You know what’s crazy? I’ll tell you what’s crazy™
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
News Flash: QUENTIN TARANTINO IS A SELF INDULGENT FILM MAKER.
Tarantino seems like a really nice guy, but his story telling is exasperating.
He has no sense of pace. His directing style is meandering, accentuated by slow motion pit stops of verbosity.
And then, like a jet aircraft, loaded with fuel, his story heads straight for the ground and explodes upon impact, in a final crescendo that is often great, but takes way too long to achieve.
In short, Quentin Tarantino films are way too long.
Watching a Tarantino film is a physical investment of time that borders on theft.
The film is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. At times, it feels longer than that.
That’s 45 minutes longer than most movies.
45 minutes is a good work out at the gym. That’s the average commute to work. That’s the time it takes to tie one’s shoes at the senior center.
165 minutes running time. That’s a lot to ask from a sedentary audience.
Only with Tarantino Films do I research the movie’s run time going in.
I must know if I can consume beverages prior to seeing his masterpiece. I have to know where in theater the bathrooms are located. I have to get a baby sitter for my dog, to make sure she is walked, or she will soil the rug.
I even downloaded an app called RUN PEE. Yes, an app that suggests the best time to get up, preferably when the story is slow, and go to the restroom.
In my estimation, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD is a story that could be told in less than 120 minutes. Trust me, I was tearing up mental pages of the script from my seat.
For comparison: Star Wars was 2 hours and 5 minutes.
The run time for Jaws? 2 hours and 10 minutes.
And these were hang on to your ass kind of films where every scene propelled the next scene into something amazing.
Casablanca? One of the timeless masterpieces in cinematic lore? 1 hour and 42 minutes.
“Here’s looking at you Quentin!”
Even Smokey and the Bandit is 1 hour and 36 minutes. And this is a classic movie! It’s fun, easy on the brain and bladder, even has a catchy tune.
Burt Reynolds wasn’t trying to reinvent acting or win an academy award in every scene. He was just making a fun film that catches your eye every time it comes on TNT.
And then there’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
The 9th Film of Quentin Tarantino.
How F***ing presumptuous is that?
Quentin Tarantino’s 9th film.
Like it’s Homer’s Odyssey and will studied by humans for years to come.
Before I make you think I hate everything about this film, I DO NOT.
I actually went to it, wanting to really like it. I was hoping that his 9th ode to greatness would somehow be different.
I went wanting to love Brad Pitt. And I did. I like his portrayal of an out of work stunt man. At 56, Pitt is Hollywood handsome and chiseled. Even though his character doesn’t do much more than fight and drive, he’s a likable character and I spent most of the film hoping someone will give him a damn job.
Same for Leonardo DiCaprio. He is absolutely believable as a TV actor whose star is fading. You really want him to succeed and get a movie or a pilot or whatever.
The problem is, neither of these characters really does anything. Until the last few minutes of the film, they face very little adversity. They wake up, they drive around, they go to movie sets, and they just sort of meander across the script. It’s fun to watch, but I found myself saying, “What the hell are they doing?”
At times, the story is so convoluted, a narrator, played by Kurt Russell, has to tell the audience what the hell is going on.
That’s not good story telling, folks.
I was rooting for these characters and in the end, I had to remind myself, what are they trying to achieve again?
A good film has characters with definable needs. Was there ever any doubt that Luke Skywalker sought the FORCE?
Did you ever have to remind yourself that Police Chief Martin Brody’s singular purpose in Amity was to kill that shark?
Sadly, for 2 hours and 45 minutes, Brad Pitt and Leonardo Dicaprio meander around Los Angeles like lost hitch hikers with their thumbs hanging out. Their purpose is clear like a lens smeared with Vaseline.
In Star Wars, the goal was to defeat the empire.
In Smokey and the Bandit, the goal was to get Coors to Texarkansas.
What’s the purpose of Once Upon A Time in Hollywood?
I think the whole movie is a set up to say: WHAT IF CHARLES MANSON WENT TO THE WRONG HOUSE AND IN STEAD OF KILLING SHARON TATE, THEY TRY TO KILL BRAD PITT AND LEONARDO DICAPRIO BY ACCIDENT.
WOULDN’T THAT BE COOL?
DISSOLVE IN SUPER: ONCE UPON A TIME……
CUTE. PRETENTIOUS. SELF-INDULGENT.
Yes. It would be cool, Quentin. If the story was 120 minutes and the characters achieved something in the 2 hours they lived on screen.
I left the theater, as I always do after seeing a Tarantino movie, thinking doesn’t anyone have the guts to edit this Mo Fo?
