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Singing, Dancing, and Flamethrowing: The Parallels Between Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and La La Land

By on September 5, 2019 in About the Beats, Genre, Today's Blog with 24 Comments
Old buddies confronting age and a probable showbiz decline

Old buddies confronting age and a probable showbiz decline

You might think it’s absurd to point out the similarities between the films La La Land and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood  because, well… what could they possibly have in common? One is a break-into-song musical in the style of MGM technicolor extravaganzas from the 1940s and ’50s and the other is an ode to showbiz circa 1969 by way of the Spaghetti Western. One is draped in colored lights and chiffon, the other in dark, grimy leather chaps. One has a soundtrack of original piano show tunes, the other has a rock score curated from the vaults of KHJ radio.

They could not possibly look and feel more different… but are they? The more I thought about them, the more parallels emerged, especially when viewed through the STC! genre and story microscopes. I’ve been wanting to write about La La Land again, and I wanted to write about Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood almost immediately, so this is an opportunity to do both. The process reminded me how Blake Snyder’s methods of investigating narrative never fail to illuminate fundamental laws of storytelling. Beware: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Young lovers pursuing improbable showbiz dreams

Young lovers pursuing improbable showbiz dreams

GENRE

Most film critics would place the musical and the western into their own distinct genres, but not Blake Snyder, or any of us here at Save the Cat! We have our own genre system based on story premise, not style. The story of La La Land (LLL) chronicles the perils and sacrifices encountered by co-protagonists trying to break into showbiz where failure means psychological death. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (OUATIH)  chronicles the perils and sacrifices encountered by co-protagonists trying to maintain showbiz careers after a certain age where any misstep has the potential to unravel it all: another psychological death.

Their genres, from an STC! perspective, are the same: they are “Rites of Passage” stories (ROPs) where the first is a young person’s maturation passage (Makin’ It!) and the second is a mid-life crisis passage (Fear of Losin’ It!). LLL is conceived by a young artist, a Hollywood outsider, trying to break in, as Damien Chazelle was (more or less) at the time of its making, and OUATIH is told from a much older man’s perspective, a consummate Hollywood insider, with a monumental reputation at stake every time he takes a swing with his creative bat: Quentin Tarantino. Both films are deeply authentic personal expressions of highly skilled writer/directors who have earned the mantle of “auteur.”

Both films also have love stories at their center. LLL is a classic boy-meets-girl romance (Mia/Sebastian played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling); OUATIH is a classic comrade-in-arms bromance (Rick Dalton/Cliff Booth played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt)—and each story has a third character that threatens the relationship, though it’s not a person, but the setting in which they operate: the threat is Hollywood itself with its specific brand of pressures, temptations, fortified walls, and ruthless judgments.

When the threat is a context, particularly a specialized cultural or professional context in which a story is set, we are in the realm of the “Institutionalized” genre. Both LLL and OUATIH have Rites of Passage as their primary genre, with supporting genres of “Buddy Love/Professional Love” and Institutionalized, where the Institution being dissected is the pitiless Hollywood machine. The two films are firmly fixed in the same genre bedrock.

STYLE

If the western and the musical are not different genres, then what are they, exactly? I would call them different “styles.” The term style encompasses a lot, including story aspects like setting, character types, situations, locations, and props, but also how those things look, feel, and interact. Through repeated use many elements become codified to become more or less expected by audiences, and these are called “conventions.”

We know a musical by its conventions just as we know a western by its conventions. Certainly LLL and OUATIH employ vastly different conventions, which is the main reason they look and feel so dissimilar. But before I address how each filmmaker treats their conventions, I want to point out that there is a “third style” also in evidence, and the two films share it: the “behind-the-scenes showbiz story” about performers where performance itself, and its quality—good and bad—is central to the plot.

LLL is a literal “backstage musical” about the relationship between a musician/composer and an actor/writer, and OUATIH is a “backstage western” about the relationship between an actor in western TV shows and his stuntman (another kind of actor). The high wire act of “putting on a show” is central to both stories, and both films have multiple shows within shows. Both filmmakers revel in poking fun at the absurdities, humiliations, demands, and rewards of performance in these “backstage showbiz” segments; it’s the primary focus of their critique of this “Institution” they both know so well and love (and loathe!) so much.

