Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Babylon

Finally saw the QT movie. Will add notes to this over the course of the evening. But right away I have to say the surprise star was the red pit bull Sayuri — best use of a trained dog since the Lassie/Rin Tin Tin days (which is the idea, of course). I swear a few times I thought she obviously understood English. Another good profile.

All the positive stuff you’ve heard/read/wallowed in is close to on-target (I put it in the Top 3 QT, D the Top 2 — just after Pulp Fiction). My favorite graphic moment is the homage to the last James Dean poster image of him reclining in the car.

The other surprise score of the film for me is the aces incarnation of a Manson follower by Margaret Qualley. Yeah, she’s extra-crazy-and-mostly-nude and beyond liberated expressive. But she does a superb job of introducing the dark side (except I think the idea of exuberant female sexuality as a mark of a suspicious person is a bunch of shite).

Which leads us to the big failing for me. The “Dirty Harry killed Evil Hippies” aspect is there, but it’s handled with enough nuances that it doesn’t bother me as much as before I saw the flick. What does bug me is that the Mason women are depicted as evil witches in thrall to the Devil. Sure, some had clear psychopath personalities (Squeaky is the champ), but they were more like dope-addled deranged groupies. Plus, I think one of the assailants bailing on the enterprise is pret-ty convenient: three attackers are a lot more easy for one tuff guy to fend off than four.

Anyway, it is a must-see. And the reminders of all the murder and racist violence Boomers grew up seeing is, agonizingly, welcome.

PS: Complaints that this movie reduces to pulp seem crazy to me. All QT does is pulp. If it’s beyond-superlative pulp like this, yeah! I mean, where in his movies does he get outside the video store?


1 thought on “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Babylon

  1. “Sure, some had clear psychopath personalities (Squeaky is the champ)”

    You watch that ID Discovery documentary, “Manson: The Women” and tell me I’m wrong. Still utterly obsessed with Uncle Charlie.

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