I had plans to break this review up into 2 reviews, one half talking about all of Quentin Tarantino’s other films and saving the second half for my official review of Once Upon a Time. But it took a bit longer to write the first half than I thought it would and I ended up not posting it.
So now I’m combining it back into one review. Much like Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair. Is this The Whole Bloody Affair of reviews?! Yes!
Okay, maybe not.
The moniker I use, Captain Peachfuzz, was taken from the title of the first script Quentin Tarantino supposedly ever wrote when he was 12 years old called “Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit”. And not the Captain Peachfuzz from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. I liked that show growing up, but not enough I’d want to name myself after a little known character.
Given what I’ve chosen to call myself, you can pretty much guess that I’m a big Tarantino fan. He is my favorite director and writer, I just find the guy fascinating and talented beyond words.
The thing about loving something so passionately however, you do find yourself getting irritated when others don’t share that same passion. And like anything, QT gets his fair share of hate and detractors.
To me, I think it’s easily boiled down to, you just don’t get it. Maybe you don’t share the same passions Tarantino has for Chinese kung fu martial arts movies. Or Japanese Samurai movies, or 70’s Blaxploitation, or spaghetti westerns… the list goes on and if you’ve seen Kill Bill, that whole list is out on display. Also so are his creepy foot fetishes.
It’s always fun to see new people realize that.
Hey, I think Tarantino might be into feet.
Yeah? You think so?
I for one love all those types of film genres (minus the feet), so of course Tarantino speaks to me the way it might not speak to others who don’t particularly like those kinds of films.
Now the question is, do I love those types of movies because of Tarantino?
The answer… Yes and no.
YES, because thanks to him, he has opened me up to check out films that have influenced him over the years, but also NO, because I would have gravitated towards these movies anyway I believe.
The first anime I believe I ever watched was the original Vampire Hunter D movie. That essentially opened up a whole new world to me that I knew nothing about. Then again, this was the early 90’s, so it was opening up for a lot of people back then.
Not sure if you remember this but Tarantino also had these recommended movie series he’d release, where he’d slap his name of a movie he loved, bringing it to the US like the Beat Takeshi film “Sonatine”. After that, it opened up a whole new world to me once again, not to mention made me realize that the guy in Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, the parodied US version of Takeshi’s Castle, was the same Beat Takeshi and that this guy was a fucking badass.
You also see him rape a woman at the end of the movie, so… that was also a bit of a double take. Talk about a departure from your previous work.
After that, it was mostly a domino effect, one piece started to fall until I was a full blown nerd, soaking in as much anime, Japanese yakuza gangster films, Chinese kun fu movies, Blaxploitation and spaghetti westerns as I could find at my local Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. That eventually led me down the path of Takashi Miike films, but that’s a whole different story to tell.
If I remember right, I believe Hollywood Video had more anime options, while I think Blockbuster had more horror options. Or it could be the other way around. I just remember renting a ton of shitty movies because the box art had something sexy on the cover. Which might be why I’ve seen way more Witchcraft films than anyone should legally be allowed to see, as they are a crime against filmmaking.
Since I’m such a big Quentin Tarantino fan, I needed to do something to get myself hyped for his 9th film, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. To do that, I thought I might as well take a trip down memory lane, breaking out my Tarantino XX boxset, with most of his films in it. They released it before Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight, so really there are only 6 films in the set. 7 if you consider True Romance, which I guess they apparently did.
But I didn’t want to just watch the same films over again, as much fun as that would be for me, since I find the rewatchability of his movies to be endless. No, I wanted to do something different this time and then I noticed the 4 hour episodic cut of The Hateful Eight on Netflix.
Regrettably, I never saw The Hateful Eight in theaters. The only one since Jackie Brown that I missed. However, this new cut of the film featured new footage, with the chapter breaks now broken up as hour long episodes.
