Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

Still feel like the cumulative effect of this is so much more melancholy than the warmness of its nostalgic recreation of this era of Hollywood, its charming focus on male bonding, or the simplistic, juvenile genre catharsis of its climax that seems to overwhelm the conversations around it. Despite the deceptive autocritique of its farcical brutality being quite effectively layered into it imo; all the moody, regret-filled build-up that preys on our knowledge and sadness of what’s to come vs. the deliberately questionable details about these kinds of men, their history, their reactionary attitudes, their impulse for violence, etc and how they got left behind by time feels like part of its point.

Tarantino overtly believes in the power of cinema and fantasy, yes, but you can really sense him wrestling with its limitations here too which I think is an important distinction between this and the other history-changing revenge pastiches he's been playing around with. Basterds always played to me like a call to arms, to righteously weaponize cinema the same way it's been abused for evil. This is different. More like a weary acknowledgment that this history can’t be changed, only subjectively responded to… Like, say, in the form of a languid, 60s hangout B-movie fairytale where you and your best bud in the final days of your careers and friendship are in the right place at the right time; a childish California daydream of an outmoded time and place that never did and never will exist outside the glow of the screen. "Baby baby baby you're out of time." Fuck it, 5 stars.

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