Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

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Big Ben
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#801 Post by Big Ben » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:32 am

Nasir007 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:08 am
I agree with what someone said above - that for a guy who uses so much violence, Tarantino has no theory behind it. He just thinks it's entertainment. There is no attempt to deal with it or question it or question its impact on the viewer. He is supremely uncurious about it. He just thinks it is cool and fun. Even someone like Noe questions it more and challenges us. Haneke too. These images are not just meant to be consumed in an orgiastic burst of pleasure, there should be engagement with the premise and predication and consequences of violence. Other it is just dumb mutilation of human flesh.
I think you're vastly overthinking this.

While I understand what you're arguing from a philosophical and moral perspective I don't think your concerns necessarily move past that. Not because they're bad questions but that people at large really don't seem to care. I know this because in spite of individuals like Richard Brody admonishing the film American audiences gave Tarantino one of his largest box office openings ever in spite of numerous controversies. They don't seem to mind and at all. And while butts in seats is absolutely not a sign of quality it is a sign that the public at large has no issue supporting it, at least on a topical level. The questions you're asking are very serious and frankly something audiences (Particularly Americans) need to look at more but I don't think people are going to have deep moral epiphanies at something like this. This is all "permissible" because at some basic fundamental level, audiences saw it as entertainment. I will never argue this is a marker for morality as I have my own grievances against say, the Saw franchise but I don't think it's exactly morally reprehensible that audiences consume media that has violence, even tasteless violence in it. I think people simply want to be entertained for a certain amount of time and that's it. To reiterate posts before me. It's a movie and that's it. And no one knows that more than Quentin Tarantino. I realize I may appear to be arguing that your points don't have real world merits but I want to reiterate that they very much do. But I think there are better springboards for discussion for it. Not everything needs to be a deep dive into mankind's dark and unpleasant nature.

It's interesting that you mention Haneke though, another filmmaker I admire. Haneke is also known for graphic violence and particularly unsettling graphic violence at that. How do you feel about films like Funny Games, which Haneke has essentially crafted as a way to admonish the viewer for looking at? Do you consider this more permissible? How about the fact that he remade it FOR American audiences only to have it bomb? Does that say more about him, or Americans?

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#802 Post by tenia » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:48 am

I think it's easy to dispatch such quarries by simplifying "it's just a movie". However, one definitely shouldn't underestimate people's capacities to compartiment things. One can be happy having its lowest instincts flattered by some basic violent justice "bad guys get violently punished by good guys" and just stop there.

But I'd find it hard to expect a Tarantino movie not to be analysed at a deeper level. Especially for a movie which is, otherwise, particularly grounded in the real world and definitely seems willing to reflect about it.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#803 Post by swo17 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:54 am

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I didn't mention that he was high because it excuses anything, just that it might help explain why he took it to such absurd lengths

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#804 Post by tenia » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:03 pm

swo17 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:54 am
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I didn't mention that he was high because it excuses anything, just that it might help explain why he took it to such absurd lengths
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In my case, I never took it as excusing anything, especially because while the movie seem to joke about it at the beginning with the way he comes off and what he answers to the family members, there isn't much within the fight scene itself to show being high made him do that. I mean : extra-diegetically, we're in a Tarantino movie so we except ultra-violence, and diegetically, Booth might have killed his nagging wife and got away with it, plus he's a former Green Beret who kicked Bruce Lee's ass. High doesn't seem to factor much into the end result. It also wouldn't explain why Dalton, of all things, would "torch the bitch" with a flame-thrower working movie-prop.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#805 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:06 pm

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He was about to be shot or stabbed, along with Dalton's wife, and was acting in self defense - that's what "made him do that" - I'd say there's a distinction between that and showing a violent guy being violent solely for our amusement. Another reason why the historical context is so important, because the viewer knows what these intruders are capable of, and it's far more grisly than any winking cartoonish violence that Tarantino comes up with.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#806 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:48 pm

Big Ben wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:32 am
Nasir007 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:08 am
I agree with what someone said above - that for a guy who uses so much violence, Tarantino has no theory behind it. He just thinks it's entertainment. There is no attempt to deal with it or question it or question its impact on the viewer. He is supremely uncurious about it. He just thinks it is cool and fun. Even someone like Noe questions it more and challenges us. Haneke too. These images are not just meant to be consumed in an orgiastic burst of pleasure, there should be engagement with the premise and predication and consequences of violence. Other it is just dumb mutilation of human flesh.
I think you're vastly overthinking this.