Breaking it up in hour long episodes I thought really showcases how great Tarantino’s dialogue can truly be. It also highlights his comedic ability, as well as his ability to fully flesh out these characters even if we are given only the most mynute piece of background information on them.
I found myself easily wanting to see each and every one of these characters get their own film.
I’d love to see more on The Hangman John Ruth, played by Kurt Russell. I’d love to watch how he caught Daisy Domergue. Or Samuel L. Jackson’s character Major Warren and him killing rednecks looking to collect the price on his head. Hell, even the stuff with him in the army fighting in the Civil War would be fun to see.
Double hell, I’d even like to see more on Minnie’s Haberdashery, that place is a sitcom just waiting to happen.
After already seeing The Hateful Eight, knowing the twist, you pick up on the subtle cues Bruce Dern is giving that you wouldn’t pick up otherwise.
This cut really highlighted a lot of the films positives for me, as I know some people weren’t as thrilled with this film as his other movies.
After I finished watching it, it hit me, there’s still a film by Tarantino I haven’t seen. And that’s Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair. Of course the only way to see the official cut of this film is at Tarantino’s own theater in Hollywood.
But those unfortunate enough to not live in LA, there is still a cut you can watch. The film might not be available to the public, however the pieces that make up The Whole Bloody Affair are.
Thanks to the Japanese imports of the film, someone was able to edit together a fan edit that is almost flawless and from what I’ve read about the official release, is pretty seamless, minus one scene.
As much as I enjoyed the episodic cut of The Hateful Eight on Netflix, I don’t think it’s the best way to view it, just a new and fresh way of seeing a film you’re already familiar with.
The Whole Bloody Affair however is a different story as this is how Kill Bill should only be seen. Yes, it is long, but it really doesn’t feel it. You should be so engrossed by it, that you don’t even notice 4 hours have gone by.
Most of what is different varies, but a majority of the cuts begin with volume 1. The Crazy 88 fight sequence is in full color, we get a bit more gore during the anime flashback sequence, I’m still not sure if the sword wielding man in that is meant to be a young Bill or not. I remember when first getting the movie on DVD, I’d analyze the swords they used and the rings on their fingers, comparing them to see if they matched.
I forget what my conclusion was, but I think I walked away with my theory being inconclusive.
Seeing the film as one whole entity, might be too much for some as it is all of QT’s passions unadulterated. It’s everything all at once, coming at you on all fronts. So much so that it slightly feels messy and unfocused, but also brilliant with a touch of madness.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing this cut of the film for years now and it did not disappoint. None of his films ever have disappointed me, and I can hear Hank now yelling WHAT ABOUT DEATH PROOF?!
I’ll get to Death Proof in a minute, first I want to talk about my own fan edit. Years and years ago, I watched a fan edit I don’t know by who or even where I saw it, but there was a cut of Natural Born Killers that followed Tarantino’s script.
After years later, finally reading QT’s original script I kind of got turned off to Oliver Stone’s version. He added so much nonsense to the movie, when QT’s version cuts all that shit and directly cuts from the diner scene to them in prison about to be interviewed and we learn about Micky and Malory through reenactments, interviews and trial footage.
It’s such a fantastic way to tell their story.
The cut I remember seeing I swear had more raw footage in it than what was available for the DVD release. The thing is, Stone films just about everything in the original script, it’s basically all there, but he either cut it out, leaving them as deleted scenes or is just random footage you spot playing on a TV screen during a scene.
What I remember is that random raw tv footage being available, if it was, I couldn’t find it. Wanting to see that cut of the film again, I went out and made my own cut the Quentin Tarantino’s Natural Born Killers cut.
I for one love this version of the film a whole lot more. It still features a bunch of Oliver Stone’s bullshit, but still. If you have any interest in seeing this cut, hit me up and I’ll send you a link.
Now let’s talk real quick about Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained. Jackie Brown was always my favorite of QT’s films until I watched Django. Christoph Waltz is such a revelation in that film, he is so damn great. It’s a film so great, I could watch a million times and never get tired of seeing it.
