WEIRDLAND: Tarantino's self-critique in "Once Upon a Time In Hollywood", Kate Bosworth to play Sharon Tate

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Tarantino's self-critique in "Once Upon a Time In Hollywood", Kate Bosworth to play Sharon Tate

Rick Dalton's existential crisis is first set off when the agent Marvin Schwarz (Al Pacino) tells him that his streak of playing villains will only continue to pigeonhole him moving forward. Instead, Schwarz says, he should move to Rome and boost his name with a few Spaghetti Westerns. The plot's organizing principle is four dates—February 8 and 9, 1969, and August 8 and 9, 1969—the latter the dates of the Manson Murders. A standout scene involves Dalton in one of his first Italian film roles. Before shooting a pivotal scene, he runs into a precocious eight-year-old actress (Julia Butters) who takes her duties seriously and challenges him to do the same. Later, as the pair share a scene together, Dalton finally lives up to his latent acting talent, and DiCaprio gives a seething, maniacal monologue made for an Oscar reel.

After the scene, the young actress whispers to him, "That was the best acting I've ever seen in my life," and he tears up. It's far and away DiCaprio's best moment in the film, and it's one of the film's most sincere moments. Deep into “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” as Charles Manson’s followers play an increasing role in the events, an eeriness sets in. Sharon Tate is seen always driving around a Black Porsche, which in real life belonged to her ex-fiancĂ© Jay Sebring. Polanski had bought Tate a red Ferrari, which is never shown in the film. Perhaps an intentional Fuck You to Polanski on Tarantino's part is the fact that he emphasizes the Tate & Sebring relationship so much.

In 1968, the so-called Manson Family moved to Spahn Ranch, convincing the eponymous owner (played by Bruce Dern) to let them reside there rent-free in exchange for labor. The site―fairly dilapidated by the time Manson and his disciples took over―came to represent the counterculture’s evil underbelly. Tarantino said many movie stars aren’t the divos/as we like to think they are, a theory that “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” echoes in its humanizing depiction of Rick’s career dip. It’s definitely easy to read the third act of this movie as, basically, good old fashioned Hollywood heroes snatching back history from the counter culture. Manson was no hippie; in fact, he was quite the opposite. He just took advantage of hippie culture to build a cult of monsters. Also, it almost feels that Tarantino, like a leader of the Gen X, is trying to metaphorically beat the shit out of those damn Millennials. My initial take on the scene where Cliff is seen bickering with his wife Billie (Rebecca Gayheart) was Tarantino playing a trick on us. You don’t see anything actually happening in the flashback and then Cliff shakes his head and continues fixing the antenna.

In a Tarantino movie, there’s no reason to not show violence if it did happen, so I think it didn’t. Others have said this alludes to the mystery around the death of Natalie Wood, since Cliff's wife Billie talks of her sister Natalie in the same scene. Possible spoilers: When a harpoon gun is loaded, you'll see the harpoon sticking out of the end. Cliff's gun had no harpoon, and the end of the barrel was just an empty hole. Cliff's harpoon gun wasn't loaded on the boat scene, so I don't think he caused his wife's death. If we follow Natalie Wood's reference in consonance with Cliff's flashback scene, we can deduce it was intended to show her death was accidental.

The movie is maddening at times because it doesn't create any distinctions between reality and film. Yet that's what the film is getting at. That when working in movies there is no clear divide between reality and fantasy. You're always crossing between two different worlds, between fantasy and nightmare. I don't think I've ever seen a movie that conveys the enticing, surreal, terrifying nature of Hollywood better than this one. Richard Brody protests in the New Yorker Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is too white and takes issue with the line in which Leonard DiCaprio’s character Rick sheds tears, and Brad Pitt’s character Cliff tells him, “Don’t let the Mexicans see you crying.” Brody points out that a movie villain played by DiCaprio’s actor character refers to a Mexican as a “beaner,” but then again, villains do tend to say mean things. Brody asserts that “Tarantino delivers a ridiculously white movie, complete with a nasty dose of white resentment; the only substantial character of color, Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), is played as a haughty parody, and gets dramatically humiliated.” Well, the Bruce Lee character is a massive jerk, though. I’m not sure “white resentment” comes into play here. Source: www.dissentmagazine.org

Together, Rick and Cliff form a dyad of old-school silver-screen masculinity, almost cartoonishly macho. Cliff is so tough that he barely seems like a real human being; he's an allegorical avatar of male movie violence, so his character seems to reflect Tarantino's self-critique in certain scenes. Cliff therefore symbolizes all Tarantino feels most ambivalent about: the film violence he's created but that has tainted his career, the machismo he admires but has none of himself. As the third act of Once Upon a Time In Hollywood begins, the Rolling Stones’s “Out of Time” starts to play. The chorus (“baaaby, baaaby you’re out of time”) is like a mean Ronettes song: “You’re obsolete, my baby, my poor old-fashioned baby.” Once Upon a Time In Hollywood builds toward a “what if” denouement that pits Hollywood’s old time actors against the young nihilists of 1969 in a literal battle for survival. Tarantino has created a movie that dwells longingly on Hollywood’s past, while trying to make the case for its relevance in Hollywood’s future. Source: newrepublic.com

Kate Bosworth will play Sharon Tate for Michael Polish's drama Tate, which Myriad Pictures introduced to Cannes in May. Principal photography is set to commence later this year in Budapest. Tate aims to switch the focus from Sharon Tate’s tragic death 50 years ago to exploring her life’s contributions. The film will chronicle Tate from her early days as a Texas beauty queen, to her work in film and fashion, her status as 1960s ‘It’ girl, and her relationships. “Michael Polish’s script is a compelling portrait of a gifted and talented actress,” said Myriad chief Kirk D’Amico. “This film will celebrate Sharon Tate’s extraordinary life as it intersected with the turbulent sixties, especially in fashion, film and music.” Polish added, “This film will explore the life of Sharon Tate including her complicated but romantic relationship with her husband Roman Polanski. We are very grateful to have the opportunity bringing this script to life in a deeply personal manner including many details that have never been publicly shared until now.” Myriad Pictures’ credits include Margin Call, The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, and The Last Word. Tate is the only project Debra Tate approved of from the beginning, until Tarantino accepted her contributions regarding Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. “At long last I have found filmmakers who are interested in the life story of my sister Sharon. Other projects have been a real source of pain in their insensitivity and gross exploitation of my sister," she said, according to Deadline. Source: www.screendaily.com

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