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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

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Reply #405 on: September 05, 2019, 10:07:09 PM
These are interesting points. I don't profess to definitively know what a director is thinking, but I think through analysis we can get closer and deeper into their conscious and unconscious self than any interview will reveal. By my analysis, this feels like a highly reactionary film, and it stands out from his ouevre in that regard.

I think deeply problematic art mirrors aspects of society certainly, and in so doing reinforces those problematic aspects. Challenging such works is important because it presents a counterpoint. It's dialectical; it helps move us forward.

Also, thanks for the warm welcome y'all!


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Reply #406 on: September 06, 2019, 02:32:42 AM
by my analysis you're a million fucking miles from connecting with his deeper consciousness or unconsciousness. welcome to the board


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Reply #407 on: September 07, 2019, 05:25:12 PM
deliberately went to a dying-down midnight screening in order to separate my viewing experience from the experiences of others

i sat in the back so everything this time was between me and the movie. i'm internalizing its rhythms, which is my favorite way to experience a movie, and can best be achieved during a repeat viewing. it's when the movie magic is becoming familiar to me, part of me

wilberfan first mentioned Rick's stutter, and HACKANUT first gave it emotional depth. among what i specifically wanted to see this time was whether Rick stuttered during his audition for The Great Escape. but i must admit that by then i was nodding off to sleep, how disappointing. he doesn't stutter in the first clip from the audition, but during the second clip i was so near sleep i can't accurately say. did his stutter blow it?

after my first viewing was when i mentioned to my friend that although Cliff is a breezy and likable character, Rick requires the most work as an actor. and that's still true. Leo out of anyone does the most pound-for-pound acting in this movie

because here's a movie that almost seems as if it doesn't require acting. Cliff achieves contentedness amidst the swirl of all movie things, and Sharon's whole life is on an upswing.  Rick is the panic button. Rick knows it. Cliff knows it. we know it

and that's all ontological, which is mostly what this movie depicts: ontology. i hear people say this movie is most like Jackie Brown but i don't understand why they're saying that. i myself sort of understate the similarities between this movie and his previous historical revenge fantasies. but really i think this movie is tonally different from his other movies by a large margin. the narrative thrust is amorphous unless you track the characters. almost nothing happens but them. Manson isn't a vital component within the movie. white supremacy isn't mentioned. things like that are omitted in order to focus on a sense of being, which is so light i even fell asleep but don't take it personal. i was awake for the ending again

walking away from the theater i felt calmer than i have in a long while. not just because of seeing the movie, for a variety of reasons, but the movie was helpful.  to full circle, that's because i internalized the rhythms of a calm movie

it's sort of the movie version of keep calm and carry on


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Reply #408 on: September 07, 2019, 08:32:35 PM
Whenever I see photos of the interior I'm always surprised at how....not big...the New Bev really is. 
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Reply #409 on: September 09, 2019, 12:22:23 PM
Somehow photos make it look bigger than it actually is, lol!


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Reply #410 on: September 11, 2019, 07:34:38 PM
Kim Morgan, cinema essayist, constant New Bev contributor, and occasional GDT-date, has interviewed QT for the New Bev'z blog. 

Full interview does not fit in our maximum character length --
Excerpt Transcript in the Spoilz:: ShowHide
 Kim Morgan: In your film, there’s the myth-like idea of LA and the geographical idea of LA, and you’ve merged them together beautifully: all of those gorgeous shots of Cliff driving – everyone drives a lot, of course, this is Los Angeles, except for Rick Dalton [who has too many drunk driving incidents]. And the way you’ve recreated 1969 LA, the movie posters, the radio channels in the car, looking out at all that – it’s mythical and real.

Quentin Tarantino: I gotta tell you something. We can get actual photos of what Sunset Boulevard looked like in 1969 or what Riverside Drive looked like, or Magnolia, we can do that. And we did it. But the jumping-off point was going to be my memory – as a six-year old sitting in the passenger seat of my stepfather’s Karmann Ghia. And even that shot, that kind of looks up at Cliff as he drives by the Earl Scheib, and all those signs, that’s pretty much my perspective, being a little kid…

KM: We’ve talked a lot before about Jacques Demy’s Model Shop – I think he would have loved this film.

