The Movie Everyone Is Talking About!

Hi there-

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!!


19 thoughts on “The Movie Everyone Is Talking About!

  1. I saw the damned thing and hated every minute of it. The little girl that played in the movie that DiCaprio was staring in was the only saving grace IMO.. I also thought they did a nice job in the casting of the Steve McQueen character…the ending really pissed me off.


  2. Tarantino’s movies keep getting more bloated and self-indulgent, but at least they have a distinctive personality and point of view. I wanted to throw things at the screen while watching Hateful Eight and Once Upon a Time…, but I didn’t want to annihilate the screen like I do when I watch most of the toxic dehumanizing stuff that Spielberg, Inc ejaculates all over the globe every week of every month of every year. It’s also interesting to me that, from Inglorious Bastards on, Tarantino almost seems to be playing a coy little game with our little “enclave of former zombies.” Even in that hateful Hateful Eight movie, the stuff about the Abraham Lincoln letter could almost be interpreted as a wink to those of us who see the sham behind the historical legend.


    1. Wouldn’t it more likely be a wink at Intel than a wink at us?
      I agree with most of that though, he’s irritating but seems like a real human, whereas Spielberg et al almost seem like androids serving their borg masters.


      1. TIMR, assuming we at least have some kind of a clue what Intel is up to, is there a difference?

        By the way, rereading this post, I’m not sure I follow Tyrone’s point about Susan Atkins’ speech decrying the violence in Hollywood films. It actually seemed obvious to me that Tarantino was mocking people who criticize HIS films for their excessive violence, worrying that HIS movies might lead to real-life violence. The orgy of cinematic violence that follows the Atkins monologue is outrageously graphic and over-the-top even by the standards of Tarantino’s previous films, and the Atkins character–who has been set up as a stand-in for Tarantino’s critics–gets pummeled and bloodied and brutalized more horrifically than any of the other characters. She is the last one to die, and she finally meets her end by being torched to a crisp with a flamethrower while she’s trapped in a pool. We previously saw DiCaprio’s character use that flame thrower while filming a movie where he played a World War II hero torching Nazis to a crisp. And THAT takes us down an even deeper rabbit hole of self-reference, since in the revised history of Tarantino’s previous film, Inglourious Bastards, Hitler and his henchmen are torched to a crisp by flamethrower-wielding Jews while trapped in a movie theatre. It’s fascinating to me that Tarantino’s most recent movies take what our little club understands to be the contrivances and fictions of American history and lumps them together with the contrivances and fictions of Hollywood films. Obviously, he’s not putting one over on Intel, but maybe he’s being allowed to express a similar point of view to the people on this and the MM website because Intel understands there is no threat of a mass awakening, so the few of us who are awake and powerless can go ahead and have our little fun. I don’t know…am I giving Tarantino too much credit?


        1. My general impression has been that his “historical” films just give booster shots to the familiar official narratives. Often with absurdly cartoonish, two dimensional characters. Germans/Nazis, Southern white males, now the 60s hippie counterculture (with shades of classism as well?)… All are vilified in the crudest terms, not very subtle propaganda at all. The audience is confirmed in its emotional prejudices towards these groups (assuming it holds conventional views) rather than challenged to see the complexity of life. Often it is encouraged to indulge its sadistic impulses as well, only possible by dehumanizing the enemy other, and projecting absolute evil onto them so that all is permissible. As in the crudest, most transparent of propaganda.

          But that’s just based on casual viewing. I’ve only seen them once each, very spaced out, so I don’t feel very expert in saying that. You may be right. There certainly is something very glib and irreverent about his treatment of the official narratives, whether he’s sincerely trying to resell them or not.


        2. On the violence- Not sure how political Tarantino has been in interviews etc. But it does seem hypocritical of his audience, many of whom are Good Liberals supporting gun control and bemoaning the violence of American culture… And then give glowing reviews of his “graphic and over the top” movies. Seems like bit of a disconnect.


