Once Upon a Time ... In Hollywood

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by MikeKardec, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

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    I often hate Tarantino films before I get around to liking them. Some I just hate for ever. Some I eventually admit contain brilliance. This is not a review but I do have some observations on this one.

    1) There's not much story. The films ambles along following 3 to 5 story intersecting lines until they collide the night of the Sharon Tate (or not) murder. This is totally appropriate for a film about this era, as it was a trope of the time. Usually, however, it was carried off in around 90 minutes. This film is longer. I didn't mind that but some might.
    2) Tarantino seems to want to excuse his amusing cartoon violence by killing off historical figures who, no doubt deserved it in these "alternate history" stories. That's okay once you get used to it.
    3) The movie lovingly recreates Los Angeles in the 1960s. It's the time and place (often the exact place) where I grew up. This is one of the reasons I am so forgiving of the film's length. They really got it, maybe not the exact street lights that lined Hollywood blvd, but they really got it. I grew up in West Hollywood in the 1960s. Maybe they were light on the smog. But, generally, I was pretty impressed.
    4) I generally don't care when films mess with the geography of a place, there are many reasons for it first among them the fact that scenes are often re-cut in ways that could never be imagined by a non film maker. I did hope, however, that placing Pandora's Box (well known as the last bar on West Hollywood's Sunset Strip) outside of West Hollywood was because of one of these editorial needs and not just an oversight. The ONLY thing important about the existence of Pandora's Box was it's location ... in the perfect place to set off 1966's Sunset Strip Parking Riots and therefore to inspire the classic Buffalo Springfield song For What It's Worth.
    5) I liked it that the story was about a clash between "hippies" and "squares" (cowboy actors) and the has-been cowboys, one of them a loyal but possibly sociopath Audie Murphy type played by Brad Pitt, are the heroes. It's VERY rare in Hollywood these days to see anyone questioning counter culture, even if the counter culture is embodied by Manson Family crazies.
    6) In Hollywood you almost never see a male character turn down sex. There's a very nice scene where this is done for completely appropriate reasons.
    7) Movies have a VERY hard time showing movies being made or showing movies within movies. Usually the film in the making or the film within the film is portrayed as being of very poor quality, as if the film maker was afraid that their fictional film within a film might over shadow the main effort. That's not so much the case here, 1950s and 60s TV was often not so good to begin with, but I wouldn't say that the portrayal of the TV shows is really up to the level I would expect from a guy as seeped in film history as QT. That aspect I'll give a C+ or a B-.
    8) Finally, there is a lesson here for all people involved in certain types of violence and crime. There are professional criminals who will avoid conflict and thus, hopefully we never see them in our homes. There are pros or semi pros who's egos are involved with what they do, think gang members and the like, who are desperate and very dangerous. Survival in an altercation with a group of them would be mostly luck. Then there's the dilettante, a type like the Manson group (and some others who seem to have sprung up recently) who are living in a fantasy where their violent tantrums are supposed to change the world. It's not that they can't be dangerous but they also aren't used to people who stand their ground. If we don't have any real cowboys left then maybe, as in this film, maybe some fake cowboys will do. Heck, maybe all that's needed to turn the tide of history is just a good dog.
    9) ... which leads me to (SPOILER ALERT) ... the hero is really a dog. I like dog stories.
     
    tonyb, Downunder G Man and belfastboy like this.
  2. Downunder G Man

    Downunder G Man Practically Family

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    I saw the movie with my wife on Saturday night just past. I recognised some places/scenes from my honeymoon in 1993.

    EXCELLENT entertainment I thought. The cars were lovely for a long term Classic yank car buff like myself

    Probably need to see it thru' again to catch most of the nuances.

    Some parts were very funny indeed. The flamethrower was a doozy !
     
  3. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

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    An update: As I predicted, time has allowed me to like Once Upon a Time more and more. I'm probably going to go see it again before it disappears completely from the theaters.
     
  4. Downunder G Man

    Downunder G Man Practically Family

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    AGREED !
     
  5. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Did Lincolns of that era dent so much more readily than Cadillacs?

    I don’t know why I was so struck by that (the Brad Pitt character throwing the guy playing Bruce Lee into a Lincoln, denting it more severely than would have happened anywhere but in the movies, vs. the Brad Pitt character hurling the guy playing the Manson family punk into the Cadillac, doing no visible damage whatsoever) but get my attention it did.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  6. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    I believe any difference in sheet metal damage between the two was likely from Hollywood effects. There were several Lincoln owners around my home town and I was occasionally able to hitch a ride in one. Thin flexible sheet metal was not an impression I was left with.
     
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  7. Downunder G Man

    Downunder G Man Practically Family

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    I had an Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale convertible for 20 years. Similar aged car to the Lincoln and Caddy mentioned. Beefy car that was. I had a drunk launch off the sidewalk and kung fu kick that car full force on the drivers door. After which he was "citizen arrested" by yours truly. The door was barely damaged (unlike the perp ! )
     
  8. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    Yes, of course. I was just commenting on how unrealistic the dented Lincoln was.
     
  9. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    On the other hand, were there any empty spinach cans in view? Or did Brad have a green cast to him brought on by his anger?
     
  10. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

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    Yeah. Movie physics can be pretty strange. Sometimes it is just the emotional effect that the film is trying to convey, sometimes it's that they didn't know exactly how they were going to choreograph the fight until the day they did it. If the dented door isn't waiting, ready to be installed, then the car will show the lack of damage we all expect from pre 1980s sheet metal. It's better when it's consistent but you really wouldn't want to remove the point that the damaged door made in the Bruce Lee scene.
     
  11. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    I managed about an hour and a half. I have no idea why this film is supposed to be so good. Unsympathetic characters, an inexplicable historic assault on Bruce Lee, and no plot I can discern. Whatever..., and I am a fan of Tarantino. Not of this film though!
     
  12. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    We had this for a one-shot special screening last month for some reason that I forget. Only thing I liked about it was the fake cigarette-commercial bit at the end. Punching out the cardboard standup was a nice touch.
     

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