Low Key


Is 'Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood' Better or Worse if You Know the Full Manson-Sharon Tate Story?

Season 1, Ep. 37

Do you need to know the history of the Manson Family and Sharon Tate to appreciate "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"? That's one of our first questions in our wrap-up of Quentin Tarantino's latest.

Every week on "Low Key" we talk about pop culture moments we think others may have missed. This week: Prior to "Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood," one of your hosts, Tim, knew much too much about the Manson murders. But your other two ghosts, Keith and Aaron, didn't know that Manson's followers killed Sharon Tate and her friends in August of 1969.

That means this episode offers you two radically different perspectives on the film. Does it work if you've read up on the Manson murders? Does it work if you haven't? Did Aaron and Keith watch a totally different movie than Tim did?

We also talk about Tim's exclusive interview this week with Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee's daughter, about the screen legend's portrayal in the film. Shannon Lee says she understood the film was meant as a revenge fantasy, but felt, as she watched, as if her father was treated disrespectfully for laughs.

We also talk about whether we should believe anything in the film that happens from the P.O.V. of Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Did he misremember his encounter with Bruce Lee? Did he misremember his encounter with the Mansons?

There's a lot to break down this episode as we try to understand "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood."

Here are some of the points we discuss, and when we discuss them, with time stamps:

2:21: What it's like to watch "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" if you don't know the real-life details of how Sharon Tate and her friends were killed.

3:07: "This is the opposite of a horror movie."

5:25: "I don't think it's one of his best films. I wouldn't watch it again."

7:05: Tim offers three different interpretations of the film.

7:30: Is the whole film an attack on "Social-Media Justice Warriors"? (Thanks for that phrase, Neal Brennan.)

10:15: How essential is LSD to this movie?

14:48: Does Amy Nicholson's new podcast, "Quentin Tarantino's Feature Presentation," contain a huge clue about how to interpret "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"?

16:42: "Keith, let me ask you... how many black people are in this film?"

17:19: "There was a point in time... I forgot that it was a Tarantino movie."

19:25: Let's talk about the whole wife thing.

21:25: Why Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is kind of a "nightmare figure."

21: 30: Tim gets corrected

22:17: We list the Tarantino characters who aren't pretty terrible people

24:50: Let's discuss Tim's exclusive interview earlier this week with Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee's daughter

35:20: Did Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) have enough to do onscreen?

36:30: Tim recommends this story by Trey Williams on why the book Sharon Tate buys for Roman Polanski, "Tess d'Urbervilles," is significant

42:30: Does "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" have "a replay quality"?

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