Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★

has anyone ever noticed that Brad Pitt is a very handsome man?

Quentin Tarantino finally made a film about "real people," in every sense of the phrase. i liked it a lot as a wounded portrait of middle-age reflected against the end of the movies' *golden* age (Leo/Pitt are obviously terrific, though it's painful how little screen time they get together).

but the film is scattered to the point of abstraction, thin scenes are stretched to their breaking points, and the dialogue is leaden in a way that Tarantino's has never been before. this is a lot more interesting than the whiz-bang take on this material QT could make in his sleep (the kind of take suggested by the opening 10 minutes), but the film's confrontation with / self-examination of irrelevance seldom feels served by how leaden this thing is in a moment-to-moment basis. the 5-minute scene where Sharon Tate walks down the street, buys a book, and then walks back up the street… it's like anti-entertainment in a way that creates a strange friction with Tarantino's natural impulse. and those last 20 minutes… we'll talk about those later.

but the good scenes are great scenes, and the "rick fucking dalton" bit from the trailer plays 10x better in context. also dug how so much of the movie is like Grand Theft Auto Tinseltown, with characters driving around old-timey LA as their car radios bark period-appropriate commercials and jingles at them. maybe this will all play better a second time around, when i'm not expecting something a little more amped up and keyed in — i can see this going up in my estimation, and not the other way. but do yourself a favor and downshift your expectations to a quiet two-hander about being a has-been.

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