Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★

Planning on seeing this again within a week’s time, so I’ll refrain from going in too deep here and now. I’ll say, though, that the more I think about it, the less I like it—it’s a perfectly entertaining film in the moment that provides little to think about, chew on, or even bullshit with your buddies about after you walk out of the theater. Tarantino was never quite the filmmaker who had something to say (ironic considering he’s the “king of dialogue”, I know), but he’s always been one who paired his undeniable technical talent with a sort of ambiguous evocation. The feeling that what we’re watching isn’t quite right and yet makes perfect sense in context, like the man was playing God in his own personal sandbox. And that’s what most of his films can be boiled down to: Tarantino expressing the power of movies and what they mean to him personally, and that’s very much what this one is about as well, but the difference here is is that the evocation is gone. Here, it’s more or less like a guy who fired up his old GTA save file—the one in which he beat all of the missions and bought all of the cars and has the invincibility cheat code if he really wants it—and is just kind of mulling around, bored with nothing to do, hoping to capture a fraction of the joy he found in the game years before. I don’t mind the idea of an aging Tarantino full of melancholy, but I take issue with the idea of him becoming toothless in the process. Brad Pitt retains his undisputed “coolest motherfucker put to screen” title.

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