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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Fractured Fairy Tale

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

In this period piece firmly set in 1969, there really was a dreamy, sexpot actress from Missouri named Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie.) She was living with her husband, famous director Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha) in the Holly­wood hills. There really was at the time a hippie cult under the charis­matic command of one Charles Manson (Damon Herriman.) Together these made head­lines one fate­ful night. Fabricated for the movie are: declining TV Western star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio,) his long­time stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt,) and the latter's pet bull­dog Brandy. Rick's home in the movie adjoins the Polanski estate at a cul-de-sac on Cielo Dr.. He hopes to one day meet the famous director to bolster his flagging career.

Among the many period songs heard is one about “Snoopy and the Red Baron.” In the Great War there really was a German baron, flying ace called the “Red Baron” on account of all the planes he downed. He was infamous. Snoopy is a comic book beagle who in the song takes on the Red Baron in an aerial duel. Although I'm cognizant of the historical German pilot and his exploits, it's the “real dog fight” that sticks in my mind.


Which translation is God's word?

The wisdom books in the Bible contain certain enigmas. (Psalm 78:2) “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old.” (Prov. 1:6) “To under­stand a proverb, and the inter­pre­tation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.” Solomon dealt in same, and one of his was, (Eccl. 4:13-14) “Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.” In our movie we find “a poor and a wise child” in eight-year-old Western co-star Trudi (Julia Butters) who skips her lunch to be alert on set, and is at the top of her game. We have “an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished” in Spahn's Movie Ranch's elderly owner George Spahn (Bruce Dern) who is completely taken advantage of by the Manson hippies who squat on his property. “For out of prison he cometh to reign” applies to Cliff and his erst­while brush(es) with the law concerning his speculated murder of his wife and what­not. “He that is born in his kingdom becometh poor” would, of course, refer to Rick who once featured in movies shot on Spahn's Movie Ranch but whose career is now in decline. We might want to take a look at the creative development of the movie to help us ferret out the meaning of the dark saying.

There's an odd literary bent in the movie, and not just in its title. Rick's reading material features a rodeo star nick­named Easy Breezy for his bronco busting skills until his age creeps up on him. The Western director commends Rick for his triple alliteration in his ad lib, “beaner bronco buster.” The spaghetti westerns shot in Italy using multiple tongues are defined by their “Tower of Babel movie style.” And there's the bloody Red Baron, the colorful hippie names, and the magazine publisher's Play­boy Mansion. Let's look at book metaphors.

Historian George F. Willison describes the King James Version (KJV) as “one of the towering monuments in our literature, a poetic master­piece that has colored the thought and speech of the English-speaking world more than three centuries” (52). Bible collector Donald L. Blake writes: “Those who support the superiority of the 1611 King James Version … over other versions … bear witness to its enduring legacy as England's most famous literary achievement” (220). George P. Marsh in an 1859 post­graduate English lecture regarding the KJV—back when it was about the only English Bible available—stated: “Now, in the early part of the sixteenth century, when the development of our religious dialect was completed, the English mind, and the English language, were generally in a state of culture much more analogous to that of the people and the tongues of Palestine than they have been at any other subsequent period” (452). As literature goes it is metaphorically a wise child, though poor now through diminished usage. That's better than the “old and foolish king,” the modern versions that dominate the religious scene who have gone downhill and crowded out the KJV.

Coming from prison leaves one with a dirty vocabulary as was Cliff's—one movie patron next to me exited at some of his speech. Like­wise, compared to the sacred dialect of the KJV, translations into regular speech seem corrupt on the face of them. As George P. Marsh put it in an 1859 post­graduate lecture on the English Bible. (448–9):

the English Bible sustains, and always has sustained to the general English tongue, the position of a treatise upon a special know­ledge requiring, like any branch of science, a special nomen­clature and phrase­ology. The language of the law, for example, in both vocabu­lary and structure, differs widely from that of unpro­fes­sional life; the language of medicine, of meta­physics, of astronomy, of chemistry, of mechanical art, all these have their approp­riate idioms, very diverse from the speech which is the common heri­tage of all. Why, then, should theology, the highest of know­ledges, alone be required to file her tongue to the vulgar utterance, when every other human interest has its own approp­riate expression, which no man thinks of conforming to a standard that, because it is too common, can hardly be other than unclean?

As for one born in his kingdom becoming poor, that would be Rick and his inevitable decline as an actor, and language dialects falling out of general use. Scholar Joshua What­mough writes that, “Within the territory of a language, wide deviations of dialect may be found … Such deviations disturb communications, they do not completely disrupt it. And they are, in all known languages, past and present, a constant feature, like archaisms (e.g. in religious or legal terminology) …” (51, 28). We are better off with the KJV and a dictionary if needed.

Production Values

” (2019) was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie. All three had knock­out scenes. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt worked really well together. Good performances were had by Al Pacino as a producer and by Bruce Dern as George Spahn who owned the movie ranch. There was a rich mix of other parts as well.

MPAA rated it R for language throughout, some strong graphic violence, drug use, and sexual references. The music of the time provides a nostalgic sound­track; the cinema­tog­raphy is splendid. Punctilious detail was maintained for this period picture of 1969 Hollywood. Tarantino creates a parallel universe by mixing real-life and fictional characters,

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

“Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” is a great homage to Hollywood of 1969. The characters are varied and interesting, and the plot moves along at a steady pace with converging lines. I expected it to be darker, and it does have its moments. It's a memorable flick.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, Print.

Blake, Donald L. A Visual History of the King James Bible. Grand Rapids: BakerBooks, 2011. Print.

Marsh, George P. “Early English especially appropriate to the translation of the Bible.”
       Lectures on the English Language. London: John Murray, 1863. Print.
       ——available to read or download at www.bibles.n7nz.org.

Marsh, George P. “Formation of our English sacred dialect.”
       Lectures on the English Language. London: John Murray, 1863. Print.
       ——available to read or download at www.bibles.n7nz.org.

Whatmough, Joshua. Language A Modern Synthesis. New York: Mentor Books, 1957. Print.

Willison, George F. Saints and Strangers. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1945. Print.