Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

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Brian C
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#901 Post by Brian C » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:08 pm

knives wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:48 pm
Stone definitely Stoned it up. Dangerfield's scene and the reduction of Downey's character are the main differences, but stuff like the opening and prison break are basically in tact though Stone shot them far more literally then seems intended.
I'm sure that some of the original script remains but the basic fact of the matter is that guild rules are very rigid and would not have allowed the film to be credited as it was unless there were very heavy changes, regardless of how Tarantino felt about it. Stone has a screenplay credit himself, which means that he would have had to write (IIRC) at least half of the final screenplay.

Anyway, like I say, I'm curious to read it now that you've brought it to my attention (or maybe I did a long time ago and forgot about it), but I think the point still stands that it's not a good example of someone else directing Tarantino's script.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#902 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:46 pm

Brian C wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:08 pm
knives wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:48 pm
Stone definitely Stoned it up. Dangerfield's scene and the reduction of Downey's character are the main differences, but stuff like the opening and prison break are basically in tact though Stone shot them far more literally then seems intended.
I'm sure that some of the original script remains but the basic fact of the matter is that guild rules are very rigid and would not have allowed the film to be credited as it was unless there were very heavy changes, regardless of how Tarantino felt about it. Stone has a screenplay credit himself, which means that he would have had to write (IIRC) at least half of the final screenplay.

Anyway, like I say, I'm curious to read it now that you've brought it to my attention (or maybe I did a long time ago and forgot about it), but I think the point still stands that it's not a good example of someone else directing Tarantino's script.
I don't get your objection. Nasir said: "I think he will flourish when he writes plays, or television or even screenplays for other people." I gave the two examples of what happens when Tarantino writes screenplays for other people. That Stone changed a bunch of stuff (as I believe Scott also did) and left it unrecognizable as a Tarantino film is very much to the point, isn't it? Didn't Nasir say Tarantino's big problem is that he sticks too close to his own(!) scripts?
Nasir wrote:It's not like I cornered you and forced you to listen to my opinion. This is a forum where discussions happen and people drop in and out. I was asked for my opinion specifically and provided it in good faith.
But you keep bogging down discussion. First it was litigating capital punishment, now it's whether Tarantino should be directing his own scripts. You're running the discussion into strange cul-de-sacs without illuminating anything. I mean, do what you like, I won't stop you. But I don't know that we really need to hear once again how you didn't like the ending.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#903 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:04 pm

Move past my posts! You don't have to read and respond to everything. I read and respond to posts which intrigue me and am okay with other posts existing. It isn't a drain on me that people post their opinions. That's the point!

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mfunk9786
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#904 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:34 pm

All due respect, but you're going to be challenged to defend your opinions on any discussion forum - start a blog and turn comments off if you want to just post into the wind without any engagement

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#905 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:09 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:34 pm
All due respect, but you're going to be challenged to defend your opinions on any discussion forum - start a blog and turn comments off if you want to just post into the wind without any engagement
Ah, he's ok with being challenged. He just doesn't want to be told not to post. And why should he. Post away, Nasir! Ignore grumpy old me.

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Brian C
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#906 Post by Brian C » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:46 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:46 pm
I don't get your objection. Nasir said: "I think he will flourish when he writes plays, or television or even screenplays for other people." I gave the two examples of what happens when Tarantino writes screenplays for other people. That Stone changed a bunch of stuff (as I believe Scott also did) and left it unrecognizable as a Tarantino film is very much to the point, isn't it? Didn't Nasir say Tarantino's big problem is that he sticks too close to his own(!) scripts?
He did, but that's such an obviously self-refuting statement that I wasn't really addressing it. Like I initially said, I was merely making a pedantic point, which is that Natural Born Killers was not really Tarantino's script, in a way that goes beyond "changing a bunch of stuff". The movie was, as a matter of record, made from a different screenplay than the one Tarantino wrote.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#907 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:06 pm

