©2019 by Sean Whitehurst

Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood (2019) <><><>



Do you like Quentin Tarantino films? If you do, stop reading and go watch this; my rating is irrelevant within the bounds of the Tarantino universe. There is no escape from the fact that this is a Tarantino movie for one second. He is a very deliberate writer and director and it creates a signature style that is immediately recognized. Every lighter opening is synced with a very audible 'CLICK.' I found much of the foley work to focus too much on little sounds. Tarantino is a careful curator of his legacy and it shows in all of his films.


This movie is another fairy tale, like all of his other films. Do yourself a favor and read up a little on Sharon Tate. If you are ambitious you could also do some homework on Bruce Lee. Going in with a little knowledge of those two increased my enjoyment of the film.


Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are a fantastic pair. Pitt plays Cliff Booth, stuntman, complete with his famous 'dad-bod'. DiCaprio channels falling western star Rick Dalton. Booth chauffeurs Dalton around along with taking care of the Dalton house in the Hollywood hills. This supportive role leaves Booth with plenty of time to get into his own adventures.


Tarantino has never been great at exploring character backstories and this film does nothing to change that despite clocking in at 2:41. He drops you off in an already developed story and lets you enjoy the best parts of it. I especially liked Tate, Margot Robbie, watching herself, the real Sharon Tate, on the silver screen. You see most of the characters go through their normal daily grind. At points I found myself checking my watch because of some of the slow lack of progression; get to the fight scene, Quentin!


There are two fight scenes. The first is a minor dust-up with Bruce Lee. It has made me more interested to learn about Bruce and what type of personality he had. The second fight scene is amazing. It fits in well with all of Tarantino's best fights. Maybe Tarantino learned something from John Wick 3; fights with dogs are better than fights without dogs.


Quentin Tarantino has deliberately made Quentin Tarantino films. There is no getting around it. If you have fallen out of love with his body of work, this movie isn't going to bring you back in. If you can still enjoy his movies then this is certainly one to see. This is still a good movie for general audiences that re-imagines a sliver of history in a surprisingly new way.

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