Inglorious Basterds I can see the excellence on screen, it just screams award winning movie, but I find it slightly boring I guess you could say. I wanted more of the Basterds and less of the French theater stuff. It just isn’t one I find myself going back to. Even though Christoph Waltz is once again fucking amazing.
Now to Death Proof. When it was a part of Grindhouse, I thought it was perfect. Robert Rodriguez made a spoof of exploitation films while Tarantino actually made a 70’s exploitation film.
The biggest take away from that film is Kurt Russell, who is so damn fantastic in this and I’m glad QT has used him in every single one of his films ever since. Minus Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained of course, but besides that, every film since!
Death Proof has a few issues however. The acting isn’t the best or the dialogue I don’t think. This isn’t prime Quentin Tarantino dialogue. It could be that the actresses he got to say his dialogue maybe weren’t up to the challenge. That’s always a possibility with him. But the whole films feels like an excuse to hang out in Texas with his buddies, and they just happen to make a movie amongst all their drinking and pot smoking.
The car chase sequence is still some of the best car action I’ve seen, so the film still has some merit, not to mention a few really great lines from Kurt Russell.
Instead of giving a full rundown on every single one of QT’s films, I’ll end this portion of the review right here and move on to the review for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is unlike any Quentin Tarantino film he’s made. This isn’t a revenge tale, or a movie about criminals, it’s just a movie depicting a day in the life of these two characters, Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.
Rick was once a rising TV star on a western called Bounty Law. I’m guessing it was kind of like a Gunsmoke type of series. It’s 1969, so TV westerns are still popular.
Much like Steve McQueen, Rick wanted to leave his show to pursue a career in films. Unlike Steve McQueen however, Rick was never able to make that transition.
Now the only acting gigs he can get are guest starring on TV westerns as the villain of the week, someone for the up and coming star to kill by the end of the episode.
At his side through all of this is Cliff, Rick’s stuntman and best friend. I wouldn’t go as far as to call Cliff a hanger on, though he is someone who essentially works for Rick as his chauffeur and handyman.
Rick is easy to read. He’s a B-list actor on the verge of being D-list who desperately wishes he was A-list. Cliff on the other hand is different.
He has a very peculiar backstory, hinting heavily that he may have killed his wife. I mean, she was berating him while he was holding a harpoon gun, so you can only imagine what happened next.
Because of the rumors, Cliff is finding it hard to get work, now having to drive Rick around everywhere because he crashed his car while drunk one night and had his license revoked.
I’ll get this out right away, I love Cliff. Cliff is fucking badass, and then you pair him with his Pitbull Brandy… look out. The guy even beats the shit out of Bruce Lee when he starts boasting about how tough he thinks he is.
Cliff threw his little ass into the side of a car door, leaving a nice Bruce Lee shaped dent in it.
But because of that little incident, Cliff basically can’t work as a stuntman anymore.
Rick’s fame might be fading but Marvin Schwarzs, played by Al Pacino, sees potential in him. He’s a movie producer of spaghetti westerns and he wants Rick to start making westerns for him in Rome.
Now of course we all know a lot of stars made that move. Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson being prime examples. Charles Bronson I think was the inspiration Tarantino used when coming up with the character of Rick Dalton.
They both starred on TV westerns, both guest starred on an episode of FBI, a series I’ve never even heard of. Both went on to make spaghetti westerns, hell, the one Bronson was in was even called Once Upon a Time in the West.
Rick hates the idea of having to go to Rome to make westerns. He sees that as him officially being all washed up. It also doesn’t help his ego that he lives next to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate, two of the biggest rising stars in the world back then.
Polanski for Rosemary’s Baby and Sharon Tate for The Wrecking Crew, a film just released in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood’s timeframe.
Mixed into all of this we also have the Manson Family. I was shocked to hear them actually singing one of Charlie Manson’s songs “I’ll Never Say Never To Always”. The families of the victims have long protested against using Manson’s music for anything.
