I am sitting here with a bowl of black beans. I warm them up and I pour on a little hot sauce, it could be Tapatio, it could be Chulula, it could be Tabasco. I like them all. Today it was Siracha and then I shake a little garlic salt on top. Somewhere in the middle of Once Upon of Time in Hollywood I was inspired to cue up Django, not Django Unchained but Django directed by Sergio Corbucci. When Once Upon of Time in Hollywood ended I pressed play on my phone and started watching as I walked out of the theater through the Santa Fe casino to my car. It seemed appropriate. I’m still watching it now at home while I type my review.
Rick Dalton, a character I’m not sure is real or fake as of the writing of this review, was forced to star in spaghetti westerns directed by Sergio Corbucci. He seemed disappointed by the opportunity, where now fifty five years later cinema lovers hold up the campy dubbed westerns as highly rated films even though anyone with two eyes and common sense can tell they are terrible. But I’m watching Django and writing about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Taste.
There are spoilers coming and there’s your warning. I don’t know much about the Charles Manson murders despite my many years of heavy metal listening and even checking out Helter Skelter from the library once (I didn’t read any of it). Here is what I think I know:
- Sharon Tate gets murdered
- the word ‘pig’ is spelled on a wall with the fetus she was carrying.
- Charles Manson did not commit any of the actual murders.
- Polanski wasn’t there.
I think that’s the gist of what I know. And I expected to see the word ‘pig’ written in blood at some point in the film. That didn’t happen. I don’t know if Richard Dalton or his stunt double are real characters. So I watched this in the perfect method possible, in the midst of rumors and half truths.
I knew I was going to watch the movie after drinking a couple of beers and sitting in the sports book. I was supposed to get some actual work done (luckily I did work a good amount in the day) but I saw a friend there (that friend was Angelo from Chaotic Sports here and here and here) I watched the end of the World Series and was trying to determine if I wanted to watch a movie that is now “old” even if it is considered one of the better films of the year.
Game 6 of the World Series ended. The Laker game didn’t look that interesting. And Angelo decided to go. I’m glad I decided to walk into the theater.
The picture is best experienced with some knowledge of what happened during the Manson murders, even if that knowledge is limited, aged and foggy. The reason for that is the film shows an alternate history of gruesome murders of that evening and I don’t know where the film began to veer off from reality.
During the course of the film I went to toilet twice and bought a second beer. The first beer was bought long before the movie started. And when I say first and second beer I mean first and second beer at the theater, I had already drank a few at the sports book and then another couple earlier in the day. The reason you need to know that is for this reason: I turn off my phone during movies but have the wikipeida page ready so that when I go to take a piss and I can quickly read the plot section to know about the handful of seconds that I will miss while walking,peeing,washing my hands,drying my hands and then walking back.
It is a great strategy for 99% for the movies I watch in the theater where urinating is a mid-film requirement (I drink a lot during movies). But for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood it was a bad idea. The scenes are so disjointed (in a good way) and the plot flows in such a manner that Wikipedia failed me. If you’ve seen the movie (if you’ve read this far you have no issues with spoilers to I salute you) and you read that plot section then you know that the movie didn’t quite go down like that. It did go down like that but in a different order with a tone and pacing that the plot section of a wiki article could never capture and that is compliment to Quentin Tarantino and his film making capabilities.
In my mind that is a big plus. You really there for Quentin Tarantino style and method of direction. With Infinity War you could miss the film and read the synopsis and fake having watched the movie. You could not do that with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
So in this version of reality Sharon Tate and friends do not get violently murdered. Manson’s children end up at a different house and the get the shit kicked out of them by a pitbull, by Brad Pitt and by Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m not sure what made Tarantino go that route but it was a surprise to me.
And except for the end sequence I surprised at the lack of violent scenes. Bruce Lee got his ass kicked and that was all the fighting before the finale. It has been expected in past Tarantino films to sit through long dialogues and monologues before some measure of violence explodes but never through a whole film. I don’t see it as Tarantino maturing but as Tarantino doing what he believed was right for the movie. The truth is the end sequence wasn’t in the top ten action or violent scenes in movies he’s directed.
The performances were great by every actor, the leading roles and small parts. Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio all played their characters exquisitely. I’m disappointed in the amount of time Robbie had to play Sharon Tate. Most of her screen time seemed to be a ploy to make unsuspecting watchers think at any moment her character would be expanded in some way but it never was. She gets star billing but never really gets to be a star and while I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to see one of the more underrated actresses around get a chance to shine a little more, I still respect the direction and intentions of Tarantino. He set me down a path I assumed would be true and by the end when I realized history had been rewritten I understood this is just a fairy tale.