Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★½

Continuing the theme of the day in 2020 best picture nominees, I got the chance to rewatch a Tarantino flick I had a rather fun time with the first time around at the theater once again. It’s fun reflecting on back then me who was just getting started with movie watching and didn’t catch this movie in theater since I wanted to watch at least one Tarantino movie before I saw his latest work for the 2020 oscars versus right now me who has seen a good share of movies and 2/3’s of the Tarantino library. Now that I’ve got somewhat of a grasp on Tarantino and his style, I feel like I can get a better grasp at what he was going for with his newest film. Here are my second viewing thoughts on Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

The Pros

I liked how the narrative here had an “open narrative that simply follows the lives of each lead” approach. It wasn’t like a Kill Bill or Django Unchained where there was one ultimate goal that was constantly being built towards achieving at the end, rather there is a nice balance (but at little questionably paced) between Rick, Cliff, and Sharon

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt made an explosive duo as Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, as I found both of their performances highly enjoyable in the Tarantino style. I wouldn’t say this is the pinnacle of their careers, but I would put it up there with some of their best works

The main theme mainly came through Rick Dalton with the idea perfectly encompasses within a Bob Dylan song in how “the times they are a changing”. It was cool seeing Rick having to come to terms with how he isn’t the star he once was, and scenes like his conversations with an 8 year old actress play into this quite well

The movie had some funny scenes that got the intended reactions out of me where I was highly entertained in the scenario on screen but not bursting out laughing which I found quite enjoyable

A lot of great callbacks that I liked dispersed throughout the movie

This is probably my favorite technical outing for Tarantino in my mind, mostly cause I’m a sucker for retro 1950’s and 60’s type of aesthetics or anything set in that time period, and Tarantino did a great job making the world feel authentic. The production design was worthy of its Oscar win, the cinematography had some nice shots, long takes, and framing that I really liked, and the little details such as real 60’s radio commercials do some much despite how little they are in the film

The Cons

Sharon Tate didn’t really do anything in the movie in retrospect. She honestly was just there since this was a narrative told along side Tarantino rewriting the Manson family murder of Sharon Tate Inglorious Basterds style, but she did almost nothing plot wise minus the ending. Cliff also falls into this category but to an extremely less extent, since he helped establish the Manson family’s role in the narrative and how they tie in, but on his own didn’t have a whole lot to offer. Still at least he didn’t bring nothing

I wish there was a bit more focus on the themes, which I felt like it might have been possible with the 2 and a half hour runtime

Extremely tiny nitpicks I had (like how come the theater attendants almost instantly believe Sharon Tate was Sharon Tate without any hard evidence) but that’s way too trivial to actually bring the movie down in any real way

Conclusion

A blast to rewatch to the point where I wouldn’t mind rewatching it again after a little while. This might be one of my favorite Tarantino movies, but I still need to finish the last third of his library and rewatch Pulp Fiction and maybe Inglorious Basterds before I make any statements

Grant W. liked this review