And for a movie like this, where everyone is complaining about something, like Bruce Lee’s daughter, I’m shocked there isn’t an outcry to ban the movie just because the girls sing a few lines from a Charlie Manson song.
I’ve always found Charles Manson, Charlie to his friends, fascinating. If only Dennis Wilson didn’t spurn Charlie’s musical aspirations, things might have turned out way differently for everyone involved.
Before you ask, of course I own Manson’s Lie album. It’s this trippy bag of weirdness, that I’m sure could have gained a cult following, no pun intended.
While driving Rick back and forth to the studio set to film his bit part, Cliff keeps spotting this young hitchhiker named Pussycat. She’s hard to miss and grabs his attention quite easily. But every time he has run into her, Rick has always been in the car.
Cliff eventually runs into her again and finally gives Pussycat a lift to the ranch her and her friends are squatting at. Cliff just happens to know this ranch since Rick’s old TV series Bounty Law used to film there.
While at the ranch, Cliff is confronted by a number of hippies, including Tex, the one who carried out the murders. Rick hates hippies, but Cliff seems pretty down with them.
Leading this pack of hairy armpits is Dakota Fanning as Squeaky. If you know your Manson trial history, you know she was the one camping outside the courthouse to support Manson.
Cliff’s character I think is an amalgamation of a few different people and fictional movie characters, one being Billy Jack from the movie with the same name. I also see a lot of Burt Reynolds in him.
Burt Reynolds also worked on TV westerns, not to mention was a stuntman himself for a bit. Knowing Tarantino’s extensive knowledge about film, I doubt any of this is a coincidence.
From what I remember, Burt Reynolds was meant to play George, a real life person who owned the ranch the Manson family was occupying. But since Burt died before filming, the part went to Bruce Dern.
A lot of familiar faces from Tarantino films pop up in this, if only for a scene. I got a kick out of seeing Zoë Bell showing up as Kurt Russell’s wife. If you’ve seen Death Proof you know why.
There’s a ton of faces in this, from Rumer Willis, Bruce Willis’ daughter, to Harley Quinn Smith, Kevin Smith’s daughter.
Even Maya Hawke made a quick appearance, Uma Thurman’s daughter, who I really enjoyed in the new season of Stranger Things.
The one face I didn’t see was Quentin Tarantino’s. Apparently he was in a Red Apple Cigarettes Commercial, but I don’t remember seeing that. I’m hoping there wasn’t an after credit scene I missed.
While fixing Rick’s TV antenna, he spots Charles Manson walking up to Tate’s driveway. This is Manson’s only scene and apparently one that actually happened. You see, Sharon Tate moved into this house only recently, before she lived there, Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys did.
He and Manson started up a small friendship, talking about getting Manson’s music produced. But Wilson had moved away, not telling Manson.
Manson also showed up driving an old Twinkie truck, something he actually used to drive in real life. I think you see more of that in the trailer, but was cut from the movie.
If you’ve noticed I haven’t really talk much about Sharon Tate, you’d be right as she really doesn’t have that big of a role in this movie. The biggest scene she has is when she spots a theater playing her movie and drops by to watch it.
Maybe more with her was cut for time, it was already a long movie and really Sharon Tate seem kind of like an afterthought, just like the whole Manson family anyway.
I like the idea of Rick’s fame dying, while living next to someone whose fame is rising. And then you add in the real life tragedy that occurred and you have a really interesting backdrop for a movie.
Now I knew going into this what would happen in the end. I don’t mean the real life murders, no. I mean, I know Tarantino. I knew he wouldn’t show you her brutal murder. The tone wasn’t right and honestly, I don’t think anyone would want to see that. Plus, QT has messed with alternate histories before when he killed Hitler in Inglorious Basterds. So I pretty much knew how this was going to go down.
Before that however, we get a time jump to about 6 months later. I also knew this needed to happen as Sharon Tate wasn’t even pregnant yet.