While I understand what you're arguing from a philosophical and moral perspective I don't think your concerns necessarily move past that. Not because they're bad questions but that people at large really don't seem to care. I know this because in spite of individuals like Richard Brody admonishing the film American audiences gave Tarantino one of his largest box office openings ever in spite of numerous controversies. They don't seem to mind and at all. And while butts in seats is absolutely not a sign of quality it is a sign that the public at large has no issue supporting it, at least on a topical level. The questions you're asking are very serious and frankly something audiences (Particularly Americans) need to look at more but I don't think people are going to have deep moral epiphanies at something like this. This is all "permissible" because at some basic fundamental level, audiences saw it as entertainment. I will never argue this is a marker for morality as I have my own grievances against say, the Saw franchise but I don't think it's exactly morally reprehensible that audiences consume media that has violence, even tasteless violence in it. I think people simply want to be entertained for a certain amount of time and that's it. To reiterate posts before me. It's a movie and that's it. And no one knows that more than Quentin Tarantino. I realize I may appear to be arguing that your points don't have real world merits but I want to reiterate that they very much do. But I think there are better springboards for discussion for it. Not everything needs to be a deep dive into mankind's dark and unpleasant nature.

It's interesting that you mention Haneke though, another filmmaker I admire. Haneke is also known for graphic violence and particularly unsettling graphic violence at that. How do you feel about films like Funny Games, which Haneke has essentially crafted as a way to admonish the viewer for looking at? Do you consider this more permissible? How about the fact that he remade it FOR American audiences only to have it bomb? Does that say more about him, or Americans?
Haneke is different. Despite its reputation, you know that Funny Games does not really show much of anything at all. It is disturbing because of what is not shown. And what violence is shown is essentially to slap the audience across the face. Tarantino by contrasts wants to tickle you or jack you off. Funny Games is a purely cerebral construct, it kind of does not even really have a story or even characters. It is an intellectual exercise, essentially a thesis or thought experiment. The entire premise is literally questioning and discussing violence, its predication, its consequences, its representation etc. None of that in Tarantino.

I think it hamstrings what Tarantino was trying to do the entire film and undercuts the point of his movie. Its like he gives in to his most childish instincts for no good reason.
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I still don't see just having Cliff shoot them dead wouldn't have made the same point he was trying to make. The climax is a fantasy. Just put a gun in Cliff's belt and have him pull it out and shoot the 3 kids dead.
Not even Hitler suffered the fate that these kids suffered in Tarantino's Imaginarium where he sits as judge jury and executioner over historical events and corrects the ills of history. Hitler was also only shot in the punishment he doled out, but these hippie girls, no - we had to see their brains oozing out and their flesh cooked to a crisp. It just all seems ridiculous and all out of proportion and as a result extremely offputting and alienating. I am not at all squeamish about violence but seeing something so crass and ridiculous in an otherwise proper film makes threw me off. It's like somebody tacked on a thrid rate snuff film at the end for no reason whatsoever.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#807 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:55 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:48 pm
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Hitler was also only shot in the punishment he doled out
"Only shot"
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Image

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#808 Post by Big Ben » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:47 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:48 pm

Haneke is different. Despite its reputation, you know that Funny Games does not really show much of anything at all. It is disturbing because of what is not shown. And what violence is shown is essentially to slap the audience across the face. Tarantino by contrasts wants to tickle you or jack you off. Funny Games is a purely cerebral construct, it kind of does not even really have a story or even characters. It is an intellectual exercise, essentially a thesis or thought experiment. The entire premise is literally questioning and discussing violence, its predication, its consequences, its representation etc. None of that in Tarantino.

