Having grown up in Southern California, I went to an actual theater for the first time in almost ten years to view Once Upon A Time… and see how detailed Tarantino, another So.Cal native, would paint this landscape. I have to say I was impressed, as no one besides me would remember Brew 102, briefly spotted in Brad Pitt’s trailer, the cheapest beer ever made and the brand my old man would down by the case when he had the few shekels to indulge. (Name Drop: Jayne Mansfield actually bought him a case for his birthday while shooting Single Room Furnished. He was shocked she even knew his name, let alone know his birthday. Smart cookie, that one, huh?)
That said, the borderline narcissist, Quentin Tarantino, is not happy about being middle aged. That’s what this movie is about. Having to admit that the perpetual adolescence that has defined your whole life is OVER and it’s too late to make amends. (Now that he’s exhibited some actual insight into the human condition, apparently he’s retiring)
The Manson stuff is just a hook to hang the character study on. However, it does serve its purpose. EVERY review outside of our little enclave of former zombies has repeated the official story ad nauseam. Even as Tarantino rewrites this fake history, the official fake history echoes throughout the media, and the focus is on Sharon Tate, the most brutally murdered in this Grand Guignol nonsense.
Tate is portrayed as this gossamer ideal of femininity, which the audience “knows” was cut to pieces, so this vision of fertile pulchritude is even more bittersweet. She even goes to a theater to watch the real Sharon Tate in a movie*, thus doubling down on the official history- see, she was a real person, brutally murdered, for real!
Oh, and there’s a truism dropped by Susan Atkins near the end that is typical of the Charlie post murder psy-op. She says these creeps like DiCaprio’s action film star character taught kids about violence with their guns blazing TV shows and pro war culture. This is from the mouth of a mad woman so it aligns itself with the crazies who might actually question the effect that this pro war/staged violence has on kids; like the clip of “Manson” where he rails on about Jews keeping World War II alive in the public dialogue because it still generates a whole lot of revenue. Again, something true that comes from the mouth of madness, so don’t believe it.
*The movie she watches is The Wrecking Crew, one of the Matt Helm/Dean Martin abortions that whelped the near identical Austin Powers tripe. I could just see Tarantino rubbing one off in the editing room while playing the footage of Margot Robbie’s dirty bare feet propped up on the seat in front of her, a boyhood fantasy he finally had the clout to make a reality. What a meshuggener!!