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

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

#876 Post by Leo K. » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:31 pm

Nasir007 wrote: That's a devasting review. And elements of it have already been discussed here. That, that which Tarantino is nostalgic about is nobody's loss more or less and the event which he uses to signify his nostalgia might have been a supremely insignificant event in the history of culture with little impact on much of anything.

Tarantino is thus asking us to feel nostalgia about an artificially created past that the audience is supposed to yearn for based on what he presents on screen. It is so specific to himself that it is offputting if not completely alienating.
Yet look at the reviews. 8.0 on IMDb and 3.9 on Letterbox, clearly most of the general audience isn't perplexed.

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

#877 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:46 pm

I'd go as far as to say you can enjoy the hell out of this film without once yearning for the era it depicts

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

#878 Post by Nasir007 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:01 pm

Leo K. wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:31 pm
Nasir007 wrote:
That's a devasting review. And elements of it have already been discussed here. That, that which Tarantino is nostalgic about is nobody's loss more or less and the event which he uses to signify his nostalgia might have been a supremely insignificant event in the history of culture with little impact on much of anything.

Tarantino is thus asking us to feel nostalgia about an artificially created past that the audience is supposed to yearn for based on what he presents on screen. It is so specific to himself that it is offputting if not completely alienating.
Yet look at the reviews. 8.0 on IMDb and 3.9 on Letterbox, clearly most of the general audience isn't perplexed.
I think you are giving the general audience for too much credit. I would say most probably enjoyed the violence, corporeal abuse and bloodletting. I already said as much that my perfectly nice friends enjoyed that part the most. In my own screening, it was a silent audience except for the finale when there was hooting and cheering and joy and celebration from the audience.

In the cinemas, the general audience is a captive audience, so they see the movie through. And the finale is essentially a bonanza aimed at the cheap seats. So no wonder the general audiences filter our having gotten their money's worth.

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

#879 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:16 pm

So people are very pleased with a nearly 3 hour movie because of 5 minutes of violence?

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

#880 Post by cdnchris » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:33 pm

It would be more likely they would hate it because there was ONLY 5-minutes of violence.

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

#881 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:47 pm

And because it gets uncomfortable in those "cheap seats"

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

#882 Post by Altair » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:48 pm

While we are trying to come up for reasons why the masses enjoy the film (perish the thought that any of them en mass could divine Tarantino's intentions), it is perhaps because they enjoy a film which involves hanging out with DiCaprio, Pitt, and Robbie, who, even in this day and age, are genuine movie stars who command a following amongst the general populace. Certainly that was why my friends wanted to see the film and primarily liked it because of them - watching DiCaprio and Pitt shoot the breeze, Robbie being a charming movie star and going to the cinema, and so on.

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

#883 Post by feihong » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:44 am

Nasir007 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:18 pm
Jack Kubrick wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:14 pm
Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote:I actually bothered to see this film a second time to try to figure out what I might have missed. The answer: even more dullness, more emptiness than my first look at it. Maybe because in August 1969 I was preparing to move from New York to Paris and the Manson murders, however awful, had no mythical or historical or sociological significance for me, unlike (say) Woodstock. I still find them devoid of much interest, especially for someone like QT who has no curiosity about them. Ergo, I’m inclined to think that those who assume otherwise, like those who keep harping reductively on 9/11, are simply looking deperately for ways to substitute sound-bites for thought, or cheap journalism for life. This time, Tarantino wants to arouse our reverence and nostalgia for musical and cinematic crap along with journalistic crap—in short, all forms of media crap, mysteriously reconfigured as Our Sistine Chapel—and, like Trump, accept him as something other than a redneck
in spite of all his redneck tastes and values, the same way that Sharon Tate accepts Dalton. The eagerness of the public to embrace this abject plea for affection and respect continues to baffle me.

