Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#676 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:56 pm

swo17 wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:39 pm
I agree and I'm good with Walter Chaw's take that finding the Lee scene "problematic" is itself racist.

I'm glad a clearly talented Asian man got to have a distinctive role in such a high profile film portraying a legend that he has idolized since his youth. I am sorry Shannon Lee felt uncomfortable in the theater though.
There’s also the more meta wrinkle of reading that scene in light of Al Pacino’s speech about establishing that a new character/actor with whom audiences are unfamiliar is a badass by pitting him against a more established performer...

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#677 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:59 pm

Perhaps it's just a comfort level with the filmmaker and the way he typically structures these things. A character will see another character, a chapter title (which might have helped in the editing process of this film, I don't know) will appear, we'll get the entire backstory we need, and then come back to the present. It hasn't ever meant that it's a flashback that's taking place in that character's imagination, even if it's something like O-Ren Ishii's backstory, which was narrated by The Bride, to name one example. There are tons of diversions and flashback in almost all of Tarantino's films, none of which from the POV of anyone but Tarantino as the storyteller.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#678 Post by black&huge » Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:13 pm

Plus it should be noted how Tarantino does flashbacks within flashbacks in this film to reiterate the points being made that they're coming straight from the movie itself.

Here's a wild question but uh.... does anyone else kinda think this film is reminiscent of Last Year at Marienbad? Tarantino has said repeatedly this film is his "memory piece" of the era when he was a child. Coupled with how the story is told and presented it just reminded me of how Marienbad functioned itself.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#679 Post by Brian C » Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:31 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:59 pm
Perhaps it's just a comfort level with the filmmaker and the way he typically structures these things. A character will see another character, a chapter title (which might have helped in the editing process of this film, I don't know) will appear, we'll get the entire backstory we need, and then come back to the present. It hasn't ever meant that it's a flashback that's taking place in that character's imagination, even if it's something like O-Ren Ishii's backstory, which was narrated by The Bride, to name one example. There are tons of diversions and flashback in almost all of Tarantino's films, none of which from the POV of anyone but Tarantino as the storyteller.
Well, I don't see how Cliff could comment on the flashback though ("fair enough") if it wasn't from his memory. That would be awfully meta for the context in which we see it; he's certainly not commenting on Tarantino's portrayal of the incident.

But anyway, for what it's worth I think Cliff is a pretty reliable narrator, as far as it goes. I don't mean to say that I think there's much doubt what we're seeing; the sequence is flattering to him in some ways but not so much overall, as it ends with us fully understanding why he's basically unemployable. I'm just saying that we have to allow for some subjectivity in the perspective. Which makes sense, structurally - it's important that we know that he sees himself as someone who won't back down and takes pride in that, because he has a couple of showdowns after that.

And more than anything, I meant my original comment more as a rebuttal to Luke M who called it a "fantasy", which may just be an issue of semantics, but that label is too far of a leap for me to take.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#680 Post by Cold Bishop » Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:03 pm

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So much of these racism accusations is predicated on a misreading of the scene: that Cliff wins the fight. Which is not what happens. They fight to a draw. Lee wins round one with martial arts. Cliff wins round two with a “sucker punch” technique (the kind Lee, with his kitchen sink approach to fighting, would appreciate). They’re interrupted before anyone wins round three. Whether an average stunt man could spar hand to hand with Lee, and whether that constitutes a ridiculous fantasy is one thing, but Cliff isn’t meant to be an average stunt man. Tarantino has said that he’s meant to be one of the deadliest men on the planet. I don’t know if the film establishes that enough, but it’s part of the backstory.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#681 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:26 pm

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Yeah, if I thought this impacted the quality of the film at all, I would say that a pouty Rick Dalton saying "but he's a war hero..." isn't enough to sell the fact that Cliff is one of the deadliest men on the planet. And frankly, what I like so much about his murder of the Manson family is that it illuminates how ineffectual they were as people, fighters, warriors, however you want to put it - and how unlikely it was that they could have pulled off those murders if they'd broken into the wrong house. The film plays well on many levels, but one thing it certainly encouraged to me is having some kind of passive but serious ability to fight back against an unexpected situation in your back pocket. And I think Lee would have agreed with that philosophy!


