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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) Quentin Tarantino's 9th Film

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The man behind the on-screen myth, stuntman Cliff Booth(Brad Pitt) with Rick Dalton(Leonardo DiCaprio).

 

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Edited by DragonClaws

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I don't mind spoilers, I just wanna see Bruce in this. Heard it was just a cameo anyways. I also found out that Mike Moh is of Korean descent. Prepare for the onslaught of SJW when this movie hits the general public.  We're all the same and we all bleed red. Life is short, enjoy it nerds. 

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On 5/24/2019 at 12:27 AM, OpiumKungFuCracker said:

I also found out that Mike Moh is of Korean descent. Prepare for the onslaught of SJW when this movie hits the general public. 

No worries, SJWs can't tell the difference between China and Korea. As long as it's from the United States of Asia.

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Hey all, I saw this last night with my family and a couple of my son's friends. I really enjoyed it a lot (as did the others).

Overall the film was entertaining in a breezy sort of way, seemingly playing out very much like the time period and location being depicted, and peppered with fantastic bits. I felt it was missing a bit of weight at times, feeling somewhat less substantive than I expected and QT'S other recent films. The cast are all top-notch (despite a lot of the actors having only the slightest resemblance to the people they were playing) with the exception of the guy playing Manson. He did not look or feel like Manson at all to me, and I thought this was a major missed opportunity to bring a greater menace to the story. The film is moving, very funny, and has some great suspense as well, sometimes with all of these emotions playing out at the same time to great effect. The time period is captured exquisitely, from hair, fashion, cars, music, dialogue, products and signage. DiCaprio is wonderful, but Pitt steals the show.

I'd recommend seeing this without reading any reviews or watching any more footage than the first trailer. It's an experience that transports the viewer to a different time and place, and what's the fun of that if you already know what's going to happen?

For you KFFF brothers and sisters that are dying to know how Bruce Lee is portrayed and fits into the story I'll address that a bit, but will use the "no spoilers" feature (highlight what you want hidden, then click the eyeball icon in the toolbar for your post to hide that specific content). If you quote my hidden spoiler and reply to it, please also hide both your content and my quote. Thanks. 😉
 

Spoiler

 

So Bruce Lee is played wonderfully by Mike Moh, with Lee basically serving only to demonstrate within the story what a badass stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is. It seems to me that QT reasoned- Everyone knows Bruce Lee is an exceptional fighter, right? So if I want to establish that this character Cliff is a truly formidable guy, then I can show those two having a fight, and bam! The audience will instantly "get it", right? They'll understand this guy's skills, and then they have this knowledge about Cliff for the rest of the film, anticipating how it might come into play.

I was surprised and a little disappointed that Lee was portrayed as such a blowhard here though. I know Quentin is a huge fan of kung fu, but I do wonder after seeing this if he thinks Lee is overrated. The way he was portrayed here was not very flattering, with perhaps more hot air than skill to back it up. Yes, Lee was never afraid to talk up his own skills, and many thought he had too big an ego, but I think a lot of it was simply him being honest instead of posturing with a lot of false modesty about his abilities. That being said, the Wing Chun blocking and trapping skills that he learned and expanded upon would certainly not have allowed the punches being thrown by this stuntman to evenly match him as was shown here. The first kick seems like there's too long a wait while Cliff stands there waiting before the kick is delivered. I believe the main exchange of blows was shown in one take, and though Pitt does an admirable job, he looks a bit stiff and rehearsed in his movements. Still, an effective little action scene.

As I watched it, the way this scene played out seemed immediately off-putting, but after a few seconds I realized- Hey, QT is telling a "Once Upon a Time... story", and this is how he used Lee to tell this, quickly letting go of my personal feelings and accepting it as part of the film's tale. I mean, Lee is shown with longer, more ENTER THE DRAGON style hair here, and in reality when he was filming THE GREEN HORNET his hair was styled much shorter. He's also depicted wearing his big sunglasses that he really didn't wear until a few years later. So this is a stylized version of "Bruce Lee", not a realistic depiction, and utilized fully for the purpose of the overall story and not meant to truthfully show Lee. Seeing this somewhat less-than complimentary portrayal of Lee, it makes sense that QT wouldn't seek the approval of the Lee estate. And I'm fairly certain that they wouldn't have received it if they had.

