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  • Writer's pictureTony Taylor

The Un-Tarantino Tarantino: ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

For the longest time I have been wanting to see Quentin Tarantino try something different than his typical movie. Don't get me wrong, Quentin Tarantino has had a string of brilliant, well-made movies that are instantly memorable and have become true iconic and cinematic classics.

However, as a film-fan and "auteur" follower, the genius of a Director/Writer is their interpretations of a genre and the elements therein. Immediately Kubrick comes to mind with his sci-fi masterpiece, 2001, and his take on the "period-piece" with BARRY LYNDON. Each of those films tackle a "type" of story, thus film, and each of them are different but bare the stamp of a "Kubrick film".

But I always thought it would be interesting to see Tarantino tackle something different as well like a romantic comedy. He could use characters already populating his universe (think the husband and wife of Eric Stoltz and Rosanna Arquette) and inject that type of story with his genius for dialogue, character and plot. Wouldn't that make him an auteur like Kubrick?

In ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, Tarantino has "kinda" done that. No, OUATIH is NOT a romantic comedy, but gone is the memorable, snappy, dialogue. Maybe it was there and I am wrong, but I came out of the movie not having one sentence stay with me through the exit doors.

I particularly missed the Tarantino-monologue from a character in each script even when he didn't direct the film (Dennis Hopper - TRUE ROMANCE).

But something Tarantino also has done differently with OUATIH is something he has NEVER done and that is repeat a plot-point from another of his movies. Tarantino goes back to INGLORIOUS BASTARDS and in his conclusion he creates an alternative history. For IB, that time-altering plot device worked within the B-Movie confines of the film. Yet, in OUATIH, the plot-device just feels wrong forcing us out of the "Tarantino-perspective" we all know and love from his movies.

Maybe I'm wrong in wishing more from Tarantino. I'll be honest and say that I did not enjoy this movie as I have enjoyed his movies in the past. For me, ever since RESERVOIR DOGS, a Tarantino film is an important moment in cinema. Maybe, to quote another film, "this is as good as it gets". So maybe I should just "shut up" and enjoy the worlds Tarantino populates and perspective he creates.

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