Quentin Tarantino made a huge mistake with his 10 movie rule

Trudie Graham
Quentin Tarantino's cameo in The Hateful Eight.

Quentin Tarantino has reportedly scrapped his planned tenth and final film, The Movie Critic, which could signal one major problem with loudly declaring your last-ever movie.

The pressure of bookending a career like Tarantino’s must be immense. This is a director unlike any other, held in the highest regard. People don’t just expect good from Quentin Tarantino movies; they expect masterpieces.

This inevitably puts a strain on the artistic process. We can’t know what’s going on inside his brain and the precise reasoning for tossing The Movie Critic away. However, proclaiming your last film years in advance must add a scrutinous lens over its development.

Deadline claimed he “simply changed his mind.” If we’re going to dramatize and project, (we are) the decision to stop development seems more of a hand-waving dismissal than one made by a scriptwriter toiling frustratedly at his desk — a non-committal ‘Yeah, guess it didn’t work out this time.’

The Movie Critic might have been released another time, another place

Quentin Tarantino's cameo in Django Unchained.
Tarantino’s latest film was the Oscar-winning Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Landing on a great story is tough in general, never mind when the industry is waiting with bated breath, Oscars outstretched in anticipation. A drama about a writer at a “porno rag”, as Tarantino described it, might make sense as a mid-career change of pace like Jackie Brown, but could make a filmmaker nervous if it’s the project he’s tapping out with.

Tarantino has pivoted before —The Hateful Eight was shelved at one point before eventually going ahead — but there is a version of reality where The Movie Critic was released because it’s easier to take a chance on a project if it’s not the one sending you off into the sunset.

If I were in his shoes (insert foot fetish joke here), there would be a notion that it had to be my biggest and best movie yet.

Quentin Tarantino is shackled to his high expectations

This is particularly true for a director who is a brand unto himself. He doesn’t follow the same rulebook as most modern filmmakers do when making new movies. Studios are happy to finance his wild swings, controversial dialogue, and bloody violence because it’s Tarantino. If you’ve earned a reputation as a hit maker, finishing a script weighed down by a frightening sense of finality must be an added burden.

Tarantino is the sort of writer who strikes while the iron is hot and believes in his ideas wholeheartedly from the word go. His self-assured style is identifiable, and his wild narratives don’t seem like they’ve been overly polished, instead aiming to execute a particular vision at that moment.

It’s curious to wonder if knowing you’re making your last picture paves the way for self-doubt to creep in or higher standards that haven’t applied in the past. Does the weight of legacy help or hinder creation? And if we’ve learned anything from the likes of the MCU recently, it’s that a poor finish can tar the overall perception of a brand.

Will his ‘last’ really be the last?

Both fans and detractors are dubious that it will be his final, too. And the concern about not getting his last movie perfect lends credence to the idea he’ll be back.

There could be the feeling that it has to be his Mona Lisa. If it’s not, an artist as passionate as he is will want to return and say ‘Actually, THIS eleventh film will be the last one.’ Rinse and repeat.

There’s a slightly nervy aura around the choice to trash The Movie Critic, and it’s not a vibe Tarantino usually sports. It might be a choice he’ll come to regret if it results in a level of overthinking we normies are prone to.

Ultimately, picking an arbitrary number (as neat as the 10 figure is, and however good a hype-building idea it was) is likely not something that helps during the creative process, and might have deprived us of what could have been one of his best movies.

We’ll never know, but it’ll be no surprise if it takes Tarantino a bit longer before committing to what his last trick will be.

For more coverage on great cinema, see our hand-picked lists of the best war movies and best Westerns.

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About The Author

Trudie is a TV and Movies Evergreen Writer at Dexerto. She has years of experience in entertainment journalism, with bylines at The Digital Fix, Collider, PCGamesN, Zavvi, and more. She likes the weird and the wonderful more than anything, especially if it's sci-fi or fantasy.