Bill Maher and Quentin Tarantino Believe Movies Have Become Too PC
Who could have guessed this would happen?
On Friday night, Bill Maher welcomed Quentin Tarantino to his Real Time program. Given the extraordinary egos in play, there was a high likelihood of this HBO tête-à-tête being insufferable, and about how the current state of cinema is too “politically correct.”
And—surprise—it was just that.
After some back and forth about how Tarantino shouldn’t retire after his next film (as he’s promised), with the filmmaker revealing that he wants to quit because he’s a student of film history, and “directors don’t get better” after a certain age, like Billy Wilder and Don Siegel—and that he considered doing a remake of Reservoir Dogs as his last picture—the two got into their thoughts on the current cinema atmosphere, which they both apparently take issue with, and Tarantino’s unapologetic attitude when faced with any degree of criticism.
“I’ve always really appreciated the way you’ve pushed back when everyone’s tried to stifle you, shut you up, shame you, bully you, corral your artistic license—they tried it with the last one, with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, some bullshit about Margot Robbie doesn’t have enough lines,” said Maher. “You do what I wish other people would do: instead of apologizing like a little pussy, you say, ‘I don’t agree with your assessment.’ What’s so hard about that?”
Maher was referencing some very light criticism of Tarantino’s film about the way he portrayed the character of Sharon Tate (played by Robbie), giving her almost no lines and having her be a specter of sorts floating through the proceedings.
“I agree,” replied Tarantino. “Look, even when we’re in a pressure situation where your movie is opening next Friday… if somebody brings up something that’s actually legitimate, I’ll even have a conversation with them about it, because I’m actually into interesting thought, and I don’t even have to agree with you… but when it’s just BS, when it’s just bullshit…”
“Well, it seems like criticism in the recent years has gone to this place of not just… OK, you can criticize a movie, but they seem to be saying, ‘This isn’t the movie I would have made.’ Because you can’t,” chimed in Maher.
Tarantino then referenced an incident that occurred at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where Once Upon a Time in Hollywood received its premiere. When a New York Times journalist asked Tarantino why he gave Robbie’s Tate such little dialogue, Tarantino became agitated, firing back, “I just reject your hypothesis.”
“I had a situation like that where somebody asked me about something, ‘Well, why didn’t you do this like this,’ and I go, ‘Oh, would you have done that?’ ‘Yes, I would have done that…’ OK, but you never would have written that script, and you never would have made the movie, and thus you never would have been at the Cannes Film Festival in the first place, so it’s a moot argument,” explained Tarantino. “But there has become a thing that’s gone on, especially in this last year, where ideology is more important than art. Ideology trumps art. Ideology trumps individual effort. Ideology trumps good. Ideology trumps entertaining.”
Then Maher added, “There are two kinds of movies: virtue-signalers and superhero movies.”
“Yeah,” Tarantino replied.
Look, I love Tarantino’s films, but those clearly aren’t the only two types of movies. And it’s pretty rich that Tarantino is whining about the gentle criticism he received over Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which isn’t even in his top five films, given how he’s artfully dodged answering any tough questions about his relationship with serial rapist Harvey Weinstein—including how he kept making every one of his films with him after he knew he’d assaulted his former girlfriend Mira Sorvino and Rose McGowan—and the time he almost got Uma Thurman killed.