Once Upon A Time In ... Hollywood (My review)

by Terry 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • Terry

    Once Upon A Time in... Hollywood MY REVIEW

    I rode my bike through 3-digit temperature and watched Quentin Tarentino’s new film.
    The title harkens back to Sergio Leone’s trilogy titles.

    I wanted to see it for personal reasons. The time span covered is the background to much of my life. As a kid, Western movies were mother’s milk. I knew all the actors.
    Further, I was a real movie Nerd. Not unlike Tarantino himself.

    I also moved to California and was on the edge of the fringe of Hollywood as a young man.
    In other words, knowing the Director would be faithful to the essential feel of the decades in question - I’d be reliving part of my own life.
    Self-centered enough reasons for you?
    Okay. With that out of the way …

    The title of this film is important.
    Nothing about Hollywood has ever been real.

    California’s fine weather and generous sunlight magnetically sucked in legions of actors, Directors, dream seekers, and self-promoters from the get-go.

    HOLLYWOOD OR BUST pretty much sums it up.

    Most aspiring folks end up disappointed, used, abused, or - worst of all - simply drunk on what a little fame and exposure does to create a bubble of charisma. This leads to a complete nightmare distortion of reality.
    For instance ...

    You may not know the Brad Pitt character (Cliff Booth) is based on Hollywood stuntman and (later) director Hal Needham.
    Needham was a man of steel in his heyday. That’s how he met Burt Reynolds (also a wannabe actor and stuntman).

    Leonardo DiCaprio is a pastiche of fading Western actors from the 50’s TV obsession with cowboys. He is a chain smoker (back when smoking was “soothing”), hard drinker, non-intellectual who must confront something truly terrifying: his FUTURE.

    There are some fun Zelig moments but unless you are an old geezer - they will go over your head.

    The difference between overconfidence and self-doubt demarks (Rick Dalton’s) his career.
    He’s still a BIG DEAL to other celebrities on their way up. (Actors are just as coo-coo over other actors as small town rubes on a tourist binge).

    In Once Upon A Time …
    We are dropped into a time and place (familiar as hell to me) where we meet our two protagonists and ‘hang out’ with them as voyeurs.
    It doesn’t take long for an audience to realize something rather shocking:
    Standard storytelling will not be visiting your local movie theater.
    This time we are required to shut up and watch the way a reporter might do a “drive along” with cops on their beat. You strap in and stay out of the way.

    You either adjust to the PACE of this film or you do not.
    This is a visit to a museum. There is no ticking clock.
    Well, maybe there is and maybe there isn’t.
    We are teased gently toward a grisly and horrific historic event not unlike the old writer’s trope: “If an author at any time shows you a gun in a drawer - sooner or later it will be used.”
    I’m talking about Charles Manson and his hippie commune of misfits and mind-controlled automatons.

    As we glimpse the unmajestic lives of a former Big Star and his sidekick and best buddy stunt double, the golden ring turns our finger green.

    If Rick can’t pull it together and learn his lines he’d rather be dead.
    As an audience member, I wanted to stage an intervention for these people to SNAP OUT OF IT! Take care of yourself why don't you?

    How many stars simply fade slow, slower, slowly until we read their obituary in the newspaper? Most? Some? Too many.


    I was dreading the slow buildup to the Charles Manson event which was approaching little by little.

    That crescendo is handled like a fine Italian horror film.
    I would expect nothing less from Q.T.

    And that’s when it happened to me!

    An unexpected emotional response seized me and I couldn’t do anything about it.
    I can’t explain it.

    You see … when you KNOW what’s going to happen … it’s just a matter of technique as to how it will be dramatized. Right?
    I started crying in the theater and if you were sitting next to me you’d absolutely think I was a flippin’ idiot.
    Tarentino did me a huge favor and made me inexplicably happy.
    That’s right. He made me so happy I couldn’t help but cry.

    I assure you - this won’t be your reaction.

    For me, it was a vision of a much better version of a world I lived in.

    A gift.

    If that puzzles you - well - go see the damn movie. Just don’t expect it to be like any other Tarentino film. It isn’t.
    I mean, it sorta is sometimes.
    But not.

  • Biahi

    We are going to see it this weekend

  • WingCommander

    Saw it this past weekend, completely agree with your assessment. (and I'm a young 40) I thoroughly enjoyed this time capsule flashback fantasy. I knew Rick Dalton's character was based loosely on a mixture of Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, etc. And Brad Pitt? Looking more and more like Robert Redford as the years go by!!!!! Seeing Kurt Russell in there was a nice touch as well. There were some nice Easter Eggs to be seen, if you knew what you were looking at. For instance, one of the first shots of the studio parking lot when Rick and his stunt double were leaving, was shown panning out from the top. In the lot, you can see plain as day a red Ferrari 250GT California. It was an incredible car back then, and one of the world's most desirable and valuable cars today. ($25 million at auction). Younger people would know this car as the Ferrari in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

    I LOVED the ending. Loved how QT pulled us in, expecting the absolute worst, but gave us the absolute BEST. A real "what if" or "what could have been" experience.


  •  The Bethelite
    The Bethelite

    Yes, I agree. In fact I've seen the movie twice. I went back again to get some of the hidden gems I missed the first time around.

    Qt who we all know loves to disseminate death an a lot of blood would have had no problem normally slicing and dicing any buddy including a pregnant women and taking their blood and smearing it on the walls. However he took us down a different road.

    A better road? Maybe....different for sure.

    Most people go to movies to escape reality.

    What do you expect for only $8 the answers to life?

  • APieceOfShitNamedTate
    He said, "I'm the devil, and I'm here to do some...devil shit."
  • blondie

    I thought I wanted to see that movie, Terry. But not such much now. That was not a really happy time for me personally.

    I tend to switch back and forth on which movies I will go to. I thought I wanted to see The Kitchen Friday (but I will wait). I'm in a Dora mood right now. Both seem to be female affirming themes though.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • pale.emperor

    Been looking forward to this. Unfortunately it's not on here in the UK until the 14th.

  • Terry

    I can understand this film not being everybody's idea of a good time.
    It doesn't follow a beaten path.
    I got the same sort of vibe from films by the Director Robert Altman (particularly
    NASHVILLE and Pret - a - Porter.)
    My eldest son (who has his own Podcast, Entertainment Landfill) urged me to see it and
    his was a positive review.
    I'd say the word "catharsis" is applicable and accurate to express my exact feelings at
    seeing the Manson killers extinguished before the holocaust we know as actual history.
    What a different world for those few minutes!

  • sparky1

    Actually, I found the movie to be a great homage to the time period. As a watch collector, I always look to see what the main characters in a movie are wearing. I was not disappointed! The Brad Pitt character was wearing a 'Bulls Head' chronograph which would have made him ultra cool at the time. It was no 'Paul Newman' Rolex but still in line with what a Cliff Booth of that time period could afford.

    And for you Sharon Tate fans, this was probably her best work:

  • neverendingjourney

    I'm just glad there's still room for this kind of movie. With all the societal and technological changes over the years, Hollywood is reluctant to invest in movies unless they come with a built-in audience (remakes, reboots, sequels, adaptations).

    Thanks goodness for Tarantino and his ability to still make a mini-event out of original and zany storytelling.

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