Tarantino’s Admitted Worst Movie Is Actually Good Enough

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Quentin Tarantino once told The Hollywood Reporter that Proof of death is the worst film of his career. The writer-director explained, “I want to come out with a great filmography. Proof of death has to be the worst movie I have ever made. And for a left-handed movie, it wasn’t that bad, okay? So if it’s the worst I’ve ever had, I’m fine. Since Proof of death Often awarded the bottom spot in Tarantino’s film charts, the director’s own admission that this is his lowest creative point came as little surprise.

But just because Proof of death is Tarantino’s worst movie, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. It’s not as revolutionary as pulp Fiction Where Django Unchained, or as nuanced as the less gender-focused works of the director like Jackie Brown and Once upon a time in hollywood, but it’s definitely not a bad movie.

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Proof of death was Tarantino’s half of the double Mill. He collaborated with his close friend and colleague director Robert Rodriguez, who contributed to the zombie thriller Planet terror (and also helmed this incredible Boba Fett-centric episode in The Mandalorianthe second season). Growing up on double B-movies during the golden age of exploitation cinema, Tarantino and Rodriguez each realized their own take on that era and then released these films together, with mock trailers in between. of them. Mill ended up becoming the first box office bomb of Tarantino’s career – sadly, the average moviegoer didn’t share his nostalgia for dual operating features – but it was a fun experience.

Quentin Tarantino on the set of Death Proof

Mixing genres is Tarantino’s signature and the premise of Proof of death is one of his most interesting genre cocktails. Kurt Russell stars as a stuntman who uses his “death-proof” stunt car to prey on unsuspecting young women and satisfy his thirst for blood. It’s the perfect intersection between car-based action movies like The driver and Vanishing Point and grainy, blood-soaked slashers like Black christmas and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. With a killer who uses a car to commit his murders, Proof of death offers a totally unique version of the slasher genre (and unique versions of this genre are rare).

Tarantino’s script for Proof of death, as with all of its other scripts, has an unconventional structure. It is split into two halves with two groups of protagonists: in the first half, stuntman Mike attacks a group of young women and brutally kills them all at once; in the second half, he goes after another group of young women and is shocked to find that they are ready for him.

Kurt Russell driving a death proof car in Death Proof

Lots of people who haven’t caught Proof of death in theaters and instead I ended up checking it out on a streaming service turned it off about half an hour because it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Admittedly, the film starts slowly and has very long and very insignificant dialogue scenes. During the first 45 minutes or so, Proof of death is essentially a dating film in the mold of Richard Linklater Dazed and confused, with a group of young Texans getting drunk in a bar. But these scenes generate a huge gain. Once viewers get to the first kill, they’re hooked.

Stuntman Mike is one of Tarantino’s biggest villains. Every villainous slasher needs a unique weapon to carry out their killings – Candyman’s hook, Leatherface’s chainsaw, Freddy’s knife glove, and more. – and a Chevy Nova is a pretty unique weapon. The icing on the cake is the cast of Kurt Russell. Russell made his debut as a Disney star before being turned into an ice-cool badass action hero by John Carpenter before eventually returning to the Disney family-friendly fare. With Proof of death, The Hateful Eight, and Once upon a time in hollywood, Tarantino brought back the tough guy Kurt Russell from the ’80s. Proof of death is that Russell, one of the most charming and likable A-list actors, plays a sadistic murderer. As the turn of Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde in Tank dogs, Russell brings an ominous charisma to the role of a vehicle killer.

Kurt Russell smiling for the camera in Death Proof

With its thrills, excessive violence and grainy visuals, Proof of death is a tribute to exploitation films. But in many ways, the tribute is too specific for its own good. Tarantino includes glaring editing snafus as stylistic flourishes. The opening bar scenes perfectly mimic the flirtatious dialogue on the nose of Russ Meyer’s steamy flicks like Faster, Pussycat! To kill! To kill!, but these movies are crude and schlocky. By imitating them, it is the same Proof of death.

What saves Proof of death is its action. The dialogue is not as stimulating or relevant to the plot as the poetic conversations of Tank dogs and pulp Fiction, but the action scenes are masterfully crafted. After leading one of the greatest fight scenes of all time for Kill Bill: Book 1, Tarantino staged one of the greatest car chases of all time for Proof of death. Having lost his illusions with all the CGIs in modern car movies like Fast Furious, Tarantino threw his hat into the ring with some of the most mind-boggling practical car stunts ever to be filmed.

The culminating car chase in Death Proof

From stuntwoman Zoë Bell – who worked as Uma Thurman’s understudy in Kill Bill – plays herself in Proof of death, she was able to show her face during all of the action sequences, especially in the climactic chase when she clings to the hood of a car at high speed. Tarantino, acting as his own cinematographer, captured Proof of deathAuthentic car chases in beautiful long shots, the camera racing down the road at the same blazing speed as the vehicles on the screen. He and longtime editor Sally Menke weren’t required to cut between the star and their stuntman, as the star of their film is his own stuntman.

It may be true that Proof of death is Tarantino’s worst movie, but it’s far from bad. It is a testament to the grandeur of the rest of Tarantino’s filmography which Proof of death is his worst movie. Tank dogs revitalized independent cinema; pulp Fiction defined the postmodern movement; Inglorious Basterds killed Hitler. Tarantino’s other films are all much stronger than Proof of death, but it’s a solid slasher with high octane car chases that results in an extremely satisfying finish.

NEXT: Quentin Tarantino Already Made The Perfect Final Movie


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