FUN & GAMES

Blake Snyder defined “Fun & Games” as the specific sequence in a film where it delivers on its stylistic expectations. He considered this an actual structure step and noted that it usually happens at the beginning of Act Two with its trailer moments and set pieces and where the story delivers on the promise of the premise. But when a filmmaker chooses to play with a particular style from start to finish, and when that style remains front and center and touches every creative decision the artist makes, then Fun & Games is more than a structure step; it’s baked into the story’s DNA.

Director Damien Chazelle

Director Damien Chazelle with Ryan Gosling inside “Seb’s apartment”

Both Damien Chazelle and Quentin Tarantino love movies, possess inordinate knowledge of cinema, and are totally fluent in the conventions of the styles in which they’re working. Throughout their films both filmmakers employ the most recognizable moments of each style, the true iconography, and update and reinterpret them to make something fresh and new. There’s an ever present undercurrent of exuberant relish emanating from the filmmaker’s delight in his own invention.

Director Quentin Tarantino

Director Quentin Tarantino with Brad Pitt inside Musso & Frank Grill

Both films are deeply self-aware and operate on the level of “loving homage” more deeply than most films, and this is a wellspring of much of the prodigious creative energy on display. The attitude of the filmmakers to their material is virtually the same: it is simultaneously serious and playful. And fun. And games. It is playfulness as an auteurist mandate.

CO-PROTAGONIST RELATIONSHIP/TWO-HANDER

The relationship of the two co-protagonists is central to both films, and here we find more parallels. In LLL, Mia is an insecure actor. We see that she’s quite good in various auditions, but this goes wholly unnoticed by everyone except Sebastian, who has unquestioned faith in her. In OUATIH, Rick is an insecure actor. We see that he’s quite good, in past shows and film clips, but he’s hardly heralded for his talent. He’s a little desperate and only his best friend and personal assistant (oh, and occasional stunt man), Cliff, has unquestioned faith in him.

Cool, confident Cliff

Cool, confident Cliff

Furthermore, both Sebastian and Cliff have unquestioned faith in themselves. Even when their futures are dim and unclear, they can face that uncertainty totally secure in who they are and what they have to offer. Seb appears to be one of the most accomplished musicians on the planet, and a brilliant composer, and proves to be a really good dude. Cliff is quite simply one of the coolest characters ever created in modern cinema; someone who can hold his own in any dangerous situation (even a much criticized face-off with Bruce Lee), but like Seb, essentially a good dude with a good heart.

Cool, confident Seb

Cool, confident Seb

Both Seb and Cliff share a fundamental decency and the ability to set their own egos aside, and they provide the crucial source of support that allows their partners to achieve ultimate success. They are the “other” that makes their partner complete. In both films, it’s Mia and Rick who have the greater character arcs because they each push through greater internal obstacles (namely, insecurity and frustration), but Seb and Cliff also have goals that get resolved—and also a nearly equal amount of screen time and story emphasis—so for me each film is a co-protagonist “two-hander.”

CLIMAX OF GAIN AND LOSS

For me, the most surprising way that these two films are alike, and perhaps the most unusual way and powerful way (since it creates a similar emotional effect for the audience leaving the theater), is how each treats its climax:  both films present an alternate universe with an alternate ending from what is known up to that point. LLL, since it is entirely fictional, relies only on itself as a reference point for the two alternatives.

OUATIH, on the other hand, takes place at a particular moment in history and dramatizes an extremely infamous event known by all. Everyone watching the movie knows where the movie is likely headed—to the night of the Manson murders of Sharon Tate and her friends—and everyone knows the horrific outcome of that night all too well. Informed audiences bring this knowledge to the theater with them, and it imbues the film with an enormous amount of tension from the beginning. History itself is a reference point for the two alternatives.

Emma Stone as Mia

Emma Stone as Mia

In the third act of LLL, we discover that lovers Mia and Sebastian have gone their separate ways, only for them to experience a chance encounter at Seb’s successful jazz club while he is on stage three years later. He sees Mia in the audience—presumably the first time he has seen her since she departed for Paris and returned a movie star and built a life without him. At the beginning of this sequence, we perceive that the Rites of Passage genre has been resolved: they both have “made it” as they defined for themselves earlier in the story. It also resolves the Institutionalized genre, as they have both “joined” their respective systems (jazz world and film world) in a way that works for them.

