“Once upon a time in Hollywood” has been on my radar for a long time. Of course it was, it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie with a stellar cast. And since I liked most of his movies, I was bound to like this, one, too, right? Right 🙂 I did enjoy it a lot, actually. It’s a typical Tarantino movie, from his obvious foot fetish to his gory fighting scenes.
The movie is, as advertised, a love letter to Hollywood. It’s a about a has-been actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double / best friend (Brad Pitt). It’s also about the Charles Manson, his “special” family and the Tate murders. How are these two stories connected? Well, I will let you discover that yourself, but I will say that I felt the two storylines took a long and insufficient time to collide.
I definitely needed more of the Manson family. Crazy as they were, it would have been nice to see more of their leader, of the dynamic between the youngsters, what they believed in and how they got to Sharon Tate. But, from the little we got, I very much enjoyed Margaret Qualley, Austin Butler and Dakota Fanning. All stars (some in the making).
Although I very much enjoyed seeing so many celebrities in 2 minute roles, by the end of it, it felt….too much? It felt like less of a cameo, and more of disgrace to waste so much talent on parts like that. I get Al Pacino as the super agent, and maybe Bruce Dern as the Ranch boss. But to have Damien Lewis to be Steve McQueen for 30 second and say 4 lines, or Scoot McNairy to have a couple line of dialogue and fall….well, that’s shameful and disrespectful. But then again, I guess being 1 minute in a Tarantino movie is enough for everybody. I’m just saying to some of these parts could have gone to lesser known actors, and by doing that, it wouldn’t have distracted us from the actual storyline.
As for the main characters, Margot Robbie’s part felt, again, underdeveloped, but she sure looked pretty in it. Leonardo DiCaprio was fantastic as the aging actor, and I loved his almost caricature portrayal of Rick Dalton. Brad Pitt was also really good, although I didn’t feel like he did anything special throughout the movie (seemed like a classic BP performance), with the exception of the end, where we could see him flexing his “acting” muscle. Brownie points for his abs and being so cool at 50+ years old. Is it an Oscar worthy performance? Not really, but I wouldn’t mind him getting it, he deserves it.
Reading this, you might think I didn’t like “Once upon a time in Hollywood”. The funny thing is I DID LIKE IT. Overall, I thought it was very well made film (sets, costumes, cinematography), with a great score and soundtrack (mostly 60s music). The directing was amazing, I loved watching his ingenious shots and the script, for the most parts, was interesting (I didn’t get bored). The acting was great, I loved learning more the industry and to see how movies are shot, and the gory scenes were especially gruesome. I just wanted more in terms of storyline, specifically a more coherent and connected one.
So, yes, “Once upon a time in Hollywood” is a very good movie. Maybe even Oscar-worthy. If you’re a movie lover, you should definitely see it.