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BYOQT9 [Big Spoilers Available Now]

2488029 - ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON TIME IN HOLLYWOOD,

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81 Responses to “BYOQT9 [Big Spoilers Available Now]”

  1. MarkVH80 says:

    Hope to check this out Thursday or Friday night. Cannot wait.

  2. BO Sock Puppet says:

    I just bought my ticket for Thursday. Local arthouse starting at 4pm. I’m hoping for a solid geek crowd. Plus I have remained spoiler free.

  3. Sideshow Bill says:

    Thursday night at 7:30. Tix purchased. Very excited to see what he does with apparent third act. Historical revisionism like Inglorious Bastards??

    I’m skipping Lion King. Reviews and opinions are far too meh and I can’t be bothered

  4. Stella's Boy says:

    Also planning on seeing this Thursday night. I never miss a chance to see Michael Madsen on the big screen. That this also has Olyphant and Pacino is a huge bonus. That’s my main interest. I don’t love recent QT all that much.

  5. movieman says:

    Count me in on the Thursday brigade.
    Already bought tickets for the 4:00 show.
    This is the movie I’ve been dreaming of…since 1969.

  6. Ray Pride says:

    Even with a fistful of spoilers, QT9 is filled with surprises of all kinds.

  7. BO Sock Puppet says:

    Ray, what do you think about Roger Friedman’s assertion today that Pitt is an Oscar lock for this? (Or anyone else who’s seen it).

  8. leahnz says:

    what’s with this special ‘QT9’ bullshit? OUaT seems pretty easy to type

    (is like, criticism of QTboo allowed, or will it be just another bug hunt)

  9. Michael Bergeron says:

    QT delivers … small details introduced in the first act play a big part in the conclusion … Dog Food Can good food for bad dogs being one …. ***** being the other

  10. Ray Pride says:

    The U. S. pre-publicity was rife with QUENTIN TARANTINO’S 9TH FILM

  11. Ray Pride says:

    Pitt is a very cool customer.

  12. leahnz says:

    er, yes i know ray – it’s embarrassing, cringey and self-indulgent/important (i mean who gives a shit, his ninth film, time for a ticker tape parade! wtf imagine other film-makers doing this – esp given that nearly half of QT flicks at this point aint shit, seeing OUaT soon to see how this one pans out). why are people indulging this embarrassing asshattery (how does one spell ‘asshattery’)

  13. Hcat says:

    (how does one spell ‘asshattery’)

    K than A than N than Y than E.

  14. Dr Wally Rises says:

    You have to perform some pretty impressive taxonomic gymnastics even to say it’s his ninth film. Kill Bill is two movies. If you’re counting Twilight Zone for Spielberg (and everybody does) then you’ve also got to count Four Rooms for Quentin. OUATIH is his eleventh film.

  15. Hcat says:

    Honestly I don’t count Twilight Zone on anyone’s resume. Even Dante’s an Miller’s whose ouvre are improved by it. Did any of Four Rooms work at all? I worked at a theater when it came out, and the bits I would see when coming in and out and checking stuff dissuaded me from seeing it.

  16. BO Sock Puppet says:

    Just got back. I loved every frame. The audience I saw it with at the art house (older crowd) DID NOT seem to get it. Only me and one other movie geek HOWLING at scene after scene.

  17. movieman says:

    No way could Sharon Tate have seen a trailer of “C.C. and Company” in February ’69.
    The movie was released in the fall of ’70 and hadn’t even gone into production yet.
    I also doubt whether the tony Bruin–L.A.’s equivalent to NYC’s Coronet Theater back in the day–would have had a coming attractions poster of the Franco Nero spaghetti western “The Mercenary” (or ever trailered “C.C.” at all).
    Just sayin’, Quentin.

    But, yes, it IS freaking wonderful.
    It’s the first Tarantino that made me cry (sob actually), and definitely wasn’t the movie I was expecting going in. (Thank heavens that Cannes audiences/press were respectful of QT’s “No spoilers, please!” entreaty.)
    DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie are all beyond wonderful.
    But Damian Lewis, Margaret Qualley, Kurt Russell, Tim Olyphant, Pacino, Dern, Luke Perry…everyone has a “privileged moment.” Or two.

  18. Sideshow Bill says:

    I’m with movieman. This is as heartfelt a movie as we’re likely to ever get from him. It’s funny, nostalgic, sad, wistful, frightening and ultimately very moving. I didn’t mind the languorous pacing because DiCaprio and Pitt are so good. Everyone is.

    It was extremely satisfying.

  19. movieman says:

    Besides the “C.C.” faux pas, my only real beef (and it’s fairly minor) is that Tarantino was clearly having such a blast shooting the pastiche clips of ’60s TV/(bad) movies that he lets them run on a bit.
    But they are BRILLIANT pastiches.