I think it hamstrings what Tarantino was trying to do the entire film and undercuts the point of his movie. Its like he gives in to his most childish instincts for no good reason.
Perhaps on a broader thematic level he is but he's not innocent of excess either. I say that because Haneke has actually killed animals through violence on camera. Those dead pigs (The scene was shot multiple times) in Benny's Video, the horse in Time of the Wolf and chickens in Cache were real animals I find that to be in poor taste and I say that as someone who has worked and lived around animals my entire life AND who still eats meat. I'm a disgusting hypocrite but I think this warrents pointing out that Haneke gives in exploitation at some level too. How do you feel about this type of violence compared to Tarantino's squibs? No doubt the Candyland shootout and the House of Blue Leaves sequence are some of his most violent but does that compare to killing animals with the sole intention to provoke? I'm treading into false equivalence here but I think it's a point that should be raised when speaking on what is and isn't acceptable to film.

As to the latter part that's bolded I think you make a very good point. Tarantino absolutely knows the difference between excessive and non excessive violence. Kill Bill Volume 2 and Jackie Brown are evidence of that. But that criticism serves as a double edged sword. It dispels the notion that all of his violence is excessive and without meaning but it also serves as proof that he doesn't have to be excessive if he doesn't want too.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#809 Post by tenia » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:13 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:06 pm
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He was about to be shot or stabbed, along with Dalton's wife, and was acting in self defense - that's what "made him do that" - I'd say there's a distinction between that and showing a violent guy being violent solely for our amusement.
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Tarantino chose, between all the ways to incapacitate or even kill these people, this doubly over-the-top way. It's thus not just acting in self defense, but beating them to a pulp, including "torching a bitch" (played quite as a light-hearted fatality, BTW). While there is some context for justice being served, the graphic way it's done is absolutely and completely for the viewers' sole entertainment. This is pure cinematic hyperbole : the bad guys don't just get dispatched in self defense, they get gorily, brutally and graphically killed.

It seems that's where lies our slight gap in interpretation of this particular element.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#810 Post by waitingforgodard » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:43 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:08 am
Too many replies since my post so I will just respond here. My friends are perfectly nice people. They are not Americans though and are immigrants and young. So you can't expect them to necessarily have heard of the Sharon Tate murder.

They hated the first 2 hr 30 mins because "nothing happened" and "there was no plot". They said they liked the last 10 minutes also because
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Finally something happened on screen.

It's disingenuous to claim that the violence at the end isn't meant for the entertainment and enjoyment of the Audience. We all saw it in the cinema and saw the Audience cheering and hollering. It was meant as violence as crowd service. Red meat or whatever you wanna call it flung at the hungry and appreciating masses.

My friends aren't bad people for enjoying it. Tarantino meant for them to enjoy it.
I agree with what someone said above - that for a guy who uses so much violence, Tarantino has no theory behind it. He just thinks it's entertainment. There is no attempt to deal with it or question it or question its impact on the viewer. He is supremely uncurious about it. He just thinks it is cool and fun. Even someone like Noe questions it more and challenges us. Haneke too. These images are not just meant to be consumed in an orgiastic burst of pleasure, there should be engagement with the premise and predication and consequences of violence. Other it is just dumb mutilation of human flesh.
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I don't think that is true at all and unfair to Taranino and the movie. The movie said plenty, you just weren't listening. It states its main idea right up front, New Hollywood is replacing the classical system. Marvin Schwarz lays it all out for you in the beginning and is what sets the entire movie in motion, Dalton's career is in decline (because Hollywood and the film going public are changing) and to rejuvinate his career, he needs to go to Italy to make movies, instead of sticking around Hollywood to essentially play the same character he's been playing (Tanner) but getting his butt kicked by the new talent). The scene between Rick Dalton and Sam Wanamaker dramatized this point. Wanamaker wants Dalton to become a character, wearing a dark brown jacket and sporting a big, zapata like mustache, Dalton responds by asking, "how the audience will recognize [him] with all that shit on." Dalton is still thinking about acting in the classical hollywood manner. The movie ends with Rick ascending to the heavenly heights of New Hollywood (the Polanski's home, with Jay Sebring playing the role of St. Peter), but, because this is Tarantino’s fairy tale, New Hollywood doesn’t replace Old Hollywood, but they synthesize, forming a, presumably better, Hollywood.

