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Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties

Douglas Caddy

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9 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

I saw "Once up on time  in Hollywood Tonight".


I will be reviewing this rubbish along with Tom's book.

Once again Tarantino rewrites history about the murders just like he did with Hitler (killed in a movie theater like they tried to get Oswald). What's the point? Life is really happy endings? Tragedy is illusion?



Edited by Ron Ecker
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John Barbour was actually being kind.

This film shows just how bankrupt Tarantino's imagination is in every way: visually, dramatically, and storywise.

That scene he describes with Pitt at Spahn Ranch was so overdirected, it reminded me of Psycho and the build up to Balsam's slaughter.  Except all Pitt does is go into Spahn's bedroom and talk to him. What happened afterward is even dumber.

This was the wrong film at the right time.  

Edited by James DiEugenio
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My wife is totally committed to seeing this film tonight.

I mentioned our member reviews and she referred me to Mick LaSalle's review of this film in the San Francisco Chronicle.

I just read LaSalle's review.

Beyond fawning.

The Robert Ebert movie review site also praises the film.

Am I the only one that thinks Tarantino is way overrated?

I couldn't stand Pulp Fiction. 

And John Travolta has never done if for me. 

I could never get "Vinnie Barbarino / Tony Manero" out of my mind no matter what role I viewed John Travolta in.

"Battlefield Earth" is a classic though.

Edited by Joe Bauer
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I just recently viewed a 6 part documentary on Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys via You Tube.

In one part there is quite a lot of discussion regards Dennis Wilson's personal involvement with Manson.

It began with Wilson driving down the Coast highway and picking up two female hitchhikers who happened to be Manson's girls.

This led to meeting Manson himself.

Wilson was taken by Manson at first.

And soon enough, Manson and his clan were living in Wilson's home with him!

The open sex with Manson's harem surely had something to do with this.

But things turned ugly of course and Wilson left the home and Manson's family who had to find new digs because of the cutoff.

There is an account shared by one of Wilson's best friends after this split and the Beach Boys had recorded a song with some of Manson's lyrics but gave Manson no creative credit.

Manson tracked down Wilson afterwards and violently confronted him about what Manson perceived to be the ultimate back stabbing act of leaving Manson out of this record's credits and royalties.

The friend said Wilson went outside the house to deal with Manson and came in soon after ( white as a sheet) and frantically asked for his guitar and cash, which Wilson had to hand over to Manson that minute.

Manson scared almost everyone he dealt with and even tough guy Dennis Wilson feared him greatly. When Manson was finally arrested and incarcerated, there was a big sigh of relief throughout L.A.


Edited by Joe Bauer
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I saw the movie last night, also.  The point might be made that it's not a Manson movie, any more than Inglourious Basterds (which it resembles) is a WW II movie.  It succeeds on its own terms, and not on the terms we might wish.  At one point, the point where Sharon Tate does housework while listening to a Paul Revere & the Raiders record, I reflected that if the film took on the mood of the thoughtful, slightly spooky photos of Tate that the visuals are based on, it would risk descending into TV-movie bathos. 

Tate, who seemed to have everything, had a sad, uncertain, ephemeral life that ended in pain and ugly mystery - but this film isn't about that.  It's not a film aimed at The Great American Moviegoing Public so esteemed by Louis B. Mayer.  Or else it is, and that public has changed, in part because Tarantino had Hitler and Goebbels machine-gunned in the face in IG, and people went, "Cool - we've been waiting for that." 

And perhaps it's time someone took the p*ss out of Bruce Lee.  In 20 years, someone will do the same to Pitt and DiCaprio.

Edited by David Andrews
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How does it succeed on its own terms David?

I mean in what terms is an "Asian" member of the Family screaming homicidally in Burt Reynolds' pool with a knife in her hand dispersing blood all over the water, only to be literally extinguished by Reynolds bringing out a flame thrower and torching her?  How is that "successful"?  

Were people waiting for that?  I sure as heck was not.  Neither was the person I went with.  Not one person applauded after the film was over. In fact, they largely dispersed very quickly.   (Maybe this was an adjunct to Pitt throwing Lee, since people wants Asians to get their comeuppance?  If so I think the audience missed it.)

BTW, in case you don't know, DiCaprio is modeled on Burt Reynolds and Pitt is modeled on his pal Hal Needham, who Tarantino once gave an award to.  BTW, Needham was one of the worst film directors to ever take the helm.