Rosenbaum coming for the swing against this film, echoing the same sentiment as Richard Brody criticism of it being a product of Donald Trump MAGA agenda.
That's a devasting review. And elements of it have already been discussed here. That, that which Tarantino is nostalgic about is nobody's loss more or less and the event which he uses to signify his nostalgia might have been a supremely insignificant event in the history of culture with little impact on much of anything.

Tarantino is thus asking us to feel nostalgia about an artificially created past that the audience is supposed to yearn for based on what he presents on screen. It is so specific to himself that it is offputting if not completely alienating. Curiously, that itself is not arrogant and was actually attempted in another film not that long ago. In the end, at its conclusion, Wes Anderson also asks us to feel nostalgic about an imaginary past that he conjures up in The Grand Budapest Hotel. And that somehow works. There is the pull of emotion for an entirely imagined milieu and country and society. Because what shines through is the decency and humanity of people, the largesse of their inclusion.

No such luck here. Instead, we are left to humor the fetish of a film-maker essentially masturbating in public and asking to be patted on the back for that. So no tears at the end of the movie but pass the tissues, please.

I don't see the Rosenbaum review as so devastating at all, mainly because Rosenbaum checks himself out of the conversation exceptionally early, admitting he wasn't interested in the Manson murders and that he doesn't see why anyone should be interested in them. If you proceed from that vantage point, it's hard to imagine how you'd be won over by the film, but Rosenbaum comes off a lot grumpier than that, scolding Tarantino for what he calls "redneck tastes and values." I don't know quite what he could mean here; I can't imagine rednecks, as as they've been described to me, being interested in TV bit players from 60 years ago, or getting down to what they were playing on the radio in Southern California in 1968.

What Rosenbaum hand-waves away, however, is the impact of the Sharon Tate murder in California at the time. The murder shook people there profoundly. My mother––not a hippie but a peacenik and DSA member who grew up in North Hollywood––recalled to me after seeing the film the feeling of dread that gripped people when it happened. In her mind at the time murder was connected with a spate of events in the era that made manifest a dark undercurrent of the radical left––she related it to the SLA kidnapping Patty Hearst and shooting it out with the police in Los Angeles, and to the Weather Underground's townhouse explosion. For her, now in her mid-70s, the violence at the end of the Tarantino picture was cartoonish and exaggerated, and while usually prefers not to see such things in movies, she told me there was a certain elation she felt in just the "what-if" suggestion that things went differently that night. Books like "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" recount the effect of the murder on members of Hollywood, and suggest that the death of Sharon Tate takes place at this nexus point with the last gasp of the so-called "old Hollywood." Now I suppose you could dismiss all this conflation as "mythologizing," or "sentimentalizing," just as Rosenbaum seems prepared to do, but it seems at least an ungenerous read of the mood and the intimations, the feeling of an end to an era––giving way to an uncertain new future––that Tarantino is using to conjure the fantasy of the film.

Rosenbaum says the film is dull and empty, but I think he's choosing to ignore a lot of complexity buried under the film's facade of mood-over-story. If anything, the movie has some of the quality of an Eric Rohmer picture, in that small expressions of attitude and the germ of an idea in someone's mind means a world of change within a character's mind, or a profound alteration of their fate, in an environment where only mundane things seem to be happening. Here's an overlong example of how this process works and builds in "Once Upon a Time:" the novel Rick Dalton reads on set, "The Last of the Bronco-Busters," I believe it's called, has a great effect on Rick––but only as he begins to relate it to the precocious little girl sitting next to him. When he attempts to re-tell the tale, the resonance it has with his own life leaves him overcome with his own sorrow and regrets. He identifies with the story of the old cowboy, who can't do things as well as he used to, and he equates his own alcoholism with the bronco-buster's injury, which drags him down. But Rick isn't the only character in the film to identify himself with a cowboy; Cliff Booth admits to Pussycat that he thinks of himself as a busted-up old cowboy when he picks her up hitchhiking. And tellingly, it's Cliff who gets stabbed in hip at the end of the movie––a wound mirroring that of the cowboy in the novel, which will really put him out to pasture as a washed-up stuntman. And Rick seems to be veering off at the end of the film towards a more hopeful future, with more rides off into the sunset before him. That kind of crossed-wires resonance is common to many of Tarantino's movies, and to me it's quite interesting and worth unpacking. Even if it doesn't add up to intellectual coherency, it paves the way for a lot of the film's more interesting themes and notions.

