Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★½

To date I've seen every Tarantino movie except Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2, and honestly I've rather liked all of them for different reasons. Tarantino might be controversial as heck, and possibly despicable in a lot of ways, but boy can he write and direct a movie.

So it's kind of sad to say this is my first time where I didn't really -feel- the movie. It felt like a mashup of a few different films, one about an aging actor coming to terms with the loss of his craft, and the scenes in the Lancer section were particularly touching. And another movie about the Manson murders, but it's got the usual subversive twist of history that Tarantino puts on his films.

See, if this had just been a film about Rick Dalton I think I woulda loved it. All the Hollywood of the 60's love, and the rich feel and history against the backdrop of this guy's life, yeah....I'd have enjoyed that.

If it had been a film about Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate and she ends up killing the Manson killers instead of them killing her, that would have been a good movie. Especially considering Manson is barely even in this film, and all the Manson Children just feel like stereotypical faceless hippies. The lives juxtaposed against each other with a different actor as Roman Polanski and him actually dying at the end instead of living and Manson dying too...hell, that would be a revision that I'd enjoy.

As it is the movie feels messily edited and mashed together, in ways that don't always make sense. And Brad Pitt's character in particular just feels tacked on to have the violent ending that Tarantino loves to have in his films. Especially with a breed of dog that we are desperately trying to get people to understand isn't a violent breed being used to maul several people, and the massively violent action that Booth perpetrates on the hippie girls, and then one of them being torched by a flamethrower...(coincidentally a flamethrower used to "kill" Nazis in one of Dalton's old Inglorious Basterds like films, like what is that symmetry trying to say?).

I dunno...at the end of the day it's just not really a well made film from a storytelling standpoint. Sure the costuming and cinematography and settings are all great, but the story itself suffers. The dialogue suffers, minus a few scenes that felt more real than the rest of the movie. And especially the Bruce Lee scene just felt so awfully written and parodic that I wouldn't be surprised if Tarantino secretly hated Bruce Lee or something...

So is it good? Yes, and no. It's probably his most mediocre film in my opinion. It has moments of his brilliance, but overall it just doesn't work for me.

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