Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood ★★★★

Can I get a two hour spin-off of Cliff driving around 1970s L.A. just meeting random people and getting into an occasional tussle? While I wait for that, we have this ninth film from one Quentin Jerome Tarantino.

Nine faeture films in, we see the matured touch of a veteran filmmaker here. There is no overarching story arc where Leonardo di Caprio's Ricky Stanton goes from a struggling has-been to a getting a second wind as a once-again in-demand actor. We just see a couple days in the life of Stanton, his stunt double buddy Cliff, and occasional scenes with Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). It's like if Tarantino wrote and directed a feature length version of Seinfeld and set it in 1960s L.A. and put a dramatic western touch to it.

Truth be told, Tate really could have been removed from this movie (thank goodness she wasn't) and it would have been just as entertaining.

While we have perhaps become accustomed to Tarantino's method of setting up a scenario, drawing out the tension and capping it with an explosion of violence, we don't necessarily get that here. I say necessarily because there is a hilarious burst of violence toward the very end.

Casual fans may grow weary about an hour in as it feels like nothing is happening, but trust that Tarantino is building to a conclusion worth the ride. Stick around for a mid-credits scene as well.