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Discussion in 'General' started by MorallySound, Jul 12, 2017.
Cool cast, but I'm having an issue understanding what it's exactly about - lol.
Looks like the origin story for Stuntman Mike.
I'd say QT shares your confusion. I just caught a matinee, and have now completely abandoned hope that Tarantino will make another movie as good as his first three. It's not terrible, but it's uninspired, meandering, and ultimately pretty pointless. We should save spoiler territory for later, but it's never good when you're watching a movie and actively noticing that it constantly abandons interesting situations and storylines to rush headlong toward other elements that aren't as entertaining or dramatically resonant. It totally goes off the rails in the final reel, seemingly to pander to the audience, but it doesn't feel like a huge loss. Pitt plays the only compelling character, and he's definitely in a supporting role.
QT has really suffered from casting stars instead of actors. Dicaprio does what he can, but is anyone buying him as an aging, washed-up western star? I'm also really tired of Margot Robbie. Yes, she's easy on the eyes, but she's far too lightweight an actress to bring any substance to the severely underwritten role she plays here. If Tarantino made Jackie Brown now we'd probably get Jennifer Lopez for Pam Grier and Pitt for Max Cherry.
Parts of it are entertaining, and it's still better than most of what passes for movies in this era. But there's precious little magic on display. And although it doesn't feel quite as long as it is, there isn't a whole lot of dramatic momentum. It just kind of shuffles along.
This makes No. 9? That makes his next one the fabled 10th... Anyone taking early bets on if there will be an 11th?
I'm border line on seeing this one. I haven't been too keen on any of his films since Kill Bill Vol. 1 but I am interested in this era of Hollywood so senseless shenanigans could be fun. Although I'm not much into the Manson story (although it seems like a minor focus).
If that's your main reservation, I think you'll be OK. It doesn't get a whole lot of screen time.
Saw this last night and definitely enjoyed it, but it’s near the bottom of QT’s filmography, just above Django Unchained and Death Proof for me. The actors and characters are all fantastic, but the film doesn’t really have a plot to speak of. I’ve heard a lot of people compare it to Jackie Brown (one of my favorites) because of its hangout nature, but that film had the heist plot to hang all of the character moments on. This is more like Dazed and Confused, which, now that I type it, isn’t in and of itself a bad thing. Will likely grow more fond of it on rewatches (as I have with all of his films), but as long as you don’t go in expecting the next Pulp or Basterds you’ll have a great time.
I'm waiting for at least a second viewing before passing judgement (and I just found out there's a theater in town doing 35mm screenings!). Like others have said, it's virtually plotless, and films like that (like the already mentioned Dazed and Confused) are usually not enjoyable upon first viewing because you're waiting for something to happen, something to move the story along. But after you realize that's just not gonna happen, you sit back and enjoy the ride.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one quite honestly. If you go in expecting a suspense filled, crime/thriller that Tarantino usually dabbles in, you will most likely come out of this disappointed. It's more of a "Hang Out" comedy-drama, which is a huge step out of Tarantino's comfort zone, but I still found myself engaged. I did think the second act dragged at points, and you could make an argument that Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate didn't even need to be in the film, but it had me laughing quite often (the Bruce Lee sequence in particular was hysterical). I also quite enjoyed the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" inspired scene - in terms of the visual cues, not so much as the tone - with Pitt visiting the Manson Compound. Although that scene did leave me hanging with a much ado about nothing feel by the time the build up is squashed. Again, the film is comedic in nature so I guess that might have been intentional.
If you're a fan of Tarantino's work, I'd say it's very much worth it. Just keep your expectations in check.
While there are parts I enjoyed, the outcome reeks of pointlessness. What is this movie trying to say?
Spoiler: Spoiler Alert
That on film we can turn a devastating tragedy into a comedy to make us feel better about said tragedy? What's next from Tarantino? A 9/11 comedy where the planes are thwarted and only the hijackers die?
Okay movie, but pointless. 5/10 for me. But of course, the Tarantino neckbeard cult who would drink from his (foot) bath water have this ranked at 8.7 on IMDb. (It was 8.9 when I started the movie, so there's hope.)
