If a director makes a number of incredible, ground-breaking films, is it really so bad if they helm a few duds? Quentin Tarantino seems to think so. “I do think one of those out-of-touch, old, limp, flaccid-d*** movies costs you three good movies as far as your rating is concerned,” he explained. Every flop is a point against a director in their “grade-point average,” as Tarantino put it, and every new project risks bringing that average down — especially as their age climbs up.
“I think I risk failure every single time with the movies I do, and I haven’t fallen into failure,” Tarantino said. “Risking failure is not what I’m afraid of. Failing is what I’m afraid of. No, they’re not the same thing, and I do think it’s a young man’s game. I really do.”
Directing might be a young man’s game, but falling in love with films is for even younger men. Tarantino first found one of his favorite filmmakers when he was still a teenager.
“I discovered Howard Hawks when I was 15. I saw ‘Rio Bravo’ and thought it was fantastic,” he recalled. “Then I ended up going to some film festival, and I saw ‘His Girl Friday.’ Then all of a sudden I’m at home, and I notice that a movie called ‘Barbary Coast’ is being played, and it said in the TV Guide, ‘Directed by Howard Hawks,’ and so I watched that. Well, those three movies in a row really got me into that director.”
Hawks has a lot of top-tier work, but in this case, picking something at random could’ve gone terribly wrong. Imagine if “Rio Lobo” had been on TV that day instead of “Barbary Coast.” Would Tarantino still have fallen in love with Hawks — or with film in general?