September 20, 2019

What to Read About ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’

What to Read About ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’


Quentin Tarantino crammed so much stuff into his polarizing meta-movie “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” that nearly a month after its release, fans and critics are still trying to unpack it. How much of the film is historically accurate? How much is revisionist? Is the film a work of genius, an exercise in nostalgia porn or just a problematic mess? (And where does it rate with regard to Tarantino’s well-documented history of foot worship?)

So much to explore! Here’s the best of what to read online, with an eye on the controversies, the context and the critical response.

‘Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio Talk Tarantino, Stardom and What Might Have Been’ [The New York Times]

“You know when you have an altercation in public or you put your foot in your mouth, and you’re driving home and you think of that witty thing that you wished you would have said?” Brad Pitt said to our critic Manohla Dargis. “His dialogue is that witty thing.”

‘Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio Take You Inside “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”’ [Esquire]

“The last performance Burt Reynolds gave was when he came down and did a rehearsal day for that sequence, and then the script reading,” Tarantino told Michael Hainey.” “I found out from three different people that the last thing he did just before he died was run lines with his assistant. Then he went to the bathroom, and that’s when he had his heart attack.”

‘The Playboy Mansion, Quentin Tarantino’s Kitchen, and More Behind-the-Scenes Secrets From the Stars of “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”’ [Entertainment Weekly]

I went to see True Romance’ and then I thought, ‘You know, I wrote this thing, maybe they’ll let me in for free.’ Not because I was stressing the money, just actually, ‘I’m in the movie!’” — Tarantino, as told to Clark Collis.

‘The Stuntwoman Who Made the Stuntman of “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”’ [The Ringer]

“We as stunt people know that some of the most beat-up looking women and men in their 50s were probably some of the baddest asses, even if they’re maybe moving a little slower.” — Zöe Bell, the film’s stunt coordinator.

Quentin Tarantino’s Goddess of Go-Go [The New York Times]

“Ms. Basil said she still dances every day, and you can catch a glimpse of her form during the opening credits of Mr. Tarantino’s movie,” writes Debra Levine about Toni Basil, the choreographer of “Once Upon a Time.” “Clad in her signature fedora, she and [the actress Margot Robbie] do the twist on a Pan Am flight carrying [the director Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate,] to Los Angeles.”

‘Tarantino’s Secrets, Brad’s Pits And Leo’s Flames: Tales From “Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood”’ [HuffPost]

“In the initial script, however, no one interrupted the fight. Cliff emerged a more clear-cut winner, which made Bruce the loser. That didn’t sit well with [the film’s co-stunt coordinator, Robert Alonzo,] or Pitt, who were keenly aware of Lee’s cultural renown.”

‘15 “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” Filming Locations You Can Still Visit in Los Angeles’ [TripSavvy]

“With false facades, meticulously made set dressings, detailed costumes, and rebuilt locations lost to time, the director and his team successfully recreated L.A. in 1969, a year and place personally important to him.”

‘Margaret Qualley Explains How She Overcame Her Fear of Quentin Tarantino’s Foot Fetish’ [Indiewire]

“Qualley wasn’t so sure about putting her toes in the spotlight. ‘I genuinely was like, “Quentin, this is a bad idea. I don’t have good feet.” I was in point shoes for far too long to have toes that can be shown to the world.’”

‘Young “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” Star Shares Act of Kindness From Luke Perry’ [Hollywood Reporter]

“One moment in the film called for DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton to throw her character off of his lap, and the older actor was concerned for [the actress Julia Butters’] well-being. Recalls Butters: ‘He was so very nice that he said, “I’m going to ask you every time if you’re O.K., because I would never forgive myself if I hurt my princess.”’”

‘“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” Review: We Lost It at the Movies’ [The New York Times]

“There will be viewers who object to the movie’s literal and metaphorical hippie-punching on political grounds. There will be others who embrace it as a thumb in the eye of current sensitivities, and others who insist the movie has no politics at all. To which I can only say: It’s a western, for Pete’s sake.”

‘Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” Debuts at Cannes’ [The New York Times]

“In some ways, Polanski reads like a tragic variation on Tarantino, a kind of horrific doppelgänger, which is one reason, I think, that this movie feels more personal than some of his recent endeavors. He loves this world so much, and that adoration suffuses every exchange, cinematic allusion and narrative turn.”

‘Quentin Tarantino’s Obscenely Regressive Vision of the Sixties in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”’ [The New Yorker]

“Tarantino’s love letter to a lost cinematic age is one that, seemingly without awareness, celebrates white-male stardom (and behind-the-scenes command) at the expense of everyone else.”