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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#683 Post by jazzo » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:57 pm

Just thinking beyond the diagetic timeline of this film, following the credits,
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there will, more than likely, be no rape of Samantha Jane Gailey, no arrest, no fleeing of America. Polanski will remain a darling of Hollywood, at least until filmmaking evolves into the event/blockbuster productions of the 80's and beyond.



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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#686 Post by Persona » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:52 am

Not only does this use the same central conceit as Basterds, but like Basterds I found myself very much alternating between loving it and not caring for it.

It is certainly an impressively realized film and things I didn't like about it are intertwined with things I did, as both come from QT getting to make the exact type of movie he wanted to make and being able to take his time with scenes and shoot them and soundscape them in such a way that makes them so much more immersive than your average film of this scale. (But then you also get some editing gimmicks, on-screen subtitles, and voice-over narration that smack you right out of that carefully wrought immersion).

I was really digging it for the first 40 minutes or so but somewhere towards the middle it kind of drifts into neutral, though still peppered with scenes that are evocative in a way that's impactful (Spahn Movie Ranch) as opposed to evocative in a way that becomes repetitive and fetishistic (we spend a LOT of time listening to period soundtrack in classic cars or seeing/hearing period ads or looking at people's feet or doing all three of those things at the same time).

You could guess from the film's title that the movie was gonna take a true crime story in Hollywood and give it a fairy tale ending, or maybe I should say a "Hollywood ending." There are some things to be said for that and the kind of wish fulfillment Tarantino is indulging in about a time and a story that has become almost a subconscious thought in our collective cultural memory, but I think Tarantino has established such a pattern of measured, pent-up plotting with cathartic finale since the Kill Bill volumes that--especially in terms of how directly the structure of this film compares to Basterds--the catharsis here is kind of cheapened by that expectation, that formula that Tarantino has kind of settled on. It's a Tarantino-verse, and it's dedicated to mimicking past pieces of our reality as exhaustively as it can at the same time that it is constantly disconnecting from that reality and making its own, one where QT is God and history becomes His Story.

Which is one thing, and lots of directors play God in their own ways, but I also think Tarantino has formed a habit of forcing narratives to bend to his more appetitive demands as opposed to letting them develop their own organic nature and to unfold fluidly. Many of his stories don't self-validate, so Tarantino tries to validate them with the extent of how he crafts them and the details created (or recreated). And sometimes that works like gangbusters, which is probably more true of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood than it is of any of his other films, even though it's probably mid-tier QT overall for me.

I'm gonna finish with one part I really liked and one part I didn't from the middle of the film.

Really liked:
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Rick Dalton's acting scene with Olyphant's character and the way it was presented as this heightened, idealized (the ideal probably inside Dalton's head) of the TV pilot they were doing and the way the soundtrack is this authentic Western ambience that fades out when Dalton breaks character because he's struggling with the lines but then fades back in when he starts acting again.
Disliked:
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While most of the Cliff Booth stuff was quite good, his whole ten minute roof-top fantasy about getting on-set with Rick and the whole process of that culminating in him fighting with Bruce Lee... I've tried to give it the benefit of the doubt that it brings depths to Pitt's character by showing us how imaginative he is on the inside or maybe on a broader thematic level it's foreshadowing the ways in which what we are seeing is the opposite of reality, but I just can't debate myself into thinking that it wasn't mostly a waste of time.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#687 Post by Ribs » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:24 am

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That scene isn’t a fantasy - it’s a flashback explaining why Kurt Russell doesn’t like him and why he wasn’t allowed on set for the Western shoot (as the filming was for Green Hornet).