But what of the Buddy Love genre? They’re not together, as we have come to root for. How will that resolve? It is still an open question as Seb sits at the piano and starts playing something Mia recognizes as their theme song (the song “City of Stars”). This establishes a psychic connection and allows him to communicate to her—and only her—through his music, and thus the film’s climax begins, a sequence where they share a dream-vision together.

Here we see how life might have gone had things shifted ever so slightly in the past, and at the end of this dream ballet/production number (a story choice that is the ultimate homage to the classical musical style of Hollywood’s heyday) we see a new present where they are still together, a family now, happy and fulfilled. When the music ends and we return to “reality” (the actual present in the film), we understand, just through a series of looks between them, that this dream-vision is his gift to her, and that she has received it and recognizes it as beautiful—though it’s only a dream, she is happy to have it. Mia leaves, Seb returns to his life without her, The End.

The feeling created is overwhelmingly bittersweet: sweet, because we saw how they experienced this alternate ending together, which is a triumph; bitter, because these two artists we were rooting so hard to remain a couple could not find a way to create a successful enduring relationship, even though they were so well-matched and went on to create individual success for themselves.

And that individual success is another triumph, and another triumph they can share from afar, in spite of the fact that the very showbiz in which they triumphed is the thing that ultimately kept them apart. More bitterness. The levels of bittersweetness are deep, varied, and intense. This is the kind of narrative dexterity from an inspired storyteller that makes audience members cry. I know I did.

CONVERGENCE/SYNTHESIS/TRANSFORMATION

To use Blake Snyder’s terminology, the mechanics of the climax (or the Finale beat) is a textbook example of creating convergence/synthesis in order to arrive at transformation. The dream sequence is a condensed, heightened, and intensified recapitulation of the entire story up to that point, and uses all of the music we’ve already heard (thus reprising both action and music), and all to a new purpose: to create something new—the shared dream both ex-lovers can treasure forever.

The Finale also shows the power of the passionate artist acting in his purest capacity: Seb may not be able to change history, but through his art he can create a new future for them both—a future where they honor and celebrate what they once had, and might have had, creating a powerful sense of closure for them which is profoundly positive.

It’s a musical love letter that changes everything, and it finally resolves the Buddy Love genre. They’re not together, and that’s okay, because… they’ll always have this: their memory of their time together, and a shared vision that might have been which they can also both treasure forever (which is actually a subtle homage to Casablanca, another film classic this movie references: “We’ll always have Paris,” Bogie says to Bergman). It is transformational in the deepest sense, emotionally and psychologically speaking. What could be a more fitting climax and resolution to a film called La La Land which is, start to finish, a love letter to Hollywood itself?

OUATIH is completely different and yet similar in fundamental ways, and the levels of bittersweetness it creates are every bit as complex and profound. First and foremost, just like LLL, it is, start to finish, a love letter to Hollywood, though it focuses on a very precise moment in history, the changing of the guard where one era transmutes into the next. And just like LLL, there is an alternate ending in an alternate universe—in this case, not a different take on the fictional universe we’ve already seen, but a different take on history itself.

Margot Robbie outside the Bruin Theatre in Westwood CA as Sharon Tate

Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, outside the Bruin Theatre in Westwood Village CA

In OUATIH, Sharon Tate, her baby and her friends do not die: they are saved by the strange circumstances and the unfolding action in the “Tarantinoverse.” And as in LLL, the climax is where the art of convergence/synthesis is crucial, because in order for the ending to work, for it to be surprising but perfectly plausible, everything must be carefully set up in advance. And all of it is: the flamethrower, the LSD-laced cigarette, the Manson gang’s recognition of Rick’s identity, the fact that Cliff had a previous encounter with Tex and the other gang members, Cliff’s poise under pressure and his elite combat skills—and most importantly, Brandy, the combat K-9 kill dog. Every detail plays an essential part for the spectacular mayhem to unfold with a sense of inevitability, a recapitulation of character, situation, and even prop in a convergence to bring about the transformation.

For any of this to resonate emotionally, however, Tarantino had to make us fall in love with Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth in the first place, and to totally root for their relationship (as Damien Chazelle did with his central relationship in LLL), and also to make us fall in love with Sharon Tate. In my estimation, he succeeds brilliantly. But ultimately, the bittersweetness of the ending is almost crushing.

