Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★

Tarantino threw himelself a parade, and I don’t think I would have had any fun if I wasn’t so familiar with the time period and the characters involved. 


Leo’s aging cowboy Rick Dalton was the best thing about this movie. Unfortunately, cowboy Rick has little to do with the “plot,” though he was so enjoyable I don’t care. His character seemed more real than the those that actually lived (like all five victims of 10050 Cielo Drive). For a film that is about restoring life to four people who tragically lost theirs, three hours just wasn’t enough to give Sharon, Jay, Abigail, and Voytek any emphasis. What did get emphasis? Gratuitous shots of Margaret Qualley and Margot Robbie’s feet (was Sharon not wearing socks with her go-go boots?!).

The immaculate art direction kept me interested when the “story” failed to do so. It was truly impressive, and Tarantino must have thought so too because we get lots of inserts and establishing shots of little ceramic cowboy cups, and other things that you may find at an  estate sale for your late neighbor. 

The thing that bothers me the most is the subtlety with which Tarantino tries to rewrite history. No, not the ending, but the true to life proximity that Manson and his family had to the Hollywood elite. Manson and his family were not as far removed from the pretty people as this film would have you believe. In truth, they ran in the same circles. Charlie and friends more than likely would have been at that swank party with Sharon, Mama Cass, and Steve McQueen. Of course, no one still living wants to admit that, and Tarantino desperately wants to please his friends, so he severs those ties for his fantasy. 

I wanted to like it more, but I still really enjoyed it. It was a pleasure to see Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkle, and Susan Atkins get the ending they deserved.