    DiCaprio and Pitt both deserve Best Actor nods (and their roles are pretty equal in size), but I’ve got a hunch Sony will position Pitt in the supporting category.
    Could be his “career” win.
    If this had opened in December, I’d already be predicting a slew of Oscar nods:
    BP, director, original screenplay, DiCaprio, Pitt, Robbie, cinematography, editing, art direction, costume design, etc.
    Hope it maintains its late July momentum for the rest of the year.
    My 4:00 show was packed yesterday afternoon. Beginning to think it may “overperform.”

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    I hated it. Almost every minute of it. The narrative is a total mess. Pacing is terrible. The dialogue is pretty weak especially for QT. I was mostly bored out of my mind. So many long meandering scenes that go nowhere and have no payoff. By the time Italy comes around I was nearly asleep. Was not invested in Rick or Cliff. Pitt made me laugh a few times and the cast is outstanding, but overall this did nothing for me. A truly bad movie.

  21. movieman says:

    The only comment of yours I agree with, SB, is that the cast is indeed outstanding.
    For me, it was like a dream I didn’t want to end.
    It truly earns its fairy tale-ish monicker.

  22. Stella's Boy says:

    I do not get the love for this. QT at his worst. Hateful Eight is way better.

  23. G Spot 3000 says:

    I went in with low expectations. Wasn’t a fan of Hateful Eight and frustrated by Django. Didn’t help that the early word was meandering. Turns out all my fears were unfounded. I didn’t want this movie to end (and that NEVER happens). Sure, I might be biased as I’ve always been fascinated by L.A. in the late 60’s/early 70’s…but man, this movie is just so many things, and it does all of them so well…just hit the right spot for me.

  24. Sideshow Bill says:

    Bummer you didn’t like it Stella. I took a bathroom break about 75 minutes in and saw 3 fairly young girls walk out complaining about it. It’s not gonna be universally loved for sure.

    The more I think about the ending the more I love it. And DiCaprio is the funniest serious actor we have right now. He sold me everything

  25. Stella's Boy says:

    I don’t get why QT does what he does with the ending, and my audience cheered during some pretty vile moments. More great treatment of women from QT. And personally I think Pitt is much funnier.

  26. Ray Pride says:

    My notes on a few less fractious facets here.

  27. movieman says:

    The ending–pace “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” and “Charlie Says”–rewrites history in the way Manson-philes like me have been aching for since, well, Charlie’s arrest in 1969.
    The emotional gratification it gives to audiences (of a certain age) is phenomenally cathartic. It was for me.
    I was literally cheering when Pitt (and his dog) got medieval on those “Family” bastards’ asses…as the tears rolled down my cheeks.
    And that final scene between Tate, Sebring and Rick?
    Magical.
    I actually began fantasizing about Rick getting cast in Polanski’s “Day of the Dolphin.”
    Robbie proves you don’t need a lot of dialogue to cast an indelible impression. She’s both ethereal and recognizably human/”accessible.” It’s a tremendous performance that deserves to be remembered at Oscar time.
    And that kid! Awesome.
    (I remember saying after “Kill Bill 2” that I hoped QT never-ever directed a child actor again. Glad he didn’t heed my wishes, lol.)

  28. Stella's Boy says:

    Yeah I found the cheering during that scene pretty distasteful. Especially given Cliff’s backstory. And maybe you need to be of a certain age to feel that way about his revisionism. I found it odd and not remotely affecting. Robbie did nothing for me. Almost every scene is her doing something mundane and she barely speaks. Qualley is better.

  29. MarkVH says:

    I think there’s a good case to be made that this is the best performance of either DiCaprio or Pitt’s careers. Absolute next-level work.

  30. leahnz says:

    where to even begin with this movie

  31. movieman says:

    Pitt’s character reminded me of a grown up version of his “Thelma and Louise” boy toy. Like if that dude had somehow managed to wind up in LA and got work as a stunt man.
    I know the timelines are completely different, but it’s the attitude/swagger/charm (and, yeah, beauty) that feel the same.

    Love how Tarantino made Manson an almost complete nonentity.
    Like, “F**k you, Charlie! You’re just a god****** loser! Now get outta my movie!”

  32. movieman says:

    Friday
    7/26

    1 THE LION KING (2019)
    Buena Vista

    4,725 $22,304,000

    +48.7% / $4,720
    $297,555,534 / 8

    2 ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
    Sony / Columbia

    3,659 $16,850,000

    — / $4,605
    $16,850,000 / 1

    3 SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
    Sony / Columbia

    3,851 $3,505,000

    +42.8% / $910
    $335,760,270 / 25

    4 TOY STORY 4
    Buena Vista

    3,610 $3,002,000

    +55.4% / $832
    $388,758,506 / 36

    5 CRAWL
    Paramount

    2,720 $1,135,000

    +59.4% / $417
    $28,597,793 / 15

    6 YESTERDAY
    Universal

    2,550 $860,000

    +57.3% / $337
    $61,201,550 / 29

  33. Triple Option says:

    Meh. Count it as a loss for me. Although I wasn’t bored, it almost seemed like Tarantino was paying homage to Tarantino. Near aimless conversation, (a couple of scenes showed the potential of what this film could have been), re-creation of styles nobody wants to go back to, a spotlight on women’s bare feet, put to a decent soundtrack. Opportunity lost.

