Haven't we all speculated that Quentin Tarantino's tenth and last film could be before he retires to writing: A third part for "Kill Bill"? A sequel to Star Trek? A "Django/Zorro" that unites the two characters? All wrong, completely wrong. The usually well-informed trade journal The Hollywood Reporter is now announcing that Tarantino's tenth film will be called The Movie Critic and that the main character will not be an action hero - but a film critic.
Not a fictional one, but the most influential critic that has ever existed: Pauline Kael, who worked for the "New Yorker" for a quarter of a century. With her glowing criticism, she probably wrote "Bonnie and Clyde" to success, she was involved in New Hollywood cinema in the 1970s and, above all, promoted the careers of Martin Scorsese and Robert Altman. She gathered a circle of young admirers, derogatorily called "Paulettes" by Kael's enemies. Director Paul Schrader identified himself as a former "Paulette". Yes, the critic had critics and not too few. Her colleague Roger Ebert wrote that she made the "first-person perspective" the focus of film criticism. She liked to indulge in superlatives, she was accused of lacking neutrality and unrestrained subjectivity.
There is no criticism by Kael of any Tarantino film, as she stopped writing in 1991 (when she developed Parkinson's disease), a few months before the premiere of Tarantino's debut, Reservoir Dogs. But Tarantino's (one-way) connection to Kael goes back much further. When Tarantino was 15 (in 1978) he saw something on television that would have a lasting effect on him: a television host asked Pauline Kael about her anthem for the horror film The Body Snatchers Are Coming. Hardly anyone but her liked the film (which hasn't changed much to this day), but she staunchly defended the "Body Eater" remake.
"I was like, 'Who is this wild old woman?'" Tarantino recalled, "and I went to the library and found her writings. No director has been more influential than her in developing my aesthetic. I never went to film school, but she was the professor in my imaginary film school.”
Now everyone is wondering how to turn a film critic into a film heroine. It just hasn't been tried yet. Film critics are a rare phenomenon on screen. Woody Allen is one in Do It Again Sam (and would like to leave his real life behind and crawl into old movies), Bob Balaban plays one in Lady in the Water (who is quite arrogant), and if you Expanding the field to music and theater critics, there is almost no lovable specimen to be found: Leonard Maltin - himself a famous critic - is summarily strangled in "Gremlins 2".
So now The Movie Critic. Nothing is confirmed, neither the role model Pauline Kael, nor a cast, nor a start of shooting. The story is set in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, which would indicate the short span of time that Pauline Kael had changed sides: in 1979, she accepted a lucrative offer from Warren Beatty to join Paramount as a producer. Director James Toback refused to work with her because she didn't understand that a screenplay is always just starting material and is adapted to the circumstances during the shoot. Paramount Marketing Director Donald Simpson smashed almost all of their projects. Only one thing came about: David Lynch's The Elephant Man. He got eight Oscar nominations.