I enjoyed this too. For a 160 minute film it never bored me. There were IMO lots of completely unnecessary scenes though (ie the playboy mansion, Bruce Dern's scene, Dicaprio's first scene with the little girl, etc). The last 15-20 minutes of the film is the real payoff. Certainly worth a theatrical viewing unless you just don't like Tarantino.
Went to see this Sunday night & had a great time. Both of us had no issues with the movie length. Really felt like you were transported back to a much earlier Hollywood. Quite an all-star cast, but Brad Pitt was especially great. Sparring with Bruce Lee and visiting the Spahn Ranch were two of the best scenes. Cool to have all of the retro movie posters throughout. Tarantino still pushes his foot fetish obsession. Between the Swinging Sixties women and The Manson Girls, lots of bare feet on camera if you are into that sort of thing. Very glad to have seen this in a crowded theater.
The "point" (and not every movie has to have one) is that like pretty much every Tarantino film, this is a personal, autobiographical fantasy of his. Yes, it's self-indulgent, but you knew that when you bought the ticket.
Tarantino is the fading filmmaker like Rick Dalton is the fading film star. Still relevant, but not going to revolutionize filmmaking again like he did with Pulp Fiction (Bounty Law). The era of Hollywood Tarantino loves so much was destroyed by some low-IQ drug-addled hippies who gained a relevance they never really deserved. This movie is Tarantino (fantasizing) giving those hippies the treatment he wishes he could have, and preserving that era.
Exactly the same as how he treated Nazis in Inglorious Basterds and slave-owners in Django Unchained. If you've seen those two movies, then Once Upon a Time in Hollywood sits right alongside of them.
This is totally true--but don't you feel at least a slight sense of diminishing returns? The pattern is becoming so firmly established that I think he's on the brink of the Shyamalan point--that moment when your "signature" unpredictability becomes utterly predictable, and a liability.
I'd separate Once Upon A Time In Hollywood from the two other flicks you cited based on the nature of the conflict with the chosen historical entity. The Nazis and plantation owners are very clearly defined as main villains in Basterds and Django--but things aren't nearly so cut-and-dried in OUATIH. For me, the only real conflict in OUATIH is Dalton's battle to retain his mojo. Yes, there's a very clear subtext juxtaposing the Manson cult against the Hollywood insiders. But the Manson cult functions more as a plot device impacting Dalton's internal conflict than a classic antagonist. It doesn't drive the plot, but it eventually becomes a factor in the larger internal conflict. Please note, I'm not saying that this distinction makes those other films BETTER (for the record, I'd put OUATIH on par with Django, but substantially below Basterds).
I am saying it makes the climax of OUATIH problematic for me because it's under-motivated if you don't take into account historical context that isn't well-established in the film.
I think it's very easy to argue that the climax represents pandering of the worst sort. For all of the unfair criticisms Tarantino has weathered about his use of violence, he rarely glamorized it in his first three movies. Yet OUATIH expects the audience to cheer when a confused, possibly brainwashed young woman has her face literally smashed to a pulp after being effectively dispatched as a threat. Booth's crazed obliteration of her is obviously justified based on what we know about history. But is it justified based on what we see in the film? The murder party is represented as being almost comically inept, and the depth of their depravity is only hinted at during earlier scenes (their callous treatment of George, the rat screeching in the trap). Having a sick sense of humor, I laughed when Booth mashed her head, but it was odd for me to see senior citizens hooting and hollering. Was the whole sequence just an uncharacteristically clumsy attempt to please the audience? Or does QT have an agenda there? Is Booth just acting upon the disgust with hippie culture that seemed to justifiably intensify at the Spahn Ranch? Is he just mindlessly retaliating for the pain of his stab wound? Have the cult members really done anything worthy of their comeuppance IN THE MOVIE? And is Booth really justified in his actions? Ultimately, is QT trying to make us think about our own nature because of our complicity in Booth's assault? Pseudo-intellectual digression over.
Obviously, I liked the film enough to spend a substantial amount of time mulling it over. But I ultimately found OUATIH frustrating because parts of it are so much better than the whole. I thought Dalton's discussion of the Easy Breezy novel with the little girl and the whole sequence where Booth visits the Spahn ranch were as good as anything in QT's oeuvre. Other parts are just so padded, clumsy, or lazy that it ends up as a net disappointment for me. As I said earlier, though, a disappointing Tarantino movie is still usually worth a trip to the theater.
