Nolte: Tarantino Says Movies Are So Bad Today They Don’t ‘Even Exist’

18 May 2022, Hamburg: Director Quentin Tarantino gestures during his appearance. The OMR d
Jonas Walzberg/picture alliance via Getty Images

Oscar-winning director Quentin Tarantino does not hide his disgust with the quality of movies today. In his mind, movies today don’t “even exist.”


Same here.

Tarantino is on a media tour to promote his bestseller Cinema Speculation, a memoir-slash-film study that examines the movies he loved and shaped him as a kid from the late 1960s to about 1981.

In a wide-ranging interview with far-left Deadline, Tarantino talks mostly about what he loves. But when the subject of the state of movies today comes up, he doesn’t hide his contempt. The whole interview is terrific, but here are the parts where he discusses the pathetic state of the art of today’s motion picture:

Well, by asking questions like “Could that movie [Blazing Saddles] be made today,” that’s like you’re — I don’t believe that stuff. Because by putting out that hypothetical, you’re kind of suggesting that it couldn’t be, and then people just kind of assume that they can’t be and then that’s what happens. And now you’re in the ’80s. Even though this seems a hell of a lot worse than the ’80s was. I’ve been rallying against the ’80s movies forever, and now all of a sudden I feel like an asshole. The ’80s are pretty good now.

Tarantino has frequently said his least favorite movie decades are the 1950s and 1980s. But he’s right to reappraise the 80s, which took for granted as a simple time of teenage comedies, slasher flicks, muscle-bound actioners, and gauzy, feel-good dramas. That might be accurate to a point, but the craft of 80s filmmaking is undeniable. Those movies entertained. Those movies moved audiences. And here we sit, decades later, and the longevity of countless 80s titles is undeniable. Why? Because those movies were incredibly well made and made by filmmakers who cared about their audience. That’s all gone today.

Tarantino continues:

Anyway, the thing about it is, I don’t quite believe that you couldn’t make some of these movies today [like Blazing Saddles]. You just have to have the balls to make them. Also, because of the time that we’re living in right now, those movies are never more needed than now. And it just means that filmmakers, the studios or whoever the producers are, they have to be adults about it. They have to know what time it is, and that means that if they’re going to do their thing and put it out there, then they’re going to get some negative reviews and they’re going to get some choice think pieces written against their movies.

Audiences would flock to a Blazing Saddles today as they flocked to Top Gun: Maverick. People are dying to feel free, to feel naughty, to laugh at themselves, and to feel united through everyone from every background laughing at themselves.

Obviously, Hollywood could make a Blazing Saddles today. It’s just a matter of will and courage and a sense of grace towards your audience, as opposed to the snobbish contempt that turns so many movies into superior lectures. The problem is not Americans, nor is it even Twitter. The problem is that the entertainment industry has been captured by fascist, social justice warriors.

When asked to lay out what was better about movies during the Taxi Driver era than now, here was Tarantino’s memorable response…

Compared to [movies] now? I don’t even have the interest to list all the ways that [Taxi Driver-era movies] are better than now. Now doesn’t even exist. It’s like you’re asking about Mad Max time. Before the apocalypse.

I know exactly what he’s saying when he says movies today don’t “even exist.”

They sure don’t exist in my house.

I’ll go back to reviewing the latest movies once my wife’s recovery is complete, but until then, “now doesn’t even exist.” I don’t waste my days, my life watching any of this crap. Every time I give something a chance, I get burned. Movies vouched for by critics, stuff I recently wasted my time with,  like Lucky (2017) and The Outfit (2022)…  Why? Why did I do that? Why did I waste my precious off-hours sifting through the massive pile of garbage that is Amazon Prime, that is Netflix, that is modern-day entertainment?

I got myself a big ole’ movie collection. It’s not a 35MM collection like Tarantino, but it’s on Bluray, and that’s good enough for me. And if I’m looking for something new, I’ll purchase a movie I’ve not seen before — anything between 1920 and 1995 beats the unrelenting pile of garbage produced today. I’ll buy some Chuck Norris titles I missed;  some B-movie from Cannon Films,  anything starring Charles Bronson… I’ll buy lesser-known titles starting Alain Delon or John Garfield or Barbara Stanwyck or Jack Nicholson… I’ll dig into the catalogues of directors like Ingmar Bergman or John Ford or Don Siegel… It doesn’t matter. As long as its pre-1995, there is about a 5000 percent chance the movie will be more insightful, entertaining, and memorable than whatever those idiots at Rotten Tomatoes are gushing over now.

Of course, there are exceptions. All but a couple of Tarantino movies are exceptions. But 99 percent of the time, “now doesn’t even exist.”

Life’s too short, and there’s so much great filmmaking (and TV) from the past waiting to be discovered and rediscovered. I get more out of my 500th viewing of Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) or Treasure of the Siera Madre (1948) than I do from almost everything produced today.

Why did I watch the duller than dull The Good Nurse (2022) when I have a copy of Merrill’s Marauders (1962) sitting in the other room?

Why did I waste my time with the contrived The Outfit (2022) when I could have watched The Outfit (1973)?

Why did I bother with the poorly acted and smug The Post (2017) when I could have just as easily streamed His Girl Friday (1940) or Nothing Sacred (1937)?

Why am I giving the ponderous The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) another chance when Purple freaken Noon (1990) is sitting right there?

It’s like a treasure available to all of us that only fools and masochists ignore.

Now sucks.

I’m done with now.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.