  34. lazarus says:

    Nice to see a decent amount of accolades here, not surprising it has its detractors (especially some usual suspects).

    I was pretty ho-hum on The Hateful Eight (unnecessarily repetitive dialogue, didn’t fully escape its stage-bound origins), but I’d say every Tarantino film before that was a varying degree of great.

    What stuck out most to me was how non-Tarantino most (but not all) of the dialogue felt, and the mediative/reflective pacing and imagery. It’s amazing how much mileage (no pun intended) one can get from simply showing Brad Pitt driving around Los Angeles–I could have watched much more of this. Because this really made the effort to portray the scenery and atmosphere of this specific time and place, whereas all his previous films just seemed to exist in some retro-kitch Tarantino world. And it’s a slow burn overall, getting to know these guys, their daily rituals, etc., with the contrasting side-plot of Sharon Tate enjoying the seemingly perfect life she has at the moment: burgeoning success as an actress, a happy marriage, nice home, friends. You can really ease into it without having to catch your breath. For this maturation alone he should be applauded.

    Where the problems come in, for me, is the “Six Months Later” section, where there’s a lot of unnecessary narration from Kurt Russell, too much film geek descriptions that really belonged as supplemental material for the Blu-ray. There’s a great scene between Pitt and DiCaprio (who are indeed as great throughout as they’ve ever been) discussing Pitt’s future on the payroll that is bafflingly introduced with the on-screen title “Behind the scenes, Italian shoot” or something. Who cares? We know where we are, this isn’t a TV documentary like the opening scene. I also grew tired of the time stamps that keep coming as the fateful day rolls on; one can build tension without that; we all understand how a 24-hour period works.

    But those issues aside, the final movement of the film is daring and fantastic. It follows in the footprints of previous “revisionist history” tales, but instead of speaking to larger historical issues like Nazism or Slavery, focuses in on some people whose lives may not matter too much in the grand scheme of things, but who had every right to live happy lives outside the paintbrush of madness and murder. And I think he blends humor and disturbing violence well: knowing what we know, we have every right to cheer on what’s happening. As for Cliff Booth’s past, I don’t think we can take those rumors at face value, even if we’re shown some kind of “flashback”. For one, we don’t actually see what he’s accused of, nor are we given any explanation as to why he’s not in jail. So it didn’t bother me at all. Women have committed violence against men in multiple QT films, that it’s the reverse here isn’t some proof of misogyny.

    And as said by others above, the last scene is beautiful, moving, bittersweet. We get to wonder about various What Ifs, including that of the absent Polanski. I sure do wish the camera had craned up to the cityscape at night in full Leone style, though.

  35. Stella's Boy says:

    Damn usual suspects. Those people are the worst. The audacity of differing opinions. And what Cliff does and gets away with is explicitly stated. It’s not ambiguous.

  36. Sideshow Bill says:

    Boy…when Manson was on his deathbed and there were people who were upset and crying I flipped my shit. CHARLES MANSON WAS A FUCKING PIECE OF HUMAN GARBAGE.

    So were his followers. Male or female. I LOVED seeing them get treated, even in fantasy, the way they treated those poor helpless people in real life. Fuck Squeaky. I loved seeing her get what she should have gotten. Fuck Tex. And the flamethrower scene was cathartic for me.

    I don’t consider it violence against women here. I consider it imagined revenge against truly vile motherfuckers. The women were as awful as Tex. But their comeuppance is unacceptable here? I simply disagree with that. It makes me sad that this is not what happened in real life.

    It’s a fairy tale and I love it. Evil was punished and innocence saved at least on a movie screen. I refuse to accept that I shouldn’t have cheered for that.

  37. Sideshow Bill says:

    Lazarus wrote:

    “knowing what we know, we have every right to cheer on what’s happening.”

    Yes. We do. We are allowed the fantasy of horrible people getting theirs in a film, even if it’s from characters who are imperfect

  38. leahnz says:

    just to clarify: the protagonist of the movie, with whom we are asked to sympathise and identify with…

    (sidebar: boy the director sure does; this child of true-blue peace-and-love hippies, who in 1969 while living at venice beach were busy peacefully marching/getting arrested for protesting a ridiculous and dreadful war, sees you, Q-tip, you fat-headed fucking reactionary square, so desperate to be ‘cool’ but you’ll always be just another meathead)

    back on track:
    …being a likely wife-murderer makes him ‘imperfect’? fascinating, because i’d think it makes him a murderer who deserves to get flamethowed, just like the other murderers. i’d love to hear what the difference is.
    (why is everything like a living nightmare of idiocy)

    here’s the thing: the point isn’t whether cliff actually harpooned his wife to death for being a nag – i mean why just leave somebody when you can impale them and dump their body overboard – but that the possibility that our protagonist is a smiling wife-killer IS PLAYED FOR LAUGHS, multiple times in fact.
    see, in the US, nearly 50% of female homicide victims are killed by a boyfriend/husband or ex-boyfriend/husband. for men, it’s about 2%. women already know violence against women by their intimate/former partners isn’t taken seriously, because for one thing it just keeps getting worse, so seeing it portrayed as a man-joke says a lot about the film-maker and his choices, mostly that he’s a gaping asshole. maybe try to think about things from the not-male perspective once in a while? or not, why start now.

