Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

Walking out of this film, I knew the takes for it were going to be all over the place and I checked my Letterboxd and saw the varying ratings and my assumptions were correct.

When I first heard this was the "Tarantino Manson Murder movie" I simply wanted to boycott the film. Simply because that is the worst idea for a movie for Tarantino to direct ever. I mean, I can't think of something worse then that. It was then further elaborated on that it only took place in the Manson era and the film was a fictionalized story around real life events in characters. This is in the same vein of films like Titanic or Forrest Gump. When the trailers started coming out- I started to get really anticipated for this film.

Tarantino is a bizarre case for me. I believe his stuff in the 90's is vastly overrated in my humble opinion. I hate Reservoir Dogs and I simply don't care for Pulp Fiction. These are films that just seem so gratuitous and self indulgent and I can see the appeal in they both left me feeling really cold. However- Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained I believe are genius pieces of filmmaking and I even enjoyed Tarantino's last film The Hateful Eight.

So long introduction aside, I was very curious in how I would respond to this movie. Walking out, I had the biggest smile on my face. I kinda love this movie and I want to see it again but I think I might REALLY love this movie. This is easily the most sincere and sweetest Tarantino film to date and he simply has taken a complete curveball to peoples expectations in the most delightful way.

All of the performances here are dynamite and Leo Decaprio and Brad Pitt continue to prove why they are two of Hollywoods last movie stars. Someone who should get a nom for her work is Margo Robbie portraying the late Sharon Tate. Unfortunately, if you know the story of the actress it gives the performance and her scenes a bittersweet melancholy to them. There's a scene in here where Tate goes and sees one of her movies just to see the reaction from the audience members and its honestly just warm and delightful.

Theres were not words I expected to say about a Tarantino film- but this movie is strangely feel good. It's about a time of Hollywood and an era of filmmaking that is dying. It's sad- but its also a look at where we have been.

The first and third act are absolutely terrific and the second probably drags just about 15 or so minutes. I do think people have to be on board for what the film is doing. This is more so a hang out movie. I love the fact this movie isn't trying to shove something in your face every five seconds like Tarantino usually does. He lingers on a lot of shots and lets the world and characters do their own talking and that was so refreshing to me. At times, this reminded me of a Linklater movie like Dazed or Confused or even what James Gunn did with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

The movie is consistently hilarious. This is the most I've laughed in movie in a while. There's so much wit here and good humor that comes from characters. The movie was surprisingly well natured and not that offensive. I feel like a Tarantino movie that is around the Manson era that has someone playing Charles Manson should be really out of line yet he is able to make this naturally work. Someone plays Roman Polanski in this film and that could have easily been problematic as well. Not only because Polanski is a scumbag but there was a time Tarantino kinda defended some of his actions (which to be far he has taken back now). Yet, the film balances all this controversial subject matter because the movie isn't really about all of that. The movie is about the fading era of the Hollywood star. The two stars of this film are two of the last stars that can fully sell a movie with just their names alone. Films now are so franchise driven with so much IP content that it's sad we don't see movies like this more often in 2019.

I don't always agree with Tarantino- his choices and actions can be questionable to me. Yet- he's obviously a Hollywood talent and it just shines in this movie. Being a huge fan of classic Hollywood, the night skies of classic Hollywood on the big screen just gave me the biggest smile on my face. I felt as though I was right there with Cliff feeling the wind in my hair as I drove around the city at night. It was just terrific.

Just the scenes with Rick and Dalton talking about the movies Rick was in, I could watch a whole movie of just their commentaries Mystery Science Theatre style. I just loved it.

Oh also, a cool side note but I actually got to see a lot of the set of this movie in person when I went to Universal Studios Hollywood last month so when certain set pieces came up I recognized that was a really neat feeling.

This is gonna be a divisive movie for people. I think if you expect the usual Tarantino affair, a lot of this movie could be tedious for you to sit through. I love movies that take their time and just spend time in characters day to day lives. They rank among some of my favorites, so I found this to be a great change of pace from other Tarantino's work. I want to see this again because I kinda see myself liking this more and more I watched it.

Overall, this is a fantastic movie with incredible production design, terrific characters and a great look at classic Hollywood. One of my favorites of the year so far for sure.

Brett Schutt liked these reviews