Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

QT still has it. The whole cast is wonderful, but Brad Pitt was born to play this role. And if you had reservations about how they were going to handle the whole Manson family connection, all I can say is

it was awesome

Huh, thats good to hear. I definitely am interested in this one, simply because QT is one of the most interesting directors out there.

Already have my tickets for tonight’s 7:00 showing at my local Cineplex.

I’ve always been a big QT fan, and I think Leo and Brad are the two best MOVIE STARS of our generation.

Got my ticket for tomorrow afternoon. I wasn’t wild about either Inglourious Basterds or Django Unchained, but I loved Hateful Eight. And all that was needed to seal my excitement for this was hearing that the friendship between Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham was a central inspiration.

The poster is period perfect.

How violent is it? Mrs. Kub doesn’t do well with gore, and Tarantino has been infatuated with over the top gore lately.

I wonder that too. Only more out of concern for Mrs Cawz not Mrs Kub. I really want to see it but never even saw Hateful 8 or all of Django due to overabundance of gore (or the rumor of gore anyway).

There’s one violent scene and it is quite something. The gore is more implied than shown but the scene itself is rather brutal. I can’t really say more without spoiling the experience but I think you and the Mrs. can soldier through it.

We loved it too. It’s a long, patient build-up to a really satisfying ending that I thought was surprisingly moving. He lets you just luxuriate in the lovingly recreated period detail and the wonderful characters. Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth is so fun… he reminded me of like 5 other iconic Pitt characters, even including his roommate from True Romance. I think he might be a movie star.

This movie has some of the same magic as Mulholland Drive or Zodiac. Shades of Jackie Brown also.

It made me want to re-read Helter Skelter to see where fact meets fiction. You get a different read of this film depending how much or how little you know about the Manson murders.

I was happy to see both Mikey Madison of Better Things and Margaret Qualley of Kenzo had juicy supporting roles. They’re both so good.

P.S. I saw it projected in 35mm which was cool on a few different levels.

My experience exactly. I saw the film last night with my 20-year-old son who has the most cursory of knowledge of Manson. He still enjoyed the film, and on the way to the car his comment was “I need to read up on the murders.”

As for the film, it’s no Pulp Fiction, but it’s up there in my list of QT films. Maybe #3 behind PF and Inglorious Basterds. The dialog is, as expected, brilliant, and Leo and Brad are indeed MOVIE STARS. Margot Robbie is certainly easy on the eyes, and about as far away from Harley Quinn as you could imagine. It could probably have been 20 or 30 minutes shorter, but every scene does serve some purpose, so the length is excusable.

I’m curious if the climax elicited laughter in the showing you all attended. It certainly did in mine, which was strangely uncomfortable.

This was, by leaps and bounds, my favorite Tarantino film. Absolutely loved it.

I keep thinking about the ending. It’s so beautifully done. Spoiler spoiler time! Don’t read until you’ve seen it! Don’t read anything about it! Go see it! (Why are we only at a dozen posts so far??)

As Cliff lit up and took his dog out for a walk (“And away we go…”) and passed the car driving up Cielo Drive, I felt dread knowing the real-life fate of those four people and feeling very strongly that I did not want to see it happen. But at the same time, I had no idea what would happen. But like the best endings, it was completely surprising yet totally organic and inevitable how these worlds collided.

As soon as it became clear where he was going, it was like a sigh of relief and a cathartic undoing of history. I understood the title and my eyes got misty and I’ve never been more grateful for Tarantino’s mischievous streak.

Then a pitch-perfect goodbye between our two leads. No need to sit around a waiting room. Come in the morning and bring bagels.

Then this lovely little moment with Jay Sebring at the (pearly?) gate and Sharon’s disembodied voice on the intercom inviting Rick up to join them in a loving embrace in their little piece of heaven in the Hollywood Hills. And if you don’t really know the specific, real-life fate of those four characters, you still feel a very satisfying happy ending for Rick who, like Cliff said early in the film, might only be one pool party away from a Polanski film.

