Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★

I've always been kind of 'meh' about Tarantino films in general and I find the violence in his films totally gratuitous and off-putting, so I had no intention of watching this tonight. But my daughter wanted to see it, and since I'm an indulgent father and grew up in L.A. during the time-period it's set in, I figured that I could at least sit back and enjoy the nostalgic aspect of seeing Lost Strangeles in its prime while spending some quality time with meine liebe Tochter.

And indeed, the nostalgia didn't disappoint. Tarantino definitely has an eye for detail, and his recreations of classic Hollywood restaurants, bars, old television shows, movies, and theaters were impeccably and tastefully done. I was especially chuffed to see a brief clip of Larry "Sinister" Seymour's Fright Night appear on the tube, along with my favorite childhood fast-food restaurant, Der Weinerschnitzel. I also wanted to hear more than 2 seconds of Neil Diamond singing "Kentucky Woman," mostly because I used to work with a guy from Kentucky who had a high, squeaky voice, so we all called him....you guessed it.

As for the plot, it meandered for most of the film and just lazily drifted between vignettes of Cliff, Rick, and Sharon doing the stuff that actors do, seemingly without much of a point, at least not until the Manson family shows up. Some of these scenes were fairly amusing, but most seemed rather pointless, at least to me. DiCaprio, Pitt, and Robbie all turn in fine performances in service to Tarantino's ersatz vision, I just wish they'd been given more interesting things to do than frugging wildly at the Playboy mansion, beating up Bruce Lee, and driving around in bitchin' vintage vehicles.

I found the ending most unpleasant and distasteful, regardless of the fact that the people on the receiving end of Q.T.'s trademark ultraviolence were wretched scum in real life and truly deserved it.

By the end, daughter and I were in agreement that this was a mildly entertaining film that, for the most part, is wildly overrated.

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