Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Movie Review of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
    Andrew Cooper / Sony Pictures

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood delivers   

When it comes to Quentin Tarantino, audience know that they will get a fair dose of retro culture, crude humor, and murder. The question with his most recent movie, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, does it deliver a story that we have come to expect of his greatest works of art? And I am happy to say that the answer is a resounding yes.

The story line follows the unremarkable career of the fictional duo of leading actor Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his stuntman Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt. This movie tackles self-doubt, vanity, hippie culture of the late 1960s, life long friendship, and gives the viewer a retro glimpse into the Hollywood of yesteryear.

Spaghetti Western Way

The movie opens up with Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth giving an interview, regarding their current paying gig, Bounty Law. It is quite obvious that this is just a cookie cutter show, with a following, albeit worth nothing more than a steady paycheck. Leonardo DiCaprio characters' confidence is further shaken by his meeting with a Hollywood power player, played by Al Pacino, when he analyzes his career path and encourages him to pursue making westerns in Italy.

The music, the wardrobe, the cars, and color schemes all scream 1969 to the viewers. To further this nostalgic joyride, Quentin Tarantino introduces a group of hippies into this movie. And this group plays their respective parts masterfully with respect to the period in time they are portraying. To his credit, Brad Pitt character's integrity is unshaken throughout this adventure. Cliff Booth here represents the sane moral fiber of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, albeit underappreciated. Brad Pitt is the Sancho Panza to Leonardo DiCaprio's Don Quixote in this movie.

Time Portal Into 1969 Hollywood 

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood also masterfully weaves into the story line the representations of silver screen legends of Roman Polanski, Steve McQueen (played by Damian Lewis), and Sharon Tate (Played by Margot Robbie). Steve McQueen is shown debating his ego and vanity, with respect to relationships and fame. Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate is most often shown throughout the movie, with respect to her relationship with Roman Polanski, but also on her own, appreciating herself as an actress. Not to be forgotten is an appearance of an infamous murderer Charles Manson, to whom we know.

One of the most dynamic scenes in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood occur on set, between Brad Pitt's character and a fictional representation of Bruce Lee. Neither willing to back down, you can feel an explosion of testosterone emanating from the screen. All the characters in this movie, the parties, the roles, and ultimately the well off neighborhood of Hollywood elite, that Leonardo DiCaprio finds himself among, all put pressure on the actor to perform beyond his ability to keep his status. In the end, he takes the advice of the Hollywood elder and goes to a place where he can still perform and be worshiped as an elite actor.

I the movie's last climactic sequence, Rick Dalton is as aloof and oblivious as ever, attempting to relax. All the while, leaving Cliff Booth alone to save the day. The best friends theme here rings hollow to me, as Leonardo DiCaprio's character isn't willing to sacrifice his lavish lifestyle to help his friend Brad Pitt, who saved his bacon numerous times. However, this is the only criticism I really have of this movie. Outside of this lapse in directorial judgment, it is a testament that Quentin Tarantino still got it.

Nothing Like The Wave Goodbye

A lot like the Western style, as the primary acting type-cast of Leonardo DiCaprio's character, the movie follows the same succinct silences, with drawn out scenery and set-up of the movie's dynamic spots that hit the audience perfectly with the change of pace. It is not your typical in your face smash up that we have gotten used to of Quentin Tarantino's other marquee movies. But Once Upon A Time In Hollywood should be considered one of his finest. He is able to weave so much into this story line, and make it ultimately work. Even the wave goodbye between friends at the end is emblematic of the most legendary Westerns of the era.

Rotten Tomatoes' critics have given this movie a certified fresh grade of 85% approval, while Metacritic has given it an acclaimed score of 83 so far. I will have to agree on this one. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a movie that should be celebrated, as it masterfully crafted multiple stories together to give the audience a multifaceted and quite entertaining glimpse into the waning moments of Hollywood's heyday. While the friendship aspect is a dent in this otherwise masterful film, this movie is among the best in 2019 and worthy of having to purchase a movie ticket. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Until next time, grab your popcorn, milk duds, turn off the phone, and enjoy the movie.

28 comments:

  1. Nice review! I happened to stream it the other day, wasn't quite what I expected but definitely a Tarantino flick!

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    1. Yeah, this movie was more of a nostalgia trip down 1969 lane for Quentin. However, it has all the required Tarantino movie componente and is quite entertaining.

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  2. Nice article , though i never watch this movie i love work of Quentin Tarantino.

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    1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is more fo a Western structured movie for Tarantino - it has the long pauses, the looking within and the narration. Think back to Kill Bill, except here there's no definitive target for vengeance, unless you put the Hippie tribe into that category.

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  3. This article is awesome! I look forward to watching the movie!

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    1. Enjoy the movie, this is Tarantino at his finest. One great thrill ride into Hollywood's golden age.

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  4. How did I not know of this movie? Thank you for the review. Based on your recommendation, I think I will try to stream it and give it a try. Haven't seen DiCaprio or Pitt in a movie in a while/

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    1. Kristin, it is a fun movie to watch. It contains plenty of nostalgia from Hollywood of the late 1960's.

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  5. I would like to see this movie, especially because it has so many big actors in it. Tarantino has always made intriguing movies.

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    1. Joanna, this is Tarantino at his finest. It truly delivers on the nostalgia factor, but the movie comes up a bit short when it comes to displaying the kind of friendship I thought this movie possessed.

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  6. I want to see this movie for one obvious reason but also the quality of actors in it. I definitely will now. Thanks for this!

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    1. Serena, you won't be disappointed. Plenty of entertainment and laughter in this Hollywood retro ride of a movie.

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  7. I missed this movie when it was in theaters but I really want to see it!

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    1. Ashli, the movie should be streaming soon. So I would definitely put it in my queue

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  8. Nice review. I really want to see this one, and your review just cements that.

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    1. Mike, glad I could be of help. The movie really is entertaining and provides a glimpse into Hollywood past. Enjoy!

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  9. Great review. Haven't watched this movie but will surely love to. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Shadrack, it's an entertaining movie in a classic Tarantino fashion and Pitt carries it for the most part. There's plenty of underlying themes, but it is mostly a nostalgia piece with some action.

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  10. Such a great review. Never heard of this but looks like something I need to see.

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    1. It is an entertaining movie that provides a glimpse into Hollywood past.

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  11. Man, I simply loved this movie! and, your review was nicely composed.

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    1. mainak, I am happy you enjoyed it. For me it was a very entertaining must watch once movie. It fell short on delivering with the friendship theme, but good nonetheless.

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  12. Very detailed review. Will watch it whenever time permits.

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    1. Sanjota, definitely do watch this movie. It is quite entertaining.

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  13. This sounds like a good movie. I will have to check it out for myself.

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    1. Danielle, you won't be disappointed. This look back into Hollywood's golden age is a movie that should be watched at least once.

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  14. I have really been wanting to see this! Your review is a reminder. Thank you!

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    1. Thaks Danielle, the movie is entertaining and in true Tarantino form.

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