A longer version of the directors hit Tinseltown Oscar front-runner has hit US cinemas with 10 more minutes of questionable action

After I saw Quentin Tarantinos summer hit Once Upon A Time In Hollywood I actually said to a friend: All I want is to watch more of Brad Pitt just driving around Los Angeles. When I heard that a new cut added 10 whole minutes to the already breezy 161-minute film, I was hoping for more of the hangin out vibe between the Tinseltown working stiffs played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Though I love the movie, and Im glad this last-minute rerelease got me off my bum to see it in a cinema a second time, Id like to issue a clarifying warning to anyone thinking of buying a ticket: manage your expectations!

The new footage isnt added scene work. Its two gags, a throwaway moment that gets a little stretched out and one thing thats pretty cool but completely unnecessary. Moreover, they bookend the movie two bits before the studio logo and two bits after all the closing credits have run. These are DVD bonus features and nothing more. But, again, these are DVD bonus features for one of the best movies of the year.

The first of the four moments is a fake commercial for Red Apple cigarettes, the fictional brand that has appeared in many previous Tarantino films. There already was a spoof Red Apple commercial that rolled alongside the closing credits; if you ran to the rest room as soon as DiCaprios Rick Dalton entered the Polanski-Tate house you may have missed this the first time. But this one is in color, and is a few talking heads biting into a red apple, and then smoking a Red Apple cigarette. Its just as banal and annoying as an actual television ad from 1969, so, in terms of world-building, its great.

Theres also a nice punchline at the end, when Burt Reynolds Actor (played by James Marsden) shows up to endorse the smokes. Marsden had been announced as playing Reynolds before the movie debuted at Cannes but was cut, so this is a nice there he is! for hardcore Marsden-heads, who probably do exist somewhere.

The second fake ad is for Old Chattanooga beer, which is Pitts Cliff Booths brand of choice in the film for when hes making mac and cheese and watching Mannix with his dog. Tarantino and his team really nailed the look and feel of old commercials; the film stock, the voice over, the shot of the six-pack covered in crushed ice do provide some nostalgic comfort to those who remember American television of a previous era. I wish I could grab one and yank its old, sharp, unsafe pull-tabs right now.

Brad
Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth. Photograph: Andrew Cooper/Handout

After these two enjoyable moments, the movie plays in full. Ill take this opportunity to say that if you liked it a lot the first time and were on the fence about seeing it a second time: go. This is a gorgeous movie that deserves the big screen, and watching it without wondering when it will break from history and who will live or die is a rewarding experience. The craftiness of the screenplay really struck me this time. I picked up on more of the symmetry between the three storylines of Dalton, Booth and Margot Robbies Sharon Tate. There was also more time to study all of the 1969-era billboards on those California roads.

When all the closing credits ended, the third, longest and best added scene began. Its a finished sequence from the pilot to Lancer, the show-within-the-film that Dalton co-stars in. We watch a stagecoach roll into town and Luke Perry in a powder blue suit gets out. He sees his brother (Timothy Olyphant) and they verbally spar with one another. Dont call me brother! is clearly meant to be Lancers catchphrase.

Since there is no inherent drama in the scene (it has no relevance to the actual story of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) its hard to care about whats being said. Its essentially just a dry scene set on a western-dressed backlot. However, the little girl Julia Butters (the one who tells DiCaprio that was the best acting Ive seen in my life) gets more screen time, and this is, as Ben Kingsley says in Schindlers List, an absolute good.

When the scene ends, the hyperactive director Sam Wanamaker (played by Nicholas Hammond) shouts look out Hayley Mills!

The final added scene is the only one that feels like cheating. At the beginning of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood theres a clip of Daltons old television show Bounty Law. Here we see it again, only longer. More Michael Madsen sounding tough. Shrug.

The one thing I can say in its defense is that when the show cuts to commercial, we get an announcement saying that Bounty Law is brought to us by Red Apple cigarettes (naturally) but also by Hostess Brands Twinkies, Americas Favorite Snack Cake. Theres maybe some kind of twisted poetry to one of the best movies about how the pop culture confection gets made ending with a pitch for a sugary sponge.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

 

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