' ' Cinema Romantico: Who is The Movie Critic?

Friday, March 24, 2023

Who is The Movie Critic?

Quentin Tarantino recently announced that his next movie “The Movie Critic” will be his last. I’m less interested in the second part of that statement because unless you’re the late great (greatest) Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who retired when he retired and told anyone yearning for his rematch with Sugar Ray to stuff it, I take any pronouncement of retirement from artists and athletes with a grain of salt. No, I’m more fascinated by Tarantino’s subject; namely, who is The Movie Critic? We don’t know. We don’t know much, in fact, as Screen Rant made clear in posting Everything We Know about Q.T.’s project and then essentially admitting they didn’t know anything. That didn’t stop them from posting, though, and it’s not going to stop Cinema Romantico either.  

Who is The Movie Critic?

Pauline Kael. This seems to be the working theory as reports are “The Movie Critic” will be set in 1970s Los Angeles. After all, Kael was lured to Los Angeles from her critical perch at The New Yorker by one Warren Beatty to get involved in the making of movies rather than critiquing them, an ultimately unsuccessful odyssey. It has been speculated that Beatty did this as a covert means to draw Kael away from killing movies with her pen. Whether or not this is true, it sets up a splendid opportunity for Tarantino to indulge his inner-fabulist and render Kael’s revenge on Beatty (Ashton Kutcher).

Kenneth Turan. But then, a couple decades later James Cameron failed to take box office success and general positive notices to heart when the LA Times’s Kenneth Turan knocked “Titanic” down a peg and initiated a war of words, (in)famously asking in a letter to the critic’s newspaper “Forget about Clinton – how do we impeach Kenneth Turan?” I’m seeing a spaghetti western, Critic vs Filmmaker.  

Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott. The esteemed Dargis worked at both the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly before moving to The New York Times where she and Scott were co-chief film critics until the latter just recently stepped away from writing movie reviews. Still, perhaps he could go out with Q.T. utilizing him and Manohla a la hapless Mayor Ebert and his dimwitted advisor Siskel in Roland Emmerich’s “Godzilla.”

Joel Siegel. Perhaps “The Movie Critic” will be to Tarantino as “The Straight Story” was to Lynch and “The Winslow Boy” was to Mamet – that is, his G-rated movie.

Harper Barnes. I know, I know, “The Movie Critic” is set in Los Angeles and Barnes, by way of the Boston Phoenix and others, wrote reviews for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, but this is “The Movie Critic” I want to see, someone hashing out reviews in the middle-west and far from the center of the industry. Then again, this sounds more like Jim Jarmusch’s “The Movie Critic,” doesn’t it?

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