The feeling of bittersweetness is created when both gains and losses, success and failure, triumph and tragedy are presented at the same time. No triumph exists without some cost, and when the cost feels greater than the triumph then sadness is what endures. The ending of OUATIH has numerous tangible triumphs. There is, in fact, a conclusive triumph in all three genres—and all three triumphs are accomplished in a single gesture: a hug.

When the (now surviving) Sharon Tate invites Rick Dalton into her circle of friends, the Rites of Passage story is complete. Rick (and by extension, Cliff) has catapulted out of the loser camp smack into the middle of the coolest kids in town, resolving the mid-life crisis problem. And since Rick had only moments before realized how important Cliff is to him, but wasn’t exactly sure how he would manage things moving forward, walking through the fairy tale gates and being received openly by the queen of cool also resolves the Buddy Love genre—now we’re sure that Rick and Cliff will continue working together and are going to be much more successful than they ever thought possible (likely to emulate the stellar career paths of Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham, the primary models for these characters).

And finally, the Institutionalized genre is also resolved: with total acceptance by the cool kids, they have truly “joined” the upper echelons where success is assured. Thoughts of “burning it down” or “suicide” (the other primary outcomes in stories about institutions) can be left behind. Rick and Cliff are back on the ladder to success. These massive transformations for the better are profoundly sweet. And yet…

Reality persists. There’s no changing the fact that Sharon Tate and her friends were murdered in real life. This is a horrendous, immutable fact. In the wake of all the triumph we’ve just experienced, reality sets in. It’s a colossal failure—a pitiless fate. It’s a cost almost too much to bear. The audience wants the fairy tale outcome, the QT version of events, but it is never to be.

Only in fiction. Only in the movies will the Manson family demons get shredded by a pit bull and fried by a flamethrower. And here also, just like LLL, we see the power of the passionate artist acting in his purest capacity to attempt to alter history to make things better—just like Seb did for himself and Mia.

In this case the passionate artist is Quentin Tarantino, and as skilled as he is, he can’t change history. Regardless of the fictional triumphs, history delivers the bitterest of knock-out punches. He knows this is a fairy tale, announced right there in the film’s title, and at the closing credits, the audience knows it, too—because the reality they return to is far different, far worse: the Manson murders happened. We live in an imperfect, compromised world. Many of the greatest works of narrative art deliver the same message.

I was sad for many, many days after seeing this film, even as I loved imagining the ultimate showbiz dream success of these two flawed dudes in their fictional Hollywood. Not many stories conclude with transformations of that intensity and complexity. In recent years, I can think of only these two: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and La La Land.

They are great films, true works of art, conceived and executed by master storytellers at the highest level, sharing rarified cinematic air. Despite all their surface differences, to me they are more alike than not, and both captured my attention and imagination like few films ever have.

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Tom Reed

About the Author

About the Author: Tom Reed's entertainment career started in the circus: Dumbo's Circus, a Disney cable show where he juggled art department and stage manager duties -- and juggling. He leapt from production to executive positions at Walt Disney/Touchstone Pictures, Lansdowne Films, Imagine Entertainment, Interplay Films, and High Wire Films. In his spare time, he's always thinking about adding to the STC! library of film scholarship. Stay tuned! .

There Are 24 Comments

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  1. Wow-really enjoyed this!

  2. Great observations, Tom! Especially about the fantasy element at the end of each of these excellent films.

  3. Gayle Trent says:

    Terrific post! I enjoyed it so much!

