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Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 60s/Manson movie


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Just finished this. It's a brilliant piece of cinema - I was worried about what I'd think of it, having read a lot of mixed reviews but I thought it was QT at his very best and was packed with excellent performances. 

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  • 11 months later...

Well this is a surprise. Quentin Tarantino has written a Once Upon a Time in Hollywood novel (that's out now). Apparently the ending of the film occurs relatively early in the book and it’s more of a sequel.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08V4PCQLJ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

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Lol he's straight up trolling sticking a pic of Margot Robbie's feet on the cover.

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A copy of the book popped through my door just now. I've read the first few pages and skimmed a few more - I wouldn't say its badly written at all. It's definitely eccentrically written - the prose has the same sing-song, musical quality that Tarantino's dialogue does which seems odd at first with its unusual turns of phrase, and whole sections are just vehicles for Tarantino's musings on 1960s cinema. But then again, that's kind of what I want from it anyway, so very keen to read more. 

 

It's quite a nice looking book. It's done up as a mass-market 1960s paperback, complete with adverts for real and imagined novels from that era.

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From reading a bit on Amazon; this would probably suck as a total standalone, but having seen the movie and knowing the set design style and the way the way Leo delivers his lines etc I’m vividly picturing the scene as it would be on film, so it’s pretty great.

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2 hours ago, MrPogo said:

From reading a bit on Amazon; this would probably suck as a total standalone, but having seen the movie and knowing the set design style and the way the way Leo delivers his lines etc I’m vividly picturing the scene as it would be on film, so it’s pretty great.

 

There's something interesting in this post.

 

I could be wrong, but I've always taken the classic 'book vs film (or audiobook)' debate to be predicated on the book requiring individual imagination for world building and character realisation, creating something unique and personal each time.  With the film being the artistic culmination of many, very talented people's imaginations —but not your own.

 

In this case, it's like you get the less traditionally desirable of both worlds. Not that either is actually right or wrong, obviously.

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Quentin going on the Joe Rogan show and telling critics of his Bruce Lee scene to go “suck a dick” is probably worst than the scene itself.

 

https://www.indiewire.com/2021/06/tarantino-bruce-lee-hollywood-scene-critics-1234647709/

 

And he’s now drawing a parallel between Bruce Lee and  Charles Manson in the novel?  He misremembered an anecdote from a boo.   The movie might be good but the scene is just wrong.

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I never had an issue with the scene. It's all told from the perspective of Cliffs memory, it's totally unrealiable. It's bascially this

 

image.thumb.png.8c7405948fa64901dae68529fb6e239a.png

 

However, Tarantino really could just say as much and not just say "suck a dick" like a petunalt 14 year old.

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Yeah, I always found it extremely weird that people were so upset about a scene in a film where a fictional character wins a fight against Bruce Lee, that it's somehow disrespectful to beat him up in a completely imaginary context. I genuinely don't understand that mindset - that twatting Bruce Lee in a film is somehow unethical.

 

I wouldn't use Tarantino's words, but I agree that anyone who doesn't like that scene for that reason can fuck off.

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Yep. As I mentioned at the time:

Quote

 

What QT is doing there seems to be obvious and pretty important to the story:

Poor old Brice is almost entirely made up of myths and legends at this point. He's one of the most mythologised men to have ever worked in Hollywood. QT's just dropping in another myth.

 

I think a lot of reviewers, even, are missing the point. The clue to the entire thing is spelled-out in the film's title.

 

 

There's a similarity to Scorcese's mythologising in The Wolf of Wall Street. Right at the top of the film, Leo's narrating and a red Lambourgini is shown driving along. Leo's Belfort says, "No, it was white" and the car instantly changes colour.

 

It's a key that unlocks the door to the entire thing. It's about artifice and the way the bubble of drugs and money permits them to see their actions as defensible. The Belfort character only really acknowledges this in the (hilarious) quaalude scene, where he tracks back and acknowledges the truth of his destructive journey home. And he only does THAT because, in his brash, macho world he sees it as proof of what a lad he is.

 

Tarantino is doing a similar thing. Instead of it being the character's fantasy, though, it's the director's. He acknowledges it's a different universe in many ways, not least via the Bruce Lee scene (stuntmen fighting Lee and winning is a popular urban myth; a modern day fairy tale) and capping it with the defeat of the Manson clan. 

 

His films always inhabit their own seriously alternate timelines (the killing of Hitler in Inglourious; USA having 'won' the Vietnam War in his films set in contemporary times). As I say, the clue is entirely in the film's title. It's a fairy story where the good guys are the struggling golden age actors, getting a second chance by saving the lives of the ingenues. 

 

They usher-in a safer and more innocent future, allowing the sun to set gently on the past whilst allowing the best aspects of Hollywood history to be grandfathered into the New Hollywood epoch.

 

 

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I've got the book coming today and I'm quite excited to get into it, and interested in seeing Tarantino in prose mode. I notice the movie is coming to Netflix imminently, but I assume this isn't the fabled 10-hour cut or whatever.

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10 minutes ago, Pob said:

That's interesting - what suggestions are there of this?

 

Typically I now can't find the quote, but it was something Tarantino said in interview years ago. Basically along the lines of the fact that 'Coming Home in a Body Bag' (the film within a film in True Romance) was an action film glorifying Vietnam in a similar vein to WWII movies glorifying the Allies. In his universe, the US has an even bigger and more relaxed swagger because of it - something along those lines at least!