As to the violence in While Violence in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, I have a hard time how you can seeing how you can claim it's just for entertainment and enjoyment. To your point, violence would start off as pleasurable, but it quite quickly became horrific. I'm thinking primarily of the final set piece where Cliff Booth kills the members of the Manson Family. When Cliff first attacks them, you're rooting for him because he is defending the Daltons and himself from invaders who seek to kill them, however, he went far beyond self defense when he killed Tex (if my memory serves me correctly, he stomped on his face when he was lying on the ground incapacitated) and Patricia Krenwinkel (he repeatedly smashed he face into a phone, incapacitating her, and then again on the coffee table, killing her). I found the murder of those two characters painful to watch and can't plausibly described the experience as pleasurable.* Now, compare how horrific those killings to how violence was portrayed in the beginning where Marvin Schwarz is recounting the movie Rick Dalton started in where he blowtorched the Nazis (4/5s of the Last Shakusky?). And said how entertaining and fun it is. The violence portrayed in that movie, and in classical Hollywood more generally, was always safe, entertaining, and pleasurable. You knew the character Rick Dalton played was morally just and the people he killed were just Nazis, not humanized characters.

* The other scene I think illustrates my point is when Cliff beats the shit out of Clem Grogan for slashing the tire of Rick Dalton's car. Again, it starts off as pleasurable, the audience likes to see a character get his comeuppance. Cliff throws one punch, knocking Clem to the ground. This sufficiently makes Cliff's point and establishes his position over Clem, however the second and third punch turn the scene into a horrific one because Cliff is attacking a person who is vulnerable and, presumably, submissive (one punch was enough to convince him to change the tire).

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#811 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:43 pm

How much longer do we have to theoretically discuss the perspective of people who aren't aware of the most notorious American crime of the last 50 years?

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#812 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:49 pm

Big Ben wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:47 pm
Nasir007 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:48 pm

Haneke is different. Despite its reputation, you know that Funny Games does not really show much of anything at all. It is disturbing because of what is not shown. And what violence is shown is essentially to slap the audience across the face. Tarantino by contrasts wants to tickle you or jack you off. Funny Games is a purely cerebral construct, it kind of does not even really have a story or even characters. It is an intellectual exercise, essentially a thesis or thought experiment. The entire premise is literally questioning and discussing violence, its predication, its consequences, its representation etc. None of that in Tarantino.

I think it hamstrings what Tarantino was trying to do the entire film and undercuts the point of his movie. Its like he gives in to his most childish instincts for no good reason.
Perhaps on a broader thematic level he is but he's not innocent of excess either. I say that because Haneke has actually killed animals through violence on camera. Those dead pigs (The scene was shot multiple times) in Benny's Video, the horse in Time of the Wolf and chickens in Cache were real animals I find that to be in poor taste and I say that as someone who has worked and lived around animals my entire life AND who still eats meat. I'm a disgusting hypocrite but I think this warrents pointing out that Haneke gives in exploitation at some level too. How do you feel about this type of violence compared to Tarantino's squibs? No doubt the Candyland shootout and the House of Blue Leaves sequence are some of his most violent but does that compare to killing animals with the sole intention to provoke? I'm treading into false equivalence here but I think it's a point that should be raised when speaking on what is and isn't acceptable to film.