          1. Can’t really argue with any of the points you’ve made, I think we just look at it a little differently. I will say I was surprised that throughout most of Inglourious Bastards, the Nazi soldier who fell in love with the Jewish movie theatre owner was portrayed more sympathetically, and made more likable, than any Nazi character I have ever seen in any movie. Only at the very end, right before the big Nazi-immolating climax, does he suddenly turn violent and attack the woman he’s been wooing. Yes, he gives in to the cartoonish stereotype in the end, but the fact that he held off on it for so long actually seemed bold to me, considering how deeply ingrained our two-dimensional view of Nazis is.

            I saw him in an interview literally tell an interviewer “I’m shutting you down” when the guy tried to talk about the cultural and societal impact of violence in movies. He rejects out of hand the notion that movie violence can be harmful. For myself, I find it impossible to take either side of the debate seriously when both points of view have been so thoroughly shaped and controlled by the same media that gives us fake serial killers, mass shooters and airplane-hijacking terrorists.


          2. Thinking again about that Nazi soldier in Inglourious Bastards (which I only saw once, a long time ago), the fact that the character’s abrupt and jarring transformation into Evil Nazi Stereotype takes place inside a movie theatre projection booth felt intentionally significant to me. For that matter, so did the conceit of a movie theatre owned by a Jew that ultimately determines the fate of the Nazi party. I would have to study Tarantino’s films a lot more closely than I have any intention of doing to determine if there really is an artful pattern of dismantling and putting the lie to our official historical narrative, but the fact that there’s even a chance in hell he might be up to something like that makes him much more interesting to me than most mainstream filmmakers, his increasingly tedious self-indulgence notwithstanding.


          3. Likewise, I’d need to rewatch some of those. I was so put off by the early scene of the “good guys” torturing captured Nazis– and getting audience applause– that it probably clouded my objectivity about the rest of it.

            I actually didn’t find the new one as self-indulgent as earlier ones in some respects. Only in terms of, not really having a compelling Macguffin or driving narrative, so it was kind of languid and laconic (if I’m using that correctly.. Mark, sometimes I’m not even sure! Before you rush to the dictionary.. Lol)

            But he seemed more invisible as a director, like a regular director, few if any intrusive flourishes (something I actually enjoy, when he pulls them off.)

            In the Kill Bill dvd extras, they interviewed his long time producing partner. I speculated that maybe that guy was a kind of advisor/ handler of sorts with regard to “things we’d like you to include” or “spin you should put on things” while Tarantino provided the quirky fun and entertainment that actually puts butts in theater seats. All the nonsense and randomness of his pop culture addled brain. Just pure speculation though.


          4. Glad you said that about Once Upon a Time…. I think I was prejudiced against it from the beginning because I knew it would be steeped in movie references that would fly right over my head, which it certainly was. I should give it another chance, because even this blog post and discussion has made me think I jumped to negative conclusions too soon. I suspect even that overly-long shot of “Sharon Tate” with her feet up on the seat had an artistic intention that went beyond self-indulgence. He may have been (in fact I now think he almost certainly was) playing on his awareness of the audience’s awareness of his foot fetish. He tends to weave that kink into his movies with a lot more finesse, so the blunt obviousness and long duration of that shot almost certainly had an intention beyond clueless self-indulgence

            The Nazi-scalping scene at the beginning of Inglourious Bastards made me think of the propaganda against Native Americans that we used (and still use) to justify committing genocide against them. Brad Pitt’s Southern white male is comical, but the joke seems to be that he’s batshit insane. My impression was that Tarantino certainly knew some segments of his audience would applaud the Nazi torture but that he himself wasn’t doing so. The movie ends with Pitt carving a swastika into Christopher Waltz’s forehead before he can be transferred to the U.S. under an Operation Paperclip-like agreement. To me it felt like an acknowledgment of how impossible it is to tell who the so-called “bad guys” are. The last line of that movie, “I think this may just be my masterpiece,” struck me as Tarantino speaking through Brad Pitt’s character to comment on his own movie.

            Geez, maybe you and I should rewatch his whole oeuvre and collaborate on a blog post. lol.


          5. You make me think maybe I’ve been taking him too much at face value, like he’s got one movie for the drooling masses and a more subtle one playing under the surface, that represents his more ironic/ nuanced views. It definitely makes me want to rewatch that one in particular, with a little more detachment.

