My expectation and excitement for “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood” was off the charts! The trailer! The cast! The iconic filming locations! And Quentin!
A facebook friend, (I have met in person more than a few times) a curmudgeon journalist (CJ), was RAVING about the film. And he rarely raves about anything unless it’s about obscure musicians.
So Friday night, I bounced my energy into a request to Shaka that we go see the film.
“I don’t know how long it’s been that I have seen a movie on opening night,” he says.
But CJ had mentioned seeing the film in 35mm. So Shaka, taking CJ’s recommendation seriously says his only request is that we see it in 35 mm.
Well, the Arclight was showing a LOT of screenings but the next 35mm version was at 11pm on Friday. It’s a 2 hour 40 min flick. Um…
So we buy tickets for Saturday, happy with our decision.
Saturday morning, we wake up to find out that Mads and ST8 had gone to the opening night 7pm show in 70mm! Shaka was like, “Aw man! We should have seen it in 70mm!”
I had no retort because I would have seen the film projected on a sheet at this point. Then we see photos of Zappy and Roni who went to the screening AFTER Mads and St8!!!!! We really should have rallied.
But regrets aside, we went to the Saturday matinee to see it in 35mm. And it that kind of timing was fine by me.
I will not spoil anything, but I will say, my expectations were not exactly met.
BUT BUT BUT I loved it!!!!
AND, it stayed with me for the next week.
A friend of mine’s daughter is in it and is fantastic!
Another friend’s brother is in it! So many cameos.
So many layers.
Mads, Zappy and Jazzy and I are regulars (well not as much lately) at El Coyote. In the film, Sharon Tate and her friends are seen in El Coyote (where Sharon had her last meal). I was under the assumption I knew where the booth they sat was. In the film, Sharon and her friends are ushered to a different table.
With Quentin’s attention to detail, I was wondering if he was wrong…or I was.
I was a little uneasy typing Sharon Tate El Coyote last meal booth
But I did. And every result said that it was the correct booth in the film.
Mads and Zappy and I were texting how much we all loved the film and wanted to meet up to go over our thoughts on it.
Musso and Frank’s or El Coyote. I voted for El Coyote cuz…chips.
So we gathered in a booth and caught up on our weeks. I mentioned something about someone I met being good good looking and Zappy sighed, “Talk about good looking…BRAD PITT!”
And just like that, we were on the topic that brought us together to drink margaritas.
Two of my co-workers did not like the film. Like, at all. When I told Shaka, he thought it was because they are too young to understand the tapestry of the culture at that time. I mean, we are too, but we are still closer to that time than my co-workers. Zappy thought it was because younger people are used to the idea of crazy groups rather than just crazy individuals. And back in 1969, the stakes were pretty high for letting go of your innocence to understand that dark group-think was present. Mads added that it’s quite a polarizing film for these various reasons.
I asked Mads if she knew where the actual booth was. She thought it was where I had thought it was. She tried to nudge me into asking the waiter. If I felt weird typing that shit, I sure as bubs wasn’t going to say it out loud to someone. Plus, I kind of liked knowing I may be wrong. I never wanted to sit in the booth I thought it was. I don’t need any ghost encounters or weird vibes with my guacamole. But if I didn’t know, then all booths were safe. A sort of bastardized Schrödinger’s cat experiment.
The CJ was deleting people on social media who were trashing the film before they had seen it. Shaka supported that. I get that it’s not just a movie for some. It’s more about what the movie represents.
I found it intriguing how the Manson story was always in the background, weaving its way through the film, building tension when you see the world of the past, intersecting with the world of the future.
Mads, Zappy and I decided we definitely wanted to see it again.
One of my favorite visuals in the film was watching a dusk shot of neon signs all over LA turning on to welcome evening. Its significance felt like the end of the line for some of the characters, the end of the literal day, the end of a summer of innocence and the end of an era. Also it felt like it was signalling the end of the film (which was fine since I needed to pee).
As we left El Coyote and headed to the parking lot to get our cars (under one of those flickering neon signs), we waited in a longer line than I had EVER seen. We surmised it was due to the film’s release.
I drove back home with warm summer evening air, barely breezing my skin as I drove past the Hollywood Blvd, and then passing the crowds at the Hollywood Bowl.
I love this town.
I love its history – both the roses and thorns.
I love the industry.
I love films ABOUT this town.
I love good storytelling.
I love fairy tales, even this Tarantino-esque form of one.
And although my expectations were not met in some ways, I loved this film for things I never expected! That a movie like this can spur on conversations that lead me to a night like this.
A weird happily ever after.