Like I mentioned before, I'll need another viewing to really form an opinion on it. See, ALL of QT's films have scenes that are "padded" or boring, yet as time goes on they become my favorite parts of the movie. I remember seeing Pulp Fiction at an advance screening, such that I was able to provide bathroom break recommendations to my friends, since it was such a long movie. I usually suggested the scene of Butch in the car with Esmeralda, as it's about midway through the film, and really doesn't advance the story much at all. Esmeralda doesn't appear in the movie again. But now, I love the back-and-forth between those two characters.
And there's a ton of other scenes like that in his filmography, scenes that seemingly go nowhere but are a joy to just watch the rhythm of the dialogue. I don't know if there are any OUATIH scenes like that yet, but they rarely show themselves upon first viewing anyway.
I agree with this completely. The digressions are a big part of what's special to me in his early filmography. At this point, I don't think any of the "filler" scenes in OUATIH are on that level--and I'd go farther and say that this is an area where QT's decline is most evident. But patience is undoubtedly the way to go. It's definitely too early to form any DEFINITIVE opinions on this one.
To me, there are just two scenes you need to see to understand Quentin Tarantino, and believe me, it ain't all that deep or surprising.
The first is in True Romance, the opening scene where Clarence waxes on Elvis Presley. "I see that hillbilly on screen, and I want to BE him".
The next is the behind-the-scenes of Pulp Fiction, where the Uma Thurman-John Travolta dance scene is being filmed. Is Quentin directing the actors? No. Is he looking through the camera to see how it's framed? No. He's literally just a couple of feet from Travolta, dancing right along with him.
It becomes quite obvious that all he does with any of his films is put his daydreams and fantasies on screen. Yes, it's self-indulgent and masturbatory, but you either like it or you don't. If you're not a fan, you never will be.
I saw it today, and I'm still unpacking. I think it's a movie with a lot of interesting ideas that don't necessarily come together as well as they could have.
Regarding some of the ending discussion above:
I think it was meant as a satire of the weird sort of mythic romanticism around Manson and his followers. People are morbidly fascinated, and we've been bombarded with several masterbatory films about Manson and his followers. In fact, this is the third Manson film I've seen this year after Charlie Says and The Haunting Of Sharon Tate (which also takes an alt-history approach, but in a really stupid way). After the murders, everyone in Hollywood had their own stories about their bullshit close encounters with the Manson clan. You'd be surprised how many celebrities claim they were supposed to be at the Tate house that night. Go figure, Rick Dalton lives right next door, and Cliff Booth paid a visit to the ranch. For most people in Hollywood at the time, it was the biggest thing that never happened to them.
So we as the viewer know how it ends. In a weird way, we're sort of anticipating it. The movie builds anticipation with the long walk up Cielo Drive, even though we've sort of been clued in by their encounter with Dalton that this isn't going to play out the way we think it is. Instead, we get a brutally over-the-top revenge fantasy that's as if to say "these people aren't as interesting as you think they are". I also love Paff's read about preserving the era.
Last summer when they were filming this movie, there were all kinds of pictures of famous Los Angeles locations being transformed into 1969 for filming (there's one of the Cinerama Dome posted here on the previous page). I think my big disappointment with this movie is they spent all this time and money to transform these locations, and used none of them. Every single one of them is relegated to brief shots during a montage near the end of the movie. What a waste! The main locations of the movie are either basic (the Playboy Mansion) or Manson related (Cielo Drive, Spahn Ranch, El Coyote, etc).
You don't like Kill Bill or Death Proof?
I probably won't see this one in theaters. I've realized why I enjoy movies at home more than theaters now. Maybe I've always enjoyed movies more at home. I can only remember a few times that I really enjoyed movies in theaters. Anyway, perhaps I'll start a topic for it soon or near the October month.
My favorite Tarantino movies are Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill part 1 and Inglorious Basterds.
I’m not a big fan of Pulp Fiction.
Some of the stories/scenes are fun, but overall, I find it pretty boring.
Reservoir Dogs was much better.