Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★½

“22 Short Films about Hollywood” flanking what is easily Tarantino’s most warm feature left of Jackie Brown (and also, I’d argue, his funniest). So much tenderness and joy permeates through this. It’s also completely self-indulgent to a stretching point at times, even by the filmmaker’s own sky high standards, but I can get down with it if someone really commits, which of course he does, so I was giddy for every second. I had sussed out the general direction the ending would take based on all the hushed hullaballoo regarding spoilers, but I never would have fathomed the gleeful extreme he takes it to, a rendering that only someone with Tarantino’s meteor-shaped ego could pull off. Do I buy it as an achievement in self-reflection that others have posited? Maybe, maybe not, but it doesn’t matter-- I was more than happy to just have fun with it, and I don’t think the fireworks undercut the overall prevailing tone regarding the idea of stardom’s decay (and, the more I think on it, the more the ending’s soft note it ends on after the chaos suggests a sweet melancholy in tune with the rest of the film). If it weren’t for Jackie Brown, this would be his masterpiece. Now, if you’d please excuse me, I have a stellar pitch for a Mark Whalberg film (if you know, you know).


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