If you see this film, you will understand why Tarantino still belongs at that video store down in Manhattan Beach where Jane Hamsher discovered him.


Edited by James DiEugenio
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13 hours ago, Robert Harper said:

If he's being kind as Jim D says... My first thought after listening was Why don't you tell us how you Really feel sir?  I know he's 86 but it felt like Barbour wanted to try to kick Tarantino's butt, for more than just wasting his time.

He says in essence the film doesn't really deal with the murders if I understood right.  Is there any chance it might arouse interest in them, people wanting to know what really happened?

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Tarantino said that his film really deals with changes going on in the film business and America at the time.

What a pile of BS that is.

Tarantino has about as much interest in those subjects as I have in the science of astrophysics.  The guy is quite simply ahistorical and anti intellectual.

Its true his film is not about what happened those two nights, or with the Family. In fact, it even makes up stuff in that regard.  For instance, it was not Tate who talked to Manson at her door when he went there after Melcher moved out.

The truth is the film is not really about anything.  Except maybe people driving around Los Angeles.  I mean, the time he takes filming those scenes is ridiculous.  When Godard did that in Breathless, there was a point to it. There is no point to it here except Tarantino likes filming those scenes--I mean we all know what he did with Uma Thurman on that score.

But the worst part of the film is it is so shallow in its characterizations.  No actor can be good because there isn't anything for him to be good about.  Except maybe Reynolds' frustration with his career. Therefore, if anyone wanted to see a movie about Reynolds and Needham on their tough way up in Hollywood, then just get the DVD and edit out all the Family stuff. 

I would have rather watched a documentary about that.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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53 minutes ago, Stephanie Goldberg said:

Just as an FYI - I have read SO MANY books lately which had the lousiest indexes.  If you need someone to make sure your work is properly indexed, LMK.  I'll do the work for the swap of one published copy.

This is so valuable. I once looked into writing a non-fiction book, but I was adamant about having it indexed well. Back then (1990s) the cost of an indexer was high. Thanks for offering this to everyone, Stephanie. You're very kind.

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Jim, boy, you takin' this all too serious!  There's intellect and there's intellect.  You knew the ending going in, and you saw the trailer, as I did.  What more did y'all expect?

Here's Mikey Madison, the actor who played "Sadie":


Did Tarentino cast her because she, like many Angelinos, is of Asian-Caucasian heritage?  Or because she had the equivalent of crazy Sadie Mae Glutz eyes?

Is it really Asian bashing to see her get flame-throwered in a pool, or to see Bruce Lee get his ass kicked?  You gettin' reactionary here, like Trotsky discoverin' we ain't all good intellectuals.

If you look at the Bounty Killer faux-TV footage, it bears an overwhelming resemblance not to anything Burt Reynolds did on TV, but to Steve McQueen's black-and-white western Wanted Dead or Alive.  The opening credits, which are telling, are at the end of this clip:

Jim, you workin' yourself up to Lemkin levels of outrage over this.  Why - because it has a big budget?  Try The Haunting of Sharon Tate if you want to be truly offended.

Seriously, Jim - Hollywood hasn't caught up with the backstage horrors of Cielo Drive the way we have on the Forum, and the way Tom O'Neill and William Weston have.  When it does, that'll be a four-hour movie, not 2:30.  If Hollywood will make it, and not bury it like every JFK-CT film since Oliver Stone.  (And where is Stone when we need him on the Manson thing, anyway?  Probably saying, "You don't need me on this - what are you talking about?"  Which is also what Tarantino is saying.) 

I'm happy for small touches like Tarantino showing Sharon Tate buying Tess of the d'Urbervilles for Polanski, a moment that later produced Polanski's rather good film of that novel.  When/if they do do Cielo Drive right, will it include the less savory side of Polanski that Tom O'Neill and others have discovered?

PS - The audience I saw it with cheered when the flamethrower came out at the end.  Guess we's all just anti intellectual.



Edited by David Andrews
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I appreciate the humor, but no I did not know the ending going in, as there was a debate about that.  And I did not see the trailer.

And although the Bounty Killer does resemble Wanted  Dead or Alive, there is no doubt the character is modeled on Reynolds.  I mean just look at the Spaghetti Western poster in the film, and how he actually used the director of the spaghetti western Reynolds made, Sergio Corbucci, in the film. 

I guess we have a disagreement about the value of Tarantino and his treatment of serious subjects. I think its better no one deals with these matters than films like this.


Edited by James DiEugenio
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