    i’ve got lots more, think i’ll pace myself because this boring mess of a movie’s not really worth it at the end of the day

  39. Stella's Boy says:

    Violence against women isn’t actually violence against women cause they’re bad? I don’t know. That sounds like how people justify enjoying something they know is problematic. And isn’t that how groups get dehumanized in media? Sure they died violently but it’s fine they were real bad. The Muslim terrorists got blown to shreds and we cheer who cares they killed innocents. It’s just fantasy. And his revisionism just happens to include horrific violence against women. Why not Manson? Hey enjoy what you want though. I just found the cheering during that scene pretty gross.

  40. Sideshow Bill says:

    But it’s not real life. Is there a difference between me cheering this and cheering the neo-Nazis getting killed in Green Room?

    I don’t expect there to be a definitive, clear answer. I’m all for the give and take and I genuinely think about what you guys on the opposite side of the fence say. Even leahnz, who is probably the most snide and most effusive of the bunch. And I’m snide too and love it so not attacking you Leah.

    It’s completely fair to try and unpack this and look at me with a stink eye but I maintain my feelings. At the end of the day it’s still a film, a fiction. I can’t feel bad at all for my reaction

    As for the did he/didn’t he murder his wife thing…truth is none of us know for sure and claiming you do is wrong. Yea it’s played for laughs. Is that problematic? Ok, I’ll give you that. But there may be more to it than that and after I give it more thought I’ll comment further.

    Great discussion. I’m all for having my mind changed and considering other viewpoints so keep it going. Just be nice.

  41. movieman says:

    July 26-28, 2019
    Weekend

    1 1 The Lion King (2019) BV $75,524,000 -60.6% 4,725 – $15,984 $350,775,534 – 2

    2 N Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Sony $40,350,000 – 3,659 – $11,028 $40,350,000 $90 1

    3 2 Spider-Man: Far from Home Sony $12,200,000 -42.5% 3,851 -564 $3,168 $344,455,270 $160 4

    4 3 Toy Story 4 BV $9,872,000 -36.5% 3,610 -140 $2,735 $395,628,506 – 6

    5 4 Crawl Par. $4,000,000 -34.4% 2,720 -450 $1,471 $31,462,793 $13.5 3

    6 5 Yesterday Uni. $3,000,000 -40.2% 2,550 -112 $1,176 $63,341,550 $26 5

    7 7 Aladdin (2019) BV $2,788,000 -31.8% 1,798 -307 $1,551 $345,928,586 $183 10

    8 6 Stuber Fox $1,679,000 -59.2% 2,150 -900 $781 $20,100,989 – 3

    9 8 Annabelle Comes Home WB (NL) $1,560,000 -40.0% 1,287 -694 $1,212 $69,736,963 – 5

    10 12 The Farewell A24 $1,553,864 +35.7% 135 +100 $11,510 $3,686,854 – 3

  42. Sideshow Bill says:

    Note: if I offend anyone I will apologize. That is not my intention. I feel passionately for the subject. So please let me know. I’m sorry for saying you are snide, Leah. Bad word choice. You just have a wicked tongue and you don’t mince words. You’re a joy to read even if I don’t always agree.

  43. YancySkancy says:

    “And what Cliff does and gets away with is explicitly stated. It’s not ambiguous.”

    It’s deliberately written and shot to be ambiguous. If Tarantino intended otherwise, I expect he would’ve shown us exactly what happened.

    “Fuck Squeaky. I loved seeing her get what she should have gotten.”

    Squeaky’s not in the climactic scene, nor was she involved in the Tate killings.

  44. Stella's Boy says:

    I read it differently. I think it’s pretty clear based on the scene with his wife and what other people say about him and think of him and what he says about not getting locked up yet. Taken together I don’t think it’s all that ambiguous. But that’s me.

  45. movieman says:

    I love Leah (she knows I do), but her occasional stridency–particularly in regards to the new Tarantino–puts me in mind of Kurt Russell’s harridan wife in “Hollywood.”

    Sorry, Leah. I hope we’re still MCN Blog friends.

    P.S.= Yancy is correct. Squeaky is primarily known for her aborted attempt at assassinating Gerry Ford, not any physical involvement in the Tate/LaBianca murders.
    And for her psychotic/undying fealty to Manson.
    On the other hand, I’ve (strongly) felt for years that Leslie Van Houten should be paroled. Can’t believe she’s still behind bars.

