Quentin Tarantino’s last movie will be called The Movie Critic, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which also speculates that it could be about film critic Pauline Kael, the influential critic for whom Tarantino has long expressed respect and admiration.
Tarantino has said for years that he wants to make a total of 10 films, and retire around the age of 60, after which he will perhaps turn to writing books. He turns 60 later this month, and has published two books in the last two years: a novelization of his 2019 film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and the part memoir, part book of film criticism Cinema Speculation.
His next film will be his tenth if you count Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Volume 2 as one film, as Tarantino does.
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THR speculated that The Movie Critic could be about Kael — or a figure like Kael — because its sources say the film has a female lead and is set in the late 1970s, a time when Kael very briefly worked as a consultant for Paramount.
THR also reported, citing its anonymous sources, that Tarantino might begin shopping the film to studios this week.
Kael wrote for The New Yorker from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. She was known for sparring with editors and moviemakers alike, and was also an author behind film criticism books like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and I Lost It at the Movies. She died in 2001 at the age of 82.
In 2021, Tarantino said on the Pure Cinema Podcast with Elric Kane and Brian Saur that he hopes to avoid the curse that plagues many directors of having a “horrible” last film.
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“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… I mean, most directors’ last films are f—ing lousy.”
Quentin Tarantino also said last year that he’s working on an eight-episode television series. And on the Pure Cinema Podcast, he even joked about just quitting while he’s ahead and having Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood be his last film.
Now, that threat seems highly unlikely — though he did call Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood his best movie.
“For years people used to ask me stuff like that,” Tarantino told Howard Stern in 2022. “And then I would usually say something like, ‘Oh, they’re all like my children, and da da da da da da.’ Then I would change it to, ‘Well, it kind of depends on when you ask me. If you ask me one year, or one moment, I could say, oh, Kill Bill. Another one I could say something else.’ But I really do think Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is my best movie.”
Here’s hoping that, if indeed this is Quentin Tarantino’s last movie ever — because you never know — that The Movie Critic actually ends up exceeding the legendary director’s expectations.
Main Image: Quentin Tarantino attends the 67th Venice Film Festival in 2010.