Brian C wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:46 pm
Mr Sausage wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:46 pm
I don't get your objection. Nasir said: "I think he will flourish when he writes plays, or television or even screenplays for other people." I gave the two examples of what happens when Tarantino writes screenplays for other people. That Stone changed a bunch of stuff (as I believe Scott also did) and left it unrecognizable as a Tarantino film is very much to the point, isn't it? Didn't Nasir say Tarantino's big problem is that he sticks too close to his own(!) scripts?
He did, but that's such an obviously self-refuting statement that I wasn't really addressing it. Like I initially said, I was merely making a pedantic point, which is that Natural Born Killers was not really Tarantino's script, in a way that goes beyond "changing a bunch of stuff". The movie was, as a matter of record, made from a different screenplay than the one Tarantino wrote.
Your pedantic point is neither here nor there. That the script Tarantino handed off was substantially revised until it no longer resembled a Tarantino film--hell, even if Stone and co. rewrote it from scratch--it's still precisely what I was getting at. I don't know why you'd think people substantially altering his scripts to produce lesser movies would be excluded from the point I was making. I wrote my sentence knowing full well that the scripts for both Natural Born Killers and True Romance had been changed, in the former case substantially, and that Tarantino was really unhappy with the results. Nassir can tell us if he thinks that was for the best.

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Brian C
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#908 Post by Brian C » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:32 am

I suppose we disagree on this minor point. My feeling is that if a producer options a screenplay, and then chooses not to use that screenplay but instead makes a movie from a new screenplay that incorporates elements of the original, then that new screenplay cannot really be considered the work of the original screenwriter. This is pretty obviously a stance that the WGA agrees with, since they have rules in place to determine credit for precisely this kind of scenario.

Furthermore, my feeling is that when someone says that Tarantino is a great writer who should pass his scripts off to other directors instead of directing himself, that person probably doesn't mean that the scripts at issue should be entirely rewritten by someone else as an intermediate step. Yes, obviously I agree with you that scripts will frequently be changed and often drastically so. But I feel this is surely not what Nasir007 had in mind, even though he did say that the directors should "bring the script properly to life." As you and I and everyone else knows, even a writer-director will inevitably shape the film to some degree during filming and editing, no matter how perfect the script is. It seems pretty obvious that this process is what Nasir meant, not page 1 rewrites that end up with the finished film being credited to different writers entirely. I don't think his point was very persuasive, even as someone with ambivalent feelings about Tarantino myself, but it wasn't so absurd that Natural Born Killers is a good example of what he meant.

I mean, cut the guy a little slack.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#909 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:48 am

A very lengthy interview on the film with Tarantino and Kim Morgan

A notably great highlight:
KM: What else did you discuss with DiCaprio for preparation?

QT: The thing is, Leo’s around ten years younger than me or Brad. Me and Brad are around the same age. Leo didn’t grow up watching The Rifleman or anything like that, so those kinds of shows were all brand new to him. So, I watched a bunch of Wanted: Dead or Alive [starring Steve McQueen] so I could cherry-pick the episodes [for Leo] because it was the closest to Rick Dalton’s Bounty Law. I sent them over to him, and he watched all six or seven of them, and he likes Steve McQueen more on Wanted: Dead or Alive than some of the movies he’s done. But the guy and the episode he went nuts over – and you’re gonna get a kick out of this – is the Wanted: Dead or Alive with Ralph Meeker and James Coburn. So, we’re talking about it, and literally, his eyes light up and he’s like, “Who the fuck was that guy?” And I go, “That’s Ralph Meeker.” [DiCaprio says,] “He was fucking amazing! Can I play that guy?” [I say,] Well, it’s not exactly the right idea but I love Ralph Meeker, so feel free. If you think you’re Ralph Meeker, then be Ralph Meeker.” It’s actually one of the proudest things of this entire movie that I have made Leonardo DiCaprio this huge Ralph Meeker fan. He’d already seen Paths of Glory, so he watches it again, and then he watches The Naked Spur and Kiss Me Deadly and I think I gave him Glory Alley and I sent him The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. And then he comes back to me and he goes, “I’ve been studying Meeker in these movies.”

KM: Oh my god, I love this!