Another "fantasy" sort of element here is that Cliff owns a Pit Bull. In the early '60s/'70s THE dog that a Hollywood tough guy would've owned would most likely have been a German Shepard. I have a feeling that the director may have theorized that modern-day audiences are more familiar with the "capabilities" of a Pitt, and used this dog instead of a Shepard so that it would play more effectively. Having said that, "Brandy" the Pit is one of my favorite parts of the film.

 

I rate the film an 8.5 out of 10.

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6 hours ago, KUNG FU BOB said:

Hey all, I saw this last night with my family and a couple of my son's friends. I really enjoyed it a lot (as did the others).

Overall the film was entertaining in a breezy sort of way, seemingly playing out very much like the time period and location being depicted, and peppered with fantastic bits. I felt it was missing a bit of weight at times, feeling somewhat less substantive than I expected and QT'S other recent films. The cast are all top-notch (despite a lot of the actors having only the slightest resemblance to the people they were playing) with the exception of the guy playing Manson. He did not look or feel like Manson at all to me, and I thought this was a major missed opportunity to bring a greater menace to the story. The film is moving, very funny, and has some great suspense as well, sometimes with all of these emotions playing out at the same time to great effect. The time period is captured exquisitely, from hair, fashion, cars, music, dialogue, products and signage. DiCaprio is wonderful, but Pitt steals the show.

I'd recommend seeing this without reading any reviews or watching any more footage than the first trailer. It's an experience that transports the viewer to a different time and place, and what's the fun of that if you already know what's going to happen?

For you KFFF brothers and sisters that are dying to know how Bruce Lee is portrayed and fits into the story I'll address that a bit, but will use the "no spoilers" feature (highlight what you want hidden, then click the eyeball icon in the toolbar for your post to hide that specific content). If you quote my hidden spoiler and reply to it, please also hide both your content and my quote. Thanks. 😉
 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

So Bruce Lee is played wonderfully by Mike Moh, with Lee basically serving only to demonstrate within the story what a badass stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is. It seems to me that QT reasoned- Everyone knows Bruce Lee is an exceptional fighter, right? So if I want to establish that this character Cliff is a truly formidable guy, then I can show those two having a fight, and bam! The audience will instantly "get it", right? They'll understand this guy's skills, and then they have this knowledge about Cliff for the rest of the film, anticipating how it might come into play.

I was surprised and a little disappointed that Lee was portrayed as such a blowhard here though. I know Quentin is a huge fan of kung fu, but I do wonder after seeing this if he thinks Lee is overrated. The way he was portrayed here was not very flattering, with perhaps more hot air than skill to back it up. Yes, Lee was never afraid to talk up his own skills, and many thought he had too big an ego, but I think a lot of it was simply him being honest instead of posturing with a lot of false modesty about his abilities. That being said, the Wing Chun blocking and trapping skills that he learned and expanded upon would certainly not have allowed the punches being thrown by this stuntman to evenly match him as was shown here. The first kick seems like there's too long a wait while Cliff stands there waiting before the kick is delivered. I believe the main exchange of blows was shown in one take, and though Pitt does an admirable job, he looks a bit stiff and rehearsed in his movements. Still, an effective little action scene.

As I watched it, the way this scene played out seemed immediately off-putting, but after a few seconds I realized- Hey, QT is telling a "Once Upon a Time... story", and this is how he used Lee to tell this, quickly letting go of my personal feelings and accepting it as part of the film's tale. I mean, Lee is shown with longer, more ENTER THE DRAGON style hair here, and in reality when he was filming THE GREEN HORNET his hair was styled much shorter. He's also depicted wearing his big sunglasses that he really didn't wear until a few years later. So this is a stylized version of "Bruce Lee", not a realistic depiction, and utilized fully for the purpose of the overall story and not meant to truthfully show Lee. Seeing this somewhat less-than complimentary portrayal of Lee, it makes sense that QT wouldn't seek the approval of the Lee estate. And I'm fairly certain that they wouldn't have received it if they had.

Another "fantasy" sort of element here is that Cliff owns a Pit Bull. In the early '60s/'70s THE dog that a Hollywood tough guy would've owned would most likely have been a German Shepard. I have a feeling that the director may have theorized that modern-day audiences are more familiar with the "capabilities" of a Pitt, and used this dog instead of a Shepard so that it would play more effectively. Having said that, "Brandy" the Pit is one of my favorite parts of the film.

 

I rate the film an 8.5 out of 10.

