Release Date: July 26th, 2019
Studio: Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Release Format: Theatrical
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood features an A list cast in a weird tale in Cali filled with flamethrowers, ritzy cars and more. This fever dream is being touted as Quentin Tarantino’s second to last film.
The flick revolves around a Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they navigate the decline in their careers. They are soon caught up in the craziness that is Hollywood and the people surrounding then.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood features some of the most hilarious and sweat-inducing scenes on the big screen this year. It is also the most bloated clocking in just shy of three hours to tell a narrative that could have been told in two.
I’ve felt more divided on this film than a long math equation. But, It wouldn’t be a Tarantino film without a little controversy so let’s get into it.
Get Some Paper
The dialogue is excellent for the most with being Tarantino at his most Tarantino. It’s snappy, full of quotable and highly entertaining when it works.
However, sometimes the conversations can come off longwinded and even pointless. This is supposed to build suspense and test how sweat-absorbent your clothes are, but instead just tests your patience.
The movie drags whenever it switches to being a movie within a movie. At first, its a nice distraction before those short scenes practically turn into full episodes of the projects Dalton stars in. You’ll find yourself asking “what’s the point of this?” more than you should, especially two hours in a movie.
The film also has many amazing and visually cool shots that you can’t help but want a replay for. He gets the most out of the locations and actors. Tarantino can shoot a chair in an empty room and win the best cinematography at next years award, he’s that good.
Honestly, I can’t tell you what the purpose or what Once Upon is about. On the surface, it seems like pieces from different puzzles put together to form a somewhat cohesive picture. The picture is pretty but needed a few more minutes to dry as the paint is dripping on the floor.
This appears aimless at times, like when narration randomly starts at the climax or showing prolonged scenes of a character making a meal. I have the Food Network and already know how to make mac & cheese, I don’t need Brad Pitt to teach me step by step.
Characters Are Hollywood
Brad Pitt is the show-stealer of this movie as he consistently has the most intense, funny and all-around enjoyable scenes. Cliff Booth has a nonchalant attitude that comes off like he is playing Russian roulette with life at all times.
Dalton is a dope with a lot of insecurity that makes for plenty of laughs as DiCaprio frantically breaks down more than Derrick Rose’s legs. Booth and Dalton mesh together very well with Booth being the yang to Dalton’s yin.
Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is a character that really doesn’t much to do. She plays an actress that likes to party and make movies. Beyond that, you can remove most of her scenes until the ending and nothing is changed.
As with the director’s previous efforts, Once Upon thrives off of character interactions. There are other supplemental characters that really help to paint this world such as a group of hippies living in an abandoned lot or Bruce Lee getting ready to drop Cliff on a studio lot.
Margaret Qualley plays the seductively mellow Pussycat, while Dakota Fanning is stank face personified as the irritable Squeaky. They do a lot with the sparse screentime as both carry bizarre personalities you keep wanting to see more of.
Verdict: Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is a film that is filled with tons to like only to be blocked by an unfocused plot. It’s basically a mini-series that was condensed into a film. I can see myself watching this again on Blu-Ray from being able to skip through filler.
The film never decides what it is trying to do by when the credits roll. Although, there are plenty laugh out loud moments and engaging interactions to keep you interested. No, this isn’t really a date night movie but if you’re a fan of Tarantino, it is worth a watch.
What’s the best Tarantino film ever released? What are other great films taking place in Hollywood? What actors would you like to see in Tarantino’s next film? Leave your comments!
- Great dialogue
- Interesting Characters
- Excellent performances from the cast
- Cliff Booth is legendary
- Unnecessarily drawn-out scenes and runtime.
- Ending feels anti-climatic
- Movie can't juggle all of the plots coherently