Lena Dunham, Margaret Qualley and Brad Pitt star in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood’ Is A Masterpiece

I’ve always considered myself a huge Tarantino fan. I am well aware that some people think he’s a ripoff artist and a hack… some of those people are my friends. However, I have personally loved all of his films, even his segment in the anthology, Four Rooms (1995), where he led Bruce Willis to give such a commanding performance. Now in 2019, we have yet another knockout from Quentin Tarantino in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.

Synopsis:

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

 

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood lasts a staggering two hours and forty-one minutes long, but the story is so quick and interesting, I felt as if I had just sat through a mere 90 minute film. Time just flies by! We have Oscar-worthy performances from both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. These two make for a standout comedic duo. It was refreshing to see these two on screen with so much chemistry. It honestly felt like they have been best friends for forever and a day, and it resonates so much on the big screen.

The story mainly focuses on Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), who had starred in a fictional 1950s western TV show called Bounty Law. Bounty Law may not be a real show yet, but Tarantino has announced that he’s written scripts for five episodes for the fictional series and would like to see limited run on a platform like Netflix… with Leo involved, of course. I can already tell you that I will be totally up for this if it really happens.

Fast forward to the late 60s, and Rick Dalton is a has been that is doing guest spots on countless random TV shows, where he plays the typical, typecast bad guy who loses every fight. As Marvin Schwarz (Al Pacino) points out, this actually brainwashes audiences to believe that it is Rick Dalton himself getting his ass kicked every week, and not the character he he’s seen playing on TV.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Al Pacino in Columbia Pictures Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

As that sets into Dalton’s mind, he unravels and bursts into tears on his stunt double, Cliff Booth’s (Brad Pitt), shoulders, and Cliff says, “Alright, don’t let them see you cry. Here… take my sunglasses.” This may seem like a little thing, but in this industry, you never want people to see that you are struggling and just falling apart. After that conversation he goes back home and drinks himself to sleep when he has an acting gig on another show in the morning and struggles to deliver lines.

After that day wraps, he gets dropped off at home, where he sees his new neighbors, who are Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. When they drive off into their driveway, Rick just is simply ecstatic, noting he lives next door to possibly the biggest director in the world since making Rosemary’s Baby. This is when the story gets interesting. We see Brad Pitt pick up a hitchhiker that takes to Charles Manson’s ranch and sets everything up for an amazing third and final act of the film.

The dialogue in this film is very much like the tone of Pulp Fiction, which is one of the many reasons Tarantino fanatics will love Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood. It has his classic wit, charm and hilarious back and forth banter between characters. For example, the Cliff Booth and Bruce Lee scene is just perfection. The directing from Tarantino is also in full effect. This film may be his most mature take yet. It’s just so impressive, almost feeling like his passion project the way it moves along. The acting is just so fabulous in Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood. If you’re a fan of any of the cast in this and Quentin Tarantino himself, you should give this a shot. I’ve talked to a few people who gave up on the director for his previous efforts and still absolutely LOVED this film.

I don’t want to go too much further into the plot, because I don’t want to be that critic that spoils it for you, but I will say that there were some great performances all around, right down to the bit players portrayed by Timothy Olyphant (Justified TV series, Santa Clarita Diet TV series), Emile Hirsch (read our interview with him here), Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210 TV series) and a knock out cameo from Clifton Collins Jr. (Capote 2005). It’s something you have to see to believe. The ending is just so wild! I couldn’t help but to give Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood a perfect score, even though the ending will be the deciding factor for most viewers. Trust me, it’s a fun curveball that no one will see coming…

Final grade:

5/5 stars

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One comment

  1. I need to see this film, big fan of Quentin Tarentino. He is a genius