Few filmmakers possess the ability to stir controversy like Quentin Tarantino, whose career has been marked by it at almost every turn.
Whether he’s publicly arguing with Spike Lee over Tarantino’s use of a racial slur to refer to black people in many of his scripts, drawing criticism and boycotts from police organizations for supporting groups that fight police brutality, or seeing past mistreatment of his performers come to light, Tarantino makes headlines almost as much for the things he does as for the movies he creates.
This characteristic has led to a general sense that the director is “problematic” (imagine several dozen more air quotes around that) from people who don’t quite follow the endless back-and-forth of Film Twitter, without a full sense of why. And the conversation has reached a fever pitch around Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino’s latest release. The film itself has fueled think pieces galore, about nearly every element of the movie, precisely at a time when Tarantino’s status as a legendary auteur has been dinged a bit due to all of those old offscreen controversies. It’s become The Movie to Argue About This Summer (August edition).