QT: I was just as tickled as you are; I didn’t expect this to happen. And he goes, “I realized one of the things that Meeker does that makes him so powerful and he does it in all of his scenes in The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre…” and I’m like, “Well, what are you talking about?” Leo says, “He doesn’t blink. When he’s having a confrontation, which is almost every scene that he has in The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, he just doesn’t blink. And there’s really only one way to do that. You just have to work on the muscles of your eyes and everything and it takes control and it’s a hard thing to do. But he’s learned how to do it – Meeker. And people aren’t going to notice it, but it has this power to it. So, we go do the movie and then I go to Leo and say, “Guess who does a full-on Meeker in this movie?” He goes, “Who?” [I say,] “Dakota Fanning [as Manson Family member Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme].” In the scene behind the screen she doesn’t blink. It’s a full-on Meeker. And, she knows: “If I blink, I lose the scene.” And over the years she’s worked on it so she can control her eyes and she can lock it in for the course of a scene. And it has the same power it has with Meeker in The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. And she’s the most formidable character Cliff comes across. She’s like a concrete pillar on the other side of that screen door (laughs). And when she acquiesces, it’s kind of sinister, because she had won the stare-off.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#910 Post by feihong » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:39 am

There's certainly no guarantee another director in charge would have downplayed the violence at end of a movie about the Manson family murders. Certainly I could imagine Tony Scott, director of Tarantino's script to "True Romance" and director of the scenes Tarantino doctored for "Crimson Tide," would have been willing to give us a grisly conclusion. But so would an arguably more "classy" director like Michael Mann. He and Jonathan Demme were willing to do near as much when depicting a totally fictionalized serial killer. But also, I think downplaying or removing the murder scene would really unbalance the entire affair.

Even though "Once Upon a Time" doesn't follow history, if the scene averting the Manson family murders were wrapped up with more "restraint," it wouldn't square in our minds as an equivalent alternative to what we know of history. I actually think it's significant that the gruesome nature of the scene mirrors that of the actual incident, only with the Manson family members suffering instead of their victims; just imagine if it were a happier ending, where the villains were dispatched in a quick way, like in a western. The cognitive dissonance with what we know of the actual crime would be immense. It's a little like watching the happy ending in "Il Grande Silencio"––the one filmed for "secondary markets"––after seeing the more affecting brutal and dour ending, with its conscious evocation of the Mai Ly Massacre. The happy ending is so dissonant and insincere it makes you feel like your brain is melting. It's hard to imagine it ever could have played well in those "secondary markets" where it was shown. The balance between the feeling, weight and sincerity of the two endings is overwhelmingly in favor of the original, unremittingly brutal ending. I think for the experience of the end of "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" to feel sincere and affecting, it has to somehow approximate the weight of the actual history we hold in our heads going into the movie. The history is horrible, and Tarantino gives us horrible violence in return, but refracted in a different way. Tarantino's violence is almost a parody of the event it's avoiding. It's a fantasy of rewriting history and of cheating death and degradation, but it's so over-the-top it's funny, as well. That's part of what makes the ending such a cathartic moment. It's not just a release from the pressure of impending historical tragedy; it's a release from the seriousness you felt was building in the background of the picture.

I've never really understood the many complaints about Tarantino as a purveyor of "violence," and it's probably because I make an extra distinction in his case. As I see it, directors like Tony Scott are purveyors of casual violence. His movies exist in many cases to bring sleek violence across with a casual attitude and an invitation to enjoy it. I can't say I haven't enjoyed it on many occasions––not so much in Tony Scott movies, but in films I love, like the Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher westerns, or in blaxploitation films like Trouble Man, or in the thousands of kung fu and swordplay films I've seen out of Hong Kong and Japan. But I have to admit that that enjoyment comes at a certain cost, and that I and many viewers like me have likely been somewhat desensitized towards the presence of violence in our lives. In these films the violence is justified, and considerably distanced from the pain and suffering it causes. Yet people don't excoriate these movies the way they do Tarantino movies, and I find that strange because the way these films deal with violence and the way Tarantino deals with violence are really distinct things. When I think of the action in Tarantino films, I hardly think of the actual on-screen violence––which happens and is over with quite quickly in most of his films ("Kill Bill" being the notable exception here)––and I don't think much of the gore, which is glimpsed only very quickly and not indulged in the way of, say, Peter Jackson's early movies, or the films of Herschel Gordon Lewis. I think of the pain the violence causes, because that's the thing that lingers extra long in Tarantino movies. Far past the point of reasonable endurance, injured people suffer in Tarantino pictures. What's so memorable from the famous ear-cutting scene in Reservoir dogs? Not the suave, super-cool ear-cutting itself; we never see it. It's the cop's miserable screams, muffled by the gag in his mouth––the feeling that the actor is expressing the shock and horror of having a vital appendage permanently separated from his body. The final act of Hateful Eight is a miasma of pain, in which each character is bleeding to death in the most painful of ways possible. Tim Roth bleeds to death over the entire runtime of Reservoir Dogs, suffering, screaming, gasping for breath, crying, fainting, and reviving again to experience the pain anew. Archie Hickox and Officer Kong emasculate one another with bullets. Brigitte Von Hammersmarck gets nastily mutilated, and then propped up on her mauled and festering leg only to be strangled in a protracted scene where we can feel every bit of air leave her lungs. The emphasis in all these scenes is very clearly on the pain that violence causes, and unlike most filmmakers who trade in intense action in a casual way (most popular filmmakers), it's hard to leave a Tarantino movie with the sense that the violence in the movie was right, a sense that nobody was hurt by it who didn't deserve it. Even the concept of "deserving" violence seems absurd when characters suffer as hugely, clearly and loudly as Tarantino's characters do.