QT: Yeah. “The Umbrellas of Van Nuys”; “The Young Girls of Toluca Lake” (laughs). Again, that’s an aspect of a memory piece because I remember what it was like. But, also as a little kid – and probably now too, but especially as a little kid – you see what you want to see. You throw the things you don’t care about out of focus and you throw sharp focus on the things you care about – so… I’m looking out the window and see Los Angeles out in front of me and I’m being more selective about what I’m looking at as opposed to Demy in Model Shop. So, it’s the movie billboards and it’s the soda pop billboards. I’m not seeing the Geritol billboard, but the Hollywood Wax Museum with the Clark Gable picture. And so, in doing a memory piece, I create that landscape.

KM: So, who is Rick Dalton based on?

QT: I like talking about these guys. George Maharis, Ty Hardin, Vince Edwards, Edd Byrnes, and Fabian a little bit, and Tab Hunter a little bit too… So that sets [Rick Dalton] up, he’s not of this generation, he’s not a New Hollywood type of actor – you don’t see him fitting in with Peter Fonda or Jack Nicholson or Donald Sutherland or Elliott Gould or any of these guys. Those are the actors of the time.

KM: Which directors do you think Rick Dalton would have worked with?

QT: He would have worked with guys like Paul Wendkos… If he was lucky, he would have worked with Phil Karlson, Leslie Martinson, people like that. One of the things about the actors of that era [and Rick Dalton], like I said, they were status conscious, so they would love to be in a Burt Kennedy western. Not because they think Burt Kennedy is the greatest director in the world, but because he makes movies for Warner Brothers. And 20th Century Fox… If Rick were offered an AIP [American International Pictures] movie, [he] wouldn’t do it: “Well, of course I’m not going to work for AIP. That’s where the losers work. That’s for fucking Ray Milland. That’s for fading stars like Milland and slumming stars, like Bette Davis, and phony non stars like Vincent Price and Fabian.”

KM: And his career could have been different had he worked with AIP or something like that…

QT: In that chapter I wrote on [the book about] Rick’s career, “The Man Who Would Be McQueen”, I actually have that in that version, and I did it in a scene with Marvin. OK, Rick’s contract is over with Universal and now he’s a free agent and having to fend for himself. In that prose I’d written that he did get one offer for a movie after the Universal contract was over. The movie offered was John Cassavetes’ role in Devil’s Angels, which was Roger Corman’s follow-up to The Wild Angels. And he turned it down: “I’m not gonna work with Corman. I’m not gonna work with AIP. That’s junk.” These TV guys were taught: if you’re gonna be a TV star, you have to be likeable. But so, he’s using old world rules. So those are all reasons that Rick would have said no, but the reality is, that that would have given Rick everything he wanted if he had done it. It would have been his one, along with “The 14 Fists of McCluskey” – his one genuine hit. This wouldn’t have been a movie that is stuck with the other movies in the early part of the 60s. It was zeitgeisty. This was a movie that actually young people would have went to see.

KM: Yeah. And he would meet people like Jack Nicholson, he would have met Bruce Dern [who plays ranch owner George Spahn in the film] …

QT: Absolutely! And, I had it, that actually AIP was really into the idea. So, if he had done Devil’s Angels, they probably would have plugged him into like, three other biker movies that they had on deck… He would have been a young people’s actor. But through his class consciousness, he threw it all away and wonders why he’s standing on the outside of a cultural shift.

KM: And … Rick Dalton is in his late 30s in 1969, he’s getting older, but even Nicholson and Bruce Dern, though younger than Rick, and a different generation, they were in their early thirties by 1969…they had already worked for a while, and on TV, and worked in AIP films…

QT: No, but you’re right though – Nicholson – Bruce told me that he and Jack killed themselves trying to get on western shows. And I mean, guesting on them… The Virginian is on for nine years – Doug McClure and James Drury stayed there, but then the rest of the cast like rotates every four years…. They wanted to get on a series… Like Nicholson would have loved to have been on The Virginian in its sixth season. Bruce said, at that time, we wanted Robert Fuller’s career (laughs): “We wanted to be on our version of Laramie we wanted to join Wagon Train in their color years.” (laughs) Bruce Dern actually did get on a show – he and Warren Oates were Jack Lord’s sidekick on the show, Stoney Burke … and Bruce Dern said “Oh, it’s one of the worst jobs I have had!” And I asked, “Why?” and he said, “Well, I’m on it for like two fucking years and every week it just boils down to a reaction shot of me watching Jack Lord – the biggest prick in the business – riding a bucking bronco and yelling “You got it Stoney! Ride ’em Stoney!” (laughs) “That was like, my part!”

KM: Bruce Dern has such a long, wide-ranging career and worked with guys like Rick. He must have had a lot of stories.

