Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

1) Tarantino makes Resevoir Dogs and it's good, he makes Pulp Fiction and it's fantastic. He is mistaken for a 90s "punk" filmmaker

2) For the next ~15 years Tarantino makes it increasingly clear that he is actually the complete opposite of a punk filmmaker - he is madly in love with 60s/70s American filmmaking and uses every single movie he makes to try and get the audience to join his love for 60s/70s American filmmaking

3) Marketing movies to be safe for teen audiences, interlinked in safe low-threat "universes" and safe for conservative Chinese audiences becomes the norm. Film (and culture) rapidly changes and little, maybe nothing, of what was good about 60s/70s American filmmaking survives the change

4) Tarantino makes a film set on the cusp of the 60s/70s. It is fondly set in a bygone era of American cinema. It is about men from an era of film having limited time left in a rapidly changing culture. It's also frequently a Western. The male leads are masculine and intensely problematic... but also incredibly charming. All the men are masculine-but-risky, just like 60s/70s American cinema. Kurt Russel is in it. Al Pacino is in it. It is largely unpalatable to conservative Chinese audiences and - hm! - spends a long time dunking on Bruce Lee. There's a lot of threatening teenage hippy girls, led by Lena Dunham. They are presented as the harbingers of doom for the old Hollywood guys; they are also physically hurt (a lot) and, yes, you see their feet. A lot.

This film is long and incredibly indulgent but I firmly believe it is also a thousand times more singular, focused and intentional than a lotta people give it credit for. This is the laser-focused argument of a very timely, very American filmmaker looking back on his past, looking back on the past of all American filmmakers and spitting in the face of the future.

I'm cheering for it. A lot of it IS definitely on "the edge" of what the current climate wants. I'm not necessarily cheering for girls' feet, or the violence against women, but I don't think I'm meant to.

I am - 100% - cheering for films that tapdance over lines and go outside of safe in the search for visceral and, honestly, I think that's all this film wants me to cheer for. Having a Vampire in your movie does not mean you condone blood-drinking; having a wife-killer in your movie does not mean you condone wife-killing. But Vampires and wife-killers are unsafe and interesting.

jamie89 liked these reviews