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Archive for October 11th, 2019

 © 2019 by James Clark

      The films of Quentin Tarantino are arguably the gold standard of amusement while indirectly excoriating the history of reverence. His recent shot, Once upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019), attends in a rather special way toward his enmity regarding pious foot-soldiers on guard for the sake of half-truths, at best. The target of Hollywood might seem to be a rather minor concern, not to mention that nearly everyone intuits its flaws already. But do they?

We take a ride with Cliff, a movie stunt man/ and double, for actor, Rick, in Rick’s cream-colored Cadillac convertible. While the actor attends to his well-known métier of Western adventures, overblown, underwhelming but passionately popular, Cliff, not being needed to spare the daring in this outing, takes up his other functions as chauffeur and handyman at Rick’s mansion in the exclusive hills. This day, there is the insupportable collapse of the perhaps, sinking brand’s television antenna, the year being 1969. Two magical events occur during Cliff’s hiatus. The first is the remarkable agility of his reaching the roof—sheer acrobatics in leaping from purchase to purchase. When on the irregular roof, his panache is not only bankable but poetry. The second surprise occurs on the freeway with the top down, of course, and music on the radio, to a tune called, “Gamblin’ Man.” The pitch and volume of the sound inundating the fast car can be discerned, with the driver in closeup, that intensity of this degree is, however unspoken, a field of grace. Much remains to be explored regarding Cliff’s solitary day off; but this film invites disparate, rare and desperate action to coalesce. Some months later, and late at night, with the sidekicks about to go their separate ways (and making a last-ditch party of the crisis), Cliff and his pit bull, Brandy, take a walk in the vicinity of Rick’s opulent (but now financially threatened) castle. The acrobat, saying nothing of the earthquake but feeling much, evokes another ecstatic song, far more explosive than the treacly film productions which made the actor affluent, namely, far from matinee-idol, Chris Farlow’s, one-hit-wonder, “Out of Time”—“Baby, Baby, Baby, you’re outta’ time…” And it’s freeway-time again, because the Stones (far more explosive than the earnest writer) know their Hollywood-Rare. The latter’s, wisely distorting the phrase, “Baby, Baby, Baby, you’re outta’ ooaa” [connoting, both “time” and “sight”]. The fateful musical presentation penetrates the mansion next door, the short-lease range of the now-pregnant starlet, Sharon Tate, where a dizzy anti-climax is about to unfold, which obliges us to consider a step far more demanding of nuance than Hollywood can afford. Back to Cliff, on the rich man’s roof, who couldn’t miss hearing the neighbor’s music, a bemusing effort by the laughably named, “Paul Revere and the Raiders.” (more…)

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