Doesn’t anyone read his scripts before they get the green light?
Do they make this s**t up as they go along?
Doesn’t someone with purse strings at the studio have the cojonas to say, “Um, Quentin, about that scene at the dude ranch that drags on for 10 minutes in slow F***ing motion. Why don’t we just save the day rate we paid to Bruce Dern and cut that entire slow moving leviathon of celluloid out of the picture.
Why does Brad Pitt go there? To say hello to some old stinky blind man?
Who cares? It, like so many other scenes in this film that have no real bearing on anything.
A script should be like dominoes. Each scene should push the next scene into action, propelling the story forward.
I’m not sitting on a F***ing dock in the Bahamas staring out to sea. I’ve paid my money and I want something in return. If I want to day dream, I can do that on my own damn time.
Much of this story is like day dreaming. Hey look at those vintage 1969 neon signs.
Hey isn’t that Der Weiner Schnitzel?
This story is a series of scenes, monolithic dominoes, that rarely fall or move the story forward. It’s as if, each scene is created to pay homage to the set decoration. I imagine everyone standing around the dude ranch set drinking the cinematic Kool Aid, thinking: ISN’T THIS F***ING GREAT!
NO. IT IS NOT. IT COULD BE BETTER.
Like Charles Manson’s cult, I think that Tarantino fosters a production cult where his methodology becomes an aphrodisiac that diminishes common sense on the set.
I see scenes that go on for pages, like a wrong way fork in the road. Don’t go there, I think. You’re only going to hit a dead end and then have to turn around and join the main road eventually.
Breviloquence my dear Quentin.
So many words, so many pages, so many wrong turns.
Classic films move forward with intensity and purpose.
This film is a bounce house full of frat boys, full of beer, jumping haphazardly.
I’m not saying don’t go see the film. I’m just saying make sure you clear your calendar for the day. Tell your secretary to hold your calls. Make sure you charge your phone, because it will be thirsty for power once you finally come to your groggy senses.
I recommend going to a matinee to save money and give yourself a chance to recapture the time you lost during the afternoon.
It was day light when I entered the theater. It was Autumn when I left.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is worth seeing for the fun performances by Brad Pitt and Leonardo Decaprio. Pitt is funny throughout the film and for you ladies, he’s still a beautiful man. DiCaprio spits a lot, and makes a lot of congestive sounds while spewing forth ample amounts of dialogue, but he does it with great aplomb.
And then there’s Margot Robbie. My word. She is a silver screen siren. In my estimation, the torch of ethereal beauty has been passed from Gywnth Paltrow as the most beautiful woman on film to Ms. Robbie.
To watch her dance across the pool at the Playboy mansion in yellow hot pants and white go go boots is worth the price of admission.
Talk about ONCE UPON A TIME…..
Robbie plays Sharon Tate, who was infamously killed by Charles Manson in 1969. As much as I enjoy staring at this curvaceous golden angel, this entire story line is egregiously unnecessary.
After leaving the theater, I said to myself. Why? She doesn’t even meet the 2 main characters till the 160th minute of the film.
I could have told the same exact story, with the same exact ending, that is explosive and fun by the way, without ever showing the Sharon Tate time line.
I would have figured out how to shake that Margot Robbie ass in some other capacity. But in the end, I would have easily shaved 45 minutes out of the show.
Didn’t anyone ever think about this? Did anyone ever watch a rough cut and say; “Hey Quentin baby, sweetheart. We gotta talk.
Scenes go on so long, family members called 911 wanting to file a missing person’s report.
When I left the theater, I had moth balls growing in my shirt collar.
This film is littered with forced dialogue by characters who are trying to win an academy award on every page.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a movie where your brain spends half its energy following a meandering plot line while trying to manage your urine production and bladder storage limitations.
“How much longer will this film be?” my bladder asked from deep inside my squirming body.
“It can’t be much longer,” my brain signals back. “Can’t you hold it a little longer?”
“I don’t know,” my bladder replies. “I mean how much longer can this film actually go? I vacated the space prior to the previews. I purposely didn’t get a big gulp because I know this Tarantino character tends to be self indulgent in his story telling. But I’m starting to reach Chernobyl like critical mass over here.”
As the film ends, and the house lights come up, the audience shuffles to the lobby, in search of a restroom. Many people are smiling, but many more look bleary eyed, like a scene from Dawn of the Dead.
“I gotta pee,” I hear a woman say to no one in particular.
Of course you have to pee. It’s the Tarantino way, I laugh to myself.
This is the 9th film from the Self Indulgent Quentin Tarantino.
Perhaps number ten, years from now, will be the charm.