Contrast that against a filmmaker like Luc Besson, who manages to sneak outrageously violent acts into PG-13 movies. "The Fifth Element" is a movie people of a certain generation remember quite fondly as inventive and fun sci-fi. But I'll never forget it for quite a different experience it offered; a very casual murder, one of the most brutal I've ever seen on film. There's a scene in the movie where, for comic effect, Bruce Willis solves a hostage crisis by walking into the room very matter-of-factly, sticking a gun in the hostage-takers face, and blowing his face apart. The filming is very shocking; Bruce points the gun straight at the camera, and the editing matches this with a shot of the alien hostage-taker's surprised face. We actually see it get hit with a bullet from Willis' gun. But a grey dust emerges from the wound, rather than blood, so the film was able to hold on to a PG-13 rating. But hey, I guess that dog-faced alien deserved it. He wasn't anything like a person. That'll teach him, and everyone like him, to take hostages. Audiences generally laugh at that scene; even though I was a teenager when I saw it, and very wired in to "enjoying the ride" a movie was taking me on, I cringed at that particular moment. It took me out of the movie entirely. Recently I saw Besson's PG-13 Valerian movie, and in it Besson puts Valerian through the same wild ride. At one point Valerian climbs onto a villain's back, sticks his gun right up against the top of his head, and blows his brains out. But don't worry; the villain was a robot. Earlier in the film Valerian, armed with an enormous sword, starts cutting these large, warlike aliens' achilles tendons. This happens below camera, so we don't see it; but we hear it in incredible detail. I was disturbed by "Valerian." I loved the comic series from childhood. I went back and reviewed all the books, because I don't recall Valerian shooting or killing many people in the books. I remember one character getting definitively murdered, in all the books I read. 20+ books and one on-the-page murder. And the character who does the murder lives to regret it deeply. He reappears in later stories, filled with remorse. But Besson's Valerian is a very casual killer, ready to maim or simply put someone "out of their misery," whichever is easier for him at the time.

That attitude, measured against Tarantino's I think reveals two filmmakers very different uses and positions towards violence. In Tarantino movies, the violence is essential, close to the subject matter of the movie, and given the treatment of central subject matter, placed front and center on the screen so we can study it. In Besson's world, violence is high on cool factor, low on realistic gore, and suffering is shoved off stage like a magician masking the machinery of his trick. In interviews Tarantino makes light of people's complaints about the violence of his movies; I don't think he's particularly articulate in those situations, and his films reveal a more obvious care and clear-eyed insistence on suffering as the result of violence. And those of us paying attention to his films can hardly escape the pain and suffering the action in his movies engenders. We live through actors doing some of the most vividly and creatively mounted sufferings and death throes in all of film. It's not like watching a Tony Scott movie, or a "family–friendly" Besson adventure; we don't get away clean. That said, there does appear to be this weird contingent of fans who arrive opening day to cheer at the misery in Tarantino movies. I really don't know what that's about. But it's not everyone; it's not even most people. And I think the rest of us, rather than becoming desensitized, are still affected by the pain we see on screen in Tarantino's movies. It disturbs our fun, but I believe it's supposed to. So I've always found the public singling-out of Tarantino as some kind of "sicko" to be pretty strange.

