Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Thoughts On Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood (Spoilers)

  • Once upon a time…there was a boy who liked movies, and feet, and the n-word.
  • His favorite movies were the shitty ones, the B pictures.
  • His preferred feet were white and dirty.
  • As for the n-word: he’d take that any way he could.
  • Now, that boy did know a great many things: how to write dialogue, and how to squeeze all the tension out of a scene, and where to put the camera.
  • “Where should I put the camera?” is a much tougher question than the layperson would assume, but that boy always knew the right answer, or at least knew how to hire someone who did.
  • One morning, the boy found a well.
  • The water was sweet, and–he was to find–profitable.
  • The water’s reviews were exceptional.
  • The bucket he drew was full of water of an historically alternate nature.
  • It gurgled and blipped and sloshed over the sides onto the ground, and, in the water’s murmurings, the boy heard it speak to him.
  • “What if the Jews won World War II?”
  • The boy drank deeply from the well.
  • Not too long later, the boy returned to the well.
  • Another bucket drawn.
  • What did it say this time?
  • “Hey, pal. What if the blacks won slavery?”
  • He slaked his thirst, and filled his greedy belly with the cool water.
  • Then he went back to the well for the third time.
  • Wells go dry after a while.
  • The bucket he drew was silty, and brackish, and not fit to potate.
  • And the boy said, “Oh, well. Third verse, same as the first.”
  • That, Enthusiasts, is the story of Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.
  • Spoilers a-comin’.
  • Not kidding.
  • If you don’t wanna know how it ends, stop reading.
  • You have been advised, and now you’re consenting to spoilers.
  • Although you don’t need the warning.
  • You know what happens if you’re not a slapdick.
  • You find me a person who didn’t hear that Quentin Tarantino was making a film about the Manson Murders and say to themselves, “I bet movie stars are gonna defeat the Manson Family in an orgy of played-for-laughs ultraviolence,” and I’ll show you a slapdick.
  • Here’s the whole movie:
    • Leonardo DiCaprio has a giant head, and yells drunkenly quite a bit.
    • Brad Pitt may or may not be played by Robert Redford from Downhill Skier.
    • Margot Robbie’s feet are in it.
    • Los Angeles in 1969 has no black people in it whatsoever.
    • About two hours and fifty minutes of that bullshit.
    • Leo, Redford, feet, caucasity, Leo, Redford, feet, caucasity, repeat.
    • And then the movie stars defeat the Manson Family in an orgy of played-for-laughs ultraviolence.
    • There is also a mid-credits scene because we are all now existing in the Marvel Corporate Universe, and that’s the law.
  • That’s about it.
  • But you don’t get any of the other Quentin Tarantino stuff.
  • The hero you pull for?
  • The Jew hiding in plain sight in Occupied Paris, or the freed slave, or the ex-con flight attendant looking at a long and penniless retirement?
  • Nah.
  • OUAT…IH asked you to root for a fading actor, who only has Cadillac problems.
  • In fact, he’s literally got a Cadillac.
  • Oh, no, the rich asshole isn’t being quite as successful in his chosen field as he once was.
  • Heaven forfend.
  • Django rode for love.
  • The Bride was out for revenge.
  • Butch wanted his father’s watch back.
  • But Leonardo DiCaprio’s ego was bruised because he was forced–forced!–to star in Spaghetti Westerns instead of the major Hollywood releases he believed were his birthright.
  • So, you know: fuck him.
  • How about those scenes that sear themselves into your brain like a branding iron made of snappy dialogue and well-paced edits?
  • Hans Landa interrogating Monsieur LaPadite in the farmhouse.
  • You remember that shit.
  • Vincent Vega kneeling over the near-dead Mia Wallace, ready to stab her in the heart with a massive syringe of adrenaline.
  • You’ll NEVER forget that shit.
  • There are none of those scenes in OUAT…IH.
  • There’s a bit where Brad Pitt drives out to the Spahn Ranch and meets the Manson Family which was meant to be tense, but Lena Dunham is in it, and the only performance I will ever enjoy that Lena Dunham has a part in will be her funeral.
  • I don’t cotton to that filly.
  • Well, you’re thinking: that leaves the dialogue.
  • Conversations are confrontations in Tarantino flicks.
  • And, shit, the man’s got a way with a one-liner.
