Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★★

Just like the Coen Brothers “Hail Caesar”, OUATIH is the pinnacle of a filmmaker displaying their love towards the classic era of Hollywood.

In this case, Tarantino targets the 50’s-late 60’s in the world of entertainment. Living in this fantasized version of Los Angeles, we meet a diverse cast of QT regulars and new comers as they navigate their daily routines.
Rick Dalton(Leonardo DiCaprio), Cliff Booth(Brad Pitt), and Sharon Tate(Margot Robbie) are at the forefront of this brilliant homage to the arts.

Dalton is an aging actor who thrived in the days that cowboys dominated the screens. By 1969, the Western genre was in the midst of evolving to a more serious tone and leaving the former stars behind. In a humorous sequence that shows Dalton’s filmography, we learn that his style has become outdated. Now regulated to evil guest roles on various TV series, a mid life crisis begins to form. Leo does an impeccable job at showing a man at his most vulnerable.

Along for the ride is Dalton’s stunt double/house sitter/driver Cliff Booth. Pitt brings a form of comedy and personality through his mannerisms that still have me smirking when thought about. Studying for this role must’ve required Pitt to drive through California blasting incredible 60’s tunes because this is Booth’s actions in the first half(and feeding his dog). Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t enjoy old music, these late night strolls might be “Kind of a Drag”(oldies reference). When the story truly gets going, Booth turns out to be more than meets the eye.

Who would’ve thought that a movie featuring the Manson “family” can be categorized in the buddy hangout genre. Honestly though, an argument can be made between Buzz and Woody in Toy Story 4 vs. Rick and Cliff in this. Future collaborations with Leo and Brad must happen due to the amazing chemistry they produced together in one outing.

Sharon Tate puts angel in “The City of Angels”. Margot Robbie understood her part as a figure associated with a tragedy well. Countless details about her encounter with the filth of humanity have been documented about already. We know the story and imagining it recreated in cinema is painful. Tarantino’s decision to paint Tate as a symbol of endless potential and goddess level beauty shows us the innocence that was taken away.

1969 had many historic events like Woodstock, the moon landing, and underdogs winning titles(Miracle Mets). A decade that also saw heartbreak with assassinations of public figures(Kennedy’s and MLK Jr.), the escalation of Vietnam, and Civil Rights injustices; ‘69 was thought to lead America in a new direction. The Manson murders and the infamous Altamont music festival(during The Rolling Stones set, fans were murdered by security)led to the cynicism that remained as the 70’s began.

If only this ending became reality, with the villainous threats being relegated to victims of Tom and Jerry style violence. Obviously, these heinous acts occurred and we can’t forget that. The best we can do is remember Tate for how she lived; a perfect embodiment of what should’ve been.

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