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Quentin Tarantino to Write and Direct The Movie Critic as His Supposed Final Film Before Retiring

After writing a book of movie criticism titled Cinema Speculation, two-time Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino has written a new script titled The Movie Critic that he’s planned to direct this fall as his final feature before he retires.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, and according to the trade, the script takes place in Los Angeles in the ’70s and follows a female film critic who may or may not be loosely based on influential critic Pauline Kael. I personally don’t have any details about the project, but knowing what I know about Tarantino, I would expect his protagonist to be an original character rather than Kael herself.

That said, Tarantino is said to have deep respect for Kael, who took no prisoners with her reviews, sparing the feelings of neither Hollywood’s top filmmakers nor her own editors, so it’s entirely possible that the director has decided to immortalize her on film. In the late ’70s, Kael briefly worked as a consultant for Paramount after Warren Beatty insisted that she take the job. She died in 2001, leaving behind a rich legacy of writing and a reputation as a critic who was tough but fair.

The Movie Critic is not set up at a studio right now, but Tarantino will have no shortage of financiers lining up — not to mention A-list stars — especially if it is his final film, as he has hinted. The filmmaker has previously said that the work of top directors typically declines toward the end of their careers, and Tarantino will turn 60 years old later this month.

Pauline Kael
Pauline Kael’s book The Age of Movies/Library of America

“Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually, the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end,” Tarantino told Playboy in 2012. “When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty.”

The director’s latest project could go out to buyers as soon as this week, and he would consider it his 10th film, as he counts the two Kill Bill movies as one entry in his astounding filmography.

Sony distributed Tarantino’s previous film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, after studio boss Tom Rothman agreed to a deal that called for the film’s copyright to revert to its writer-director over time. If Rothman is willing to make that deal again, he could very well bring Tarantino back into the fold and have a major awards contender in 2024. Sony mounted a strong awards campaign for OUATIH, which was nominated for 10 Oscars, winning two en route to a global haul of $377 million.

Tarantino won Oscars for co-writing Pulp Fiction and writing Django Unchained, and he was also nominated for both writing and directing Inglourious Basterds and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He has said that even after he retired from filmmaking, he’ll continue writing, be it criticism, novels, plays, or possibly a limited series. We should all be so lucky…

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