Rick and Cliff head off to Rome to film some Italian movies. Because I had just watched Inglorious Basterds, the name of the director sounded very familiar to me as it’s the person Eli Roth is pretending to be during the theater scene. If you don’t remember, it’s the name Waltz’s character made him repeat several times.
So fun little easter egg I think.
While in Rome, Rick made several spaghetti westerns and a James Bond ripoff. Cliff also got some stunt work. But Rick might have had too much of a good time and spent a good amount of his earnings there. Not to mention he picked up a lovely new bride, Francesca.
Now that his stint in Rome has finished, he’s flying back home, knowing that his relationship with Cliff is about to change. No longer can Rick employ him as his assistant, which at this point is what Cliff was.
Rick fears he might now have to sell his home and move into an apartment. But before all of that, Rick and Cliff plan on spending one last night together getting drunk and stoned.
Meanwhile, the Manson family is parked outside, trying to amp themselves up for murdering everyone in the Tate house. But their rust bucket of a car is too loud for Rick’s liking, storming outside to berate them for being hippies.
He’s able to shoo them away. But after realizing who he was and how in their mind, helps promote violence with his TV shows, Tex and the girls decide to stop by Ricks house again and kill some piggies.
Brandy, Cliff’s well trained Pitbull, needs a pee break, so Cliff decides to finally smoke that LSD laced cigarette he bought off of Pussycat.
Francesca seems a bit jetlagged, so she’s sleeping it off in Rick’s bedroom. Rick on the other hand is enjoying a margarita in the comfort of his own swimming pool.
When Cliff makes it back, he is fully tripping balls, so when Tex and the girls storm into Rick’s house, he isn’t exactly sure if this is really happening or not.
Being the badass that he is, Cliff keeps his cool, waiting for his chance to signal to Brandy to attack. Once that switch is flipped however, it’s nothing but a carnage show.
Brandy attacks Tex, basically ripping his hand off, along with his dick. Cliff bashes one of the girls in the face with a heavy metal dog food can, destroying her face. Actually, he destroys her face when he beats it repeatedly into the fireplace mantel.
Brandy switches targets and goes after the other girl, using her as a chew toy.
Still reeling from her face getting destroyed, the girl… I forget which one, runs through the glass backdoor, landing in the swimming pool with Rick. Had it with these hippies, Rick goes into the pool shed and whips out his flamethrower, a prop from one of his Nazi war movies.
After toasting her, Rick calls Cliff an ambulance since he was stabbed in the ass during the tussle.
As Rick watches his buddy get driven away, Sharon Tate introduces herself to Rick and possibly a new set of possibilities open up for his washed up movie career.
And that’s the end. I really loved this movie. Honestly, I might put it top 4 as my favorites of Tarantino’s movies.
I’d rank it, Django Unchained as number 1, number 2 Jackie Brown, Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair as number 3 and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood as number 4. If we aren’t counting The Whole Bloody Affair, I’d move Once Upon a Time… to number 3 then.
The acting is superb, especially from Leonardo DiCaprio who gives 110%. His character has this stutter, but when he starts acting, it miraculously disappears. It’s just a subtle thing I noticed, that I haven’t heard many mention yet.
Seeing Brad and Leo together is still the highlight of the film. At one point they’re just sitting there, watching Rick’s episode of FBI, while giving some commentary. It’s great!
There might be a lack of narrative, but the film makes up for it with great acting, great dialogue and characters you just want to hang out with no matter the runtime. The film is almost 3 hours long, but it never felt it to me. I could have been happy for 3 more hours, that’s how much I really enjoyed and was intrigued by these two.
Should you see this? That depends, I feel this film was tailored made for two types of people. His diehard fans and fans of old Hollywood, especially 60’s TV westerns. I’m not that last one, but I still loved every part of seeing Rick get into character and act out his scenes on set.
If that seems like something that might interest you, I say SEE IT.
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