thespacewytch’s review published on Letterboxd:
"don't cry in front of the Mexicans"
With Tarantino's novel coming out, I had been wanting to give Once Upon a Time in Hollywood another watch. I think this is the third time I've seen it. This time watching Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, something just clicked and I wrote a review prior to this where I just didn't think it was that good. Now I watch it, and I think it's a masterpiece or close to one because I'm at a point now where I understood every decision and I was just more glued to the screen.
This is Tarantino at his most fairytale and nostalgic, he loves to rewrite history seen in movies like Inglorious Basterds and Django, but there's something about this world that feels most personal to him, there's a nostalgia there, and while those two other movies I just named had you leaving with a smile on your face that the heroes prevailed, here it was like this negative feeling almost, where you wish that was what happened but you know it didn't cause the Manson murders were the true end of the 60s and all the promise and the allure that was conveyed there. You feel as if the whole movie is shot like a western and with almost every movie, there is some tropes in the Western genre that is glossed over almost all of his movies.
In Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate, you're watching her career blossom and how fresh and exciting it was that someone like Sharon Tate was blossoming in Hollywood and you can feel her presence throughout the movie as Hollywood is changing and movie stars like Rick Dalton were becoming a thing of the past and had to find ways to reinvent themselves. It reminds me of the Megan Draper character in Mad Men, where everyone on that show was so allured by her character the promise she had, and she goes down a downturn once she ends up with Don. Tarantino is able to capture the promise and allure of Sharon Tate and how that promise and allure were still there because she died when she was just starting out. I never really understood the criticisms about her character and the lack of screentime she got but you can feel her presence throughout her movie, cause she represents the 60s and the false promise it had.
Obviously when this movie came out everyone was talking about Pitt and this career renaissance. But Dicaprio is giving some of his best work here, my favorite version of Leo isn't the young good looks Leo, but the mid-life crisis, a little bit of a belly Leo. He's amazing here, and he gets to show how great of a comic actor he is. Looking back at the Oscars, you can make the case for Leo to win over Joaquin's Joker performance, he is just amazing and I'm really excited to see where he goes next cause I think we're gonna be getting some great Leo performances soon.
Brad Pitt's 2010s are a bit rocky, other than Moneyball he didn't really do a whole lot. He had some hits, but he took some L's and was doing more producing. Obviously, the Angelina Jolie stuff got rocky and still is rocky, and it wasn't like he was dead career-wise, he just needed a win cause he hadn't had one since Moneyball, and we needed to have him backfiring on all cylinders. As Cliff Booth, it's the perfect part for him, I don't think anybody could've played it as well as he did, Clooney five years ago could've but Pitt was the best version of it, it's such a movie star part and nobody gets movie stars better than Quentin. He so deserved an Oscar for this, its' one of the four best Pitt performances (Fight Club, Moneyball, and Inglorious Basterds) are the other three.
Also, another that doesn't get a lot of credit, Timothy Olyphant, I've been on an Olyphant talk show binge lately, he's amazing on Conan, that guy could do anything, I just started Justified and he's amazing in that, that guy could do anything. He's great here, he's so perfectly cast as James Stacy, he needs to be in more things.
I don't know where I'd put Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in my Tarantino rankings, I think after this watch, it might be in my top 5, which is basically all Tarantino masterpieces to me, and movies I've seen at least 5-10 times. I think it's just outside Pulp, Basterds, and Jackie Brown, and it's' at that level with Kill Bill 1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a perfect love letter to the world of LA, every scene has a dose of nostalgia glossed over it.
Also, what a soundtrack.