  4. Daniel N says:

    This extraordinarily profound and insightful analysis of these two films has a very rare effect on me, of forcing me to reconsider not only the films themselves but my entire take on the respective genres or “styles,” as you correctly observe and their contexts or context. I also find myself experiencing, for the first time in many years, that miraculous, Damascene conversion famously described by the magnificent Pauline Kael, wherein the art of the critic, once in a blue moon, is seen to surpass the work of the artists themselves. “I regard criticism as an art, and if in this country and in this age it is practiced with honesty, it is no more remunerative than the work of an avant-garde film artist. My dear anonymous letter writers, if you think it is so easy to be a critic, so difficult to be a poet or a painter or film experimenter, may I suggest you try both?” said Kael. “You may discover why there are so few critics, so many poets.” The self-reflective nature of all art, not least movies since their very inception, is something that has haunted me since my earliest days as a film maker and increasingly so, over the past two decades that I have been teaching the art and technique of Cinema in Hollywood. I also wept during Lalaland, not least because it was so reminiscent of the French musicals of Jacques Demy in particular, of my childhood in Europe in the sixties and of my early years in Los Angeles. Any fleeting dissatisfaction I felt with Lalaland I almost instantly dismissed as ridiculously disrespectful and unfair, given the resourcefulness of the film’s conception and execution, the purity of its intention and the unchallengeable integrity of its purpose. None of these claims, of course, could ever be made in defence of a single frame of Quentin Tarantino’s work. Nor, to be fair, would Tarantino himself ever presume to even pretend as much. QT’s latest venture up his own, albeit brilliant, alchemist’s echo chamber of visionary self-indulgence is, arguably, the most predictable and yet, also, the bravest. It is just such a massively tragic chapter in the history of Hollywood. QT, enormously gifted as he is, carving his immortal initials on Sharon Tate’s young corpse simply has no redeemable possibilities, for me. And yet you have, masterfully, identified a powerful argument in the case for his defence, both aesthetically and within the grubby trajectory of Hollywood history. You have meticulously and eloquently demonstrated that OUATIH is not only inevitable but a necessary next step in the orgiastic bonfire of vanities that has lit the way of American Cinema from Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance to Von Stroheim’s Greed, Hitchcock’s Psycho or Kubrick’s Lolita. Maybe Mr. Tarantino will follow up this latest hubristic flourish, dancing joyfully victorious all the way to the Oscars, hand in hand with Charles Manson’s ghost at the Governors’ Ball, with something even more outrageous and shocking? Maybe “Hiroshima Was A Blast!” or “9/11, the Musical”? I, for one, will not be holding my breath…

    • Tom Reed says:

      Hello Daniel. This response is staggering in its length, eloquence and intellectual firepower. You clearly are a film professor of some kind (and also filmmaker?), and possess uncommon knowledge and insight of your own. I appreciate and respect that. What is more, I appreciate and respect your open-mindedness. I think it’s clear that you have issues with Quentin Tarantino’s work across the board, and it appears that you have a low opinion of OUATIH. It is not my intention here to dissuade anyone of their opinions about either film, merely to share my insights about them which are fueled by my own deep engagement with them as works of art — highly accomplished and successful works of art in my estimation. I am deeply gratified that you have no issue with the premise of this essay or any of my observations. I feel like I might have earned an “A” in your class! What’s even more impressive is your willingness to see things from a different point of view. In my worldview, open-mindedness is a preeminent virtue. Everything you say about Pauline Kael is deeply flattering since I consider her the gold standard of film criticism. I believe even QT shares that position. I remember reading, or maybe seeing (in an interview) where QT explained that it was Pauline Kael who helped him define his own voice to himself. She was referencing French crime film of the late fifties/early sixties (primarily the works of Jean-Pierre Melville, I believe) and described his oeuvre, in a nutshell, as genre films with poetry. QT had an epiphany and said, “Yes, that’s what I aspire to.” And us cinema-enthusiasts have benefited from that clarity of voice and purpose. So the American Noir movement of the post-war period was transmuted by Melville into something fresh, new and poetic, and QT’s work has taken the baton back to American shores. And so goes the way of culture. Then QT came into his own. His evolution as a film artist has been thrilling to watch and participate in. But OUATIH is the high-water mark due to its maturity, depth, straightforwardness and lack of reliance on violence (other than the end, which simply must happen). All of his work is deeply inventive, but this has all of his strengths on display at full flower and in full control. And LLL is every bit as accomplished. I’m eager to see Damien Chazelle’s career evolve similarly — I will be watching! So Daniel, I deeply appreciate how seriously you considered this blog-essay and the time it took you to respond. Be well.

  5. This was a fabulous post, Tom! Thank you for your thoughtful analysis of both films. Loved the way you examined their parallels.

    • Tom Reed says:

      Thank you, Marilyn. I deeply appreciate your good opinion since I am an avid consumer of all of your STC! posts! Cheers to more good work all around!

  6. Trevor says:

    Brilliant piece. Saw OUATIH 5 times in the theater so far. And definitely want to write about it too. You reminded me how moving LLL was for me. Thank you! And the insights into both films with a STC lens is so so smart. Really enjoyed this read. Thank you!

