ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD – A Review by John Strange
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film. When you look at the films made prior to this one, most are very visual. This one does not let us down.
Set in the late 1960’s in Hollywood, this film follows TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). The two had become friend’s during their eight years on “Bounty Hunter”, the weekly western TV show from the 50s where Rick had cemented his fame. Now, following the show’s demise and a few feature films, Rick is finding that it is not easy to get a new series in the new Hollywood.
Their storyline is intermingled with others of the era. Some you will readily recognize like Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), James Stacy (Timothy Olyphant), and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh). The list of names from 60s Hollywood in this film are too numerous to give here but Charles Manson (Damon Herriman), Mama Cass (Rachel Redleaf), Sam Wanamaker (Nicholas Hammond), and Squeaky Fromme (Dakota Fanning) stood out to me!
The story bounces around between the various subplots like a billiard ball. It is chaotic and fast paced, easy to lose a person’s attention. While the film is interesting, I feel Mr. Tarantino was overly ambitious in his desire to shove as many stories as he could into one film.
The set direction, the costuming, even the cinematography of this film are excellent. I just wish the writing was as good. I loved parts of the film but not all of it. I found this feeling was shared by many in the audience.
The hype of seeing it on 35mm film (some audiences will see the film from a 70mm print) was, to me, just window dressing without bringing anything exceptional to the film. The best I can rate Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is a “C”.
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Maya Hawke, Margot Robbie, Sydney Sweeney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, Margaret Qualley, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Luke Perry, Austin Butler, Damian Lewis, Damon Herriman, Emile Hirsch, Mike Moh, Damon Herriman, Dreama Walker, Rachel Redleaf
MPAA Rating: R (for language throughout, some strong graphic violence, drug use, and sexual references)
Selig Rating: C
Runtime: 159 Min.
Movie Site: www.onceuponatimeinhollywood.movie
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.