Quentin Tarantino has long promised that his tenth movie will be his last, and he said in a podcast released Tuesday that he hopes to avoid the common director curse of going out with a “horrible” film.
In an interview on Tuesday’s episode of the Pure Cinema Podcast with Elric Kane and Brian Saur, the esteemed director joked that he might quit while he’s ahead and go out with a bang instead of with a whimper.
“Most directors have horrible last movies,” Tarantino said. “Usually their worst movies are their last movies. That’s the case for most of the Golden Age directors that ended up making their last movies in the late ’60s and the ’70s, then that ended up being the case for most of the New Hollywood directors who made their last movies in the late ’80s and the ’90s.”
He pointed to Bonnie & Clyde director Arthur Penn as a prime example.
“I’m not a super huge fan of this director, but the fact that Arthur Penn’s last movie is Penn & Teller Get Killed is a metaphor for how crummy most of the New Hollywood directors’ last, last films were,” he said. “So to actually end your career on a decent movie is rare. To end it with, like, a good movie is kind of phenomenal.”
Then Tarantino took a moment to look back at his own career. With 2019’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood clocking in as No. 9 (he counts Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 as one film), that leaves just one movie left — his swan song.
“I mean, most directors’ last films are fucking lousy,” he said, before joking that perhaps he should just end with Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.
“Maybe I should not make another movie because I could be really happy with dropping the mic,” he said. “That’s the frustrating part, is a lot of the really terrific directors, it’s like their third-to-the-last movie would have been an amazing, amazing one to end on, which goes back to what I was saying about myself. Or you know, if Don Siegel had stopped with Escape from Alcatraz, oh my fucking God. What a career… he really said it all. The other two were just jobs.”
Tarantino, Kane and Saur then ran down their top 5 final films, with Tarantino kicking things off by praising Tony Scott — who directed his script, True Romance — for Scott’s top-notch work on the 2010 Denzel Washington runaway train film Unstoppable. (Tarantino has talked at length before about his admiration for Unstoppable, as he notes on the podcast.)
He also talks about the ice cream meeting that led to his directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs.
You can listen to the rest of Tarantino’s interview on the Pure Cinema Podcast here.