Samuel Vernon’s review published on Letterboxd:
Rick: "What the hell are you looking at, you little ginger haired fucker?"
It takes the guy 3 minutes and 20 seconds to drop the needle. Tarantino isn't even trying to act professional and that's because he doesn't need to. This is the most fun he's ever had creating a film and you can clearly see it pouring through Leo and Brad's performances. And the love that it radiates is insurmountable.
I will say though, this isn't my first time watching. The initial watch was difficult for me and my mum in the cinema. Not being able to obtain a clear cut answer as to why these things on screen were happening, that by the end we felt like it lacked a huge chunk of narrative and we we're mostly right. But were we wrong to treat it as a let down? Absolutely. Tarantino films have always had an unconventional way of traveling through a timeline and this is no exception. Broken up into two large parts consisting of a day in the life and a night in the life of Rick Dalton, Cliff Booth and Sharon Tate. Their stories contrast each others in an indirect way while they all happen on the same day and it's really well done..
..And while we might not have got a lot from Sharon Tate and her personal story compared to the others, the amount I think was justified through the lens of a different, more extravagant era. Tate is the young star going big and we see the birth of a new age of Hollywood through her experiences as a movie star. The music, the parties and lifestyles that surround it especially, It is essentially Quentins love letter to a transitioning Hollywood and to an old Los Angeles that he meticulously recreates from his own memories. A truly remarkable piece of film making.
Pitt and Dicaprio should absolutely make more movies together where Booth eats giant celery from a bloody mary and Dalton smokes his fucking lungs out while complaining about the youth - but not before going out on a drive through the boulevard at 11pm. The last 30 minutes of this film complete me.
For me in QT's work, it's all about the writing. In this the conversations feel real and reserved. And they're all really fucking great. Which now that I come back to revisit this film after so long, it feels genuinely great coasting from scene to scene knowing that I can take each act away from the whole equation. It isn't meant to be added up and boiled down into a single meaning. It's a collage of incredibly well curated moments all mashed together into a single story that feels totally earned through it's 155 minutes of play time. From the way that it's shot to the incredible production, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is the definition of fun and is a pure delight to sail straight through. And I'm only certain it will get better on the rewatch.
I see it oh so clearly now... I'm sorry I ever doubted you, Quentin.
Rick: "Bunch of god damn fuckin' hippies... What the fuck."