What up yo.
New month, new podcast Oldboy and I sat down in front of the microphones and hit record on my overpriced MacBook Pro to discuss Tarantino’s new film, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, and to celebrate the cinematic achievement it is.
We then dive into Martin Scorsese’s new teaser trailer for The Irishman which dropped the previous day and teams Marty back up with Robert De Niro in a film that will be released in theaters and on Netflix come fall.
And finally to wrap it all up, I ask the question I probably should have been more careful to ask, “What did you think of the final season of Game Of Thrones”?
A great battle ensues.
I say the last season was rushed, with flashes of brilliance and laziness. I didn’t realize we were at war until I saw the look on Oldboy’s face change.
He didn’t agree with my assessment, he instead fought on behalf of D&D, hailing the series as a masterpiece…final season included.
This is a raw, uncut 120 minute podcast people…chapter 25 of The Chronicles Of Wes And Oldboy.
visit voicesfilm.com and read the podcast article here:
Title song is (Can’t You) Trip Like I Do By The Crystal Method And Filter, 1997
The ninth film from Quentin Tarantino (possibly his second to last, if he sticks to his “ten films and I’m out” plan) is Once Upon A Time In Hollywood…and it’s great.
This film is a testament to all the collective knowledge Tarantino has acquired as both a writer and filmmaker over the past 25-30 years.
He is in complete command of his craft.
The script was said to be the closest in scope and content to 1994’s Pulp Fiction by the brass at Sony pictures when they read it.
After having seen the final product, I agree with that statement.
And that’s a statement not to be taken lightly.
Pulp Fiction catapulted Tarantino into international stardom in 1994 after winning Palm D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival that year and then taking the world of cinema by storm.
Like Pulp, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, isn’t a movie you watch…
It’s a movie you experience.
I’m a Leonardo DiCaprio fan till the end, and a die-hard Brad Pitt fan (In Tyler We Trust), so to see that they had finally been paired up together on the silver screen had me at hello.
But how would the chemistry be?
Can Leo share the screen with Brad?
Tyler Durden and Jack Dawnson?
Pitt and DiCaprio?
Will egos flare? Would one dominate the other?
Both A-List actors, both in the Hollywood game for approximately 35 years, with 10 years age difference between them, Pitt 55, Leo 44.
Both underrated by many the serious film fan because of their looks over the years, but both with ferocious skill sets.
What would this pair up look like?
Well in the end, it looked and felt genuine and effortless for both men. It was down right hysterical.
Both actors are at the top of their game, and both play against type as down and out actors and workers in Hollywood. And the chemistry is beautiful.
Working off the words of Tarantino, the teamwork was so much tighter, looser and funnier than I could have ever imagined.
Only Tarantino could have made this happen. The script so full and fun he attracted the usual who’s who of Hollywood to jump aboard this film.
You’ve got Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler, Scoot McNairy, Lena Dunham, Michael Madsen, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Al Pacino,Kurt Russell,Maya Hawke (daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke), Damian Lewis and the late Luke Perry In his final role.
Some on screen for a matter of minutes, the film budgeted at $96 million (Wikipedia) proves Hitchcock’s mantra true:
“The three things you need to make a good movie…Script, script, script.”
What can I tell you about this film? This is important.
You want to spoil it for yourself, go to Wikipedia.
I’m going to give you exactly what I think you need to know plot wise, “not one cent more.”
Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood takes place in between 2 days in 1969, six months apart from one another.
Rick Dalton (Leo) is a tv star made famous by playing a popular cowboy in a 1960’s western called Bounty Law, was which has since been cancelled. This has Dalton looking desperately for his next career move while sinking into an alcoholic depression.
The only person he can confide in is his best friend and his stunt man, Cliff Booth (Pitt).
Booth hasn’t been able to work as much lately because of Daltons career low, thus he’s been relegated to doing odd jobs around Daltons house and driving him to and from TV show set’s (Dalton lost his license while drunk)
The fictional Rick Dalton lives next door to real-life film director Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate, played here by Margot Robbie.
What some viewers may not know is that Sharon Tate was brutally murdered in her home in the summer of 1969 by three followers of deranged psychopath, Charles Manson. Without going into details, the film assumes you know this, but it doesn’t rely on you being aware of this fact.
Rick Daltons house being set next door to where Sharon Tate is killed drives the storytelling as the entire film is a slow lead-up to that one horrific point in time for the viewers that know the history. Yet having watched the film with a friend who was unaware of this fact, they were aware of the impending doom regardless.
Tarantino plays on our fears by introducing us to Polanski and Sharon Tate, showing us where Dalton lives, and then showing us the Manson Family followers getting lunch out of a garbage dump early in the film.
This sets in motion a sense of dread that we will bear witness to the absolute evil events of that night by the time the film has ended.
A countdown begins once the characters, setting and time are established in the film and we are reminded of this ticking clock every chance Tarantino gets.
The movements of Cliff Booths character in particular have fantastic tension as we slowly approach that moment in history. Booth is more open minded than Rick Dalton to the new “hippie” movement exploding in the world during what will be known as the summer of love.
Booth unknowingly befriends a member of Manson’s cult, a young female hitchhiker named Pussycat…
who he picks up and takes back to the Manson Family campgrounds.
This sequence is intercut with a day Rick Dalton is on set of a new tv show, struggling with his lines and his place in Hollywood’s memory. Fearing he has peaked and is now a has- been, Leo has a ball playing with these emotions, infusing his scenes with over the top panic attacks on set in front of his co-stars.
All the while we watch Margot Robbie become the jubilant and vivacious Sharon Tate, excited by everything her life has become. We fall in love with her and are happy for her.
This all just feeds the feeling that things are going to get really ugly soon, Tarantino style.
This allows the storytelling and the storyteller to have us on the edge of our seats, waiting for anything to happen at any moment.
The more informed you are about history, the more gut wrenching the trip is.
And the more informed you are about film history, the more rewarding the film will be to you.
That’s what blew my mind about the experience. Running just under three hours, I was laughing out loud constantly, but to be honest, I was in a state of panic of watching history unfold.
Because of the juxtaposition of tension and hilarity, every joke seemed to hit me harder as anticipation for the pure evil coming had me bracing for impact the whole time.
This is extremely difficult to pull off for a writer and a filmmaker.
But this is Tarantino’s playground.
As soon as you begin to watch he’s got your attention, and he plays with you from the beginning to the end.
Now…i’ve divulged approximately 5% – 10% of the plot line and the storytelling mechanics, there is so much in this film to be explored by the viewer.
It’s my favorite film by the director since Pulp Fiction, I walked away knowing I’d see it again soon.
Enjoy it. It’s filmmaking at its best.
“The train has left the station.”