For instance, the humorous sequence where Rick gets emotional over the novel grows unexpectedly into one of the key passages of the film. Rick's summarizing of the story and themes of the novel draw him towards a new resolve, in which he lets go of his need to be a "face," a movie star, and commits himself instead to playing a character. This is the key for Rick to unlocking his future in the movies––after this we see his lonely gunman's walk through the movie lot towards his next scene, in which he displays his newfound dedication. When the film jumps ahead after this, skipping lightly past the European excursion, it's because Rick has turned this corner; that challenge to his identity and the growth he gathers from it are done. But I think it's worth pointing out that in this movie we get to see someone read another work of art (invented for the movie, but clearly redolent of a common style of paperback from the era) and then interpret it, analyze it, and synthesize it's meaning into an application for their own their own life––all in a decent approximation of the real time this might take. This is beyond Woody Allen walking into a Marx Brothers movie in "Hannah and Her Sisters" and narrating his change of heart to us; that's the more common film variation on this kind of transformation, which is to provide visual context and then sell us on an emotional journey we don't entirely see. It tends to lend itself to the kind of sentimentality Rosenbaum wouldn't much appreciate. The transformation we see over the course of several scenes in "Once Upon a Time" is something undefined and unexplained, that we can nevertheless see working on this character, worming its' way into his head and expanding into an idea. It's subtle enough you can miss it––I think Rosenbaum has missed it, or he chooses to ignore it––and though it's an undercurrent it's actually the point of this sequence of scenes, and key to understanding the organization of the film's narrative. But also it's worth saying that very few filmmakers allow enough daylight into their movies to make room for anything more than a name-check for the art that has moved and inspired them. Tarantino gives large sections of the film over to recapitulating and restaging scenes from films, inserting actors into scenes in other movies, and interweaving fictional characters with real ones in a tapestry. This has increasingly become a big part of the fun in Tarantino's films, and it reminds me of the large sections of Roberto Bolano novels where he endlessly recounts the literary careers of fictional authors, summarizing their fictional books. I find it's more constructive to see this as a kind of play with art and history than as some kind of perverse kink. It's a playfulness I continue to find really admirable. I think you are right to compare Tarantino's play in history to Wes Anderson's. They are doing similar things, though I think Anderson is doing it in a much more traditional way––i.e., picking an historical era and weaving bits of history into the corners and seams of an otherwise fully fictionalized drama. What Tarantino is doing is a lot more postmodern, a kind of collage in which fictional characters and historical ones are pasted side by side, and the story they're acting out is made of eviscerated pieces of truth and fiction, recombined to form a combination of intellect and personal feeling. I suppose that sounds ponderous, but making a collage is anything but; and I can imagine Tarantino having that kind of fun while he's writing.

What's more, as a viewer I can share in that fun with what I would consider a low bar of entry––lower by quite a bit than the bar I never quite cleared watching "The Grand Budapest Hotel." In your summary you suggest that Grand Budapest "somehow works," but I never felt it working. Certainly I didn't feel any particular nostalgia factor, because the narrator in Grand Budapest, as played by the younger actor, was so modern a presence he seemed completely out of place. And yet, he's the figure I'm supposed to follow and identify with. This line in particular stuck out to me in your previous writing:

"Because what shines through is the decency and humanity of people, the largesse of their inclusion."