Spoiler

I see what you're saying, I don't think the scene was that off putting. Knowing QT he tends to do things a little out there and outlandish. Also to be fair, Zoe Belle broke up the fight, so who knows what would happen in round 3? Compared to what Pitt did to the Manson girls with the smashing of the face to a wall and all, I'd say Bruce Lee got off the hook,hahahhaah ;););) 

 

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19 hours ago, KUNG FU BOB said:

For you KFFF brothers and sisters that are dying to know how Bruce Lee is portrayed and fits into the story I'll address that a bit, but will use the "no spoilers" feature (highlight what you want hidden, then click the eyeball icon in the toolbar for your post to hide that specific content). If you quote my hidden spoiler and reply to it, please also hide both your content and my quote. Thanks. 😉

 

Without going into the spoilers, is the BL character just there as a curiosity to draw in cinema goer's?. Or do they give his character a more substantial part to play?.

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16 hours ago, OpiumKungFuCracker said:
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I see what you're saying, I don't think the scene was that off putting. Knowing QT he tends to do things a little out there and outlandish. Also to be fair, Zoe Belle broke up the fight, so who knows what would happen in round 3? Compared to what Pitt did to the Manson girls with the smashing of the face to a wall and all, I'd say Bruce Lee got off the hook,hahahhaah ;););) 

 

Good point @OpiumKungFuCracker. 😄

BTW I love your concise review over at letterboxd.com.

 

3 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

 

Without going into the spoilers, is the BL character just there as a curiosity to draw in cinema goer's?. Or do they give his character a more substantial part to play?.

@DragonClaws his being there definitely serves a very specific purpose in the film. It's not just a publicity stunt kind of thing. Bruce Lee did run in the same circles as the characters depicted, having been friends with and also given private lessons to Jay Sebring (who also gave Bruce good advice on landing high-paying celebrity clients), Roman Polanski, Steve McQueen, and choreographing Sharon Tate's action scenes in THE WRECKING CREW (1968). Having Bruce in the film does tell an important part of the story.

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On 7/27/2019 at 5:39 PM, KUNG FU BOB said:

@DragonClaws his being there definitely serves a very specific purpose in the film. It's not just a publicity stunt kind of thing. Bruce Lee did run in the same circles as the characters depicted, having been friends with and also given private lessons to Jay Sebring (who also gave Bruce good advice on landing high-paying celebrity clients), Roman Polanski, Steve McQueen, and choreographing Sharon Tate's action scenes in THE WRECKING CREW (1968). Having Bruce in the film does tell an important part of the story.

 

Thanks for that @KUNG FU BOB.

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Just saw this a couple nights ago at the New Beverly with a packed crowd, and I loved it! I thought both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt gave career-best performances. It was really refreshing seeing this movie since it's very original and unpredictable. There were a number of moments where I was caught completely off-guard in very satisfying ways. This movie was very funny, exciting, smart, and entertaining. And the audience I saw it with went totally nuts, up to a point where it was almost overwhelming. The more I think about this movie, the more I appreciate it. I gave it an 8 out of 10 after seeing it, but I feel it could move up to a 9. I'm gonna have to see it again (which I have no problems with).

And I'm gonna comment a little on the Bruce Lee controversy and the ending, both of which involve spoilers, so only read the following if you've seen the movie:

Spoiler

I'm perfectly fine with the depiction of Bruce Lee for a number of reasons:

1. Tarantino does not care about historical accuracy in his movies. He is a Bruce Lee fan and knows this isn't how Bruce Lee was in real-life. The one time I saw Tarantino in-person was at a screening of Fist of Fury, after which I overheard him talking about how great it is.

2. The scene takes place in Brad Pitt's character's head and is likely a one-sided perspective of what had happened. This is how this character sees Bruce Lee in his head.

3. The point of the scene is to show that Pitt's character is a good fighter. What better way than have him beat up Bruce freaking Lee?

4. It's just a fun scene in a fictional movie. I don't feel it's anything to get upset about.

Granted, Tarantino probably should've consulted the family first, but I don't find this depiction disrespectful or a "mockery".

On a side note, the ending fight scene was one of the only times I've screamed in a theater in a long time. It was totally exhilarating and visceral. The entire audience was screaming and laughing their hearts out. It was easily one of the greatest experiences I had seeing a movie in theaters.

 

Edited by KenHashibe

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Just saw it cant wait to see it again. If your intested in the subject matter, actors, and think it looks good then youll like it. Its sort of exactly what youd expect it to be. And I was all about those three things going into this movie.

As much as I love Bruce Lee, I felt the scene was almost deserved in a way. I felt that Tarintinos commentary and pov on the times/subjects came through in the film. For better and for worse. Making for the typically wide appealing movie Tarintino is known for. 