QT: He [played] such interesting bad guys on these western shows, like his characters in the stuff he did in ’64 or ’65 or ’66 could be a main character in a 70s western. Like he did a Big Valley episode where it’s him and Lee Majors doing a lot of stuff together and he’s a bounty hunter, but his whole thing was to dress like a priest, so if you’re his bounty, he approaches you on a horse, with a collar and the black frock and the bible, and he asks to have some beans at your little campfire and you say yes because he’s a priest, and then he shoots you dead. (Laughs) That’s his modus operandi. That’s a fucking great character…. Bruce Dern, all those guys: Robert Blake, Burt Reynolds… they remember every episodic television director they ever worked with, Bruce better than all of them. If you name an episode and the director, Bruce will tell you a little story about that guy…

KM: Well, that was smart, considering who some of those guys were who were directing episodic television, like Sam Peckinpah…

QT: Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. He’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of Gunsmoke and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of The Big Valley, but they don’t necessarily look like [Ritchie’s 1972 film] The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for Gunsmoke – it’s right there.

KM: And then Dern must have had some thoughts about 1969 in particular…

QT: Yeah, he had a huge memory because one of the weird dichotomies going on was everybody, [Dern’s] whole circle, is blowing up and becoming superstars, and he’s still stuck doing this episodic television stuff and doing this B-movie stuff and playing western scoundrels in these other movies, while Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper are starting to run the damn town. So, look at it in perspective – so, in 1970 Jack Nicholson does Five Easy Pieces, directs Drive, He Said, and then is brought into On a Clear Day You Can See Forever to bring youth appeal to the movie. That year Bruce Dern guested on a Land of the Giants and starred in The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant. (Laughs) He also gives the best performance in Drive, He Said, but all that had to be hard for him. But it all changed the next year. The next year he does The Cowboys and Silent Running.

KM: How much did you work with Burt Reynolds before he sadly passed away? He must have been great to talk to.

QT: When I was getting to know him, I was really taking advantage of that: I’ve got Burt Reynolds to talk to, and he understands the politics of this movie, of where Rick’s coming from. So, I’ve spent my whole life hearing Burt Reynolds tell stories on talk shows, so our time spent together was him telling Burt Reynolds stories, and me telling Burt Reynolds stories. And I was just trying to ask him everything I could. What did he think about Sergio Corbucci? What did he think about Raquel Welch? What did he think about Jim Brown? And so, we’re doing this script reading and we have a break in the middle, and Burt was pretty fucked up in terms of his mobility: when he sits down in the chair, he’s gonna be in the chair for a while. And so I’d get up, and walk around, he’d be at the end of the table, and I’d sort of get down on my haunches and start talking to him, and every time I’d see him, I’m thinking, “Who am I gonna bring up this time?” I’m gonna ask him about William Witney. And I gotta set this up a little bit. Now, he only worked with William Witney three times. Three episodes of “Riverboat” in the 50s – that’s it. Now, I’m expecting him – I’m gonna bring this up and he’s not going to remember. So, I ask him, “I wanna ask you a question about the show you did, Riverboat. And he says, “Oh boy.” And I say, “Look you probably don’t remember who he is, you only worked with him three times, but you worked with a director named William Witney. Do you remember him?” [Reynolds says,] “Of course I do.” One of the perfect Burt Reynolds line reads. [I say,] “Oh. You do! Wow. Great. Well, I think he’s terrific. I mean, I think he’s one of the most under- rated action directors that there ever was, and especially westerns.” [Burt says,] “I agree. You’re very true. William Witney was under the belief that there was no scene that had ever been written that couldn’t be improved by a fist fight. And that’s kind of the way the guy would direct. You’d be standing there doing a scene, and he would be like, ‘Cut. Cut. Cut. You guys are putting me to sleep. Here’s what I want to happen. You say this, you say that, you say this, you say that, now you get mad at him and you punch him. And now you’re mad at him, so you punch him back. And now we have a scene!” (Laughs) I can’t guarantee, but I can practically guarantee that nobody has brought up William Witney’s name to Burt in 55 years, and I bring it up. Not only does he remember the guy, he has perfect Burt Reynolds stories – ready to go, as if he’d been telling these anecdotes for years because they were funny. He has a perfect description, and they are all funny and they all have a punchline to them. Those are not ready-to-go-to stories. He just pulled it out of his head from 50 years ago. It was just a masterful moment. And it is like, “This is the most charming man who maybe ever lived.” …