As to the latter part that's bolded I think you make a very good point. Tarantino absolutely knows the difference between excessive and non excessive violence. Kill Bill Volume 2 and Jackie Brown are evidence of that. But that criticism serves as a double edged sword. It dispels the notion that all of his violence is excessive and without meaning but it also serves as proof that he doesn't have to be excessive if he doesn't want too.
I think you are answering your own question regarding Haneke. Violence is meant to be disturbing. It is quick and brutal but haunting. Haneke ALSO thinks violence is disturbing. And he shows it to us that way. He's judicious in its usage. His intention is to provoke a reaction, but it is always to make a point. That point is not at all entertainment. Entertainment is not even really what you expect out of a Haneke film.

With Tarantino his violence is gleeful. Taratino thinks it is cool and badass. And he shows it to us that way. His point IS entertainment. Therein lies the difference. The audience does not burst into cheers and whoops in Cache when the kid beheads the chicken. In this film they do. There should be atleast some, the barest responsibility when showing violence. Especially from a respected film-maker. Tarantino wants none of that. He wants to show us what he enjoys. And what he enjoys on the evidence of this film is ugly and revolting.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#813 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:08 pm

You're using a whole hell of a lot of words to say "I don't like it when there is violence in films that people enjoy seeing." You are in the minority, but it does not make you more correct than what you perceive as the hooting, ignorant masses, unfortunately. It also doesn't make those people childish, nor does it make you more adult.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#814 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:24 pm

This is a silly discussion. The violence at the end of the movie is pitched at a comedic level; it’s not to be taken seriously. It’s even built on a comedic principle: bathos. It builds up the expectation of dark, gruesome, realistic violence, then discharges that anticipation into violence so goofy and cartoonish that you have to laugh. It’s a relief to see the horrors of history undercut with something ridiculous. The whole thing is built on gags and comedic timing. Who gets worked up over something so fantastical and outrageous? What’s next, spamming the Robocop thread?

If you’re too sensitive to extreme violence to properly appreciate what a movie’s doing with it, that’s fine. But no one needs you to hang around making endless sophistical arguments about how this is the film’s fault and a grave ethical misstep. Not everything you find upsetting is some bad part of the world.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#815 Post by Drucker » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:01 pm

Saw this movie last weekend for the first time and mostly agree with the sentiment here: the film was absolutely beautiful and while not as shockingly violent as so many of his other films, I found it to be powerfully dark.

I don't have too much to add to the discussion, but I'm sort of surprised that some (including one in this thread?) indicated the film appeared to have a conservative bent. I wasWhile there is certainly enough literal 'hippie-punching' to make that point, I really felt the scene where Cliff is leaving Spahn Ranch to be an allusion to a Trump rally. Everything from Cliff downplaying the threat to the absolutely ugly and gruesome nature of the women seemingly telling him to "get out" just screamed Trump rally to me. Doing so while standing over a decrepit movie set was all the better. That generation did grow up to to be the one that predominantly voted for Trump, as well.

Of course, one of the center points of Corey Robin's book The Reactionary Mind is that one essential point of conservatism is longing for mis-remembered histories, so maybe it really is a conservative movie.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#816 Post by Brian C » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:39 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:24 pm
This is a silly discussion. The violence at the end of the movie is pitched at a comedic level; it’s not to be taken seriously. It’s even built on a comedic principle: bathos. It builds up the expectation of dark, gruesome, realistic violence, then discharges that anticipation into violence so goofy and cartoonish that you have to laugh. It’s a relief to see the horrors of history undercut with something ridiculous. The whole thing is built on gags and comedic timing. Who gets worked up over something so fantastical and outrageous? What’s next, spamming the Robocop thread?
I don't think I quite agree with this. When I read your description of how this scene works, a perfect example that comes to mind is the woodchipper scene in Fargo. Or for a Tarantino-specific example, the back-seat shooting in Pulp Fiction. But neither of those scenes are built on the idea that their victims deserve it, even though the victim in the Coens' scene is a murderous criminal himself.

