This is one of those moments when it becomes a matter of who really said what the other person is claiming, but with Quentin Tarantino, there’s not a lot of doubt that he said whatever was on his mind at that moment. In regards to his most recent movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin’s take on the legendary Bruce Lee didn’t sit too well with a lot of fans, or with Bruce’s family since his daughter Shannon made it known that she didn’t appreciate the idea that her father was portrayed as a loudmouth and a narcissist, since that’s not the way he was in real life, according to many people. The funny thing is that so many things get said, so many things get written, and the legend of Bruce Lee has certainly outlived the reality in many ways since a lot of folks think that he was the real deal when it came to fighting and while he could have been, and was according to many, his life was still mired in legend and myth not long after his passing, and it’s remained that way for a long time.
The way that he was depicted in the movie does feel a little over the top, but according to the legendary stuntman Gene LeBell he didn’t necessarily beat Bruce up, he simply put him up on his shoulders to make it clear that he could. It’s been said that this is what inspired Bruce to start learning another different style of combat, which makes this moment out to be positive. But the fact is that Lee’s fans and his family were rather peeved at Quentin’s representation, and to Shannon, he responded by stating that she had every right to be upset, but his words for everyone else that wasn’t family and definitely weren’t film critics was pretty harsh and reaffirmed in some minds that Tarantino is a kind of a pain in the backside thanks to his arrogance, which many mistakenly call genius at times.
Let’s be fair and say that he’s a filmmaker that has a very strong set of beliefs to go with his ego and he made a movie that obviously irked the wrong person. Hey, it happens, and it’s not the first time such a thing happened since various celebrities have been misrepresented a few times in the history of cinema. But while the fan reaction and the family reaction were bound to happen, Quentin’s reaction could have been a little more diplomatic, even if it wasn’t bound to be since, well, this is Tarantino we’re talking about. The guy was practicing how to be an arrogant filmmaker the moment his work hit the big screen. This kind of attitude has been severely offputting to a lot of people over the years, but it’s been like an aphrodisiac to others who make it a point to go see his movies whenever they come out, and possibly jump to Quentin’s defense even if it’s more likely that he wouldn’t care if they did or not. It might sound like hate, but from observing the guy he’s a bit of an egotistical narcissist that’s fallen in love with his own legend.
The fact that Quentin said that Shannon had every right to be upset and then put her father on blast by stating that through his research he’d found that Bruce had been an arrogant jerk and also been a bully to his stuntmen was kind of uncalled for though. Maybe like calls to like? That might feel like a low blow, but considering that Tarantino has dished out plenty of those it does sound fair to make him weather a few more since he’s definitely good at going on the offensive but the defensive might need a little work. But when it comes to Bruce Lee there are facts and there are legends and unfortunately, both have become so mixed up that it feels fair to say that even his family might not have known absolutely everything apart from what he showed them. Everyone keeps things to themselves at times and it’s easy to think that Bruce’s professional life and personal life might have been mixed up a time or two. But Tarantino needs to relax a bit and think about what he’s saying and to who for once.
Barring that however, his movie was a work of fiction, and quite honestly if anyone’s going to get bent out of shape about fiction, and it does happen, then they might want to consider backing up a step and taking a few calming breaths first. The Bruce Lee figure shown in the film was a character, not the real thing, and that’s the main point. Getting offended at what amounts to a parody is too common these days, but then so is the arrogance that some express so readily.
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