Wish I could give a better review for the moment. I cant wait to watch this again, for the reasons I listed. Felt the actors, subject matter, and time period were all perfect for Tarintino to capture. 

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On 7/31/2019 at 1:38 PM, KenHashibe said:

Just saw this a couple nights ago at the New Beverly with a packed crowd, and I loved it! I thought both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt gave career-best performances. It was really refreshing seeing this movie since it's very original and unpredictable. There were a number of moments where I was caught completely off-guard in very satisfying ways. This movie was very funny, exciting, smart, and entertaining. And the audience I saw it with went totally nuts, up to a point where it was almost overwhelming. The more I think about this movie, the more I appreciate it. I gave it an 8 out of 10 after seeing it, but I feel it could move up to a 9. I'm gonna have to see it again (which I have no problems with).

And I'm gonna comment a little on the Bruce Lee controversy and the ending, both of which involve spoilers, so only read the following if you've seen the movie:

  Reveal hidden contents

I'm perfectly fine with the depiction of Bruce Lee for a number of reasons:

1. Tarantino does not care about historical accuracy in his movies. He is a Bruce Lee fan and knows this isn't how Bruce Lee was in real-life. The one time I saw Tarantino in-person was at a screening of Fist of Fury, after which I overheard him talking about how great it is.

2. The scene takes place in Brad Pitt's character's head and is likely a one-sided perspective of what had happened. This is how this character sees Bruce Lee in his head.

3. The point of the scene is to show that Pitt's character is a good fighter. What better way than have him beat up Bruce freaking Lee?

4. It's just a fun scene in a fictional movie. I don't feel it's anything to get upset about.

Granted, Tarantino probably should've consulted the family first, but I don't find this depiction disrespectful or a "mockery".

On a side note, the ending fight scene was one of the only times I've screamed in a theater in a long time. It was totally exhilarating and visceral. The entire audience was screaming and laughing their hearts out. It was easily one of the greatest experiences I had seeing a movie in theaters.

 

Speaking of Bruce, if you were lucky enough to have seen the film at the Vista Theater in Los Angeles, you were in for an unexpected treat.  The Vista began with a short of the classic Bruce Lee interview from 1965.  Not knowing otherwise, I thought it was a prologue of the actual film!  Here is a YouTube link to the interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2BKNDc48N4

Edited by Shaolin Patriot

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On 8/4/2019 at 1:55 PM, SMK said:

I would love to see the extended cut! Hoping for the deleted scene with Tim Roth.

2 hours ago, Shaolin Patriot said:

Speaking of Bruce, if you were lucky enough to have seen the film at the Vista Theater in Los Angeles, you were in for an unexpected treat.  The Vista began with a short of the classic Bruce Lee interview from 1965.  Not knowing otherwise, I thought it was a prologue of the actual film!  Here is a YouTube link to the interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2BKNDc48N4

Oh that's pretty sweet! I saw that interview before a screening of Fist of Fury at the New Bev a couple years ago. That's a wonderful bonus!

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Here's an interview with Mike Moh, the excellent martial arts trained actor who plays Bruce Lee in the film, and his take on the scene. Please note, this DOES INCLUDE SPOILERS for the film, so if you haven't seen it yet I recommend you hold off on reading it until you've watched the movie.

https://birthmoviesdeath.com/2019/07/29/mike-moh-once-upon-a-time-in-hollywoods-bruce-lee-breaks-down-his-fight-wit

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Enjoyed it tremendously up to the last third of the movie. The sudden change in narrative style put me a bit off. Also the Tarantino typical minutes of extreme violence felt unnecessary and pretty stupid, at least to me that is. I won't argue though with the performance of DiCaprio and Pitt which are nothing short of amazing! Margot Robbie was kind of wasted unfortunately. The Bruce Lee skit was very funny and on point.  

Overall an enjoyable movie with some flaws. I'd still recommend to see it on the big screen! Keep in mind... it's more of an homage to days of cinema past than really anything else.

 

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On 8/12/2019 at 11:33 PM, whitesnake said:

 

Is Tarantino's portrayal of BL any worse than the Estate sanctioned Boost Lee energy campaign.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar weighs in on the controversy. As with the previous links, this article contains spoilers for the film, so proceed with caution if you haven't seen the film: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/kareem-abdul-jabbar-bruce-lee-was-my-friend-tarantinos-movie-disrespects-him-1232544

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