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  1. #1
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    Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019)

    This review was written by my son................


    Lore, Gore, and Historical Fiction
    What’s at the Heart of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
    (no major spoilers)

    One of the greatest parts of a Quentin Tarantino story is the element of camaraderie. Exposition scenes in movies are often dull and technical, but in the Tarantino multiverse it’s a delight to watch characters work together, plan a caper, or get out of a tight spot.

    With subtext and clever dialog, the writer-director builds anticipation while establishing believable relationships; he takes his time, allowing us to get to know his characters, warts and all. Too many movies these days rush the plot forward without giving the audience a chance to care.

    But this is all common knowledge to Tarantino fanboys and girls.

    In his 9th film, Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino invites us to hang out with lovable losers, Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, in a fabled history of Los Angeles 1969. Rick (Leonardo Dicaprio) is a washed up TV actor whose only real friend, Cliff (Brad Pitt) serves as his stunt double, driver, and house sitter.

    It’s difficult not to immediately love this duo. We see Rick mope around movie sets, stuttering, occasionally sobbing over a stale career. He’s overly sentimental which is both hilarious and sad; it’s not a typical role for Leonardo Dicaprio. One of the most fun aspects of this film is watching Dicaprio do some superbly bad acting as well as some genuinely great acting.

    We take comfort that Rick has Cliff nearby: a seasoned stunt man and war vet who looks out for Rick and knows exactly when his blubbering pal needs a pep talk. Cliff Booth might be the coolest character the director ever created. A cowboy in the modern era. He’s quiet and tough, and his short bursts of action and combat are riveting. It’s the most athleticism we’ve seen from Brad Pitt since Fight Club.

    What’s especially memorable about these guys is their status as aging characters who get in over their head – a theme Tarantino has explored several times. (Freddy Newendyke in Reservoir dogs, Jackie in Jackie Brown, Lt. Aldo Rain in Inglorious Basterds.) Regarded as squares by 1969 standards, they barely hold their value in Hollywood. But the more we hang out with them, the more we love them for their loyalty and unpretentiousness. Such affection for these two might have the audience wondering: wouldn’t it be great to see a bigger Rick & Cliff adventure in this film?

    Seeing this movie, especially in a crowded theatre, is absolutely a fun time. There are plenty of laughs, some tension and suspense here and there, and several sad-beautiful moments with Sharon Tate. What’s more, the revisionist history makes for a very compelling watch; it plays to the height of the audience’s intelligence, tasking the viewer to sort out the facts and interpret the third act for themselves.

    It’s a smart movie.

    But after marveling over its charm and intricacies, one wonders what this movie is about beyond the director showing you stuff he thinks is cool.

    And though it is cool stuff, it’s easy to get the feeling Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is smirking at us, overly proud of itself and its level of detail: there are countless movies within the movie, movie posters and marquees, quick cameos, name drops, fast food and junk food brand sightings – so much so, that 60s pop culture becomes a lead character.

    It sounds redundant but there are so many Quentin Tarantino things in this Quentin Tarantino movie that it can feel like a big inside joke. It’s loaded with his familiar editing style; quick cuts to the past to fill in a character’s back story; actors from his previous films who show up just to deliver a couple lines; voice-over narration; clips from apocryphal B movies; the foot fetish; a snoring fetish; hokey one-liners; converging storylines and inventive carnage.

    It’s his most self-referential movie yet, though it isn’t clear what the audience is supposed to do with all the Tarantino-lore and minutiae.

    My point: the rich detail, skillful cinematography, and subverted history in this 2 hour 41 minute tale, though impressive, are not the real reasons to watch. Tarantino’s most important ingredient is his realistic characters and relationships in hyper-real situations. He gives us truly interesting people with clear wants and needs, something many summer releases forget to do.

  2. #2
    Super Modz crazed 8.4's Avatar
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    This review is spot on !!
    fantastic job.
    pepisee

 

 

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