  46. YancySkancy says:

    Stella’S Boy: What people are saying about him is what they think happened. Presumably, she died from the harpoon, but we are clearly supposed to think that it’s possible that it went off accidentally. It’s like the Natalie Wood case; some people insist Robert Wagner was responsible, though he’s never been charged or tried. Pitt referencing “not getting locked up yet” could mean there was an effort to charge or convict him that failed. Again, the fact that the answers to these questions are left to our imaginations is the very definition of ambiguity, IMO. If QT were interested in clarity, he’d have shown that harpoon going off.

  47. Stella's Boy says:

    I do not agree Yancy. I have a different interpretation. After it was over my two friends and I discussed Cliff as having murdered his wife. We all read it the same way. Reasonable people can disagree.

    The wives do not come across well in this movie.

  48. leahnz says:

    movieman you’re ticking all the boxes: pissed-off women = harridans! strident! you just need ‘shrill’ in there somewhere and your old-school sexist bingo card will be complete (perhaps this is why tarantino’s dull mess of a movie appeals so much, it’s white-boy retrograde at its finest, and why the portrayal of tate is so appealing to the fragiles: she’s completely passive and reactive – a bit more on that below)

    richard brody’s review is fairly spot on – covers some territory i was going to tread so whew, typing averted.

    the mental gymnastics around the cliff character would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic, and as is so often the case, completely misses the point.
    Q-tip leaves it “ambiguous” wink wink (which it really isn’t; cliff is clearly holding the harpoon gun with his finger on the trig, aimed at her with a tiny smirk on his face – THE SAME SMIRK he has while committing all his other acts of violence) so he can have his cake and eat it too. PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY!!! for the bros. that the boys don’t understand this (not you stella’s, sounds like you get it) is disconcerting but hardly surprising. it’s like a rorschach test.

    further re: tate, one simple switch of scenes could have improved this movie:
    instead of the fucking ludicrous scene with cliff and bruce lee — in reality lee would have laid out an old-ass stuntman in about 2 seconds with a quick roundhouse kick to the head; this ‘just using the HANDS fighting i could foot it with bruce lee’ is pure white-man wish fulfillment nonsense that’s been around for yonks — the lee scene should have been between lee and tate.
    in contrast to cliff and rick, who spend the entire extremely long runtime DOING, sharon doesn’t doesn’t DO anything, it’s all passive/reactive: folding laundry (wtf), ethereal male-gaze dancing, space case driving, reacting to HERSELF on screen (good glasses tho, my mum had huge ones almost exactly like that, best thing in the movie besides the dog), showing off her new nursery.
    in reality, lee was the fight consultant for ‘wrecking crew’ and worked with tate. this is the scene that should have been in the movie: a nice chunk of flashback of tate and lee choreographing the film. this would have shown sharon DOING rather than just looking pretty, given her character some depth and flesh, and been a nice little tribute to lee to boot, all based on reality. instead we got literally a 2 second blink-and-you-miss-it flash of tate and lee in the movie theatre.
    poor forrest-gumping for Q-tip. sad trombone.

  49. Sideshow Bill says:

    My bad on Squeaky. Memory is fuzzy. I’m old. Whoever it was my approval remains.

    Sharon Tate’s screen time and scenes are worth examining. Tarantino is a lot of things but he’s not dumb. There’s a reason she lingers on the periphery. I don’t claim to know exactly why. And we also have a scene where Cliff takes a moral stance and turns down sex with a girl who cannot prove she is 18+. It’s fair to remember that. It’s a rare correct moral choice made by a character with baggage.

    I think accusing the filmmaker of actually being the thing he portrays in his films is a really really slippery slope. Which is not to say QT doesn’t have faults and cracks. I bet Spielberg does too. I just can’t jump on the bandwagon damning him over his movies, and I am nowhere near a Tarantino fanboy.

  50. Sideshow Bill says:

    No offense Leah but my opinion and those if others are as valid as yours. Disagreeing is fine. Accusing of of being “sexist” and “bros” kinda fucking pisses me off. I am neither. Don’t appreciate it al all. Not all men are scum and not all women are angels.

    I’ll wait here before I get eviscerated. I’m just kind of annoyied.

  51. Stella's Boy says:

    Or Cliff didn’t care about her age at all. He just cared that she didn’t have an ID saying she’s 18. Maybe it’s a slippery slope if it’s out of nowhere but that’s not exactly the case with QT.

  52. leahnz says:

    lordy, shall we start a victim card bingo? (clearly i haven’t played bingo in a while, i was thinking of three across before, that’s freakin’ tic-tac-toe)

