For some years now, Quentin Tarantino has been at the forefront of every aspiring filmmaker’s “top 10 directors” list. With no experience outside of working at a movie rental store, Tarantino has made an impressive career for himself by recycling tropes and scenarios from Spaghetti Westerns and slasher B-movies.
Despite his obvious and recurrent use of racial slurs, many of his fans remain fiercely loyal. His unpredictable violence, catchy dialogue, and unchronological plots seem to make up for his poor moral judgement. It is often argued that the use of racial slurs are necessary in his period pieces such as Django Unchained or H ateful Eight; however, he himself says it in Pulp Fiction repeatedly without shame.
On top of all this, there were accusations brought towards Tarantino recently in regard to the abusive behavior he displayed towards actress Uma Thurman on the set of the Kill Bill films.
Recently, Tarantino has released his ninth film, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. Several theatres in Chicago are screening the film in 70mm. I, as well as many of my fellow friends involved in the film industry, are feeling conflicted as to whether or not we should fork up the cash for the tickets and go.
A friend of mine recently attended a showing at the Music Box Theater and said, with no surprise, that the film had several racist jokes at the expense of Mexicans and Native Americans, but what made it more disappointing was the fact that these jokes got laughs and applause from the audience.
In trying to sort out my emotions towards whether or not I will attend, I have worked out lists of pros and cons.
Pros being that I want to be able to have enough knowledge of the film to join in on the heated discussions. I also believe it is important to seek out art that makes you uncomfortable.
In the same way one would with politics, it is important to be aware of the things that upset you. Also, at the very least, you can count on some artfully framed foot shots and a great soundtrack.
In opposition, the cons list is a bit heftier. First and foremost, I don’t want to support the film financially. I’m also aware that I pretty much know exactly what to expect from the film. His most
recent film, The Hateful Eight (also known as Reservoir Dogs: Cowboy Edition) lacked much of anything original in comparison with his previous work.
There is one new aspect to this film but to me, it raises cause for concern. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood does follow the actual historical events regarding Charles Manson, Roman Pulanski, and the murder of Sharon Tate. As deeply as I do not want to make too many assumptions, I fear the romanticization of another serial killer.
In conclusion (if you want to call it that)…
All this being said, there is only one way to form an honest opinion and that is by seeing the movie. The truth is, Tarantino is going to reel in the big bucks from the film no matter what. He’s sitting back playing the world’s smallest violin for all of us who disagree with his “artistic vision.”
Therefore, I’ve decided to see the film with a group of friends and then throw a roast party afterwards where we tear it to shreds. There are plenty of ways to go! You could pirate it (illegal but fun), go in with an open heart and mind, or ignore its existence entirely! I am curious to know the thoughts of audience members and what this film’s success says about the future of filmmaking.
Elaine Pugsley is a screenwriting student at Columbia College Chicago. Her research interests include representation of gender and feminism in pop culture, and how to increase the voices of women in the writers’ rooms, behind the camera, and on screen. She shares a birthday with Agnes Varda and her current favorite color is green.