Episode 578: Bounty Lawyer DGAF

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie.

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Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather head for the Hollywood Hills as they consider Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood from the perspective of representation and reality. (And “reality.”)

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7 Comments on “Episode 578: Bounty Lawyer DGAF”

  1. Three Act Destructure #

    As a Polanski fan (sorry), my cinema snob senses started tingling when you mentioned Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Although it’s one of the few of his I haven’t seen (yet), I did remember that Polanski had directed an adaptation of the book. What I did NOT realize is how appropriate the reference is to this particular narrative. From Wikipedia:

    “Polanski was inspired to make the film by his wife Sharon Tate, who gave him a copy of Tess of the d’Urbervilles. She said it would make a great film and expressed interest in playing the part of Tess. It was the last time Polanski saw her alive, as she was departing back for America while he stayed on a while longer in Europe to finish working on a film. She was murdered by the Manson Family on 9 August 1969 while he was away. The film is dedicated to her (‘To Sharon’) at the beginning.”

    Also, this was the first film that he made after he had fled from the States because of his trial. Perhaps in Tarantino’s universe, Polanski was able to cast Tate in the role and never had his own fall from grace.


  2. John C Member #

    I feel like this movie is basically the confluence of everything I don’t find particularly interesting, but love that it can be used as an outline for a discussion ranging over a bunch of much more interesting topics, so at least enjoyed the episode…
    Tangentially related, has anybody made any sense out of the “Tarantino wants to make the next Star Trek movie” thing? I’m baffled by the Venn diagram, there.


    • clayschuldt #

      I was thinking about that. Star Trek ended its first run in 1969, so the show would have been fresh on the minds of Hollywood, yet it is not referenced in this film.
      I could see QT pushing an extremely retro Star Trek, but it still seems like a leap


      • Three Act Destructure #

        He had some choice quotes about his Star Trek project while doing the press tour for this movie; a lot of praise for Shatner specifically. Sounds very much like a Pulp Fictionified version of the original series that doesn’t take any direction from the rest of the franchise. So yeah, very much just a retro throwback. Like The Brady Bunch movies from the 90s, I guess.

        I mean, sure, why not? Star Trek is just dead meat being picked apart by vultures these days. Might as well let one of the more interesting scavengers take a bite.

        My favorite though was when he talked about the timeline shenanigans: “Now, I still don’t quite understand – and J.J. can’t explain it to me, and my editor has tried to explain it to me and I still don’t get it … Something happened in the first movie that kind of wiped the slate clean? I don’t buy that. I don’t like it. I don’t appreciate it. I don’t … fuck that! Alright? I don’t like that… I want the whole series to have happened, it just hasn’t happened yet. No, Benedict Cumberbatch or whatever his name is, is not Khan. Khan is Khan. I told J.J. I don’t understand this, I don’t like it. And he went: ‘Ignore it! Nobody likes it! I don’t understand it. Do whatever you want. If you want it to happen in the exact way it happened on the series, it can.’”

        Boy, that’s just one of those quotes that really doesn’t paint anyone in a good light.


        • John C Member #

          The timeline thing should be especially embarrassing, given how carefully the first JJ movie explains to the audience that it’s OK, your favorite timeline is still over there and this one is here for legitimate reasons, so please no comments about destroying anyone’s childhood.
          Apart from that, what’s interesting to me is that I could easily see a “mature” Star Trek working, because the first batch of episodes include racism, sexism, references to alcoholism among the crew, an illegal drug trade, possible sex slavery, and so forth, and that’d be amazing to explore how that fits with Starfleet’s ideals, but…Tarantino doesn’t really seem like the guy to take those issues on.


          • Three Act Destructure #

            It’s interesting how little of Star Trek’s idealism originally came from Gene Rodenberry. Most of it was just cobbled together by off-hand worldbuilding thrown out during the third (and most maligned) season, a while after he’d already left.

            The show in its early days, as you pointed out, wasn’t the franchise as it is now. It was being run by a guy who had actually been a Captain and it shows. This is one of the reasons that I actually really love Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Rodenberry Trek always feels like a totally different beast.

            Remember that the pitch that Rodenberry and the studios agreed on for Star Trek was “Wagon Train to the stars.” And that Tarantino just did four Westerns in a row. So probably something along those lines.

          • John C Member #

            If I remember correctly, Nichelle Nichols used to talk about (maybe it was in her memoir?) how she liked to correct Roddenberry to point out that he was really more making “Gulliver’s Travels to the Stars.” That’s always been important to me, because (a) social satire really is Star Trek’s sweet spot and (b) it emphasizes that the Federation really doesn’t work as a utopia, since a big part of the premise is wrecking other people’s utopias.
            And the funny thing (and the reason I’ve been focusing on what the Federation seems to actually be in Kirk’s day) is that, for all the complaints about Discovery not showing the society they’re defending…none of the shows ever did that, except DS9 that returned to the “yeah, it’s not that great, but it’s home” approach.
            (Oh, I also forgot that two early episodes predict a race war with telepaths and while they’re in the middle of highly progressive prison reform, it turns out the man credited with the reforms is dangerous. Both are very enticing plot-lines.)

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