst has mostly proven that point), and that he figured he would leave the social commentary to people who are better suited for it. Apparently that is not the case anymore.
Watching Jackie Brown last night, a thought that I have had many times about Tarantino came back to me. Jackie Brown isn’t just his most mature film, but it’s also his last great one. Now most people will disagree, but go back and watch it. If the Tarantino that made Jackie Brown had continued on the path that movie seemed to hint at, I believe we would have a much more intriguing filmmaker on our hands, and one that social commentary might actually suit. Instead, he followed Jackie Brown with a six-year hiatus before making the mostly boring Kill Bill saga. Kill Bill is a lot of things, but mature isn’t one of them.
I’m not going to debate whether anyone should boycott Tarantino’s movies due to his statements, although I certainly understand why a police officer would feel alienated by them. I just wish that a filmmaker of Tarantino’s stature would be smarter when it comes to speaking out about things. Just because you’re a celebrity doesn’t mean you know more than the average person, and it also doesn’t give you the right to say anything you want without repercussions. Here’s to hoping that Quentin Tarantino chooses his words better next time around, and that maybe he adapts another Elmore Leonard book. Just not one of his westerns.
Until next time.