Did you know that Quentin Tarantino had novelised his ninth film? Neither did I. Let’s take a look and What’s the Difference?
As a Tarantino fan since the early 90s – geez, that makes me sound even older than I am – I have to come clean on Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. I didn’t like it.
I’ll even go a step further and say that his previous film, Hateful Eight, wasn’t good either.
Unlike Hateful Eight, which had a decisive moment when the film fell apart (Tarantino’s voice over setting up the third act just ruined everything for me), Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was entirely pedestrian. It always felt like a film avoiding being anything other than a love letter to Hollywood films of the 60s.
In fairness to the movie, Tarantino was clearly trying to subvert many of the usual movie moments and be more about actors making great films. For example, the scene at the ranch was setup for a fight for Pitt’s character (Cliff Booth) and the Manson acolytes. Instead, Tarantino subverts that moment and there is no fight, allowing us plenty more time for DiCaprio’s character to learn about method acting from his child co-star.
That the novelisation is quite different from the film isn’t particularly surprising. It’s pretty difficult to make Brad Pitt into a thoroughly unlikable character in a movie. Something to do with charisma and production credits. But the book is unconstrained by actor charisma, which makes it a good opportunity to throw the character under the bus.
Regardless of Tarantino’s future literary aspirations, I hope his tenth/final film is able to cement his career as one of the greats.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Who is Cliff Booth anyway?
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a celebrated installment in writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s oeuvre. So when he came out with a book adaptation of the story, we were first in line to read it. But was the book markedly different from the film, and do those differences mean something big? We think so and we’ll explain in this Book vs. Film on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – The New Ending.