I don't think anyone here is objecting to the lurid violence as such, but rather how it's hard to escape that Tarantino is trafficking very heavily in a sentiment of righteous vengeance here. It's plainly not just gags and comedic timing that he's building on. We're conditioned to hate the victims of the violence here, from their portrayal in this film and especially their real-life histories. And I think objections to this sort of real-life/fantasy blurring of the lines when it comes to over-the-top violence are reasonable, especially when there's a lot of effort being put forth in this thread into denying that the violence is really unwarranted at all, even in a real-world sense; after all, the Tate crime scene photos were revoltingly gruesome and anyway, we all have the right to defend ourselves from intruders in our homes.

It reminds me of Rosenbaum's objection to Inglourious Basterds that it turned the Jews into Nazis. Obviously that's an incredibly loaded and hyperbolic critique, but it's hard for me to dismiss it out of hand, because all the scene in question really did was trade places of who the perpetrators of the brutalities were from the bad guys to the good guys. And Tarantino's done this enough now that there's a clear philosophical underpinning to what he's doing besides just staging gags with good comedic timing - he's putting forth a worldview in which it's desirable to inflict as much brutality on the bad guys as possible.

Which, okay, fine, to some extent ... at least to this point he's picking actual, genuine bad guys as his targets: Nazis, slavers, brainwashed cultists who murder an angelic pregnant woman late in her third term of pregnancy (along with some other people too, I guess). Certainly I'm not trying to put forward any moral defense of the Nazis or slavers or homicidal maniacs. But nevertheless, this is a pretty nasty and destructive worldview, and it doesn't seem out of bounds to point as much out.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#817 Post by waitingforgodard » Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:12 pm

Brian C wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:39 pm
It reminds me of Rosenbaum's objection to Inglourious Basterds that it turned the Jews into Nazis. Obviously that's an incredibly loaded and hyperbolic critique, but it's hard for me to dismiss it out of hand, because all the scene in question really did was trade places of who the perpetrators of the brutalities were from the bad guys to the good guys. And Tarantino's done this enough now that there's a clear philosophical underpinning to what he's doing besides just staging gags with good comedic timing - he's putting forth a worldview in which it's desirable to inflict as much brutality on the bad guys as possible.

Which, okay, fine, to some extent ... at least to this point he's picking actual, genuine bad guys as his targets: Nazis, slavers, brainwashed cultists who murder an angelic pregnant woman late in her third term of pregnancy (along with some other people too, I guess). Certainly I'm not trying to put forward any moral defense of the Nazis or slavers or homicidal maniacs. But nevertheless, this is a pretty nasty and destructive worldview, and it doesn't seem out of bounds to point as much out.
Basterds interrogated your enjoyment of violence in movies. You saw the Nazis watching a movie and enjoying the violence that showed them as the good guys, but then the movie turns the tables when Marcel burns the Nazis alive in the theater and Ulmer and Donowitz shoot them with a machine gun. Tarantino's problem seems two fold, he won't tell the audience exactly how to feel and he wants to profit from making entertaining movies. Neither of those are really his problem: he doesn't have to tell us how to feel and he can make entertaining movies and still accomplish his aims. The question then becomes whether or not he was successful or not.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#818 Post by whaleallright » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:13 pm

Basterds interrogated your enjoyment of violence in movies.
I've been reading this sort of assertion, initially from academics and now from folks on the internet, as a defense of violence in films for decades, and I almost never buy it. I've yet to hear any convincing argument for how this works. At what point has our "enjoyment of violence" been sufficiently "interrogated" and to what end?