I actually feel the reverse; that Anderson's movies, "Grand Budapest" included, are peculiarly artificial, made to run around to Anderson's precise timing, and deliver lines of a sort of exacting awkwardness that never convinces me I'm being presented with human characters. The "inclusion" line is especially weird to me, in that all of the Anderson movies (less so perhaps "Bottle Rocket" than the later ones, maybe) feel hermetically sealed against me. You inclusion in Anderson's world demands you see his sense of humor as hilarious rather than cloying, his sentimentality as heartfelt rather than insincere, and the very twee personal world he creates as a delightful place to live instead of being locked in prison with a cracked egg. Characters often outright state the themes you're supposed to absorb in Anderson's films, and there are frequently as well the kind of sentimental scenes found in Spielberg movies, designed to hammer home the idea that this journey was, after all, "worth it." I never feel as though I have passed the test for entry and enjoyment of Anderson's movies. And yet, I find Tarantino's peculiarities much less overwhelming, and potentially quite easy to deal with, if they're ever bothersome. I've not liked several of his movies––I have no use for Kill Bill, and little interest in Reservoir Dogs––but I think in his best movies there is an open space for you, the viewer, to exercise your own mind, make connections, and sleuth up suggestions of what the ambiguous passages of the movie might mean. All that is required is some knowledge of the history and film Tarantino is referencing––some of it, not nearly all of it––and the film becomes a very rewarding exercise. So I think the truly inclusive approach is demonstrated more adeptly and more often by Tarantino. Anderson's films are always telling you what to think of them. Tarantino's movies invite you to make up your own mind. If there is a particularly risible group of fans who "get off" on the violence in Tarantino's movies, I don't see how that is his fault. This movie especially hardly plays to those people's rather obvious wants; in fact, it denies them their slaughter for almost its entire running time.

This is a lesser complaint, but Rosenbaum references the ending scene of "Once Upon a Time," implying Tarantino wants our acceptance "the same way that Sharon Tate accepts Dalton." Rosenbaum lays pretty clear what he thinks is happening there at the end of the film; I'd like to offer a different interpretation. A lot of commentators have mentioned that Sharon Tate doesn't have a story arc in the film, and she is frequently described in reviews as "floating" in and out of the movie. Tate is a little more involved in the film than that implies. She stands in a very different position vis a vis Dalton, and her scenes in the film are designed to make that clear to us. She is on her way up, Dalton is on his way down. So everything Dalton felt as a young movie star, we're supposed to understand through our experience of Sharon. There is also a theme smuggled through some scenes dealing with lost chances; as Steve McQueen watches Sharon dance he bemoans his own notion––a fantasy, really––that he might have dated Sharon. Later in the film we have a parallel scene, handled in a very similar manner, in which Dalton recounts to the star of the TV show he's appearing on how he maybe almost got the Steve McQueen part in "The Great Escape." Then we step into Rick's unbridled fantasy, where after just telling us he had no chance at the role, he has cast himself in the McQueen part in the finished film. But I think there's a little more to Sharon yet. Throughout the movie Sharon Tate is repeatedly paired with characters that have, in the popular imagination, died too young. We see her train with Bruce Lee, and dance with Mama Cass, and, it's heavily implied, have an affair with Jay Sebring. These scenes are played without very much audible dialogue. The atmosphere of the scenes is heightened and stylized. Similarly, there is the eerie wordlessness of her almost-encounter with Manson––carried off with a lot of the same stylistic cues. The film speed seems to slow a little, the sound drops low, and there is some backlighting obscuring Sharon's or our vision of events. The implication from the scenes is that Sharon is "touched by death," and this is reinforced because historically we know she is doomed. When Cliff and Rick and Brandy save her from that fate, Rick finally gets to meet her, and I think one can read her hug as a kind of thanks for the reality she has been spared; Rick and Cliff are Tarantino's fictional intercessors, taking the abuse in order that fictional Sharon can live on. Still, the scene is strange. Sharon's voice appears before she arrives, disembodied on the intercom. And by the time she has emerged from the house to greet Rick the camera has risen until it is high above their heads––after the massacre is averted, we never see Sharon's face. It lends the final scene an unreality that is complemented by the appear of the "Once Upon a Time" title––a well-chosen moment for that revelation of fairy-tale to appear.

