30-Day Film Challenge – Day 3

Posted: June 12, 2021 in Uncategorized

Ha! I wrote this yesterday!

If you’re following along, today’s “challenge” is to pick a film that has more than 5 words. Presumably, they mean in the title, because most movies, except silent ones, have more than five words of dialogue. So, let’s go with title. Also, when you look this prompt up on IMDB, you get a long list of movies like Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues… or Three Men and a Baby. So, let’s throw out most of those because I’m not counting numbers or words like “a” that aren’t real words. Thankfully, while this eliminates a lot of possibilities, it still leaves a lot and actually opens up others (although I seriously considered Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. That was an amazing movie that I could talk about for awhile.)

If you allow me to not count the indefinite article as a word (and this is my post, so I’ll do what I want anyway), I’m going to pick Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood as my Day 3 movie.

Quentin Tarantino once said he would only direct ten movies and then call it a career. I really hope he’s counting the Kill Bills as one film, because otherwise, I believe this one was his tenth, and it’s a really crappy way to go out. Tarantino is one of my all-time favorite directors/writers, and someone who influenced me greatly as a film student many years ago. He is a man who became incredibly successful both with audiences and critics, has a distinct style no one can match, and he truly has done it his way, with his incredible dialogue and memorable characters, and his ability to draw amazing performances out of his actors. But this movie was just really boring.

So back to IMDB we go for the logline: “A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.” I’ll actually give them that one. That’s pretty much what happens in this movie. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the faded actor (fancy that) and Brad Pitt plays his stunt double. Their performances are actually fine, and Pitt actually won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role (He also took home the same honor at the SAG awards), but let’s face it, usually the worst actor in any Tarantino movie is Tarantino himself. So, assuming that anyone acting in a Tarantino movie is going to be good, and the direction will be top-notch, why is it that I find this movie to be so unenjoyable?

Before I go on, if you do like this movie, I’m happy for you. Like I said, it’s well-made, has some great acting, and the climax is actually quite fun. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Go ahead and like the Hell out of it. I think the reason I don’t like it, and in fact, kind of hate it, is because I am such a Tarantino fan, and because it was so well-liked by everyone when it came out (Certified Fresh, 85%, with a 70% Audience Score. What am I missing?) His movies are in a genre all by themselves, and I have very high expectations for every Tarantino movie that comes out. I saw Hateful Eight in glorious 70mm at my local art house cinema, and it also had an intermission and an overture before the movie started. And going back to my younger days, I had already decided to major in Film when I saw Pulp Fiction in 1993, but it’s probably not a stretch to say that movie changed my life, and it’s no coincidence that every script I wrote back then was a bad Reservoir Dogs or Natural Born Killers rip-off (Quentin wrote the original script for NBK before selling it to Oliver Stone and taking his name off it when Stone’s version was so different. He retains “story by” credit.) He even worked in a video store like I did. I wanted to be this guy. And he rarely has disappointed me. I can even go back and watch and appreciate Jackie Brown now.

But this one… I just can’t with this one.

So, the question is why. Is it my high expectations, or is it because Tarantino himself is so established and can do what he wants at this point? Is it both? Is it neither? Everyone else seems to like it? is it because, like I said earlier, the ending is really cool, and people were convinced they saw a cool movie because “all’s well that ends well?” Have I gotten to old to appreciate the coolness factor of a Tarantino movie? Or is it the Trainspotting Theory applying to Tarantino? Is he too old now (“We all get old, we canna hack it anymore, and that’s it.”) I do believe that some artists get to a point where they have said everything they have to say, but I’m not sure Quentin has reached that stage yet, at 58.

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. All I know is that the first 2.5 hours of that 2:41 felt like it went on forever, and that Quentin Tarantino was making a movie purely for his own enjoyment, and that’s what made me worry. Maybe Trainspotting was right, and maybe it is time for Quentin to hang it up.

Anyway, come back tomorrow for Day 4, and see if I have anything to say about a film with a number in the title.

  1. claynferno says:

    Certainly not my favorite Tarantula Film!

  2. […] course, I did lambaste his most recent movie way back on Day 3, but overall, I still consider him my favorite director. Not only does he have a very particular […]

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