    (for someone who isn’t a ‘bro’ or ‘sexist’, sideshow, why so defensive? if doesn’t apply to you, it doesn’t apply to you… i mean cuz this: “Not all men are scum and not all women are angels”. uh ok. this is like straight out of the NOT ALL MEN!!! aggrieved dude’s handbook as a reply to something that at no point says ALL about anything. who is asking you to jump on a bandwagon damning tarantino? what are you even talking about. i’m damining him, and i’ll continue to do so based on the content of the films he writes and how he directs them – and how he comports himself in his public life. you do whatever the fuck you want to do. no-one is trying to force you to condemn tarantino, what is even happening)

    the cliff moral stance: HE DOESN’T WANT TO GO TO PRISON

  53. YancySkancy says:

    Stella’s: Nothing in my description of what literally happens on screen in the scene with Cliff and his wife precludes you from interpreting the scene however you wish. Of course you and your friends and anyone else can read the scene as suggesting that Cliff must have killed his wife, but Tarantino clearly leaves other interpretations open by the way he shoots and edits the scene. It’s not a matter of agreeing with my interpretation, because I haven’t offered one. I’m simply saying that Tarantino didn’t want to make it clear, so he didn’t. I don’t see how this is arguable, frankly, even if he did it with a “wink,” as leah suggests. It certainly doesn’t mean your take is “wrong;” only that it’s one of the two options available to us. Either Cliff committed murder, or he didn’t. But we’re not shown which is the truth.

    Somehow leah sees this factual description of the scene as pathetic mental gymnastics that “misses the point.” But whether Tarantino’s ambiguity is genuine or a wink, the fact remains that he doesn’t show the killing, so we’re left to our own interpretations. In the story, it’s presented that most people think he murdered her, but Rick doesn’t, or at least professes not to. Showing Cliff smirking while holding the harpoon was obviously a deliberate choice to suggest the possibility of his guilt; cutting away before anything happened was obviously a deliberate choice to suggest the possibility that it went off by accident.

    To be clear (well, to attempt it anyway; I always think I’m being clear until I get replies): I don’t know if Cliff killed his wife or not. I don’t know what Tarantino prefers us to think, if he has a preference. If Cliff did it, I don’t defend his action (should go without saying, but I’m taking no chances). If Tarantino wants us to believe Cliff is guilty and like him anyway, I think it’s a bad choice.

  54. Amblinman says:

    The idea that Tarantino isn’t suggesting Cliff killed his wife simply because he doesn’t actually show the murdering wound is weird. This is a filmmaking trick as old as filmmaking. Why be literal when you can be cute?

  55. Sideshow Bill says:

    Not playing this game Leah. Not defensive. I just think you’re wrong and and didn’t appreciate the implication that I am morally below you because I liked a movie that didn’t. And for the record you’re the one always turn every discussion into a “Men are garbage” rant. Who’s playing the victim?

    I’m bowing out before it gets any uglier. I’ve said my piece and listened to other viewpoints. Now that we’re at a point where I’m apparently a bad person for liking a movie there’s nowhere left to go.

    We’ll always have Avatar, Leah.

    I still love you all. Hope you suss this out. See you in the Hobbs and Shaw blog lol

  56. palmtree says:

    Welp, finally saw it and it’s a freaking mess. On the one hand, I felt like I had a genuine cinematic experience as QT delivers a tantalizing buffet of images and situations.

    But on the other hand, there was very little of substance. Cliff’s existence was just a pure fantasy and that ending proves it.

    Why did QT have to throw Bruce Lee under the bus though? I mean, Bruce spent his whole life training so that he could become an insufferable BRAGGART?? And then LOSE to a stuntman??? And yes, we know Cliff is former military, but I highly doubt the military trains hand to hand combat on the same level as Bruce. I just didn’t get how dismissive of Bruce Lee it was.

    And to top it off, QT didn’t even talk to Shannon Lee. For all the film’s pretensions toward authenticity, he couldn’t be bothered to actually be authentic and ask Shannon for a blessing. I’m guessing he avoided her because he knew he wanted to humiliate Bruce and that she’d never go for it.

    As far as the treatment of women, it was nothing to write home about. Aside from being vile Manson family members, they were also little kids. At the very least, it’s uncomfortable. And one death, the flamethrower, which I thought was a good call back, was ridiculous since she was literally in a pool and all she had to do to stop getting burned by the flame was duck down.

    Sharon’s whole day in the life stuff was really not compelling. There was zero tension in it and made her life seem kinda empty, as if QT idealized her too much.

    Finally, we come to the wife murdering question. Whatever the situation with the wife, I think we can infer Cliff doesn’t feel particularly bad about it. We never see him feel bad about it, and for something that huge to never be addressed is very telling. It would have been more complex to see Cliff sad looking at a photo of his dead wife, but instead we just get that one flashback to a scene that appears to be saying “this is how Cliff killed her.” To not have an accompanying scene showing his remorse over her death is to basically suggest he’s not sorry or at the very least he doesn’t feel anything about it, which is pretty weird. So yeah, given all the evidence of the film and the way it’s shot, Cliff is some superhero assassin guy who looks great with his shirt off but only because QT is invested in him seeming that like. So then the question is why is QT so invested in it? leah’s right….Richard Brody nails it.

  57. Sideshow Bill says:

    Note: I have a tendency to rant and get mean so I could very well be the one to make it ugly. I wanted to be clear about that. Not putting the onus on others. I know myself and I’m moving on. I have taken in everything you guys have said and it’s in the thought bank.