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2 hours ago, Treble said:

Typically I now can't find the quote, but it was something Tarantino said in interview years ago. Basically along the lines of the fact that 'Coming Home in a Body Bag' (the film within a film in True Romance) was an action film glorifying Vietnam in a similar vein to WWII movies glorifying the Allies. In his universe, the US has an even bigger and more relaxed swagger because of it - something along those lines at least!

 

I don't remember him ever saying anything about Vietnam, but he has made comments about "the Realer Than the Real World Universe, and the Movie Movie Universe". Fans have taken those comments and expanded them out into a fan theory that the way WW2 ended in Inglourious Basterds affected the attitude to violence (and pop culture!) displayed by the characters of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction:

 

https://www.slashfilm.com/events-inglourious-basterds-change-rest-quentin-tarantinos-film-universe/

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On 01/07/2021 at 09:43, JamesC said:

I had no problem with the Bruce Lee scene either. 

If you've ever read Adam West's autobiography, in which he details Bruce's behaviour on the set of Batman (Green Hornet crossover epidode), it seems clear that Bruce was a lovely man but wasn't averse to showing off or 'holding court' the way he does in Once Upon a Time.

And if people are upset that Cliff was as tough or tougher than Bruce, that's just silly. He's a fictional character and can be as tough as the writer wants him to be - plus the fight had barely got going before it was broken up.

I thought the scene was very entertaining and a nice bit of shorthand for showing off Cliff's prowess with a bit of Hollywood nostalgia to boot.

 

So yeah, haters can suck a dick! 😆

 

On 01/07/2021 at 16:26, Chadruharazzeb said:

 

I thought it was pretty funny. 


It probably looks different from an Asian perspective.  I understand it is Tarantino’s fantasy and he can do what he wants.  It rubs me the wrong way that perhaps one of the few badass Asian American icons is used as a prop to be made fun of, just to make the fictional white protagonist look better.  I know that it’s funny, because I grew up with those jokes.

 

I’m not a Bruce Lee fan per se and don’t really care about his winning or losing a made up fight.  As other said, you can say it’s from the characters POV.  So I don’t mind so much the scene itself, but Tarantino has since come out again and again to argue for that point of view and make it about the real man, twisted anecdotes from others and told critics to fuck off.  
 

It’s not that hard to see why people are upset.  Bruce Lee became an icon in a way that went against a lot of Asian stereotypes and prejudices.  It’s odd Tarantino don’t seem to see this considering how much he has exploited HK cinema.  It irks me for Tarantino to bring it up again now to sell his book, especially in the current climate of anti-Asian hate.  
 

(I hope that emoji isn’t a meant as a squinty eye gesture)

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8 hours ago, Timbuktu said:

 


It probably looks different from an Asian perspective.  I understand it is Tarantino’s fantasy and he can do what he wants.  It rubs me the wrong way that perhaps one of the few badass Asian American icons is used as a prop to be made fun of, just to make the fictional white protagonist look better.  I know that it’s funny, because I grew up with those jokes.

 

I’m not a Bruce Lee fan per se and don’t really care about his winning or losing a made up fight.  As other said, you can say it’s from the characters POV.  So I don’t mind so much the scene itself, but Tarantino has since come out again and again to argue for that point of view and make it about the real man, twisted anecdotes from others and told critics to fuck off.  
 

It’s not that hard to see why people are upset.  Bruce Lee became an icon in a way that went against a lot of Asian stereotypes and prejudices.  It’s odd Tarantino don’t seem to see this considering how much he has exploited HK cinema.  It irks me for Tarantino to bring it up again now to sell his book, especially in the current climate of anti-Asian hate.  
 

(I hope that emoji isn’t a meant as a squinty eye gesture)

 

100% agree. QTs attempts to bust mythologies just don't work when it's a white dude putting an Asian man in his place when said man achieved so much in a time when the predjudice against Asians was sky-high. And it's tone deaf for him to still be rabbiting in about it.

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I'm not sure Bruce is 'made fun of' as such. He's holding court in a way that there are first hand accounts of him doing at this point in his career. Cliff takes him on, makes a good account of himself and the fight is broken up before there's any decisive result either way. 

I think a lot of the ire directed at the scene comes from the fact that Bruce isn't revered the way people think he should be. 

If people read it as a slight against an Asian American icon, that's valid, but it certainly isn't the only way to read the scene and it's also valid for Tarantino to have right of reply. 

 

I'd also like to say I think it's disingenuous to suggest you thought the laugh emoji may have been a 'squinty eye gesture' which it obviously wasn't / isn't. It's not very nice to cast those kinds of aspersions. 

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Surely the point of that scene isn’t to say that Bruce Lee is actually a bit soft, the point is to say that Cliff Booth is so tough he can hold his own against Bruce fucking Lee? It’s not exactly a tribute, but at the same time it’s not dispelling Lee’s mythology, it’s referencing and acknowledging his legendary status and mythology to make the scene work. 

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12 hours ago, Festoon said:

 

100% agree. QTs attempts to bust mythologies just don't work when it's a white dude putting an Asian man in his place when said man achieved so much in a time when the predjudice against Asians was sky-high. And it's tone deaf for him to still be rabbiting in about it.


Dude, if you dont think a massive stone cold killer could grab Bruce Lee and throw him into a car door in a moment of hubris then I dont know what world you are living in. A writer doesn't have to consider the overall image of a nation when inventing a scene.

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