I've been reading Ann Bannon's novels recently, and in the afterwords Bannon frequently identifies the characters she wrote as the avatars of her own feelings. Specifically, she talks about using them to ameliorate her own frustrations, suffering and pain. She wrote something to the extent of, "I couldn't deal with what I was going through, but Beebo Brinker could." And I wonder if Cliff and Rick don't serve a similar purpose in "Once Upon a Time..." They are losers, the victims of choices they regret and of changing times, and the film is most moving when it captures that feeling of standing still while the ground is shifting under you. If there is an emotional core to the movie, I think it would have to be centered around Tarantino's own somewhat unresolved feelings about the end of an era. His characters bear the pain for him, but they are also able to do what only the most postmodern characters can do; walk into history and change it. They do that, and quite by accident they rescue a real victim of the era, Sharon Tate, and pull her into their veil of fiction with them. But it's a transformation that is not without it's own kind of damage; for these characters leave us for another fiction. One of the most ambiguous elements of the movie is how sepulchral that ending shot is. I don't think it's possible to look at that shot and really believe things have turned out happily. Reality is still there when the fiction's credits roll.

I hope this doesn't come off as overly-combative, especially to Nasir007. I had a wonderful experience watching the movie; one I was eager to share. Your view of it, and especially Rosenbaum's, I just disagreed with, but I hope you won't hold it against me. And I have to say, too, that any movie that has time and care not only to spare a splendid dog from a miserable movie death––not only allow it to live, but also to make sure to let us know that, even though she's shaken up, that great dog will be cared for and maybe even pampered a bit (I'm reading more into Brandy's future than I am into Rick Dalton's!)––is a humanist masterpiece of at least a certain level.

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

#884 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:59 am

Terrific post, Fei Hong. It's so nice to have you back.
Fei Hong wrote:]Rosenbaum says the film is dull and empty, but I think he's choosing to ignore a lot of complexity buried under the film's facade of mood-over-story. If anything, the movie has some of the quality of an Eric Rohmer picture, in that small expressions of attitude and the germ of an idea in someone's mind means a world of change within a character's mind, or a profound alteration of their fate, in an environment where only mundane things seem to be happening. Here's an overlong example of how this process works and builds in "Once Upon a Time:" the novel Rick Dalton reads on set, "The Last of the Bronco-Busters," I believe it's called, has a great effect on Rick––but only as he begins to relate it to the precocious little girl sitting next to him. When he attempts to re-tell the tale, the resonance it has with his own life leaves him overcome with his own sorrow and regrets. He identifies with the story of the old cowboy, who can't do things as well as he used to, and he equates his own alcoholism with the bronco-buster's injury, which drags him down. But Rick isn't the only character in the film to identify himself with a cowboy; Cliff Booth admits to Pussycat that he thinks of himself as a busted-up old cowboy when he picks her up hitchhiking. And tellingly, it's Cliff who gets stabbed in hip at the end of the movie––a wound mirroring that of the cowboy in the novel, which will really put him out to pasture as a washed-up stuntman. And Rick seems to be veering off at the end of the film towards a more hopeful future, with more rides off into the sunset before him. That kind of crossed-wires resonance is common to many of Tarantino's movies, and to me it's quite interesting and worth unpacking. Even if it doesn't add up to intellectual coherency, it paves the way for a lot of the film's more interesting themes and notions.
It's also a key part of Tarantino's allusive technique. Of course the movie is chiefly named for Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West, another fantasy about aging cowboys on the cusp of being left behind by modernity whose fortunes become tangled with a beautiful woman representing the new era. So yes indeed Cliff and Rick are cowboys. In other guises, Cliff is the silent, mysterious, otherworldly gunfighter and Rick is the chatty, down-on-his-luck, resourceful bandit, half hopeful, half knowing the score. To get all highfalutin and borrow Northrop Frye's terms, the larger mythological story of Leone's west is displaced in Tarantino's story into a more naturalistic mode/genre. But we don't end up in realism; we're displaced a few rungs down the ladder, yes, but we're going from high fantasy (western mythology) to low fantasy (Hollywood mythology).