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#688 Post by Persona » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:50 am

Finch wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:54 pm
What I loved though:

The early scene with Cliff getting into his old car and driving home - what is the song for this scene, please? - and prepping dinner for his dog and watching TV - that encapsulated the hangout feel of this film the most.
Yeah, so simple a thing but so immaculate in execution. "Lived in" and we get to live it.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#689 Post by Persona » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:05 am

Ribs wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:24 am
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That scene isn’t a fantasy - it’s a flashback explaining why Kurt Russell doesn’t like him and why he wasn’t allowed on set for the Western shoot (as the filming was for Green Hornet).
Yeah, I see there has been some debate about that and thinking about it more I guess "flashback" makes more sense. Regardless, though, I found it far too long and mostly pointless aside from trying to incorporate Bruce Lee into the movie beyond the tidbit of his training of Tate for Wrecking Crew. I get that we also get some of Cliff's back-story but I think the same purpose could have been achieved in some other way or in a third of the time.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#690 Post by starmanof51 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:54 pm

Persona wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:05 am
Yeah, I see there has been some debate about that and thinking about it more I guess "flashback" makes more sense. Regardless, though, I found it far too long and mostly pointless aside from trying to incorporate Bruce Lee into the movie beyond the tidbit of his training of Tate for Wrecking Crew. I get that we also get some of Cliff's back-story but I think the same purpose could have been achieved in some other way or in a third of the time.
I think it’s at least as much about establishing Cliff’s bona fides as a no-kidding badass through a generally unimpeachable vessel (Bruce).

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#691 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:33 pm

starmanof51 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:54 pm
Persona wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:05 am
Yeah, I see there has been some debate about that and thinking about it more I guess "flashback" makes more sense. Regardless, though, I found it far too long and mostly pointless aside from trying to incorporate Bruce Lee into the movie beyond the tidbit of his training of Tate for Wrecking Crew. I get that we also get some of Cliff's back-story but I think the same purpose could have been achieved in some other way or in a third of the time.
I think it’s at least as much about establishing Cliff’s bona fides as a no-kidding badass through a generally unimpeachable vessel (Bruce).
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To go off of starmanof51‘s response, it’s another example of the Chekhov’s guns scattered throughout the film that appear to be random or “pointless” to the story (outside of the obvious acid cigarette), but are all utilized and executed together when the film embraces the fantasy in the climax indicating a higher degree of self-awareness as a movie. Cliff’s hand-to-hand combat skills, the dog-training scene in Cliff’s trailer, Rick practicing and using the flamethrower in the film clip, and probably others that haven’t been identified yet. I think it serves a significant purpose beyond just being a fun scene, but it depends how you read the film’s intent in that last act I suppose.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#692 Post by Persona » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:09 pm

Those are good points and also after I read how Chaw appreciated the Lee scene, I guess I should just shut up about it other than it didn't work great for me, personally. And I do see some of the point in the material surrounding the scene,
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especially finding out about how Cliff probably killed his wife.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#693 Post by Ovader » Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:37 pm

For fun I checked out what episode listing of the Green Hornet series would have these space men walking behind Kurt Russell in this clip which would be the same day as the Bruce Lee fight scene. It was the final two episodes (Invasion from Outer Space: Part 1 and Part 2) of the series broadcast in March 1967. I will view the episodes as I'm curious what role "Rick Dalton" would have played which must be in a formal attired scene since Pitt's character is dressed formally as well.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#694 Post by BigMack3000 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:00 pm

Is there a list of all the cameos that were cut from the film? I know of James Marsden and Tim Roth.

Also, where was James Remar? He's listed with "The Gang" in the credits, but there's no (Scenes Cut) designation like there is for Roth.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#695 Post by black&huge » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:59 pm

BigMack3000 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:00 pm
Is there a list of all the cameos that were cut from the film? I know of James Marsden and Tim Roth.

Also, where was James Remar? He's listed with "The Gang" in the credits, but there's no (Scenes Cut) designation like there is for Roth.
Remar is very briefly seen as the man who Rick says is "about to get his jaw broke" in the opening Bounty Law scenes. Martin Kove is the Sheriff seen right before that who antagonizes Rick. Danny Strong played Dean Martin who is completely cut out. In the special thanks at the end of the end credits he thanks all the cast members that either had most or all their scenes cut. They dominate most of the left side column.

