NarpJay’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is Tarantino's best film since Pulp Fiction.
In 1969, America was a changing nation. There were growing pains, but there was also the feeling of great possibility - a nation of potential just waiting to be unleashed. Fifty years later, America is changing, but that sense of optimism and opportunity is gone. All that is left is a fascistic death rattle.
In 1969, American movies were changing, and those changes brought some of the greatest works of cinematic art in world history. Fifty years on, American movies are dying, consumed by corporate greed and media conglomerates run by people who care less about making a quality product than they do about keeping the quarterly profits up. Fading into the ether are filmmakers like Tarantino, who is among the few who have not been chewed up by an increasingly impossible American film market.
In 1969, Sharon Tate was on the cusp of becoming one of Hollywood's major stars. Her life was snuffed out by Manson's followers. Fifty years after, we can only wonder what might have been.
This knowledge informs every frame of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. But this is no nostalgia trip. This is a mature film with death on the mind; it takes stock of where we have been, how we got to where we are now, and suggests that we may be incapable of turning this ship around. The only place we may make it right is in the movies. The title is very prescient here.
Sharon Tate died. American cinema is dying. America is dying. In each case, something beautiful was lost. Should Quentin Tarantino stay true to his word and retire after his next film, it will be a great loss to American art. But at least we will have this, one of the greatest films of the last 25 years.
P.S.: There weren't many people in line to see this movie, but plenty buying tickets to The Lion King and Spider-Man. Go fuck yourselves; I spit on you all.