And even then, Leone's film is not a pure mythology, but an attempt to mythologize Hollywood by turning American cinema tropes into universal archetypes and the film itself into an elegy where the loss of cultural products (the death of the western film) can be refigured into an historical loss (the death of the west) and a mythological loss (the movement out of a golden age). This bears some weight on Tarantino's film, tho' I don't have time to unpack it.

But Tarantino's a smart dude--he knows when you displace myth like this, you risk bathos. So he uses his fine sense of irony and comedy to craft a tone that welcomes absurdity. So when the hero riding off wounded into the sunset becomes a guy hauled off in an ambulance, it works, because a mocking tone has already been part of the movie's pleasures. The tone creates a level where you are allowed not to take this seriously.

In fact, I think Tarantino's big triumph here is tone. The way he manages to balance so many different and one would think contradictory tones (elegaic, romantic, ironic, absurd) is a marvel. That he can both mock and undercut fantasy and lend it real weight, that he can let us mourn with his characters and find them ridiculous: this is masterful.
Fei Hong wrote:But I think it's worth pointing out that in this movie we get to see someone read another work of art (invented for the movie, but clearly redolent of a common style of paperback from the era) and then interpret it, analyze it, and synthesize it's meaning into an application for their own their own life––all in a decent approximation of the real time this might take
Rosenbaum was too obtuse to realize the film already contained a rebuttal to his position that the film contains "all sorts of media crap". The movie demonstrates that these pieces of "crap" art dismissed by people like Rosenbaum do, in fact, offer us something positive and meaningful in our lives. If we're active and intelligent readers (and viewers), we can find meaning, wisdom, and personal value in what we consume, and an emotional experience that will follow us the rest of our lives. The book Dalton reads might not be very good from an objective standpoint, but the experience Dalton's had in interpreting it and relating it to his own life is invaluable. Rosenbaum uses the metaphor of the "sistine chapel" to describe Tarantino's pretensions, but it's Rosenbaum who' pretending to inhabit those lofty heights. Tarantino is down to earth and personal, not offering transcendent experiences, but affirming very common human ones.

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

#885 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:12 am

feihong, what a fabulous post. I enjoyed reading every word of it.

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

#886 Post by swo17 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:26 am

Yes, very insightful

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

#887 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:49 am

Random observation about Tarantino in general: I think the majority of people go into his work, either knowingly or unknowingly, thinking "Well, I'm about to see a collage of other people's more notable, better work - perhaps it will be brilliant in its own right, but he's starting at third base and I am going to judge it on whether he's able to cross home plate with all these elements that he's just aping, because after all, that's what Tarantino does."

But it's easy to lose sight of the fact that he entirely constructs some very dense and often quite thoughtful plot, sometimes (in the case of Pulp Fiction) doing his part to rewrite the way that plot is structured in mainstream cinema. So while it feels right to sort of move the enjoyable and creatively unbridled whole of this film to the side and just nitpick small details that did or didn't scratch the right itch for the right viewer, it seems rather unfair to the fact that a scene as simple as the introduction with Al Pacino is a perfectly executed way of unpacking a lot of context; introducing us to a memorable character, providing entertaining nuggets of Dalton's career, and bringing us toward the rest of the film with more stimulation than we'd get from the entirety of most pictures at the multiplex. A scene like the one with the little girl on set is enough to kick off a post as thoughtful as feihong's above, and is one of multiple emotional cores of a whole film that would not be as strong as it is without it pulling the audience into Dalton's psyche. This film is full of pleasures both small and large, and is largely a figment of a writer's imagination - it's easy to pick nits when one wants to be wholly dismissive of Tarantino's milieu and mindset, but it's not so easy to imagine that anyone else could have made this film. And that is an inherently valuable quality that is easy to look past when it comes to this filmmaker in particular, because of some of the more stereotypical assumptions about what he's doing as a filmmaker at a baseline level. Once you've moved past your prejudices about his abilities themselves, it's easy to see that this film is much more as a whole than a five minute violent sequence, or a flashback, or a nostalgic music cue.