BTW, thank you, Mr. Sausage. It's good to be back. I'm going to try and avoid getting too worked-up over things, as I sometimes used to do. But it's really a good feeling to take part in a fun, in–depth movie discussion again!

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#911 Post by Nasir007 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:18 am

Brian C wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:32 am
I suppose we disagree on this minor point. My feeling is that if a producer options a screenplay, and then chooses not to use that screenplay but instead makes a movie from a new screenplay that incorporates elements of the original, then that new screenplay cannot really be considered the work of the original screenwriter. This is pretty obviously a stance that the WGA agrees with, since they have rules in place to determine credit for precisely this kind of scenario.

Furthermore, my feeling is that when someone says that Tarantino is a great writer who should pass his scripts off to other directors instead of directing himself, that person probably doesn't mean that the scripts at issue should be entirely rewritten by someone else as an intermediate step. Yes, obviously I agree with you that scripts will frequently be changed and often drastically so. But I feel this is surely not what Nasir007 had in mind, even though he did say that the directors should "bring the script properly to life." As you and I and everyone else knows, even a writer-director will inevitably shape the film to some degree during filming and editing, no matter how perfect the script is. It seems pretty obvious that this process is what Nasir meant, not page 1 rewrites that end up with the finished film being credited to different writers entirely. I don't think his point was very persuasive, even as someone with ambivalent feelings about Tarantino myself, but it wasn't so absurd that Natural Born Killers is a good example of what he meant.

I mean, cut the guy a little slack.
I agree with this. This is what I was getting at. I think Hollywood is slightly different from European cinema. In European cinema, more often than not, the director is also the writer or a writer. Not so in American cinema and just as well, since plenty of great movies came through the studio system with a writer director split and the practice continues today to make several good movies.

Script attribution is a complicated topic. It is actually difficult to lose script attribution per wga rules. It essentially gives you an inalienable right to a credit unless they literally do a page 1 rewrite and even then you would need arbitration unless the studio throws money at you.

But yeah, I meant more in the sense of Tarantino writing a screenplay and then a director is brought onboard. I have no way of saying this but at the prestige end or higher end of Hollywood productions, scripts are largely followed. So the scripts of Tarantino wouldn't be altered just refined as such in post with editing and pacing etc. I think Hateful Eight is the perfect use case for that. You could have any competent director direct it and hopefully have a good film made out of it. Because the film that Tarantino released can definitely be improved upon.

I think we'd all want Tarantino to continue writing after his self imposed deadline of only directing 10 films.

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Re: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#912 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:53 am

Not a single living director could have made The Hateful Eight better than it is

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Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

#913 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:46 am

Brian C wrote:I suppose we disagree on this minor point. My feeling is that if a producer options a screenplay, and then chooses not to use that screenplay but instead makes a movie from a new screenplay that incorporates elements of the original, then that new screenplay cannot really be considered the work of the original screenwriter. This is pretty obviously a stance that the WGA agrees with, since they have rules in place to determine credit for precisely this kind of scenario.
I’m sorry, do we disagree on this point? I don’t remember saying a word on whether the final shooting script could be considered a “Tarantino script”.

Also, I’ve been taking you at your word for the purposes of the discussion, but as far as I’m concerned you haven’t refuted knives’ post and the question of how much of Tarantino’s script is in the final version remains unsettled. Specifically, knives’ implication that Tarantino refused to be credited for the script, which would make your deductions based on the credits moot.
“BrianC” wrote:Furthermore, my feeling is that when someone says that Tarantino is a great writer who should pass his scripts off to other directors instead of directing himself, that person probably doesn't mean that the scripts at issue should be entirely rewritten by someone else as an intermediate step.
Well, yeah. That handing off scripts historically doesn’t work out for Tarantino or the viewer is the only appropriate response (besides silence) to the suggestion that handing off scripts is precisely what he ought to do.

This is the last I’ll be saying on this.


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