    Peace

  58. Stella's Boy says:

    Well-said amblinman. I also like Brody’s review. I don’t think Rick cares if Cliff murdered his wife, and if he did Rick probably thinks she got what she deserved. To echo palmtree (good review), if somehow Cliff really did accidentally kill his wife after pointing a harpoon at her from point blank range, he sure as shit doesn’t feel bad about it. Seems more accurate to say that some prefer to see ambiguity rather than acknowledge the hero murdered his wife and it’s played for laughs.

  59. Glamourboy says:

    I couldn’t wait to come on here just to read Leah’s predictably angry and rambling response. Did anyone actually think she’d like this film? She has a long, spiraling writing style that is just as annoying as QT’s can be….you don’t like his long meandering scenes…check out her finger wagging combined with off-topics about her mom. Me, I liked but not loved the film–a lot to unpack with it. And who did Brenda Vaccaro play..I saw her name in the credits but don’t remember seeing her at all.

  60. amblinman says:

    “I couldn’t wait to come on here just to read Leah’s predictably angry and rambling response. Did anyone actually think she’d like this film?”

    Oh fuck off you shitty little howler monkey.

  61. movieman says:

    https://youtu.be/nPomHS-gZEk

    I had no idea CGI didn’t play a part in recreating 1969 Los Angeles.

  62. palmtree says:

    Amblin said it better, but…Glamour, you’re seriously comparing the rambling of a major feature film to a blog comment? Those things aren’t even close to equivalent, and leah can ramble as much as she’d like to without it invalidating her argument in any way.

    I find it interesting that Stephanie Zacharek really liked Once Upon a Time, but did so on the basis that it did a good job of portraying Sharon Tate. It’s hard for me to agree with her entirely, but I suppose if you liked her portrayal then the movie will be less problematic for you.

  63. Glamourboy says:

    Leah can be as insulting to anyone on here (and she constantly is) as she wants, and I can voice my opinion as well.

  64. leahnz says:

    ftr, i’d just like to dispel this nonsense that i casually wanted to hate this movie going in, because nothing could be further from the truth. i had high hopes for it – though i admit some trepidation at how the murders would be depicted.
    as i mentioned briefly above, i lived at venice beach with my hippie mother from 69-73. the LA depicted in this flick – rather well i might add – is MY LA, as it were; i remember it well, though more like brief video snippets in time, and i have a ton of photographs of tiny me there (one in front of our huge white car, which was very like the beige one cliff drives). i remember so many things: going to the jail with my aunty or granddad when they bailed my mother out after peace protests/marches against the war, a war into which my uncle was drafted; i remember driving home late one night and getting lost, seeing coyotes trotting around the streets (this is a major memory trigger from ‘collateral’); i remember the lovely community of people who helped look after me while my mother was getting her doctorate; and i remember the aftermath of the manson murders, how us children had to stay close, with a city in fear, which we absorbed from the grown-ups. (weirdly we were at berkeley during the zodiac, maybe that’s why we left the country…)
    i had high hopes for this movie. hopes dashed.

  65. palmtree says:

    Sure you can voice your opinion, and I never said you couldn’t. What I said was your opinion makes no sense, which is just my opinion.

  66. palmtree says:

    Yeah, this movie is everything I should want in a movie. I’m also an Angeleno, and so many of locations in the movie are places I’ve been to and have fond memories of. The nostalgia is through the roof.

    So maybe that’s why I feel a little manipulated by that nostalgia when I peel away the layers of what it’s actually in service of. It’s just not enough even though part of me wants it to be.

  67. YancySkancy says:

    “The idea that Tarantino isn’t suggesting Cliff killed his wife simply because he doesn’t actually show the murdering wound is weird. This is a filmmaking trick as old as filmmaking. Why be literal when you can be cute?”

    I never said that QT’s refusal to show the death of Cliff’s wife was suggesting Cliff didn’t kill her. I said that cutting away left it an open question. Maybe he was being cute, maybe not. Yes, it’s an old filmmaking trick, but it’s been used both ways. I allow for both possibilities; not sure why some are so convinced there’s only one correct interpretation.

    “Finally, we come to the wife murdering question. Whatever the situation with the wife, I think we can infer Cliff doesn’t feel particularly bad about it. We never see him feel bad about it, and for something that huge to never be addressed is very telling… To not have an accompanying scene showing his remorse over her death is to basically suggest he’s not sorry or at the very least he doesn’t feel anything about it, which is pretty weird.”

    I didn’t address this aspect before, but I actually think it’s pretty clear that Cliff has no remorse for her death, regardless of whether he caused it or not. Since her only scene shows her berating and belittling Cliff, I’d say QT intends us to assume he wanted to be rid of her. That’s a big part of why he looks potentially guilty. Showing remorse wouldn’t move the needle on the question of his guilt though. One can be remorseful or not, regardless of guilt.

  68. YancySkancy says:

    “And who did Brenda Vaccaro play..I saw her name in the credits but don’t remember seeing her at all.”

    She played Pacino’s wife. She’s in only one scene, briefly, and I don’t think she has any dialogue (surely we would’ve recognized that iconic voice).

