For my sins, I ventured out to see Quentin Tarantino's, Once
Upon a Time in Hollywood. I had intended to go and see It - Chapter 2,
but my friends messaged to say they were going to the Tarantino movie so I
thought I'd go with them and see It next week.
I'm not really a fan of
Tarantino, I remember going to see Reservoir Dogs, the film that catapulted him
to fame and fortune and where he made his name as an innovative director.
I have to say I was blown away by it, it was very different from anything I’d
ever seen and I have loved Steve Buschemi ever since. I did however, find some of
the violence too much but within the context of the film it was realistic. The next film of his I watched was Pulp fiction,
hailed by the critics; it didn’t really do anything for me. I thought the violence
and language gratuitous, designed to shock rather than be realistic and I don’t really
find anything deep and meaningful or entertaining in the lives of thugs,
druggies and scumbags.
Maybe living through the ‘Troubles’ when thugs and scumbags were
10 a penny around here has somewhat tainted my perspective but Tarantino
obviously, never had to deal with people like this because if he had, he certainly
wouldn't be making them the anti-heroes of his movies.
Then, I watched From Dusk to Dawn which was one of the worst
films I ever saw and the last Tarantino I ever watched. From then, I have religiously avoided his
work, I don’t have much of a stomach for violence and it seems to be that every
film of his follows the same formula, foul-mouthed tirades and high levels of
gratuitous violence and the uniqueness and innovation of Reservoir Dogs has
been lost amid the tirades, the swearing, the thuggery and the gore.
So, back to ‘Hollywood’ I had heard it was good and the story
didn’t seem to lend itself to thuggery and violence. The little I had heard about it was that it
was about stuntmen who were coming to the end of their careers and whose style
of work had fallen out of fashion. From
that, I had the expectation of an homage to the TV series and movies of the
early sixties with a bit of comedy thrown in, as our heroes battled to find a
life/career in a very different and changing world. (Which actually, would have made, a better
On the detail of the times, I couldn’t find fault, he definitely
captured the look and feel of the era. The story is that Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt)
is the stunt double for actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo Di Caprio), whose career as
the star of an old TV series Bounty Law, is winding down and his acting future
is looking bleak. Cliff is a thug, he has
a thug of a dog, lives in squalor, has the manners of a pig and is
altogether, repulsive and I say that as someone who is a fan of a lot of his
work, especially 12 Monkey’s.
Di Caprio is good as always, there is a scene where he loses the
plot and goes on a foul-mouthed tirade (of course) which was over the top and gratuitous.
At 2 hours and 40 minutes, it is also very long and the first
hour really starts to drag. I almost
left and if I had been on my own, I would have but I thought, well, I’m here
now, I may as well see it through to the end.
And so my penance endured.
There is a scene with ‘Bruce Lee’ which was heavily criticised
by his daughter and I can understand why.
It has Cliff the thug almost putting Bruce through the door of a
car. Why this scene is in this movie, I
have no idea, other than to scoff and taint the memory of a man loved by many,
What happens then, is that it drags on for another hour while
building up to an ending which had to be narrated as he pissed about so much with
the early part of the movie that if events had continued to unfold at the same
pace, I would still be there waiting for something to happen. And considering what did then happen, that might have been the better option.
The premise of the movie finally boils down
to some twisted fantasy on the part of Tarantino where Cliff the thug, inadvertently,
saves the life of Sharon Tate and her house guests. The violence in this scene was nothing short
of horrific and maybe, it is me, but I don’t find someone being brutally savaged
by a dog or a woman having her face repeatedly slammed into a fireplace funny
on any level, and in the context of the real life event that did actually
happen, the horrific murder of five people, I was sickened and appalled that
Quentin Tarantino could take that event and play it for laughs. Quentin Tarantino really needs a good
psychiatrist, he is a sick, sick man and that will most definitely be the last movie
of his I will ever watch.
Not recommended viewing for anyone, not even psychopaths, they
really don’t need any encouraging.