            I didn’t mean to imply that Once was so great.. I might have been misconstruing what you meant by self indulgent. Just in my usage of the term I found it less so.

            That sounds fun to dig deeper into his work, but I can’t commit to an essay on it. I would comment on any you wrote though. This has been enjoyable to find someone in this space also interested in his work. My friends who like him of course take news/ history at face value.


          6. TimR, inspired by our back and forth here, I started rewatching Inglourious Basterds today and am astonished that I didn’t remember–neither of us remembered–how explicit QT is from the very first scene about the moral position he is staking out. I’d forgotten that Pitt’s character’s first name is Aldo–sounds a lot like Adolf. I’d also forgotten how, in that Nazi torture scene at the beginning of the movie, QT couldn’t have made it more obvious that Aldo and his Jewish squadron of Nazi killers are monstrous barbarians, and the only heroic character in the scene–the only character who deserves sympathy–is the Nazi officer who refuses to give up the location of other German soldiers even though he knows full well his psychopath American captors are going to kill him. How could we have forgotten that? I think it’s because our own propaganda has conditioned us to root for the Americans as “good guys” and the Nazis as “bad guys” no matter how drastically the filmmaker flips the script on their stereotypes. I will have to watch the rest of the movie again when I get home from work, but holy crap, how hilarious that I thought I was reading stuff into the movie that QT actually just puts right out there in plain sight.


        3. QT, MM,AJ,ect are Intel. Same goes the WHore-wood scene. QT is bloodlust-gore fest, right up the elites alley. That TV & it’s total content is merely a distraction tool. The disinformation & outright lying for what 60+ years has worked its black magic like a charm. Watch the people while they watch their programing. Why? Because they are addicted to it. & speaking of Germany, you do know the desired results were to portray one folk as the evil aggressor & the other the victim. Still hold’s true to this day. Another project worked to perfection.


  3. An interesting portrayal of Bruce Lee in the movie as well.
    Basically as an arrogant, fake tough guy.
    And now I’m reading stories that Polanski once suspected Lee as being involved in the murder of Tate.
    In all the Tate/Manson lore I’d consumed, this was a new one to me.
    Does anyone remember that part of this whole act? Or is this a recent creation/addition to an already too elaborate mythos?


    1. Polanski suspecting Lee reads like misdirection. Lee was a player, turned up later, as we read it here anyway, as “Judge Lance Ito.” That one blew me away, one of Straight’s gleanings, facial comparisons dead on. He was fictional character with a fictional office after the OJ trial, had a secret private entrance, was used for highly technical cases like rapes, which are not highly technical at all, and his office sign was continually stolen, so we could not know which office was his … in other words, he was a ghost.


  4. Tyrone esoterically insightful piece up seemingly until the asterisk. Could you really see Tarantino rubbing one off to Margot Robbie’s dirty feet while prefacing it would fulfill boyhood fantasy he had. You kind of lost me there. Theoretically Tarantino could probably entice Roman and Debbie over to his house for an adult game of Twister if he hasn’t already. I don’t think Quentin would need to sneak off to his editing room for a hands on meating in private dreaming of Robbie’s mansfield I mean dirty feet. I’m guessing you mean Quentin Stone oops Tarantino’s narcissism extends outward so perversely you come away feeling nothing is real or even fake sacred to this guy. But reeling off an epic Brew 102 which closest thing I can recall to that is beer can that just said Beer on the side. That was first beer I legally bought day turned 21. I too am pissed being middle aged 53. No matter few years ago my girlfriend was 26. As you say there are no do overs. One’s past is set in stone. The getting older part I just think of who I know of that’s older than me and for split second it instantly picks up my day. Enter nostalgia’s editing room. Great piece Tyrone.


    1. It is well documented, and clearly evident in QT’s movies, that he has a serious foot fetish. Of course I have no clue what he does in an editing room but IMO he has a nine year old’s eye view of women. But then if I had tequila poured down my gullet via peak value Salma Hayek’s foot, maybe I’d be a tad off mentally as well.

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  5. In addition to the madness as blackwashing, there also seemed to be a class lens in play… The “good guys” were Beautiful People, or on that team anyway, of wealth and glamour and cool… Many of the hippies had bad teeth or other signs of lower class origins.


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