And how about that montage of all the neon signs turning on at magic hour? What a beautiful movie.

Going to try to see this tonight, or failing that, Monday or Tuesday.

As someone who’s read Helter Skelter umpteen times, and also Ed Sanders’ “The Family”…I’d strongly recommend the Manson murders 12-part series on Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This podcast as the best overall source material for what really went down. And, most importantly: why. She nails it, and frames it better than anyone else has.

I kept thinking this is Tarantino doing a PT Anderson movie, right up until the end when he reverts back and goes full Tarantino.

But this was a pure love-letter to Hollywood.

Oh, yeah! Thanks for the reminder. I downloaded those 12 episodes on your recommendation a while back but haven’t listened yet.

One thing’s for sure… if you’re looking to criticize Tarantino’s work, which maybe isn’t aging all that well, or you think he’s tainted meat post-Harvey, you’ll find plenty here not to like. Most of which is summed up nicely in the criticism about Margot Robbie’s role he got from a reporter at Cannes which resulted in his (I thought great) response, “I reject your hypothesis.” Lol. But he’s increasingly not made for these times. I understand why he’s talking retirement!

A few more spoiler-ish thoughts…

I thought it was really interesting how Rick’s two scenes in the western he was shooting were handled. For the sake of the plot, they were simply ‘Rick blows his scene’ and later ‘Rick nails his scene’ but those segments of the movie completely immerse you in the western itself for long stretches of time. We’re like (if memory serves) ten or fifteen separate shots into what would be the final version of the film they’re shooting before we arrive at those moments with Rick. That part after they dolly back to one and we can see Rick’s actor-wheels start coming off is some of Leo’s best work ever. As is the trailer breakdown that follows.

Then for the second scene with the kidnapped girl (so nice to see Luke Perry is also still alive in the world of this film!) the whole time you’re watching the finished scene and thinking “C’mon, Rick! You can do it!” What a strong directing choice not to, say, cut to the director and crew watching on anxiously or anything like that. Hollywood’s illusion is our reality.

Then another interesting choice in a similar vein is Margot Robbie as Sharon watching real Sharon in Wreckin’ Crew. It’s another lovely little grace note of Sharon Tate still being with us.

I just learned that the Italian bride who Rick brings home near film’s end was played by Daniella Pick aka Daniella Tarantino! I didn’t even know he got married. Thus making that third act even more personal and meta.

Just got back from seeing it. My wife didn’t like it much, though she appreciated the artistry. She felt it was basically QT’s narcissistic, even masturbatory, streak at its most egregious. I couldn’t disagree, but I loved it, for a lot of the reasons listed above in the spoiler tags.

We did discuss, though, how age will play a big role in how people react. Younger viewers can certainly appreciate the movie qua movie, but so much of the film depends on you having some deep familiarity with the culture and times it depicts. I’m just old enough to remember 1969 (though I mostly remember the moon landings, as I was overseas in Germany kind of isolated from domestic pop culture except what AFN radio gave us). The only time I was in Hollywood was in 1979, a decade after the film’s setting. But it still resonated a lot, because I’m familiar with most of the music, references, etc. Hell, i remember seeing those Dean Martin Matt Helm movies, and reading the books!

I think you just blew my mind, man. There isn’t a director I enjoy more than Tarantino except PTA.

It doesn’t premiere in Australia for two whole weeks. Are they sending the film reel across the pacific ocean in a barge or what?

The thing about these period movies is I still can’t believe any of these people lived beyond 50 considering every scene they’re lighting up a cigarette. Even on the planes!

Some of my vivid memories of being a kid in the sixties include the sheer ubiquity of cigarettes. We made ashtrays in school, in art class. There were cig machines everywhere. Banks, restaurants, even hospitals gave away cigarette lighters with their logos and phone numbers on them. When my parents had guests over on a weekend evening, the next morning I had to clean up all the ashtrays.

That culture of cigarettes took a long time to die. In the seventies, maybe into the early eighties, there were still smoking sections on US airlilners, for instance.