Josh Stoddard’s review published on Letterboxd:
Of all the things Tarantino could've cut in this 2 hour 40 minute movie featuring characters watching movies, movies in movies and extensive car montages, he picked Tim Roth's cameo?! Blasphemy!
Man, I can't believe Brad Pitt and Leonardo di Caprio kissed in this movie!
I mean, I'd kiss them, even if Brad Pitt did kill his wife with a harpoon - did you see him on that roof?! Anyway, I would've given a standing ovation if that happened but it didn't and I feel let down.
Joking aside, this didn't meet my expectations and I feel kinda bummed I don't love it as much as everyone else seems to. I should know by now not to have any expectations when it comes to movies, especially Tarantino. Even if he does have his trademarks and they're all here - does his foot fetish count as fan service now?
I think, despite the trailers, I didn't expect this to be so...tame? Measured is probably a better word. Except the last sequence, of course, that's full-blown Tarantino. But then again, so is the whole movie.
Tarantino's entire career has been a tribute to cinema, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the culmination, a love letter to the golden age of Hollywood and 1960s LA. Overall, it's actually quite touching knowing it's coming from the heart and there's even a nice, happy ending.
I've noticed some people have somehow not grasped this is a fantasy.
For instance, Brad Pitt's character, who never existed, imagines Bruce Lee was an asshole. Otherwise, the martial arts icon is depicted as a friendly mentor to Sharon Tate. But I totally understand why his daughter would take offence.
Even so, Tarantino is telling a fairytale. He's obviously not saying any of this was true. Unfortunately, the tragedy did happen but I'm glad we didn't see Sharon Tate get killed.
If anything, Tarantino subverted my expectations by refraining from the excessive violence we associate him with and instead, doubling-down on his other reputation for long dialogue scenes and offering a rather relaxed slice of life.
Do I wish it was shorter though? Yeah. I heard it didn't feel like 2 hours 40, but I don't think Fred Raskin's editing has anywhere near the pace of the late Sally Menke,
Nevertheless, I already want to revisit it and escape to the Dream Factory. For now, I'll settle for Tarantino's own past.
P.S. A guy in our showing shouted "get off your phone!" to someone during one of the tense scenes and it scared me more than anything in the movie. I'm sure Tarantino would be happy though.