And then if you still feel raw about it after taking it all into account, you'll have something interesting to say from a critical perspective. But I can't say it's all that interesting to read the same 7 or so minutes of a 165 minute film criticized over and over and over.

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

#888 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:35 pm

Tarantino is a magnificent and imaginative writer - one of the best we've ever had. He's extra-ordinarily learned, eclectic and knows his culture to boot. I actually think his directing does not hold up.

I think The Hateful Eight is a great screenplay but a terrible film. Tarantino the director often gets in the way of Tarantino the writer. That is why I think he might have a glorious career once he retires from directing theatrical films. I think he will flourish when he writes plays, or television or even screenplays for other people. I am on record saying that but for the garbage finale, Once Upon is indeed a very good film.

Tarantino has acquired an inordinate amount of hubris as a director which I think clouds his brilliant work as a writer. He gets so precious about his own writing as if every script of his is Ulysses. His actors refer to his script as "the text" as if it were the holy gospel. He should be less precious about his work and maybe a tad more prolific. I think that will give him perspective. Writing is his forte, directing, by and large, is not, notwithstanding some great films he has made. He should let the audience and the critics ponder his greatness rather than doing so himself.

And @feihong you don't come off, the least bit, as combative. You couldn't possibly with such a well-reasoned post. I will respond at length when I can make time but rest assured you elevate the conversation with such deep analyses.

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

#889 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:45 pm

Most actors refer to scripts as "the texts" or "the book"

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

#890 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:35 pm

The theatre also treats scripts as far more sacrosanct than film and the writer plays a big part in production, so I don't know what being a play writer would change for Tarantino.

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

#891 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:41 pm

I also genuinely, and I'm not trying to be combative here, I genuinely don't know what this means:
Nasir007 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:35 pm
He should be less precious about his work and maybe a tad more prolific.
Especially in context of all the praise for his writing. If he's a "magnificent" writer, "one of the best we've ever had," why should he dilute that by writing spec scripts for other directors? Don't you think time and care (i.e. being "precious") might account for some of that quality level?

And if he's writing these violent sequences, isn't Tarantino the writer part of your entire problem with Tarantino the director? Or is his directing side somehow sullying his screenplays by adding violence to them after the fact?

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

#892 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:17 pm

I will address the various things as best as I can.

Director Tarantino is precious with the script. He should be a bit looser. I mean of course, he is going to follow his own script.

Writer Tarantino should be more prolific because he's better at it. Directing takes up too much time. If he gave up directing, he would be able to write many more scripts.

I have not set the artificial deadline for him to stop directing, he has. And he seems committed, so I am just charting out a speculative course for his considerable talents.

A different director will be bolder and will essentially outrank writer Tarantino in a production so will be able to change at least some things to bring the script properly to life. The director calls the shots. Today Tarantino has no "no" men around him. And it shows.

I don't know to what detail Tarantino wrote everything for the violence. I would guess maybe not a lot besides the broad strokes. If he had just written the finale, maybe a different director would have filmed it differently. Implied the things happening but not shown everything. Achieved a different tone, a different feeling, a different angle etc. etc. Direction makes such a world of difference. A scene can be directed a million different ways compared to how it is written. So I think a different director might be able to overcome some of his worst impulses that director Tarantino does not seem able to overcome.