I also had to read about this because I missed it on both of my viewing so far but Clu Gulager is the man in the book store that Tate speaks to.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#696 Post by BigMack3000 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:15 pm

black&huge wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:59 pm
Remar is very briefly seen as the man who Rick says is "about to get his jaw broke" in the opening Bounty Law scenes. Martin Kove is the Sheriff seen right before that who antagonizes Rick. Danny Strong played Dean Martin who is completely cut out. In the special thanks at the end of the end credits he thanks all the cast members that either had most or all their scenes cut. They dominate most of the left side column.

I also had to read about this because I missed it on both of my viewing so far but Clu Gulager is the man in the book store that Tate speaks to.
Ha, oh that was Burt! I knew he looked familiar.

I'm curious how Danny Strong would've worked into the film as Dean Martin with the use of real footage for The Wrecking Crew.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#697 Post by black&huge » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:50 pm

It's really odd about the Danny Strong casting. I could absolutely buy that quite a few of the actors chosen to portray the real people teetered from spot-on to "kinda but it still works". However Strong is substantially shorter than Martin and lookswise imo would just be too unbelievable.

Marsden I suppose could pull off a young Reynolds but I applaud Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen in the finished film. His one scene performance is a huge highlight.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#698 Post by BigMack3000 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:57 pm

Even though it was just a background cameo, I thought Mama Cass was spot on.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#699 Post by senseabove » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:03 pm

As a preface, I don't feel particularly strongly either way about Tarantino. I'm in the camp that finds gratuitous violence mostly off-putting, I like Jackie Brown most but I haven't revisited any of them in probably a decade, and I never bothered to see his last two just based on what I heard about the violence in them. But curious about the subject and having heard this was less violent and more of a beguiling hang-out, I decided to go for a local 35mm screening.

As for the big argument, count me as a believer that this is (at least a step in the direction of) rescuing Tate from the myth that obscures her, and I buy that giving Tate more of a character would be an over-determination. Getting too specific destroys the collective fantasy—as she is in the movie, we get to experience Tate as a symbol of a potential that we know was lost in reality, but which we can still imagine. We do nevertheless see that Tate has something approximating an inner life (she reads! she feels joy!) and actual humanity (she snores! she has dirty feet!). Does the NorCal in me also think it's a little icky that a woman is shown as the epitome of Tarantino's collective SoCal fantasy? Yes. Would elaborating Tate as a fully-realized human being be an interesting project? Yes, but certainly a different project. Do I think biopics are typically bad for exactly the reasons that Tarantino manages to short-circuit by engaging with Tate's cultural significance and beginning to draw in the edges of her as a human, not just a culturally significant person-object? Yes.
Mr Sausage wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:29 pm
Most will call this Tarantino's least violent film, but in truth it's filled to the brim with violence. It just doesn't register because it's all occurring on screens as part of tv or movie clips, or as part of on-going productions.
I was pretty shocked by the violence in the FBI TV show. I'm a young'n, relatively speaking, still getting to grips with the whole evolution of acceptable media content over the course of the 20th century, but I'm mildly fascinated by that progression, and a shotgun to the face of military personnel, including blood splatter, on primetime television, definitely did not fit the loose narrative I have in my head, especially a mere year and a half after Bonnie & Clyde.


My only semi-hot take that I haven't seen discussed up-thread: Cliff's character seemed intended to be a pretty pointed "#MeToo snap-judgement" counter-argument, and whatever you make of the "it's fundamentally conservative" take, this felt like the most blatant tentpole for it, but I have yet to see it discussed.
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Pointedly ending the flashback on the boat at the "did he/didn't he" moment, with the harpoon gun casually pointed in her direction and Cliff's finger on the trigger—especially in a Tarantino movie where we fully expect to see that violence if he did commit it—and then letting us hang out with Cliff for another two hours and get to know him, struck me as "well if you know him you know what you think of that rumor," or if you want to stretch it a little more, that even if the rumor is true, people change. Add that to a movie where Polanski is a peripheral figure and... well...


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