‘Tarantino’s Most Transgressive Film’ [The Atlantic]

“The critics may not get it, but the public does. Is Tarantino making a reactionary statement at a dangerous time? Or does the title tell the truth, that the whole thing — including those old masculine values — was always just a fairy tale, a world ‘that never really existed, but feels like a memory’?”

‘Sharon Tate Is a Woman in a Tarantino Movie. It’s Complicated.’ [The New York Times]

“She is instead merely an idea and a feeling, and a near-perfect idol — a rarity for Tarantino, whose characters, regardless of gender, are usually fundamentally flawed or bad in some way. It’s a different kind of box to be put in as a woman, the kind that lifts them up while stripping them of power.”

‘Quentin Tarantino Rejects Claim Margot Robbie Wasn’t Given Enough Dialogue in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”’ [Newsweek]

“A New York Times reporter questioned why Robbie wasn’t given more dialogue in the movie during a press conference on Wednesday. Tarantino, who Variety reported appeared to be visibly upset by the question, replied: ‘I reject your hypothesis.’”

‘Bruce Lee’s Daughter Saddened by “Mockery” in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”’ [The Wrap]

I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super bad-ass who could beat up Bruce Lee. But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive.”

‘Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Bruce Lee Was My Friend, and Tarantino’s Movie Disrespects Him’ [The Hollywood Reporter]

“Of course, Tarantino has the artistic right to portray Bruce any way he wants. But to do so in such a sloppy and somewhat racist way is a failure both as an artist and as a human being.”

‘Why Pop Culture Still Can’t Get Enough of Charles Manson’ [The New York Times]

“When I first started looking into the family, I thought they might be innocent, and might have even been framed. I pondered whether some scheme were afoot to blame a hippie tribe with psychedelic dune buggies for some killings that others had committed. I soon learned otherwise.”

‘How Sharon Tate’s Death and the Manson Killings Gripped Los Angeles’ [The New York Times]

“Americans have long had an insatiable appetite for gruesome crime stories. But this inexplicable act left many in Hollywood panicked that they could be next.”

‘Sharon Tate and “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”: What Actually Happened?’ [The New York Times]

“Tate hardly had time to sink into her career before she was murdered at age 26. In the absence of a wide body of work, the gruesome circumstances of her death — and the terror among Hollywood’s elite that her killers might target them next — have enveloped Tate’s legacy for decades.”

Message in a Shampoo Bottle’ [The New York Times]

“Jay Sebring, the No. 1 haircutter to the stars, the guy who came out of beauty school and invented a whole new way of cutting men’s hair. Who went into a white-coated profession dressed in hip-hugger jeans and chambray shirts. Who studied martial arts with Bruce Lee and raced sports cars with Paul Newman.”

‘The Story of the Abandoned Movie Ranch Where the Manson Family Launched Helter Skelter’ [Curbed]

“In return for a place to live, the family, especially Manson’s girls, would help take care of the sprawling property and Spahn’s needs. Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme was assigned to be Spahn’s ‘eyes’ and de facto wife.”

‘The Stuntman Who Inspired Brad Pitt’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” Character Is More Badass In Real Life’ [Esquire]

“Booth’s inspiration, [the stuntman Hal Needham] — who died at 82 in October 2013 — was even more remarkable: A cross between the MacGyver and the Dos Equis guy, inventing stunt rigs and shattering bones by day, and beefing with John Wayne by night.”

‘The Ellipsis in the Title of Tarantino’s New Film Is Explained … Sort Of’ [The New York Times]

“For a film rife with carefully thought-out callbacks to beloved titles in movie history (there’s even an extended sequence from ‘The Great Escape’), it seems like a surprising oversight. As it turns out, it’s not an oversight at all.”

‘The Manson Murders: What to Read, Watch and Listen To’ [The New York Times]

“For 50 years, that story has offered up a seemingly irresistible mix of star power, sex, gore and sociology, spawning countless films, books and other ephemera. Many, like the sensationalistic 1973 documentary ‘Manson’ or the 1971 fictionalization ‘Sweet Savior,’ are mere exploitation (and are harder to track down these days), but most of the essentials are available to stream or download.”

‘Have You Seen “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”? Here’s What to Read’ [The New York Times]

“Here’s what to read if you want to learn more about Manson and his crimes.”

‘A Pop-Culture Glossary for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”’ [The New York Times]

“Here’s a glossary to sort out the real references from the fake ones.”

‘Inside Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” Soundtrack’ [Rolling Stone]

“According to Mary Ramos, Quentin Tarantino’s longtime music supervisor, the process for selecting songs for one of his films starts in a record store — which happens to be in his Hollywood home.”



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