Quentin Tarantino has named “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” his best movie ever made. The director was asked to pick his best by Howard Stern during a visit on the radio host’s SiriusXM show. “Hollywood” is Tarantino’s most recent directorial feature. Released in 2019, the film starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as actors struggling to find their place in the changing Hollywood of 1969. Margot Robbie also starred as Sharon Tate.
“For years people used to ask me stuff like that,” Tarantino said about being asked to pick his best movie. “And I would say something like, ‘Oh, they’re all my children.’ I really do think ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ is my best movie.”
“Hollywood” grossed $374 million at the worldwide box office, an impressive final tally for an original drama. At the 2020 Oscars, the film picked up 10 nominations, including best director and best picture, and it won Pitt the Academy Award for supporting actor. That Tarantino views “Hollywood” as his best movie is all the more notable considering he views the modern movie era as being tied with the 1980s and 1950s as “the worst in Hollywood history.”
“Even though the ‘80s was the time that I probably saw more movies in my life than ever – at least as far as going out to the movies was concerned – I do feel that ‘80s cinema is, along with the ‘50s, the worst era in Hollywood history,” Tarantino recently said on his “The Video Archives Podcast” (via NME). “Matched only by now, matched only by the current era!”
Tarantino did note that “the [films] that don’t conform” are “the ones that stand out from the pack” in the current era. The director has long spoken out against the current dominance of superhero movies from Marvel and DC. Earlier this month, he told the Los Angeles Times that he’d never direct a Marvel movie because all of their filmmakers are “hired hands.”
“You have to be a hired hand to do those things,” Tarantino said of Marvel movies. “I’m not a hired hand. I’m not looking for a job.”
If Tarantino considers “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” his best movie, then it’s “Grindhouse” he considers his most misunderstood. The 2007 double-feature movie included films helmed by Tarantino (“Death Proof”) and Robert Rodriguez (“Planet Terror”), both of which were proceeded by mock trailers created by filmmaker friends like Eli Roth, Rob Zombie and Edgar Wright. “Grindhouse” was a notorious bomb in the U.S. with just a $25 million gross.
“I think me and Robert just felt that people had a little more of a concept of the history of double features and exploitation movies. No, they didn’t. At all,” Tarantino told Empire magazine in 2020. “They had no idea what the fuck they were watching. It meant nothing to them, alright, what we were doing. So that was a case of being a little too cool for school.”
Tarantino is currently making the press rounds in support of hew collection of film essays, “Cinema Speculation.” The book is now available for purchase.