Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

“When you come to the end of the line with a buddy who is more than a brother, and a little less than a wife, getting blind drunk together is really the only way to say farewell.” 

I enjoyed the hell out of this film on a rewatch. Even more than the first time maybe. Yes it has flaws but none of them kept me from having a great experience while watching it. There are some criticisms that this film received that apply to literally any Tarantino film and if you’re not a fan of his work then I couldn’t see you loving this movie very easily. I just get a kick out of the whole thing. The setting is beautifully detailed, it’s amazing to see this time capsule of Los Angeles during the Golden era of Hollywood, and that comes through in the performances, the set pieces, and the soundtrack wonderfully.

The acting is great all around. Leo is hilarious as a star who is approaching what could be the end of his prime, Brad Pitt is so fantastic and equally funny as Cliff Booth who is maybe one of my all time favorite Tarantino characters, and Margot Robbie shines and endears us all to the film’s portrayal of Hollywood star Sharon Tate. The ensemble is amazing too with great turns from the likes of Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Mike Moh, Bruce Dern, and many more. 

I love the tone of the whole first portion of this film before those explosive last 30 minutes where it’s essentially just a day in the life of these two cool guys in Hollywood. The movie at points just feels like you’re a fly on the wall of a movie set or hanging out at Dalton’s home as Cliff fixes the place up. It’s very deliberate and slowly escalates into a crazy finale that shocked me the first time I saw the film but this time I was just looking forward to seeing it again. There’s some gratuitous violence that some have called tasteless and admittedly I was even thrown a little by on my first viewing but it honestly wasn’t as bad watching it this time as it was in my memory and I think that the shock value of the initial experience had something to do with that. 

This movie just kicks ass. It’s funny, there are so many great performances, the cinematography and editing and music are all fantastic. It’s a really fun time and a beautiful ode to old Hollywood, cinephiles, and friendship. There were lingering thoughts that I had long after my first viewing that made me question if I really loved it as much as I had said but this rewatch cemented it as one of my favorites of the year and one of my favorite Tarantino flicks as well.

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