Both sadism and a desire for revenge are deep-rooted in human beings. I don't think you need much more explanation than that, unless you feel that you can't embrace a work unless it's been sanitized into something edifying.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#819 Post by Brian C » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:50 pm

waitingforgodard wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:12 pm
Basterds interrogated your enjoyment of violence in movies. You saw the Nazis watching a movie and enjoying the violence that showed them as the good guys, but then the movie turns the tables when Marcel burns the Nazis alive in the theater and Ulmer and Donowitz shoot them with a machine gun.
Well ... no. This does not constitute "interrogating our enjoyment of violence in movies," for the very simple reason that the audience does not see the Nazis as good guys. That the Nazis see themselves as the good guys just makes us want to see them get theirs even more.
whaleallright wrote:I've been reading this sort of assertion, initially from academics and now from folks on the internet, as a defense of violence in films for decades, and I almost never buy it. I've yet to hear any convincing argument for how this works. At what point has our "enjoyment of violence" been sufficiently "interrogated" and to what end?
I wouldn't go this far. It's pretty common for a movie to make us feel ambivalent about violence, even heroic violence, for lack of a better term. I'd even argue that Tarantino understands how this works perfectly well. We spend about 1 2/3 movies rooting for The Bride to get her glorious vengeance on Bill, but
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when she finally gets to him, he's charming, he explains himself in a way that is understandable in lizard-brain terms at least, he gives ruminations on the duality of Superman, and generally behaves like a more or less cool guy when he's not killing people.

I would say that Tarantino understood that the audience would probably balk at him being cruelly made to suffer, even though we had just spent all that time rooting for exactly that in a movie that was fueled narratively and thematically exclusively by her righteous quest for vengeance. And so he gives Bill a dignified death, befitting not a cruel, sadistic monster that ruined The Bride's life, but a worthy opponent, fairly challenged and nobly vanquished.

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Mr Sausage
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Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#820 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:35 pm

Brian C wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:24 pm
This is a silly discussion. The violence at the end of the movie is pitched at a comedic level; it’s not to be taken seriously. It’s even built on a comedic principle: bathos. It builds up the expectation of dark, gruesome, realistic violence, then discharges that anticipation into violence so goofy and cartoonish that you have to laugh. It’s a relief to see the horrors of history undercut with something ridiculous. The whole thing is built on gags and comedic timing. Who gets worked up over something so fantastical and outrageous? What’s next, spamming the Robocop thread?
I don't think I quite agree with this. When I read your description of how this scene works, a perfect example that comes to mind is the woodchipper scene in Fargo. Or for a Tarantino-specific example, the back-seat shooting in Pulp Fiction. But neither of those scenes are built on the idea that their victims deserve it, even though the victim in the Coens' scene is a murderous criminal himself.

I don't think anyone here is objecting to the lurid violence as such, but rather how it's hard to escape that Tarantino is trafficking very heavily in a sentiment of righteous vengeance here. It's plainly not just gags and comedic timing that he's building on. We're conditioned to hate the victims of the violence here, from their portrayal in this film and especially their real-life histories. And I think objections to this sort of real-life/fantasy blurring of the lines when it comes to over-the-top violence are reasonable, especially when there's a lot of effort being put forth in this thread into denying that the violence is really unwarranted at all, even in a real-world sense; after all, the Tate crime scene photos were revoltingly gruesome and anyway, we all have the right to defend ourselves from intruders in our homes.

It reminds me of Rosenbaum's objection to Inglourious Basterds that it turned the Jews into Nazis. Obviously that's an incredibly loaded and hyperbolic critique, but it's hard for me to dismiss it out of hand, because all the scene in question really did was trade places of who the perpetrators of the brutalities were from the bad guys to the good guys. And Tarantino's done this enough now that there's a clear philosophical underpinning to what he's doing besides just staging gags with good comedic timing - he's putting forth a worldview in which it's desirable to inflict as much brutality on the bad guys as possible.