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

#893 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:45 pm

I still can't tell what your problem with the ending is besides you just don't enjoy watching extreme violence. Which is fine. But rather than accepting there's a mismatch between you and the film and moving on, you're doing everything you can to make your reaction the product not just of the film being very bad, but Tarantino himself being very bad. It's as if you assume that whenever something makes you feel bad, it must be because it's attacking you. I hardly know how else to understand wanting to entirely replace the director of a movie you enjoyed because you didn't like a minute of violence at the end (from a notoriously violent director no less). It's so bizarre.

I think you need to let it go. You keep going on and on about it without ever getting anywhere, and it doesn't seem like you're going to listen to anyone else. Why belabour this?
nasir wrote:A different director will be bolder and will essentially outrank writer Tarantino in a production so will be able to change at least some things to bring the script properly to life. The director calls the shots.
This is not remotely true. It's pretty rare for a director to have such control on a film set.

Also, am I to take it you're a huge fan of True Romance and Natural Born Killers?

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

#894 Post by Brian C » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:56 pm

Sorry for the pedantry, but Tarantino only had "story" credit for Natural Born Killers, so it's probably not a great example of what you're trying to get at.

This discussion is funny because the way Nasir describes his issues, it sounds like his problem is actually more with the writing than the direction even though he insists otherwise.

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

#895 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:58 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:17 pm
I don't know to what detail Tarantino wrote everything for the violence. I would guess maybe not a lot besides the broad strokes.
Considering the director of this movie is the same person as the writer of this movie I'd guess that he wrote all of it

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

#896 Post by knives » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:02 pm

Brian C wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:56 pm
Sorry for the pedantry, but Tarantino only had "story" credit for Natural Born Killers, so it's probably not a great example of what you're trying to get at.

This discussion is funny because the way Nasir describes his issues, it sounds like his problem is actually more with the writing than the direction even though he insists otherwise.
That's mostly Tarantino doing some enfant terrible type stuff. The original script has been leaked forever and much of what is in the final movie is from Tarantino. The movie primarily cuts out a few things and restructures other.

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

#897 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:05 pm

The enfant terrible Tarantino is the Tarantino that makes writer Tarantino and director Tarantino do the violence

Image

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

#898 Post by Brian C » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:34 pm

knives wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:02 pm
That's mostly Tarantino doing some enfant terrible type stuff. The original script has been leaked forever and much of what is in the final movie is from Tarantino. The movie primarily cuts out a few things and restructures other.
Huh, thanks for the tip, I might look it up and give it a read. I always assumed that the movie took the basic concept (a serial killing couple on the lam) from Tarantino but filled in the rest. Most of the movie doesn't seem Tarantino-y to me, but maybe that's just because Stone's presence as director is so overpowering, for better and/or worse.

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

#899 Post by knives » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:48 pm

Stone definitely Stoned it up. Dangerfield's scene and the reduction of Downey's character are the main differences, but stuff like the opening and prison break are basically in tact though Stone shot them far more literally then seems intended.

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

#900 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:57 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:45 pm
I still can't tell what your problem with the ending is besides you just don't enjoy watching extreme violence. Which is fine. But rather than accepting there's a mismatch between you and the film and moving on, you're doing everything you can to make your reaction the product not just of the film being very bad, but Tarantino himself being very bad. It's as if you assume that whenever something makes you feel bad, it must be because it's attacking you. I hardly know how else to understand wanting to entirely replace the director of a movie you enjoyed because you didn't like a minute of violence at the end (from a notoriously violent director no less). It's so bizarre.

I think you need to let it go. You keep going on and on about it without ever getting anywhere, and it doesn't seem like you're going to listen to anyone else. Why belabour this?
nasir wrote:A different director will be bolder and will essentially outrank writer Tarantino in a production so will be able to change at least some things to bring the script properly to life. The director calls the shots.
This is not remotely true. It's pretty rare for a director to have such control on a film set.

Also, am I to take it you're a huge fan of True Romance and Natural Born Killers?
It's not like I cornered you and forced you to listen to my opinion. This is a forum where discussions happen and people drop in and out. I was asked for my opinion specifically and provided it in good faith.

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