  • “All right, ramblers. Let’s get rambling.”
  • That’s from Reservoir Dogs, which came out in 1992.
  • I still say that shit.
  • None of those lines in OUAT…IH.
  • Margot Robbie certainly didn’t have any.
  • I think Robert Duvall has more lines in To Kill A Mockingbird than Margot Robbie did in this film.
  • She mostly just stands there and looks pretty and never wears shoes.
  • Which brings us to Quentin’s podophilia .
  • STOP IT, ASSHOLE.
  • I’m beginning to think that maybe Tarantino doesn’t have a foot fetish so much as he does a fetish for making us, the audience, complicit in his li’l-piggie worship.
  • He wants to be caught with the feet in his mouth.
  • “WATCH ME SHRIMP!” QT yells at another awkward press conference.
  • It’s enough.
  • And it’s not “thematic” or “an aesthetic choice” or any of that bullshit: feet give the fucker boners, and we’ve gotta look at his foot-boner.
  • If it’s not a sex thing, the why aren’t there any shots of dudes’ feet?
  • I rest my case.
  • There is also a child actor in this picture, and all child actors should be thrown into volcanoes.
  • Kids can’t fucking act.
  • You know who can act?
  • Margot Robbie.
  • But she has no lines, and the child has many.
  • World’s going to hell.
  • We must now discuss the ending: this is, as I alluded to, the third straight flick in which QT has created an alternate history in which the good guys won.
  • It does not work.
  • There should be little difference between this climactic sequence and the ones from Basterds or Django.
  • It should be more acceptable, not less.
  • The Nazis killed millions.
  • So did the American slave trade.
  • Manson Family only offed seven folks.
  • I can only quote Stalin to explain my discomfort: One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.
  • Tex Watson stabbed Sharon Tate 16 times, and left his knife sticking out of her belly when he was finished.
  • She was eight months pregnant.
  • Four other people died that night on Cielo Drive.
  • One was a Folger.
  • You may have had her family’s coffee.
  • One was a guy who came up the canyon to hang out with his buddy, the property’s caretaker.
  • He got shot four times in the belly, and he bled out in the street.
  • Bummer trip, man.
  • Rewrite!
  • Here’s Quentin Tarantino with your happy ending.
  • Here he is with your Hollywood ending.
  • Brad Pitt beats two of the Family to death.
  • His dog disembowels Tex Watson.
  • And then Leo takes a flamethrower to the Manson Family.
  • The weapon was set up in the first act, which might make this the first known occurence of Chekhov’s Flamethrower.
  • It is at this point–the brandishing of the fire-spewing device–that I audibly told Quentin Tarantino to go fuck himself.
  • I know I was in Delray Beach, Florida, and he could not hear me in the Hollywood Hills or Malibu or wherever it is that he sucks toes.
  • I didn’t care: it needed to be said.
  • What was the statement here?
  • I’ve seen several articles arguing that the film is QT’s midlife crisis movie.
  • Aging in Hollywood: it’s a bitch, man.
  • Kiddies are nipping at your heels.
  • Knees are getting rusty.
  • And, sure, OUAT…IH was that movie, but it wasn’t entirely.
  • Y’know what I think it was about?
  • I think was OUAT…IH was about the fact that Quentin Tarantino thinks the Manson Family is cool.
  • And that Westerns are cool.
  • So he blended them up like the margaritas Brad and Leo guzzle during the flick, and there you go: the ninth movie from Quentin Tarantino.
  • My stomach is queasy, and not just from the popcorn, and so I will go lay down and be very quiet and perhaps I will watch no movies at all for a while.

4 Comments

  1. l generally hold your opinions in high regard. Because, well, The Grateful Dead.
    As much as YOU have created an alternate universe, (semi-fictional),lwhere Billy is a sex crazed, dick punching perv, Mickey percusses, and yoinks, Bobby is well, pretty spot on i think and also Garcia. Phil is kind of a butthole , never mind. You are correct again sir.

  2. Did you pick up who the first artist on the film’s official soundtrack is?

    (I’ll wait for it).

    • Thoughts On The Dead

      August 1, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      Both Skippy Joe and Big Bucktoothed Pete were so astonished they needed to be admonished.

  3. That Redford film was called ‘Downhill Racer’, not ‘Skier’; none of your acolytes picked this up. I therefore reject all of your comments 😀 😀

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