Which, okay, fine, to some extent ... at least to this point he's picking actual, genuine bad guys as his targets: Nazis, slavers, brainwashed cultists who murder an angelic pregnant woman late in her third term of pregnancy (along with some other people too, I guess). Certainly I'm not trying to put forward any moral defense of the Nazis or slavers or homicidal maniacs. But nevertheless, this is a pretty nasty and destructive worldview, and it doesn't seem out of bounds to point as much out.
No, I think there is one person here who is objecting primarily to the extremity of the violence, however much they’ve tried to disguise it with strange, beside-the-point arguments.

I’m not sure what the rest of your post has to do with mine. The extremity of the violence is working here just as it worked in Robocop: to help push the scene into the absurd and comedic. The extremity of the violence serves a tonal point, among other things.

As for cheering on righteous vengeance as good defeats evil...well, yeah. Look again at the title. It is on the same level of cheerful violent fantasy as The 49 Fists of Mcklusky. It’s important that the ending is cartoonish and excessive (unlike the real crimes, which were sobering and excessive). The movie trading up for the better. However problematic fantasy Hollywood violence is, it’s preferable to the inconceivable brutality of the Manson killings, not least because it’s palpably unreal.

Whatever you want to claim about other Tarantino films, the way the violence is potrayed in this film plays a fundamental role in revealing the film’s animating idea.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#821 Post by waitingforgodard » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:02 pm

Brian C wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:50 pm
waitingforgodard wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:12 pm
Basterds interrogated your enjoyment of violence in movies. You saw the Nazis watching a movie and enjoying the violence that showed them as the good guys, but then the movie turns the tables when Marcel burns the Nazis alive in the theater and Ulmer and Donowitz shoot them with a machine gun.
Well ... no. This does not constitute "interrogating our enjoyment of violence in movies," for the very simple reason that the audience does not see the Nazis as good guys. That the Nazis see themselves as the good guys just makes us want to see them get theirs even more.
Yes, but that's not what the movie thinks about it, which is ultimately what matters.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#822 Post by Black Hat » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:06 pm

This thread has taken a less than interesting turn.

I'm not sure why some people are going out of their way to drag this movie, I mean there are legitimate ways to criticize, even attack the film. It lacks a plot, it lacks focus, it meanders even bores at times and I think you can even make a case that it's manipulative in a pretty fucked up way, but to beat it up with the violence angle is silliness and Mr. S is absolutely right in his assessment.

MF - You'd be surprised how many people don't know anything or much at all about the Manson murders.

I did meet my first person who didn't care for the film, he thought there was no story, didn't go anywhere and was way too long. If you're a person that plot's important to I can see why you're not that enamored with this picture.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#823 Post by cdnchris » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:08 pm

Just to share in the lack of knowledge on Sharon Tate and that my wife texted me from a conference to inform me she overheard a few people talking about the film and a couple of people were shocked Sharon Tate was a real person. She followed that with an eyeroll emoji.

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Brian C
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#824 Post by Brian C » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:15 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:35 pm
As for cheering on righteous vengeance as good defeats evil...well, yeah. Look again at the title. It is on the same level of cheerful violent fantasy as The 49 Fists of Mcklusky. It’s important that the ending is cartoonish and excessive (unlike the real crimes, which were sobering and excessive). The movie trading up for the better. However problematic fantasy Hollywood violence is, it’s preferable to the inconceivable brutality of the Manson killings, not least because it’s palpably unreal.
Umm ... sure, I'll grant that point. "Not the crime against humanity that the Manson family murders were" is an awfully low bar to clear, though, no?

Otherwise, we're obviously talking past each other and this thread is frustrating to me in multiple and wide-ranging ways. So I'll yield to more legitimate and interesting arguments, like whether or not the movie has a plot.

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soundchaser
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#825 Post by soundchaser » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:18 pm

Putting my mom on blast: she was born a few months before Tate was murdered and had never heard of her as of a phone conversation last week. Not sure how old your friends are, Nasir007, or your wife’s coworkers cdnhris, but apparently the knowledge isn’t ubiquitous in any age group.

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