  7. E.J. Gore says:

    What an absolutely brilliant piece!
    Reading it I not only relived both films which I loved, but was provided with a deeper understanding of why I did, that makes me appreciate them even more.
    Thank you so much Tom!
    And I hope that a book about film is in your future to write,
    and ours to read.

    • Tom Reed says:

      E.J.! Thank you so much! I like the sound of “brilliant!” I’m really glad you feel like I could help you appreciate the films even more. That feels good. And as for a book…. stay tuned! 🙂

  8. Toshiro Mifune (just kidding - Joel Berke) says:

    I’m not surprised at all how well written and thought out this is but I enjoyed the hell out of reading it! I had no interest in La La Land but know I feel the need to watch it! Well done, Tom!

    • Tom Reed says:

      Thank you, Joel. I encourage you to give LLL a try. I happen to love musicals and a lot of people just don’t. And even among musical lovers there are people with very exacting standards about various things (dancing, for instance) who don’t like this movie. I try to look at the overall intent and effect whenever I can, allowing a movie to work its magic, and LLL casts a powerful spell. For a musical lover like myself it delivers spectacularly (I think I recognized most references, and that’s half the fun — it’s an entire film of Easter Eggs referencing Gene Kelly and Arthur Freed mostly, but many others, also.) . The music deserved its Oscar. The film totally deserved all the Oscars it won, and perhaps one or two it didn’t win. So do yourself a favor and give it a go. If you don’t like it, you can always re-watch The Seven Samurai. And always remember: “The farmers who have won. Not us.” Victory draped in loss and mourning. Another surpassingly bittersweet resolution to a classic film. You have excellent taste, Mifune.

  9. Daniel Reed says:

    This is a triumph, Tom. The insights, the prose, the flow and convergence of ideas are all astounding in their depth and simplicity. Congratulations on a post anyone — whether or not versed in Mr. Snyder’s structural matrix — might feel rightfully proud to have scribed. I echo E.J Gore’s comment, above, hoping that, in due time, “a book about film is in your future.”

    • Tom Reed says:

      Dan, this comment is deeply meaningful to me. Full disclosure to the readership: Dan is my brother, a published author, writing guru and accomplished English teacher. The blog was actually easy for me to write since I had been thinking about LLL ever since I first saw it (and was so moved by it) and OUATIH was an overwhelming artistic experience for me as a receptive audience member. Those don’t happen very often — such an intense connection between artist and recipient — and that connection fueled this analysis; it was fueled by the deepest respect and love for the material and the artists who created them, and also Blake Snyder who armed me with the language to articulate it all. I believe that’s why it’s good, irrespective of the insights (which ain’t too shabby, either). It was a joy to delve so deeply and express what I found to the best of my ability. I’m so glad you responded to that and I appreciate you saying so in this public forum. Cheers.

  10. Bob Woods says:

    Hi Tom,

    At first, I hesitated to read your article because I thought it would spoil my viewing of “Once Upon”.

    It didn’t…At least, I don’t think it will.

    Very well done!

    Bob

    • Tom Reed says:

      Oh geez… Bob. I absolute appreciate the read but I don’t want to undermine your experience of it in any way. I did say (I mean shout: SPOILERS AHEAD! Part of the reason the film had such a powerful effect on me is because the ending was an utter surprise. That said, it was still very powerful on viewing 2 and 3; but not as much. I’m a little worried. I hope it turns out well. And thanks again for the read and also the praise.

      • Bob Woods says:

        No worries, Tom, I knew I wouldn’t be seeing it for awhile, so I weighed my options and my gut told me your analysis was worth the risk.

        I now may know the turning points, but I haven’t seen them performed. That is worth waiting for…

        Cheers!

        • Tom Reed says:

          You bet it is! I mentioned nothing about performance in my blog. The film is perfectly cast with actors putting in career-defining performances. It’s always thrilling when that happens. Enjoy!!

  11. Daniel Reed says:

    When we’re armed with the proper tools and have garnered some experience, what for others (IMproperly armed and without experience) proves virtually impossible, is, for us, “easy” — perhaps especially when the product is an expression of our soul’s delight. I marvel at how you just keep getting better at it.

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