Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★½

Afterthoughts: So I figured it was necessary to see this again afresh, since I felt weird after my initial viewing and frustrated by all the mumbo jumbo that came afterwards.

I just signed up for a Curzon membership (never been to a Curzon theatre before, but often walk past one if I’ve got a spot of banking to do), so it was nice to go there straight from work, alone, pick up my membership card and redeem my first free ticket, stroll on into the screening with salted popcorn (fuck sweet) and a bottle of Brewdog Punk IPA, with no one there but for 3 other people (now that’s my kind of auditorium), and just watch this film again knowing how it all pans out, and being allowed to enjoy it.

This is my first Tarantino film since being part of a ‘film community’ so to speak, and it turns out films by major auteurs are big deals in terms of squashing the hype and trying to go in as blind as possible. I survived my first Nolan movie [Dunkirk] and my first Scorsese movie [Silence] without getting wrapped up in what other people thought (let’s face it, no fucker could ever rain on my Nolan or Scorsese parade), but I did not survive my first Tarantino film. This was my own fault because the conflicted opinion I had on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood led me down a path of searching for answers in other Letterboxd accounts’ reviews, something I virtually never need to do. Since then I’ve had time to calm down and compose myself and accept the film for what it is - a fucking Tarantino movie.

Quentin Tarantino is not to everyone’s taste as a human and as a filmmaker, and I’ve spent the last 5 years going off him as I’ve ventured out into the wide world of cinema and moved onto other filmmakers that tickle my fancy more. But I will say you’ve got to admire the man for sticking by his guns and making films exactly the way he wants to for 30 years, whether he’s not evolved or matured during this time or not. And if anyone was going to bring Leo and Brad together in a film it was gonna be Quentin, and the pairing is everything you could hope for. Sooo good.

While the 2nd viewing was more enjoyable in terms of the cushty setup, I’d say the amount I enjoyed the actual film was the same as the first time, only the initial shock of the finale was absent, which I preferred. I still wasn’t comfortable with those head-smashing shots and the comic elements of that scene, but I guess Tarantino wants us to squirm and it’s his thing to have us flicking through a range of emotions in flashy bursts.

I’m not convinced it has the same high level of re-watchability as most of Tarantino’s other films though. Now I’ve seen it twice within 8 days, it’s highly unlikely I’ll watch this again for many years.

Wonder what the hell his supposed final project is going to be. Surely it won’t be a Star Trek film, could you imagine? 😂

Also, how the hell did I not get the Antonio Margheriti joke the first time? I knew that name rang a bell!

[Sept. 11th Edit: I’ve fallen in love with this film more and more over the weeks, and listening to Quentin talk about it at length has made me realise I was very wrong about certain things the first time around. Rating changed to 4.5 stars]

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