  69. palmtree says:

    Yancy, I brought up remorse because, while it doesn’t prove guilt or innocence, it at least points to how we’re supposed to relate to this character. Much like James Bond, we’re not meant to relate to this guy but just basically want to be him, look like him, talk like him, have abs like him, and be stone cold violent like him. It’s this level of fantasy and wish fulfillment that is intoxicatingly toxic. Hence that’s why killing his wife is played for laughs. We’re meant to think it’s cool.

  70. amblinman says:

    “I never said that QT’s refusal to show the death of Cliff’s wife was suggesting Cliff didn’t kill her. I said that cutting away left it an open question. Maybe he was being cute, maybe not. Yes, it’s an old filmmaking trick, but it’s been used both ways. I allow for both possibilities; not sure why some are so convinced there’s only one correct interpretation.”

    I mean…yeah…but…it’s Tarantino. Everything we know about him suggests that *he* would think there’s nothing funnier than a husband murdering his mouthy wife with a harpoon. I think you’re assigning way more ambiguity than Tarantino meant to imply. And when that specific filmmaking trick is employed, at least when the character is innocent of the accusation, it’s usually used to exonerate them in front of the audience so we have info on screen characters don’t about the person in question. This is why I vote for “cute” over “ambigious” in terms of QT’s intent.

    Truth in transparancey: I laughed. Of course I did. But I”m a white asshole dood in his mid-40’s so I’m the target audience no matter how “woke” I try and fail to be on any given day. I’ve been married for over 20 years. My wife is a fucking saint. And of course I’ve wanted to harpoon the bitch on many occasions. Mostly because she was right and I was wrong.

    Glamour: fuck off. Always and forever. If reading posts from folks like Leah annoy you, this is the waaaaay wrong place for you. Yes, You are entitled to any opinion your howler monkey brain conjures up. And I am entitled to call you out for aforementioned howler monkey brain thoughts.

  71. Stella's Boy says:

    What palmtree and amblinman said, and also, it’s just the treatment of women in general that leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. Cliff’s wife’s death (however it occurred) is played for laughs. Russell’s wife is a loud ballbuster. Rick’s new young wife is meant to be laughed at and seen as a drag (immediately he ends a longtime relationship with Cliff). The young female Manson followers are brutally and graphically murdered as the audience cheers and gasps and laughs. In totality I see a real and glaring problem with the treatment of women in this movie, one that should not be excused or ignored. And I feel like many of the same critics and writers who would normally decry the poor treatment of women in another film have no issue when it’s QT.

  72. Hcat says:

    Just read a Hollywood Reporter article on Quibu. I find it endlessly funny that all the ‘disruption’ and jockeying for eyeballs has led to a return to serials.

  73. Ray Pride says:

    Still waiting for the analysis of QuiBi that delves into whether the choice to abbreviate episodes is to reduce fees and residuals obligated to performers.

  74. Hcat says:

    Ha, that will probably have to wait until after launch, right now it seems like it will be tongue bath trade articles half written by Quibi’s marketing team for awhile. The claim is that the shorter length is to capture the shorter attention spans and compete with YouTube. It sort of makes sense. The Commercials will seem less intrusive if you are in the mindset that they are not interrupting the episode. From the reporting the money spicket is open for talent at the moment.

  75. cadavra says:

    Am I the only one who heard a very loud wave coming toward the boat? Seems pretty obvious that it rocked the boat, causing Cliff to accidentally fire the harpoon. Manslaughter, as he put it in another scene, but not murder.

  76. movieman says:

    You are indeed correct, Cad! (Welcome back btw; you’ve been missed!)

    Apparently–and this is kind of funny/ironic–the more woke you are, the worse your hearing is.

  77. YancySkancy says:

    cadavra: I’ll definitely be listening for that when I re-watch. Obviously there’s a lot of guesswork involved about Cliff’s case, because it’s related only through gossip, hearsay, and one brief flashback. But if it went to trial, there must have been reasonable doubt for him to get off. Doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, but we don’t exactly have all the facts.

  78. palmtree says:

    A wave, sure that’s intriguing. But honestly my argument works whether it was an accident or whether he did it or whether it was cancer or something else.

    The fact is you never see Cliff give a shit about her one way or the other. He lost a wife and the audience has no indication of what that means to him. That omission is way more telling than the sound of a wave or any other innuendo you can interpret.

  79. YancySkancy says:

    “The fact is you never see Cliff give a shit about her one way or the other. He lost a wife and the audience has no indication of what that means to him. That omission is way more telling than the sound of a wave or any other innuendo you can interpret.”

    In the scene it’s clear that he lost a wife that belittled and loathed him. The smirk on his face while he listens to her rant tells us what she meant to him.

  80. palmtree says:

    Yup, totally agree. And that’s emblematic of what’s wrong with the movie.

  81. cadavra says:

    Movieman: Thanks for the kind words. The reason I haven’t been around is that when David left (apparently) MCN, I just assumed that would be the end of THB. I recently looked in just for curiosity’s sake and was surprised to see it was still going.

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