Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★½

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood. 2019. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (2019) is a love letter to Hollywood and Los Angeles the city that Quentin Tarantino grew up in although he lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for part of his childhood. According to Tarantino, he had the idea to make Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood while making Death Proof (2007). He reminisced about stunt guys and their respective actor such as Burt Reynolds, Bruce Dern, and Kurt Russell. Each of the aforementioned actors had relationships with their stunt doubles similar to Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). 

Quentin’s original screenplay is a beautiful web that is woven with aplomb. The details that Tarantino paid attention to were incredible: KHJ the Los Angeles radio station plays while Rick and Cliff drive around Hollywood. The audience gets to hear commercials about perfume, suntan lotion, and it served as a narrator of sorts. In addition, Kurt Russell narrates Rick’s life as it goes through a tough patch. In other words, Rick is going to have to leave L.A. and go to Rome and shoot Spaghetti Westerns and action films. Since it is 1969, Rick must evolve with the times in order to make it as an actor. However, Cliff must do the same in order to make a living. This turning point is such a brilliant component of the narrative. Then, Tarantino added Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), The Manson family, Spahn ranch, and the Playboy Mansion and you get one of the most complex original screenplays that Tarantino has written. 

Leonardo DiCaprio’s scene in Lancer where he totally loses his shit is brilliant. When he goes into his trailer and his inner dialogue comes out like a psychotic catharsis was truly memorable. Moreover, when Julia Butters approaches Rick and tells him, “That was the best acting I have seen in my whole life” Rick feels vindicated that he still has the “stuff.” In fact, it is like David Byrne’s song “I Feel My Stuff.” That song totally popped into my head at that moment in the film.

Arianne Phillips (A Single Man, Walk The Line, and Kingsman: The Secret Service) made costumes that moved the narrative along just as Barbara Ling’s transformation of four blocks of the Hollywood strip metamorphically changed L.A.. Ling’s affection for Hollywood showed in such great detail. Production design is so integral in making movies that a great deal of the audience take it for granted. By recreating the approximate 1969 Los Angeles Strip, added to the ambiance in such an extraordinary way. In turn, the actors vibed off this. Moreover, Robert Richardson, was on board and used many different cinematography methods to capture black and white sequences, classic Kodak moments, TV show moments, commercials, movies (The Great Escape), and the strip. All of the aforementioned elements gave the actors the best possible stage to channel their respective characters and bring them to life. 

In our opinion, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood is another of Quentin Tarantino’s original screenplays/movies that is phenomenal and as such we highly recommend it. Quentin Tarantino is a rare auteur and we hope that he makes more films that are equally sophisticated and full of humor, love, and violence. 

RIP Luke Perry.

Purchased on AppleTV.


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